With nearly 67,000 electric vehicles in Washington State as of June 2022 but only around 700 fast charging stations to provide them with power, it’s clear that the state could use some assistance in bringing its EV charging infrastructure up to par. Add to that the state’s plan to transition all new light-duty car and truck sales to zero-emission vehicles by 2035, and the need becomes more urgent.
If you own a gas station, hospitality venue, or retail business, this situation provides a ripe opportunity for expansion into new territory – electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Adding charging stations to your other offerings makes good business sense.
If you plan to take advantage of this opportunity, you’ll likely want to apply for federal incentives and grants. At the EV Charging Summit, we specialize in helping people connect with what they need to obtain funding for the EV charging infrastructure to make their business successful.
How Much EV Infrastructure Funding Did the NEVI Program Award to Washington State?
The US federal government’s National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) program exists to fund the construction of EV charging stations near national highways and interstate exits. This program designated $5 billion for all 50 states over five years to build new stations or add EV charging equipment to existing gas stations.
Washington State stands to receive $71 million, with $10.5 million available during the first year. If they qualify, traditional fueling stations and EV charging companies all across the state can use those federal grants to build new facilities or expand their current facilities to include EV chargers.
What Requirements Must My EV Charging Station Meet to Receive Federal Funds?
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To receive federal funding, a charging station must meet the following criteria:
- Meet NEVI’s minimum EV charging plug standards, including at least four 150 kW DC fast chargers
- Have a power-producing capability of 600 kW or more
- Be located one mile or less from a major highway
- Be accessible to customers, even those who don’t have a smartphone app or registration
- Provide clear signage to direct customers to the station and its charging areas
Which Locations Will Washington State Prioritize for NEVI Funding?
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According to Washington State’s NEVI implementation plan, federal funding will prioritize sites along the state’s alternative fuel corridors (AFCs), beginning with I-5 and I-90. The project aims to have fast-charging EV stations at most 50 miles apart along these highways.
After those stations are in place, the plan will give secondary priority to EV charging stations along I-82, I-182, and US 395, followed by construction along US 195 and US 101. Although commercial real estate prices in those locations can be high due to demand, federal funding can help charging station companies recoup building costs in these areas.
Additionally, Washington State’s NEVI funding requires 40% of the funds to go to disadvantaged communities. Building a new charging station or adding EV chargers to an existing gas station in such a community would likely give charging station companies an edge in obtaining a grant.
The state’s NEVI plan also suggests that companies locate their EV charging stations at or near popular gathering areas, so long as they are less than a mile off the highway. These locations include:
- Rest stops
- Park and ride locations
- Mall parking lots
- Downtown Seattle
- Sports arenas and other recreational facilities
- Near universities
- Ferry terminals
- Public parks
Will Washington State Provide EV Infrastructure Funding to Complement Federal Grants?
Washington State’s complementary program, the Zero-Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Partnerships (ZEVIP), plans to award $3 million in grants for zero-emission vehicle charging station construction and modernization. The lion’s share of that money will go toward EV charging stations and the remainder to hydrogen fueling stations.
The application deadline for 2023 ZEVIP grants is May 11, 2023. However, if additional funds become available, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) will allocate those funds to the remaining pool of applicants.
Furthermore, the state plans to provide matching funds through toll credits, funds that the federal government awards states in which public or private agencies use toll revenue to construct, improve, or maintain roads, tunnels, and bridges on interstate commerce routes. In addition to toll receipts for road, tunnel, or bridge use, concession sales and interest also count toward toll credits.
How Can My EV Charging Station Company Qualify for a NEVI Grant?
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Besides the highway location and equipment requirements for the EV charging station itself, WSDOT – the agency that will carry out the NEVI implementation plan — will consider your proposed site’s vulnerability to extreme weather events and flooding and your business plan’s long-term viability.
In assessing your charging station company’s long-term viability, WSDOT will determine the following factors:
- Can your company provide more charging capacity and stations for each NEVI dollar you spend than your competitors?
- Can you get your stations up and running more quickly than your competitors?
- Does your plan provide evidence that you will deliver projects on time?
- What evidence can you show that your station will perform well in the long term?
- How well will your stations integrate with current national charging networks?
- Do you own or control your proposed charging station site?
What Advantages Does Washington State Offer EV Charging Station Companies?
The state of Washington offers a wealth of advantages to companies that want to enter or expand their reach into the EV charging infrastructure space. In addition to the chance to qualify for federal grants and incentives, other factors make Washington State an attractive location for an EV charging station business.
Cheap, Readily Available Electricity
First, 77% of the state’s electrical grid operates on hydropower. With the low cost and carbon footprint hydroelectric power provides, your Washington state customers will be more likely to choose electricity to power their next car.
Additionally, according to the Institute for Energy Research, Washington has the fourth-highest gasoline prices in the nation – and the fourth-lowest prices for electricity. Those factors contribute much to the state’s attractiveness to investors in the EV charging industry.
An EV-Friendly Regulatory Environment
It’s not only light-duty fossil-fueled vehicles that Washington plans to phase out by 2035. New medium-duty cars, too, will fall under the state’s zero-emission regulations.
This transition, which will also affect many commercial fleets, will produce a favorable environment for businesses to replace their gasoline-powered vehicles with an all-EV fleet. As a result, EV fleet management budgets must include funds to pay the EV fleet charging station companies that fuel those new vehicles.
How Can I Better My Chances of Obtaining NEVI Funding?
One of the best ways to assess – and boost – your chances of getting NEVI funding for your Washington State EV charging station company is to learn all you can about the EV industry from its top experts. Networking with industry professionals, too, can help you build a cadre of support that you can lean on during the application process and beyond.
Attending an EV Charging Summit event can give you that edge over your competitors. From discovering the latest developments in charging station technology to learning how to navigate the NEVI approval process, you can build your knowledge of the industry as you rub shoulders with the EV industry’s top professionals. Discover what an EV Charging Summit event can do for your business today!