DOT proposes rules for national EV charging network, including 97% uptime and 150 kW requirements

The U.S. Department of Transportation issued a proposal on Thursday for a minimum standard for a national electric vehicle charging network.

The DOT has proposed some rules for a national electric vehicle charging network

  • The U.S. Department of Transportation issued a proposal on Thursday for a minimum standard for a national electric vehicle charging network. This would create a consistent customer experience and help more people adopt electric vehicles.
  • The proposal would require that all electric car chargers be standard plugs, that they be made in America, and that they meet minimum uptimes. The proposal would also require data-sharing provisions, and the ability for DC fast charging stations to simultaneously charge at least four vehicles.
  • Dan Bowermaster, head of EV research at the Electric Power Research Institute said that "a high degree of flexibility" is built into the proposal. However, he said some companies may find it difficult to meet data-sharing or uptime requirements.

Officials from DOT say the proposed requirements will help ensure that drivers of electric vehicles can find a working charging station anywhere in the United States.

"We must build a national charging network that makes finding a charge as easy as filling up at a gas station," said Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg in a statement. "These new ground rules will help create a network of EV chargers across the country that are convenient, affordable, reliable and accessible."

The 2021 bipartisan infrastructure law set aside $5 billion to create a new National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Formula Program. This will give states money to create charging stations. The Department of Transportation has proposed rules for these stations. Comments on the proposal will be accepted for 60 days.

The DOT has proposed that all stations in the network communicate and operate on the same software platforms. This will help create a public EV charging database. In addition, stations must be able to connect to the network so that they can be monitored, controlled, and updated remotely. Finally, states must ensure that the charging ports have an average annual uptime of greater than 97%.

The proposal says that the stations must offer a port for a combined charging system, which is a type of fast-charging. But it also says that states can allow stations to offer a CHAdeMO connector in addition to the CCS. The CHAdeMO connector is another type of fast-charging connector, developed by Japanese automakers. The proposal is good because it means that the stations will be easy to use and pay for, and that they will be in the right spot.

Officials from ChargePoint, a company that provides charging stations for electric cars, say that the proposed rule is good. They say that the proposal includes many best practices. "We applaud the federal government for working to increase access to EV charging by embracing contactless credit card payment technology and supporting roaming between charging networks," said Anne Smart, Vice President of Global Public Policy at ChargePoint, in an email.

The draft proposal also allows states to be more flexible about things like how close chargers need to be to each other and how much training is required. This will help states tailor the proposal to fit their specific needs and realities. The proposal also includes provisions for job training and workforce mandates, requiring that the installation of chargers be done by a qualified workforce.

"This rule highlights the need for more electricians to install EV charging infrastructure," said Smart. ChargePoint on Thursday announced a new partnership with the National Electrical Contractors Association to develop training programs for EV infrastructure. The BlueGreen Alliance was also supportive of workforce and training provisions in the proposed rule.

The DOT says that electric vehicles are good for workers and communities. They want states to do more than just meet the requirements. The states should make sure that the jobs are good and that the work environment is safe, equitable, and diverse.

Retailers urged states to not just rely on the federal funds to encourage private investment. "We want states to think about this one federal grant program and use it to get private companies to invest in the EV charging market so it can be stable and profitable," Jay Smith, executive director of the Charge Ahead Partnership, said in a statement.

CAP, a national coalition of businesses including truck stops and gas stations, wants states to use the many fuel stations and retailers that are already on every interstate. The long-term outlook for electric transportation will require more than just a national charging network. According to EPRI data, more than 80% of charging is now done at home, and most of the remainder is done when vehicles are parked at a workplace.

He said that public fast charging is the "tip of the pyramid." This means that we still need to match charging with where cars are parked. This is why it is important to focus on residential and workplace charging. Passenger vehicles are the main focus of the national charging network, but there must also be a long-term focus on electrifying fleets and heavier vehicles. Larger vehicles not only use more energy, but also pollute more. So, on a per-vehicle basis, there is more gain from electrifying them.

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