The US federal government wants at least 50% of new vehicle sales in the US to be electric by 2030. To help facilitate this goal, the Department of Transportation is building a network of 500,000 EV chargers to connect the country along its network of interstate highways by 2030. Convenience stores and truck stops are in a fantastic position to take advantage of available federal funding for DC fast charging stations. Here’s what you need to know installing EV charging stations at your c-store or truck stop.
Select an electrification partner and business model
Firstly, it is essential to select the right electrification partner. Whether you prefer to buy EV charging stations, subscribe to a Charging as a Service program, or pursue a full turnkey solution, Blink offers flexible business models to make EV charging easier.
While the Blink-Owned model is a full turnkey solution that includes installation, our popular Host Owned model is often chosen by businesses who wish to maintain ownership and control over their chargers. Hosts can choose their preferred electrician or select one of Blink’s installation partners.
Select a charging station
Businesses like convenience stores and truck stops have the options of either installing Level 2 EV chargers or DCFCs. Which type of chargers you decide to install will depend on your location, the surrounding amenities, available power, budget, and any necessary guidelines you need to follow to procure funding.
For example, if your truck stop or c-store is located within a designated Alternative Fuel Corridor (AFC) and you want to take advantage of the Department of Transportation’s National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure program (NEVI), then you would need to install a bank of at least four 150kW DC fast chargers DCFCs to receive that funding. NEVI is a $5 billion initiative to help state governments build EV charging networks within their states.
Not located in a designated AFC? You have more options for selecting a charger. Especially if there are no public EV chargers nearby, you may opt for Level 2 chargers that are compatible with all plug-in EVs. Depending on the charging station, you can provide 40-65 miles of range per charging hour, perfect for stores with nearby restaurants, hotels, or entertainment as drivers may choose to charge their vehicle at your store while they are using other amenities. If you prefer EVs to charge for less than an hour, DC fast chargers can help your location serve more drivers per hour.
Conduct a site assessment
When you know what kind of charging station you want to install, your convenience store or truck stop will need to undergo an EVSE site assessment to see if it will be feasible to install the number and type of chargers you want to have. The site assessment will determine how much available room you have for EV chargers, how much available electric power you have (and how much more you may potentially require), and what you will need to do to make your site ready to install EV chargers.
Once your site assessment is complete, you can then create the detailed EVSE plan so you know exactly what will be installed, where it will be placed, where the power will come from, and what peripheral work will need to be done (like concrete pouring or bollard installation, for example). Smart network features like local load management and installation plans such as make-ready infrastructure can help you save later on future EV charging expansion.
Next, it’s time to look for funding opportunities. There is a myriad of funding options available to help businesses like convenience stores and truck stops provide EV charging. Let’s look at some of the available funding for businesses.
National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Program
The NEVI program makes funding available to all 50 states, Washington DC, and Puerto Rico for EV charging projects along AFCs. NEVI funds can be used for:
- EVSE acquisition,
- EVSE installation,
- EV charging network connection,
- EV charger operation,
- charger maintenance, and
- long-term EV charging station data sharing.
NEVI funding is given preference to businesses located in AFCs to help with the federal government’s plan to create a nationwide network of DCFCs every 50 miles along or within one mile of AFCs.
As noted earlier, NEVI funding must be used to install at least one bank of four DCFCs. The funding can also be used for renewable energy generation, energy storage facilities, and upgrades to existing infrastructure.
Charging and Fueling Infrastructure (CFI) Discretionary Grant Program
Designed to supplement the NEVI program, the Charging and Fueling Infrastructure Discretionary (CFI) Grant Program makes funds available for communities with Community Charging and Fueling Grants and within AFCs via Alternative Fuel Corridor Grants.
Unlike NEVI, which distributes funds to businesses, CFI funds are distributed by the US Department of Transportation to local and state governments.
There are certain criteria that a business must meet to be eligible to receive CFI funding, including being in a rural area, a low- or moderate-income neighborhood, and being in a community with a low ratio of private parking spots.
Any projects funded via CFI must meet the EV Charging Minimum Standards Rule.
Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Tax Credit
Businesses may also be eligible for a federal tax credit worth up to 30% of the cost of installation of EV charging infrastructure up to a total of $100,000 if that business meets certain criteria, including being located in designated census tract areas.
State and local government funding
In addition to federal government funding, each state government, along with some municipal governments, power companies and air pollution control districts, also provide funding to businesses. You can use Blink Charging’s Commercial Incentives tool to find funding opportunities using your location’s zip code and the type of Blink charger you are inquiring about.
Install your EVSE
When your site assessment has been completed, you have your funding in place, and you are given the green light to proceed with your installation, order your EV chargers, prepare your site, and perform the installation.
Installing Level 2 chargers or DCFCs at your convenience store or truck stop need not be complicated or overly costly. By pairing with the right electrification partner and taking advantage of all your available funding opportunities, you can keep costs down and make the entire process go smoothly.
Contact Blink Charging today to see how we can help you electrify your convenience store or truck stop.