The Federal government has recently opened up applications for a new grant of $2.5 billion dollars toward alternative fuel vehicle charging and filling stations, $1.25 billion of which will go to stations located in neighborhoods. It could be a huge step toward charging equity provided everything goes alright, but it comes with a big unknown.
Officially called the Charging and Fueling Infrastructure (CFI) Discretionary Grant Program, this initiative is separate from the $5 billion NEVI program to put charging stations along highways but adheres to the same equipment standards. That means each station will feature at least four connectors, DC fast charging connectors must be the common CCS Type 1 style, DC fast charging stations must be capable of spitting out at least 150 kW of power, and AC Level 2 stations must put out at least 6 kW of power per port when all ports are in use. No piddly little 50 kW DC fast charging here, only the good stuff.
According to the government, “A priority of the CFI Program is bringing EV charging into urban and rural communities, downtown areas and local neighborhoods, particularly in underserved and disadvantaged communities, as well as to designated alternative fuel corridors.” This is particularly important considering that the tired argument of “just charge at home” is invalid in high-density cities. See, the person making $800,000 a year living in Manhattan and driving a Taycan could very well have the same problem as someone making $40,000 a year who lives in a mid-rise and drives a used Focus Electric: Most apartments simply have nowhere on-site to charge an electric vehicle. Building neighborhood charging stations lets more urbanites and suburbanites in multi-unit dwellings adopt electric vehicles.
However, grants to build charging stations can come with their own problems, and one of the biggest potential hurdles is the eventual presence of ghost stations. Even right now, there’s this strange phenomenon of electric vehicle charging stations that exist without actually doing anything. In essence, they aren’t hooked up, you can’t charge from them, they’re basically props.
See, a useful public EV charger requires three big things. First, administrative bodies must approve the construction of a charging site. Second, a company must install charging equipment. Third, and most importantly, the site owner usually has to pay the charging station company for maintenance and connectivity. This is the bit that’s often neglected. Case in point, one of the most transparent companies about maintenance and connectivity policies: ChargePoint.
Once a ChargePoint station is installed, the site owner needs to pay a subscription for connecting to ChargePoint’s servers and for having maintenance on-call. If the site owner fails to keep up with the subscription, the station is deactivated and scrubbed from the ChargePoint map. It’s all well and good that ChargePoint supposedly takes inactive charging stations out of its system, but that isn’t always mirrored everywhere else. If you use Google Maps or use your native navigation system or just use your memory really hard, you could end up at a charging station that won’t charge your car. While legislation exists to force grant users to maintain charging stations for five years, all bets are off after that point.
The CFI could significantly aid access to electric vehicle charging, but it’s important that entities maintain stations for more than the five-year legislated minimum term. Only time will tell if applicants go above and beyond the basic standard, but for the sake of everyone, let’s hope these station operators have their shit together.
(Photo credits: Electrify America, Subway, ChargePoint)
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“…bringing EV charging into urban and rural communities, downtown areas and local neighborhoods, particularly in underserved and disadvantaged communities”
Trying not to be sarcastic, but thank the Lord everyone in underserved and disadvantaged communities can now charge their 70 thousand dollar car more conveniently. I mean seriously? With how expensive EV’s are, this is the most pathetic virtue signaling they could possibly muster. Another 1.25 BILLION tax payer dollars wasted.
It doesn’t say “only underserved…” it just says “particularly”. By highlighting that, it indicates that they will look a little more favorably on proposals that serve these communities. It’s done to achieve some degree of balance.
Wealthy communities will be just fine. Providers will recognize the need, and the nice profits to be had in expensive neighborhoods. Don’t worry, the poor neglected wealthy neighborhoods will be well served. There will be plenty of applications and grants for those areas too.
You can buy a Leaf for dirt cheap these days. In fact a cheap Leaf is a great choice for a person with low income. Lack of traditional maintenance, low cost of charging, and reliability of an EV powertrain.
When the Altima gets electrified, I will revoke my statement.
‘When the Altima gets electrified, I will revoke my statement’
How about a $4k used Leaf?
I’d appreciate if you could point me towards one of these “4000 dollars leafs” that is actually drivable. All the ones I see are over 10000. Just admit that this whole program has nothing to do with serving the underprivileged and is nearly exclusively going to benefit the wealthy.
God forbid the government be forward thinking, but eventually the technology will get cheaper and more people will be able to afford EV’s. (Or be forced into buying them) Would you argue that having an existing charging infrastructure in place is a bad idea?
It’s not about saving the planet and serving the poorer classes, it’s about lining the pockets of Tech CEOs in California.
Because the government “forward thinking” would be investing in improving public transportation. You know, the actual thing the majority of people in underserved communities use. On top of all of that, public transportation, even with diesel chugging, coal burning engines, are vastly better for the environment than millions of personal vehicles.
If we had a charging station within any reasonable proximity to our apartment in Toronto, our second car would be electric.
I would sell my current car today, If we had any sort of way to charge a leaf, bolt, whatever. It’s just not possible for us.
But why would you sell your “current” car, isn’t it already electric?
Yeah it’s a dad joke, I’ll show myself out…
Hey that was pretty good. It got me all amped up.
Personally, I’m loving the EV content. This particular news is very interesting to be because the charging infrastructure is sorely lacking in most of the US so I’m glad to hear that these incentives might help fix that issue. I have family in Kentucky who would love to buy an EV but the chargers are so sparse there that it’s just not practical. Like it or not, EVs are the future-past finally coming into their own. After steam driven vehicles, the first automobiles were electric, and the technology had finally caught up and validated that idea. While i still love many petroleum powered vehicles, I’ve gone 100% EV for my own vehicles and I’m never going back.
Here’s a question: Since charging stations have no attendant to take your money why not make them able to take bills and or coins for payment?
No credit card processing fees that the charging companies complain about, you don’t have to do some BEV Charging dance in order to appease the BEV gods to grant you the ability to use a public charging station, etc.
I understand that at some point above level 2 charging you cannot safely remove the charging plug from the car without stopping charging but why not make all the L2 charging stations mechanical? Mechanical works, mechanical is reliable.
Honestly there’s no point in messing with a “smart” charging station if it’s L2 only.
If they take physical money, they’ll need regular “maintenance” to recover the money. Without that, you probably just send someone out when something breaks.
I’d just be happy if they had card readers on the machine as opposed to requiring an app for everything.
TBH would it be bad if they were checked up on often? From what I’ve seen there are a ton of BEV chargers that are inoperable at any given time and remain so for a long time.
They should have card readers and they should just add the processing fee onto the charging cost when using a card.
Okay, I’ll be that dingus and ask, no sarcasm: is it national EV week or even just an EV calendar holiday today? I get it, if I don’t like it, I can go (although I’d prefer not to) somewhere else. And hey, I’m in business too, I get it. Maybe it’s due to ad sponsorships or business obligations, none of which, are necessarily my own business.
In my humble opinion, beating the drum is fine, but it’s hard for me to get excited when EVs are a.) out of my budget for the foreseeable future b.) EV options are thin and not very exciting at the moment c.) that old bogeyman, infrastructure, is doubling as the elephant in the room. I don’t want to be wailing and gnashing my teeth that VW is doing their usual “the Americans get second-rate options” narrative, but yeah, it sucks. For now, I’m going to have to drive an ICE vehicle, even if I’m open to branching out when it makes sense and is viable. My tl;dr is that I’m not excited about EVs, and I can’t get excited about EVs, because it’s just not on the table right now. I’d be happy to see some sprinkling of non-EV automotive articles now and then, but the last 7-10 days, this seems like a trend. I am, however, grateful for David’s contribution today because that sort of scratches the itch.
Thank for your time. I’ll be dismounting my soap box now.
David and Jason better get it together other wise this dream is going to look like Project Cactus
Hello! So far as we’re aware, there’s no EV week or anything this week. We also want to be transparent about what’s going on behind the scenes, hence why Ski-Klasse posts have a disclaimer about the companies helping us with the project. We are not pulling any EV sponsors (at least that I know of).
As of current, we write about what’s in the news and what interests us. Sometimes, that may mean getting a little more content on one subject than on another. It is not our intent to beat any particular drum other than one that celebrates cars, motorcycles, planes, trains, and everything else with an engine or motor.
Articles posted on 3/16:
– [Not EV] This School Bus Camper Was Built In 5 Days And Looks Nicer Than An Apartment
– [Not EV] How The Motorhomes And Campers In Pixar’s ‘Cars’ Universe Hint At A Disturbing Reality
– [Not EV] Here’s A Look At The Autopian’s Newest Merch, Which You Can Buy Right Now At OHOAT
– [Not EV] Why I Think This ‘Holy Grail’ Smart For Sale On Bring A Trailer Is A Fake
– [Not EV] Our Daydreaming Designer Imagines If Japanese Wacky-Car Company Mitsuoka Made A Tribute To The Second Generation Camaro
– [Not really EV is it? Just crazy car mod/hacks!] Man Tests Whether You Can Drive An Electric Car Upside Down By Mounting 10-Foot Wheels Onto A Tesla
– [EV] The Federal Government Has A New $1.25 Billion Grant To Build EV Charging Stations In Neighborhoods Like Yours
– [More about a Nash than an EV] It’s Going To Take So Long To Replace My High-Mileage Electric Car’s Bad Battery That I Bet I Can Resurrect An Old Nash Metropolitan While I Wait
– [EV, but general issue with North America not getting nice things] Sorry, The $27,000 Electric Volkswagen ID.2all Isn’t Coming To America
– [EV] Waze Is Finally Adding Route Planning For EV Owners And It’s A Big Deal
– [broader than just EV] Why Green Jobs Might Be America’s Best Weapon Against China And Russia
– [Not EV, it’s about design] The VW ID.2all Concept Has Some Retro Fun With Its Instruments But I Have A Very Important Question
– [Not EV] Rough, But Somehow Running: 1976 AMC Pacer vs 1965 Ford Ranchero
– [Not EV] That Dude Is Not Happy With That Newspaper: Cold Start
I count 2-3 articles that only pertain to EV vehicles. (Fed grants and Waze. Maybe ID.2 to America)
And at least 10 that are general interest.
What’s your real issue?
News at 11: Local man goes to car website and is upset that cars are being discussed
I’m a long time auto nut in his early 60s and I quite enjoy the articles on EVs. Like it or not, they’re coming and they’re going to be increasingly common. They already constitute something like 20% of the cars just on my street and include products from 5 manufacturers and varying price points. As EVs are now the primary engineering development vector for automotive companies, I look forward to learning more about how EVs work, how we’re doing on charging infrastructure, rebates, range evaluations and more.
I read an article on the differences in electric motors in use and why they’re better than the motor running my washing machine. Excited field motors? Permanent magnet motors? I want to know about them because, well, it goes in a car and makes it go. Battery tech is endlessly fascinating, as are discussions around the advantages of 800V systems vs 400V systems and what that means for performance.
I live in California and would like to get off of PG&E’s grid. When I do, it occurs to me that I’ll have basically low cost “fuel” available off my roof. As I stage to invest in significant infrastructure at my home, this kind of article is directly in my wheelhouse.
That doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy actual ICE vehicles. I have 8. 5 motorcycles, a hot rod CUV, a Boxster and a pickup truck. If I can avoid buying gasoline for daily use and campaign a cheap EV that runs off the byproducts of me leaving PG&E, even better.
But I still love firing up my V4 Honda or my Ducati and listening to their songs. I think EVs are going to be a terrific addition to motoring, so IMHO, bring on the knowledge. I want to learn.
Very good comment, and I would love to hear about the .5 motorcycle.
That’s the rub right there, You are in California. The rest of America does not have nearly as many EV’s, or much of a care for them. I can count on 1 hand how many EV’s I see on my 30 mile journey home on I-95 just outside NYC. And I am missing 2 fingers. I would say I have seen countless charging stations everywhere here for almost 10 years, if not longer. 2 weeks ago was the first time I have ever seen someone use one. Not a single household on my street has an EV, Hell, I would be hard-pressed to find one in my whole neighborhood. California sells more EV’s than the next 6 or 7 states on this list.
EV’s make a lot of sense in California and the west coast. The rest of the US, not so much right now.
I’m in the south… I see them…. On wreckers…or on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere because battery life.
Speak for yourself, Cheats. I live in the “rest of America” state of Wisconsin. Is see electric vehicles daily, and I’m interested in them. I think they make sense here, there, everywhere.
On the East Coast. See Teslas everywhere. Mostly Model 3 and Ys.
Part of the problem is that a larger and larger percentage of automotive news is going to be EV-related. Car companies keep announcing new EVs, the buildout of EV charging is news, and the tech is where there is change happening.
If VW announces a new engine tomorrow, they’ll cover it. They might soon throw a piece up about the idiots who recently grabbed headlines by putting 1300hp into a Mercury Comet and not making sure the brakes were up to the task (they smashed into a minivan when it decided to start revving up and the brakes couldn’t hold it back, apparently). They have been covering campers, motorcycles, and planes, too. But they have to cover the noteworthy news, and a lot of that space is EVs now.
I’m not going to tell you you should leave. I don’t think you should. All the automotive sites are going to be more and more EV-focused. Just keep in mind that they are covering things that are happening and the changing of a massive industry. A lot of newsworthy things are cropping up on that front.
The mercury comet had a stick throttle cable.
That’s a fair point, Drew. I appreciate the insight.