The nation’s EV charging network is due to get a significant upgrade

In late 2021, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passed, creating the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Formula Program (NEVI) to support the creation of a nationwide fast-charging network. There’s much work to do, as a new study from the Great Plains Institute shows a need for more than 1,000 DC fast-charging (DCFC) stations to meet the program’s goals.

The study looked at non-Tesla DCFC stations, of which there are 4,943 in the contiguous 48 states. Among them, only 509 stations meet the requirements laid out under the NEVI program, which include:

  • Charging stations must have at least four DCFC ports with CCS connectors and the ability to charge four EVs simultaneously at 150 kW each for a combined capacity of 600 kW or more.
  • Stations must be spaced no more than 50 miles apart on designated corridors and located within one mile of the corridor.

Another 1,104 stations are required for there to be a compliant charging location every 50 miles of interstate highway, including a first phase of 1,084 chargers on highways designated as EV alternative fuel corridors and an additional 20 along other corridors. Alternative Fuel Corridors are proposed by states and recognized by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) as part of a network of alternative fuel sources, such as hydrogen, propane, EV charging, and natural gas.

Though the study identifies a need for more charging stations, it notes the possibility that the 4,434 non-compliant chargers could be upgraded to meet requirements. It also identifies 42,212 Level 2 public chargers in the country but did not include them in the data because of their long charging times.

The program set aside $5 billion and puts the buildout of the charging network in the states’ hands. States are expected to use NEVI money to build chargers along the designated corridors before moving on to other highways. The program rules note that a state can propose other non-designated areas, but the designated corridors have to be certified as meeting the two program criteria first. Even with this effort, the study notes that chargers located every 50 miles might not meet demand in high-traffic areas.

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