Biden-Harris Admin Opens First Round Applications for $2.5 Billion Program to Build EV Charging in U.S. Communities
March 14, 2023
The Biden-Harris Administration today opened applications for a new multi-billion-dollar program to fund electric vehicle (EV) charging and alternative-fueling infrastructure in communities across the country and along designated highways, interstates, and major roadways. This is a key step towards the President’s goals of building a national network of 500,000 public EV charging stations and reducing national greenhouse gas emissions by 50%–52% by 2030.
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s new Charging and Fueling Infrastructure (CFI) Discretionary Grant Program, established by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, will provide $2.5 billion over five years to a wide range of applicants, including cities, counties, local governments, and tribes. This round of funding makes up to $700 million from Fiscal Years (FY) 2022 and 2023 funding available to strategically deploy EV charging and other alternative vehicle-fueling infrastructure projects in publicly accessible locations in urban and rural communities, as well as along designated Alternative Fuel Corridors (AFCs).
“By helping bring EV charging to communities across the country, this administration is modernizing our infrastructure and creating good jobs in the process,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “With today’s announcement, we are taking another big step forward in creating an EV future that is convenient, affordable, reliable, and accessible to all Americans.”
The CFI Discretionary Grant Program builds on the $5 billion National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program, for which the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) published finalized minimum standards earlier this month. EV chargers constructed with CFI funds must adhere to those same standards, a requirement that supports a consistent charging experience for users and ensures that our national charging network is convenient, reliable and Made in America.
“Extending EV charging infrastructure into traditionally underserved areas will ensure that equitable and widespread EV adoption takes hold,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “Ensuring that charging stations are more visible and accessible in our communities addresses the concerns many American drivers have when considering making the switch to electric.”
While the NEVI Formula Program sends money to states, Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C., to build EV charging infrastructure along designated interstates, U.S. routes, and state highways, the CFI Discretionary Grant Program awards competitive grants to projects serving a range of applicants to fill gaps in the national charging and alternative-fueling network and build out charging in communities.
A priority of the CFI Program is bringing EV charging into urban and rural communities; downtown areas and local neighborhoods, particularly in underserved and disadvantaged communities; as well as to designated alternative fuel corridors. Both the NEVI and CFI programs will create good-paying jobs across the country as more workers are needed to install and maintain EV charging stations, and both programs will help put the country on a path to a nationwide network of 500,000 EV chargers by 2030.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law divides the CFI Program into two distinct grant funding categories, and requires that 50% of the funding over five years is made available for each:
- The Community Program will provide $1.25 billion to strategically deploy publicly accessible EV charging infrastructure, and hydrogen, propane, or natural gas fueling infrastructure in communities. Infrastructure may be located on any public road or in other publicly accessible locations such as parking facilities at public buildings, public schools, and public parks, or in publicly accessible parking facilities owned or managed by a private entity.
- The Corridor Program will provide $1.25 billion to strategically deploy publicly accessible EV charging infrastructure and hydrogen, propane, and natural gas fueling infrastructure along designated alternative fuel corridors (AFCs).
“FHWA is committed to helping towns and cities, large and small, build modern, sustainable infrastructure that promotes equity and opportunity for their local economies and net-zero emissions for the nation by 2050,” said Federal Highway Administrator Shailen Bhatt. “By encouraging the adoption and expansion of EV charging and alternative fuels, CFI Program investments have the potential to significantly address the transportation sector’s outsized contributions to climate change.”
Eligible applicants and projects for both categories are outlined in a Notice of Funding Opportunity published today. Applications are due by May 30, 2023.
FHWA seeks to fund projects that address environmental justice, particularly for communities such as rural and low- and moderate-income neighborhoods that may disproportionately experience the consequences of climate change and other pollutants.
Today’s announcement builds on a comprehensive series of EV-related actions taken by the Biden-Harris administration.
- In September 2022, FHWA approved all 52 EV charging plans from states, Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C.,—unlocking approximately $1.5 billion in FY22 and FY23 funding that can be used to implement those plans.
- Earlier this February, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s FHWA announced finalized standards to make charging electric vehicles convenient, affordable, reliable, equitable, and safe for all Americans—no matter what car you drive or what state you charge in.
- Earlier this February, the White House announced an implementation plan for President Biden’s Build America, Buy America requirements that will incentivize companies to invest in domestic production of EV charging components, positioning U.S. workers and businesses to compete and lead globally in a critical industry while providing a common-sense transition period for companies to onshore complex supply chains.
- The new Joint Office of Energy and Transportation (Joint Office) released a notice of intent to issue a funding opportunity for its Ride and Drive Electric research and development program. The community-driven models for EV charging deployment area of interest (AOI) may explore how to maximize benefits for underserved and disadvantaged communities and the workforce development AOI may explore how disadvantaged communities will benefit from high-quality job growth expected from transportation electrification.
“It’s critical that we build a national charging network that provides EV drivers with the right type of charging in the right location—whether that’s high-powered charging on highway corridors and in urban hubs or Level 2 charging where EV drivers or riders live, work, and play,” said Joint Office Executive Director Gabe Klein. “By working with cities and communities through the CFI Program to get this mix right, we can ensure that everyone has convenient and affordable access to riding and driving electric.”
FHWA and the Joint Office plan to conduct outreach to potential grant applicants regarding the CFI Program via webinars throughout March and April and will provide direct technical assistance to support states and communities as they build EV charging infrastructure through the NEVI Program and projects awarded under the CFI Program. Information on upcoming webinars can be viewed here.
The Joint Office, through the new Joint Office United Support for Transportation (JUST) Lab Consortium, will convene three U.S. Department of Energy national laboratories, to help identify practical approaches to integrate equity into federally-funded EV infrastructure deployment efforts—like projects awarded under the CFI Program—spanning deployment planning, implementation pathways, and policy design. Visit DriveElectric.gov to access technical assistance from the Joint Office, including:
- The Alternative Fuel Life-Cycle Environmental and Economic Transportation (AFLEET) Charging and Fueling Infrastructure Emissions Tool to assess estimated emissions reductions from EV charging infrastructure along designated alternative fuel corridors
- Key Considerations from Past U.S. Department of Energy-Funded Projects on curbside EV charging, EV car share, EV charging for multifamily housing, and EV mobility hubs.
For more information on President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and investments in electric vehicles, please visit FHWA’s BIL web site.