Webinar: Contracting and Procurement Considerations for EV Station Deployment
March 28, 2023
During this Joint Office of Energy and Transportation (Joint Office) webinar, attendees heard from the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Office of Infrastructure, a utility, and a state energy office. The FHWA panelist provided an overview of contracting and procurement rules required for projects that use Title 23 funding on federal-aid highway projects.
Representatives from Xcel Energy and Tennessee discussed their lessons learned from contracting the implementation of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations over the past 10 years. The intent was to provide state and local governments with information on how to establish contracting and procurement processes that comply with federal regulations and benefit from the opportunities gleaned from previous experience.
Audience members gained a better understanding of different contracting and procurement mechanisms, how to overcome challenges in the process, and how to best engage with selected contractors to maximize benefits for EV charging station users and operators.
Please note, the views and lessons learned expressed during the utility and state energy office portion are informational only and have not been reviewed or endorsed by FHWA. There is no assurance that these strategies are appropriate for implementing federal rules and regulations associated with the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program, the Charging and Fueling Infrastructure Discretionary Grant Program (CFI Program), or any other federal funding program.
The panelists included:
- Jim DeSanto, FHWA
- Craig Miller, Xcel Energy
- Alexa Voytek, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.
- Typical federal aid or Title 23-related questions, any questions on program guidance, questions on the newly released minimum standards, and requirements under 23 CFR 680 should be directed towards the state-specific FHWA Division Office.
Anticipated common construction contracting methods include:
- Design-Build:This procurement method is used when the state department of transportation is not designing the project either by themselves or with the assistance of a design consultant, but rather as combining the responsibilities of both the design and the construction into a single contract with a design-build team or developer. Best value selection is permitted in design-build.
- Public-Private Partnership Design-Build: In a public-private partnership build, the private entity is typically, but not always, contributing financially to the completion or other aspects of the project, and then recovers their investment through some combination of fees, user charges, and/or availability payments from the contracting agency.
- Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (ID/IQ): ID/IQ allows an indefinite quantity of services for a fixed time. In ID/IQ, the services being procured are typically repeated, standardized items.
- Installation of EV charging infrastructure is typically considered construction under the Title 23 definition and not as an operational improvement.
- NEVI is only eligible for operations and maintenance where NEVI has also been used for acquisition or installation of EV charging infrastructure.
- Coordinate with utilities early in the process, establishing common vocabulary and expectations between project partners, and setting reasonable timeline expectations. Every site will present its own set of challenges, its own set of considerations.
- Start talking to utilities prior to the application stage and engage in preliminary planning discussions.