Federal EV Funding Opportunities for Retailers

Key Insights

  • State Departments of Transportation (DOTs) are currently forming electric vehicle (EV) charger deployment plans that will be funded by the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). Retailers exploring or considering EVs may want to engage now with state DOTs to offer insights on how EV charger deployment at retail locations will support customers and how deployment plans can support retailers’ ability to transition to zero-emission fleet vehicles.

  • Retailers may wish to identify an EV charging staff lead(s) within their organization to coordinate with state and federal officials on EV deployment plans, share lessons learned, and watch for additional future funding opportunities.

  • Retailers can also connect with state DOTs and other EV planning entities such as state Departments of Energy or Environment and work with them to identify current and potential spots along highway corridors – also referred to as Alternative Fuel Corridors (AFCs) – near their operations.

Fleet vehicle emissions reductions and providing charging for customers and employees are key priorities for leading retailers because climate change is a bigger threat than any one individual, company, industry, or government can address on its own. Among leading retailers are companies who: have long been active in programs aiming to reduce emissions and improve efficiency like EPA SmartWay; have committed to transitioning their fleets to EVs and installing EV charging for employees and customers; have made specific clean fleet purchasing targets; and are setting GHG reduction targets that encompass transportation emissions.
In 2021, RILA released its Retail Climate Priorities around key policy engagement areas with transportation at the top of the list, and the recently passed Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) presents an unique opportunity for retailers both large and small to access funding through programs that better serve our customers while advancing long-term sustainability goals.
Retailers looking to offer electric vehicle (EV) charging access to customers or transition to a low or zero emission fleet will want to pay close attention this summer to how states are planning to spend federal funds on our nation’s EV charging network. State departments of transportation (DOTs) – the recipients of federal funding on behalf of state governments – have until Monday, August 1, 2022 to submit their EV Infrastructure Deployment Plan.
States will be provided funding to deploy EV chargers through two main federal programs outlined in the IIJA: the National Electric Vehicle (NEVI) Charging Formula Program ($5 billion) and the Charging and Fueling Infrastructure Grant Program ($2.5 billion). The NEVI Formula Program targets charging along corridors and interstates, while the Grant Program is geared towards expanding access to EV charging for rural areas, low- and moderate-income individuals, as well as disadvantaged communities. (See the table below for available funding by state under the NEVI program for FY2022.)
Engaging with state DOTs early to offer insights on customers’ charging needs as well as retailers’ own needs for medium- and heavy-duty (MHD) fleet charging infrastructure will be critical in ensuring that the retail voice is heard by policymakers. Retailers can engage individually or through their state retail associations. The following are ways retailers can help inform state policymakers:

  • Identify potential EV charger sites at or near retail locations, including locations to serve multiple retailers’ customers;
  • Identify locations where medium- or heavy-duty vehicles would likely need to charge;
  • Offer data or analysis to support site selection decisions; and
  • Where appropriate, identify potential EV charger sites that can advance access to EV charging for disadvantaged communities.

 In addition to offering State DOTs input on long-term impacts of EV charging infrastructure, retailers can also discuss funding opportunities for electrifying freight and other supply chain charging needs. Companies may wish to identify an EV charging staff lead(s) within their organization may wish to coordinate with state and federal officials on EV deployment plans, share lessons learned, and watch for additional future funding opportunities.

Identifying Alternative Fuel Corridors

Retailers located near highway corridors may advise state and local officials who are tasked with nominating Alternative Fuel Corridors (AFCs) for designation. The designation of a corridor will help secure funding for communities and establish retail stores as a vital part of the broader EV charging network. Among the many areas of interest for corridor designations, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) suggests states establish charging or fueling infrastructure for MHD vehicles including along the National Highway Freight Network and in proximity to intermodal transfer stations.
Retailers who want to play a role in its development should consider connecting with state DOTs who will receive the Formula Program funds, and other EV planning entities like state Departments of Energy or Environment, and work with them to identify current and potential Alternative Fuel Corridors near their operations. Nominations for corridors are due Friday, May 13, 2022.

CMAQ Funding for Electric MHD Vehicles and Charging Equipment

Some federal policymakers hope that by encouraging companies to purchase zero emission medium- and heavy- duty trucks (MHD) overall air quality will improve.  That’s why the renewed Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program (CMAQ) now offers funding opportunities to state and localities for purchasing MHD zero emission vehicles (MHD) and other related charging equipment. There is $13.2 billion available over a five-year period (2022-2026) in the CMAQ program, with $2.54 billion available this year (from the FHWA).

Additional Infrastructure Funding Area

Other funding areas that may be relevant to the retailer community include programs in the Clean Energy and Power section:

  • Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program ($550 million)
  • Energy Storage Demonstrations Pilot Grant Program ($355 million)
  • Energy Efficiency Revolving Loan Fund Capitalization Grant Program ($250 million)
  • Building Codes Implementation for Efficiency and Resilience ($225 million
  • Battery and Critical Mineral Recycling ($125 million)
  • Energy Efficient Transformer Rebates ($10 million)
Additional information on these programs and more can be found here.

Learn More

Interested in more background about the relevance to retail of customer charging and fleet emissions reduction? Check out these related RILA resources and past comments –  
  • Climate and Sustainability
  • Supply Chain
  • Transportation and Infrastructure

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