NATSO on Jan. 28 said harnessing the existing nationwide network of established refueling locations is the fastest, most cost-effective way to eliminate EV range anxiety in comments filed with the Biden Administration.
Responding to a request for information from the Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration, NATSO urged U.S. DOT to work with consumer behaviors rather than against them as electric vehicle drivers will expect a seamless and predictable fueling experience not unlike what drivers of gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles experience today. Replicating today’s fueling experience for drivers of electric-powered vehicles will ensure that EV drivers will not suffer from range anxiety. NATSO was joined in signing the comments by SIGMA. Together, the organizations represent more than 80 percent of fuel retailers in the Unted States.
U.S. DOT and FHWA are developing guidance for state Departments of Transportation as they deploy funds from the National Electric Vehicle Formula Program and the Charging and Fueling Infrastructure Program enacted under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. NATSO submitted the comments to inform the development of the guidance.
NATSO members are actively exploring EV charging investment and partnership opportunities, and state departments of transportation are encouraged to contact fuel retailers in their state as the DOTs put together charging plans and grant proposals.
NATSO thinks that the National Electric Vehicle Formula Program and the Charging and Fueling Infrastructure Program represent a critical opportunity to shape the future of electric vehicle fast charging and the requisite network of electric vehicle charging stations. Any policies or guidance to state transportation departments should encourage states to partner with the private sector to maximize the efficient use of grant funds while strengthening the business case for private-sector investment in electric vehicle charging stations for the long term.
“The most expeditious, efficient and economical way to achieve environmental advancements in transportation energy technology is through market-oriented, consumer-focused policies that encourage fuel retailers to offer more alternatives, and their customers to purchase those alternatives, the organizations said. “Many seem to think that this requires creating an entirely new refueling network. That is not the case.
“To have any chance of being successful, the refueling experience for alternative fuels should be as similar as possible to today’s refueling experience. We should work with consumer behavior rather than recreate it,” the organizations said.
Private sector development of the existing fueling network has ensured that drivers of gasoline-powered cars do not have concerns about how many miles they can drive before a vehicle needs to be refueled. A similar approach will drive demand for electric vehicles.
Thousands of truckstops and travel centers are conveniently located less than one mile from highway exits, are highly visible and provide the amenities such as security, food and restrooms that customers need while taking 20 to 30 minute breaks while traveling long distances. Widespread availability of DC fast chargers at these facilities will make consumers more comfortable purchasing EVs.
Similarly, smaller format fuel retailers are found throughout the country, including in communities where most residents do not have consistent overnight parking options. These businesses are similarly well-suited for fast, on-the-go charging events that do not necessitate a full fill-up.
NATSO said in its comments that the programs should be administered in such a way that they:
- Embrace the existing refueling network and encourage market reforms to enhance the business case for electric vehicle charging station investments by fuel retailers, thereby driving competition and guaranteeing price transparency for electric fuel;
- Adhere to established FHWA guidance which clarified that state transportation departments may not implement or permit others to implement commercial services, including EV charging stations, within the Interstate right-of-way;
- Incentivize state governments and utilities to partner with the private sector on terms that make economic sense for all and encourage competitive charging options;
- Steer grants toward eligible entities that will, in turn, contract with the private sector and award eligible funds toward those who will further a sustainable market;
- Eliminate barriers to profitable investment in electric vehicle charging. Specifically, federal dollars for EV charging should follow the "make-ready" model whereby regulated utilities receive money to enhance the grid's capacity to accommodate a dramatic increase in EV chargers, while the private sector owns and operates the actual chargers.
// On Tuesday, Feb, 22 during NATSO Connect 2022, NATSO is offering an educational session on Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act Grants. Now is the time to start thinking about how your business can avail itself of the forthcoming grant opportunities established in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. A panel will discuss what are the grant opportunities, what is the best way to secure a grant and how to best partner with your state and local government. Learn more about attending NATSO Connect here. Email Amy Toner, NATSO’s vice president, publishing and digital content, at email@example.com with questions.
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