FHWA publishes final standards for federally funded EV charging infrastructure projects; waiver of Buy America requirements for EV chargers
The US Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has published the final minimum standards for federally funded EV charging infrastructure projects. FHWA also released the final Waiver of Buy America Requirements for Electric Vehicle Chargers.
These standards will help to ensure that chargers operated by different networks will operate similarly and provide the traveling public with a predictable EV charging experience. These standards will also require that chargers have consistent plug types and charging speeds; common payment systems; and accessible pricing information, locations, and availability.
In addition, these standards establish workforce training provisions.
Additionally, the new Charging and Fueling Infrastructure (CFI) Discretionary Grant Program established by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will provide $2.5 billion over five years to a full range of applicants, including cities, counties, local governments, and Tribes. This round of funding will open soon, making $700 million from Fiscal Years 2022 and 2023 funding available to strategically deploy EV charging infrastructure and other fueling infrastructure projects in urban and rural communities in publicly accessible locations, including downtown areas and local neighborhoods, particularly in underserved and disadvantaged communities.
Waiver. FHWA is establishing a temporary public interest waiver to waive Buy America requirements for steel, iron, manufactured products, and construction materials in electric vehicle (EV) chargers.
This temporary waiver enables EV charger acquisition and installation to immediately proceed while also phasing out the waiver over time. On the effective date of this waiver, it will apply to all EV chargers manufactured by 1 July 2024, whose final assembly occurs in the United States, and whose installation has begun by 1 October 2024.
Beginning with EV chargers manufactured on 1 July 2024, FHWA will phase out coverage under this waiver for those previously covered EV chargers where the cost of components manufactured in the United States does not exceed 55% of the cost of all components. This second phase will therefore apply to all EV chargers that are manufactured on or after 1 July 2024, whose final assembly occurs in the United States, and for which the cost of components manufactured in the United States is at least 55% of the cost of all components.
For all phases, EV charger housing components that are predominantly steel and iron are excluded from the waiver and must meet current FHWA Buy America requirements.
Background. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) includes new Build America, Buy America (“BABA”) provisions to strengthen domestic manufacturing, which expand the coverage and application of Buy America preferences in Federal financial assistance programs for infrastructure.
Under 23 U.S.C. 313(b) and § 70914(b) of BABA, FHWA may consider a Buy America waiver when either (i) the application of the requirements under 23 U.S.C. 313(b) and § 70914 of BABA would be inconsistent with the public interest; or (ii) when products are not produced in the United States in sufficient and reasonably available quantities of a satisfactory quality. This waiver is being issued on the basis of its consistency with the public interest.