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  • Writer's pictureArun Gopinath

Ground-breaking US National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Standards and Requirements released

Ground-breaking US National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Standards and Requirements pre-publication version has been released by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). Once formally published this rule will take effect 30 days from the date of publishing in the Federal Register.


The final rule applies to all FHWA-funded EV chargers, including those funded under the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program. The final rule will help ensure a convenient and reliable charging experience for current and future EV drivers across the country.


The National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Standards and Requirements final rule that is created through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) that specifically requires minimum standards and requirements to be developed

related to at least six areas:

1) Installation, operation, and maintenance by qualified technicians of EV

infrastructure.

The FHWA requires general consistency with regard to the installation, operation, and maintenance and technician qualifications of the NEVI Formula Program projects and projects for the construction of publicly accessible EV chargers that are funded with Federal funds that are treated as a project on a Federal-aid highway. In terms of standards for installation, operation, and maintenance, charging stations are required to contain a minimum number of ports, types of connectors, payment methods, and requirements for customer support services. In terms of technician qualifications, there are minimum requirements for training, and certification standards for technicians installing, operating, and maintaining chargers to ensure consistency around quality installation and safety across the network. This final rule provides reliable expectations for their EV charging experience anywhere that NEVI Formula funds including Federal funds for projects that are treated as a project on a Federal-aid highway are used to construct EV charging infrastructure. In addition to requirements that are customer-facing, a series of additional requirements provide less visible, yet critical, standardization and uniformity for how charging stations would be installed, maintained, and operated. These types of requirements address topics

such as the certification of charging equipment, security, long-term stewardship, the qualifications of technicians installing and maintaining charging stations, and the privacy of customer data conveyed. This final rule also explains what the program income can be used for when there is net income from the sale, use, lease, or lease renewal of real property acquired, or when there is income or revenue earned from the operation of the EV charging station.


2) Interoperability of EV charging infrastructure.

The requirements relating to interoperability similarly address less visible standardization along the national EV charging network. The FHWA is working to establish a seamless national network of EV charging infrastructure that can communicate and operate on the same software platforms from one State to another. The FHWA establishes interoperability requirements through this final rule for charger-to-EV communication, charger-to-charger network communication, and charging network-to-charging network communication to ensure that chargers are capable of the communication necessary to perform smart charge management and Plug and Charge.


3) Traffic control devices and on-premise signs acquired, installed, or operated.

The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways (MUTCD)

and the Highway Beautification regulation address requirements for traffic control devices and on-premise signs.


4) Data requested related to EV charging projects subject to this rule, including the content and frequency of submission of such data.

The FHWA outlines data submittal requirements that are applicable under specified circumstances. States and other designated recipients are required to submit data to identify charging station use, reliability, and cost information. This final rule serves an important coordination role by standardizing submissions of large amounts of data from charging stations across the United States while providing the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation with the data needed to create the public EV charging database outlined in BIL.


5) Network connectivity of EV charging infrastructure.

The final rule outlines network connectivity requirements for charger-to-charger network communication, charging network-to-charging network communication, and charging network-to-grid communication. These requirements address standards meant to allow for secure remote monitoring, diagnostics, control, and updates. These requirements will also help address cybersecurity concerns while mitigating against stranded assets (whereby any provider abandons operations at any particular charging station).


6) Information on publicly available EV charging infrastructure locations,

pricing, real-time availability, and accessibility through mapping applications.

The final rule establishes requirements to standardize the communication to consumers of the price and availability of each charging station. Specifically outlined in the final regulation, States and other designated recipients are required to ensure that basic charging station information (such as location, connector type, and power level), real-time status, and real-time price to charge would be available free of charge to third-party software developers through an application programming interface (API).


The full US National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Standards and Requirements pre-publication version can be accessed here: https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/nevi/resources/ev_charging_min_std_rule_fr.pdf


Amongst the many notable benefits of the rule is the opportunity to advance both equity and environmental justice for communities that have been underserved by transportation infrastructure and overburdened by costs and environmental harms by supporting widescale national EV adoption and the deployment of EV charging infrastructure.


The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) also facilitates collaboration between the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Department of Transportation through the creation of The Joint Office, a modernized and interagency approach to support the deployment of zero-emission, convenient, accessible, equitable transportation infrastructure. It will align resources and expertise across the two departments toward leveraged outcomes.

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