Unpacking the New $5B National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Program

Dory Larsen | February 24, 2022 | Clean Transportation, Electric Vehicles

The $5 billion National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program is the cornerstone of $7.5 billion in electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure funding made available by the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). This funding aims to provide a network of 500,000 ultra-fast EV charging stations along the nation’s travel corridors to help make cross-country electric travel accessible to all Americans. The remaining $2.5 billion will be announced later this year. 

Last November, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) was signed codifying the IIJA. On February 10, 2022, the U.S. Departments of Transportation and Energy released guidance to states for the NEVI Program including background information, funding eligibility, and program guidance. The Joint Office of Energy and Transportation was created to align resources and provide support to ensure efficient, effective, and equitable distribution of funds. Additionally, the White House released the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Guidebook, a comprehensive guide that contains information about all the programs included in the BIL-including several other electric transportation-related programs.  

Historic investment surpasses past utility investments, who is eligible to apply?

For some context, the estimated NEVI program funding will be double any previous utility EV infrastructure investments in the Southeast. Revealed in our forthcoming year-end update to our “Transportation Electrification in the Southeast” report, as of July 2021, cumulative charging infrastructure investments in the Southeast by investor-owned utility companies totaled $335.1 million, and there is an additional $58.4 million that has been filed and awaits approval. The estimated NEVI program funding for the region will be an additional $679 million injected into the region

NEVI funding will build out ultra-fast EV charging stations along designated Alternative Fuel Corridors (see more below) to increase charging infrastructure available and build confidence among American drivers that an electric vehicle can function just as reliably as an internal combustion vehicle for interstate travel. 

State departments of transportation are eligible to apply for the NEVI program funds. However, states are required to develop and submit an EV infrastructure deployment plan that meets the guidance criteria set by the Joint Office by no later than August 1, 2022, to receive funds. States may own or lease the chargers themselves or may opt to contract with private companies to purchase, install and own the chargers – similar to how the VW Settlement Funds were disbursed. The NEVI Formula Program will provide nearly $5 billion over five years, in $1 billion dollar annual increments ending in 2027. The Southeast’s portion of the first NEVI traunch, totaling $100,605,520, is expected to be available upon approval of the EVSE deployment plan by the Federal Highway Administration after September 30, 2022.

Sources: US Departments of Transportation and Energy and US Federal Highway Administration

Funds to Build Out Alternative Fuel Corridors

The National Alternative Fueling Corridors were established by the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act in 2015. These corridors include several interstate highways, federal and state roads and were established through nominations from state and local officials with stakeholder input.

The DOT will regularly update corridors Source: Federal Highway Administration

The Department of Transportation is charged with updating and redesignating the corridors through a formal recurring process. For the first traunch of NEVI funds, all charging infrastructure projects must be along designated Alternative Fuel Corridors. Therefore, states have been guided to review their designated Alternative Fuel Corridors and consider designating additional corridors as part of the sixth round of Request for Nominations prior to submitting their NEVI Formula Program State Plan.  

Eligible Projects for NEVI Funding

Eligible projects funded by the NEVI Formula Program shall include the purchase, installation of network-connected public chargers, or non-public chargers that serve more than one freight company. Renewable energy generation and storage that directly lead to lower overall construction and operating costs are also considered an eligible project cost. Additionally, the operation and maintenance of the charging infrastructure is an eligible cost. Of note, the development of a State Plan is an eligible expense for use of the NEVI Formula Program funds.

Cost-share for NEVI Formula Program projects is 80% with the remaining funding coming from state and private streams. NEVI funds may be stacked with other federal and state programs, but the total cost share of all federal funds is capped at 80%. States are prohibited from transferring NEVI Formula Program funding to other highway formula programs.

NEVI Process and Timeline

Key Dates:

  • Round six Alternative fuel corridors designations are due by May 13, 2022
  • State EV Infrastructure Deployment Plan submission deadline by August 1, 2022
  • FHWA plan approvals by September 30, 2022

Under the NEVI Program, each state is required to submit an EV Infrastructure Deployment Plan (Plan) to the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation that describes how the state intends to use its apportioned funds by August 1, 2022. Program funds cannot be accessed until the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) approves the state’s plan. The FHWA will approve eligible plans by September 30, 2022.

Source: Federal Highway Administration

State DOTs should coordinate closely with their state energy and environmental departments, among others, to develop their state plans. Additionally, the NEVI Program will support the Justice40 Initiative, which establishes a goal that at least 40% of the benefits of federal investments in climate and clean energy infrastructure are distributed to disadvantaged communities. The pathway of Justice40 being incorporated into NEVI is currently uncertain but at SACE we feel equity needs to be baked into the plan. 

Opportunity at hand to expand EV charging network and increase EV accessibility

The NEVI Formula Program offers a novel opportunity to systematically install EV infrastructure and strategically engage stakeholders to maximize funding delivering a national network that will benefit all Americans.

Identifying projects and determining funding eligibility will require an all-hands-on-deck approach. To that end, the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO), the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), and the U.S. Departments of Transportation and Energy signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to ensure the “strategic, coordinated, efficient, and equitable” investment of electric vehicle charging station infrastructure. SACE is looking forward to participating in each state’s EV infrastructure deployment plan and engaging decision-makers on how to effectively, efficiently, and equitably distribute the funding. The NEVI Formula Program is only one of several programs in the BIL that incorporate electric transportation that we are tracking. This funding is just the beginning of building this new, complex system, and we encourage you to continue down the road with us. 

Electrify the South​ is a Southern Alliance for Clean Energy program that leverages research, advocacy, and outreach to promote renewable energy and accelerate ​the ​equitable ​transition to ​electric transportation throughout the Southeast. Visit ElectrifytheSouth.org to learn more and connect with us.

Dory Larsen
Dory joined the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy in 2017 and was named Electric Transportation Program Manager in 2020. She is working to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles by…
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