President Biden, in a speech at the Detroit Auto Show Wednesday, confirmed that the federal government is releasing a first round of funding to 35 states to start installing EV charging hardware on the way to a 500,000-charger U.S. network. 

As Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg pointed out in a release, the 35 states given the green light are represented by a mix of Republican and Democratic governors. 

Surprisingly, all 50 states turned in their homework on time. By August 1, states had to submit plans for their spending on the project to the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Department of Energy. The DOT confirmed on August 2 that every state had submitted plans.

EVgo charging station overhead view

EVgo charging station overhead view

The $5 billion National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) program essentially has two facets: the deployment of EV charging infrastructure, and the formation of “an interconnected network to facilitate data collection, access, and reliability” of charging. 

NEVI is part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law enacted in November 2021, and it’s one of the two big funding buckets that adds up to the initial $7.5 billion for the project. The other $2.5 billion is a discretionary grant program aiming to tackle rural charging and underserved/disadvantaged communities. 

As the federal government laid out in June for the $5 billion program, states needed to draw out their initial routes primarily along highway routes designated Alternative Fuel Corridors. Built-out networks specify an interoperable charging station with four 150-kw connectors, every 50 miles

Marengo Charging Plaza, Pasadena, California

Marengo Charging Plaza, Pasadena, California

Initially, some states had some preliminary homework to do in designating more Alternative Fuel Corridors. That led to plans with widely varied levels of detail

The program funnels $1.46 billion in funding over five calendar years—2022 through 2026. Each state gets allocated a different amount toward the EV infrastructure under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, based around a federal funding formula. Due to that, state amounts range up to California’s nearly $384 million total and Texas’ $407 million over the five years. Under the program, Puerto Rico gets nearly $13.7 million total. 

It requires some level of state commitment, too, as the federal funds are intended to cover 80% of EV charger costs, with either private or state funds making up the balance. 

NEVI-approved states for national charging network - 9/14/2022

NEVI-approved states for national charging network – 9/14/2022

The only states that haven’t yet been approved are Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Missouri, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, Texas, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

Officials noted that the approval of these state charging plans is being made quickly and ahead of schedule. After this first large batch, states will get approved “on a rolling basis,” according to the Department of Energy. 

“We are reviewing the remaining plans and on track to finish the process by our target date of September 30, if not sooner,” said Acting Federal Highway Administrator Stephanie Pollack, in a release. “Our shared work to bring President Biden’s vision for a national electric vehicle network to communities across America is too important to wait.”