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1) June 22 -- National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Formula Program: A Proposed Rule by the Federal Highway Administration

The FHWA proposes to establish regulations setting minimum standards and requirements for projects funded under the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program and projects for the construction of publicly accessible electric vehicle (EV) chargers under certain statutory authorities. The standards and requirements proposed would apply to the installation, operation, or maintenance of EV charging infrastructure; the interoperability of EV charging infrastructure; traffic control device or on-premises signage acquired, installed, or operated in concert with EV charging infrastructure; data, including the format and schedule for the submission of such data; network connectivity of EV charging infrastructure; and information on publicly available EV charging infrastructure locations, pricing, real-time availability, and accessibility through mapping applications. Comments must be received on or before August 22, 2022.

The FHWA proposes to establish regulations that would set minimum standards and requirements for projects funded under the NEVI Formula Program and projects for the construction of publicly accessible EV chargers funded under title 23, United States Code.

The FHWA is directed by Paragraph (2) under the Highway Infrastructure Program heading in title VIII of division J of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) (enacted as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act) (Pub. L. 117-58) (Nov. 15, 2021) to create minimum standards and requirements for NEVI-funded projects. As outlined in statute, the purpose of the NEVI Formula Program is to “provide funding to States to strategically deploy EV charging infrastructure and to establish an interconnected network to facilitate data collection, access, and reliability.” This purpose would be satisfied by creating a convenient, affordable, reliable, and equitable network of chargers throughout the country. Currently, there are no national standards for the installation, operation, or maintenance of EV charging stations, and wide disparities exists among EV charging stations in key components, such as operational practices, payment methods, site organization, display of price to charge, speed and power of chargers, and information communicated about the availability and functioning of each charging station. The FHWA is directed by Section 11129 of BIL, which amends 23 U.S.C. 109, by adding a requirement that EV charging station standards apply to all projects that install EV charging infrastructure using funds provided under title 23, United States Code. This proposed rule does not conflict with or supersede other title 23, United States Code statutory requirements or their implementing regulations. This regulation would enable States to implement federally-funded charging station projects in a standardized fashion across a national EV charging network that can be utilized by all EVs regardless of vehicle brand. Such standards would provide consumers with reliable expectations for travel in an electric vehicle across and throughout the United States and support a national workforce skilled and trained in EVSE installation and maintenance.

The BIL specifically required that minimum standards and requirements be developed related to six areas:

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

The FHWA proposes to require 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 under title 23, United States Code. In terms of standards for the installation, operation, and maintenance of EVSE, charging stations would be required to contain a minimum number and type of chargers capable of supplying electrical charge through prescribed standard charging ports. This regulation would further specify the required minimum density of provided chargers, payment methods, and requirements for customer support services. In terms of technician qualifications, the guidance would provide minimum skill, training, and certification standards for technicians installing, operating, and maintaining EVSE to ensure consistency around quality installation and safety across the network. These proposed requirements would provide the traveling public with reliable expectations for their EV charging experience anywhere that NEVI Formula funds or title 23, United States Code funds are used to construct EV charging infrastructure. In addition to proposed requirements that would be customer-facing, a series of additional proposed requirements would provide less visible, yet critical, standardization and uniformity for how charging stations would be installed, maintained, and operated. . . .

(2) Interoperability of EV charging infrastructure.

The proposed requirements relating to interoperability similarly address less visible standardization along the national EV charging network. The FHWA proposes 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 proposes interoperability requirements for charger-to-EV 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 FHWA proposes to address requirements about traffic control devices and on-premise signs by cross-referencing other existing requirements contained in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways (MUTCD) found at 23 CFR part 655 and the Highway Beautification regulation at 23 CFR part 750.

(4) Data requested related to a project funded under the NEVI Formula Program, including the format and schedule for the submission of such data.

The FHWA proposes to outline quarterly and annual data submittal requirements that are applicable only to projects funded under the NEVI Formula Program. States would be required to submit quarterly data to identify charging station use, reliability maintenance, and installation cost information. On an annual basis, States would be required to submit identifying information about organizations operating, maintaining, or installing Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) along with information about any certifications of these entities through State or local business opportunity certification programs. Finally, States would be required to submit an annual report describing the community engagement activities conducted in accordance with their approved State EV Infrastructure Deployment Plans.

The proposed regulation would serve an important coordination role by standardizing submissions of large amounts of data from charging stations across the U.S. while providing the Joint Office with the data needed to create the public EV charging database outlined in BIL. The FHWA specifically requests comments on whether the proposed data collection language creates an undue burden on the States with the amount and types of data to be collected and the frequency in which it is to be reported.

(5) Network connectivity of EV charging infrastructure.

The FHWA proposes to outline network connectivity requirements for charger-to-charger network communication, charging network-to-charging network communication, and charging network-to-grid communication. These proposed requirements address standards meant to allow for secure remote monitoring, diagnostics, control, and updates. The FHWA believes these proposed requirements would help address cybersecurity concerns while mitigating against stranded assets (whereby any provider abandons operations at any particular charging station). Proposed network connectivity requirements also would specifically require chargers to be capable of smart charge management and Plug and Charge capabilities by requiring the ability to communicate through Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP) in tandem with ISO 15118.

(6) Information on publicly available EV charging infrastructure locations, pricing, real-time availability, and accessibility though mapping applications.

The FHWA proposes requirements to standardize the communication to consumers of price and availability of each charging station. Specifically outlined in the proposed regulation, States would be 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 application programming interface. The FHWA believes these requirements would enable effective communication with consumers about available charging stations and help consumers make informed decisions about trip planning and when and where to charge their EVs. The FHWA also proposes requirements for public transparency when EV charging prices are to be set by a third party. The FHWA believes that this will protect the public from price gouging.

The proposed rule would apply to the 50 States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, consistent with the definition of the term “State” in 23 U.S.C. 101(a). These proposed regulations would apply to projects funded under the NEVI Formula Program and projects for the construction of publicly accessible EV chargers that are funded with funds made available under title 23, United States Code, with the prioritization of projects along Interstates during the first year in order to create a reliable national network of EV charging infrastructure for those travelling long distances or for multiple hours at a time.

The FHWA requests comment on the proposed approach summarized above and described in detail below to establish a set of minimum standards and requirements for NEVI Formula Program projects and projects for the construction of publicly accessible EV chargers that are funded under title 23, United States Code.

The FHWA requests comment on the consideration, options, and use of information to account for the analysis of the proposed rule, as described in detail in the “Preliminary Regulatory Impact Analysis (PRIA)” available in the docket. The PRIA supports this proposed regulation and estimates the costs and benefits associated with establishing minimum standards and requirements, derived from the costs of implementing the proposed regulation for each provision of the rule. All of the topics for the minimum standards and requirements are required under Paragraph (2) under the Highway Infrastructure Program heading in title VIII of division J of BIL. To estimate these costs, the PRIA compares the costs and benefits of proposed provisions to the costs and benefits of the options States would likely choose for their own EVSE programs in the absence of the rule. In many cases, the analysis found that States would likely choose the same requirements that are found in the proposed rule.

FRN: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2022-12704
 
2) June 9 -- Biden-Harris Administration Takes Key Step Forward in Building a National Network of User-Friendly, Reliable, and Accessible Electric Vehicle Chargers (news release)

https://www.transportation.gov/briefing-room/biden-harris-administration-takes-key-step-forward-building-national-network-user
https://highways.dot.gov/newsroom/biden-harris-administration-takes-key-step-forward-building-national-network-user-friendly

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