An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Starting this year, the federal government will begin doling out $5 billion to states over five years to build a nationwide network of fast chargers. The plan initially focuses on the Interstate Highway System, directing states to build one charging station every 50 miles. Those stations must be capable of charging at least four EVs simultaneously at 150 kW. Once states have completed the Interstate charging network, they’ll be able to apply for grants to fill in gaps elsewhere. The Joint Office of Energy and Transportation, a new agency formed to help the Transportation and Energy Departments administer the program, will allow case-by-case exceptions to the 50-mile requirement if, for example, no grid connection is available nearby.
Funding for the initial Interstate portion of the program will be allocated using a formula that mimics how federal highway grants are distributed. Starting in fiscal year 2022, $615 million will be available to build charging stations, and $300 million will be allocated to set up the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation. Ten percent of each year’s funding will go toward filling gaps in the network. After the initial $5 billion program is launched, another $2.5 billion in discretionary grants will be available to build chargers in rural and underserved areas.
As part of their plans submitted to the federal government, states will need to ensure that the charging stations will be reliable — at least one charger per station needs to be working more than 97 percent of the time — and that they will limit their impact on the electric grid. States are also directed to design stations so they can be easily expanded and upgraded as demand grows and charging rates increase. The new program also encourages states to site chargers near travel centers, convenience stores, visitor centers, or restaurants. To get credit for their Interstate build-out, states will have to install chargers that use the Combined Charging System, also known as CCS. […] The new program also prioritizes domestic production of chargers, which has already spurred some manufacturers to begin setting up operations in the US. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg says the agency is looking at how people will pay for charging. “Part of this program is going to be a shared standard. If we’re going to use taxpayers’ dollars to help private actors put in charging stations, then of course we need to make sure the citizen is getting good value out of it. There may be any number of network benefits through loyalty programs. That’s fine,” he said, “but we’ve got to make sure… everybody can benefit.”