Biden administration opens $2.5B community EV charging program

The Biden administration on Tuesday opened applications for the first round of $2.5 billion in funding for EV charging infrastructure under a community grant program.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law enacted in November 2021 includes $7.5 billion to help fund a national EV charging network, with the goal of building 500,000 EV charging stations by 2030.

This newly directed program, the Charging and Fueling Infrastructure (CFI) Discretionary Grant Program, is one of two main funnels for that funding. It will provide its $2.5 billion (over five years) to cities, counties, local governments, and Tribes, according to a Department of Transportation press release.

2023 Cadillac Lyriq at EVgo DC fast-charging station.

2023 Cadillac Lyriq at EVgo DC fast-charging station.

The CFI program’s funding is turn split into $1.25 billion for a Community Program deploying EV chargers in publicly accessible locations such as schools, parks, and public buildings, and a $1.25 billion Corridor Program for chargers alongside Alternative Fuel Corridors, designated as being regular travel routes for EVs under a different program that originated in 2015.

The initial round of funding includes $700 million from fiscal years 2022 and 2023 for these projects, with additional funding rounds following during the CFI program’s planned five-year life span. Funding from both the Community and Corridor Programs can also be used for hydrogen, propane, or natural gas fueling infrastructure.

2023 Toyota bZ4X at EVgo charging station

2023 Toyota bZ4X at EVgo charging station

This follows the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program, which sets aside $5 billion for states and primarily applies its $5 billion to highway projects, creating more EV fast charging routes, also mainly along Alternative Fuel Corridors.

The NEVI funding process began last year, with first plans submitted by states in the summer and all of them approved by the end of September. The federal government also outlined rules for qualifying charging sites in September. That has a number of charging networks—including Tesla—vying for some of these funds.

Addressing the needs of rural and urban communities could prove even more complex and will take a number of novel solutions. For instance, convenience stores want to bring EV charging to rural America. And Seoul is closing the urban charging gap with plans to install more than 200,000 chargers over the next four years.

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