U.S. DOT did not explicitly instruct states to deploy funds in a way that develops a competitive market for DC fast charging. It is therefore incumbent upon fuel retailers to urge state DOTs to structure projects in a “make-ready” model that allows utilities to invest in the grid and distribution enhancements necessary to “feed” charging stations while a competitive, private market governs the consumer-facing charging transaction.
U.S. DOT stated that grant funds may be utilized to offset high demand charges that often are associated with commercial DC fast charging stations. Renewable energy generation and storage (such as on-site solar panels) also are eligible expenses for grant recipients. If a competitive market for charging emerges, these activities would enable charging retailers to better optimize their power costs and margin structure.
What Else Should Fuel Retailers Be Doing?
States have been encouraged to prioritize investment along the Interstate Highway System (IHS) and target areas that have been formally designated as Alternative Fuel Corridors by U.S. DOT. There is currently a Request for Nominations for additional corridors to be formally designated as “alternative fuel corridors.”
[Federal Highway Administration Alternative Fuel Corridors Maps]
Fuel retailers that are not located on existing, designated corridors should work with state DOTs to nominate additional corridors that encompass their real estate. Once EV charging infrastructure is installed every 50 miles along a given state’s portions of the IHS within 1 travel mile of the Interstate, the corridor is sufficiently “built out” and states may then prioritize other locations.
// Provided by NATSO—the national trade association representing truckstops, travel plazas and other off-highway transportation energy retailers. Visit www.natso.com/grants for more Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) EV Charging Funding Opportunities for Truckstop and Travel Plaza Operators information.
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