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White House EV Standards – A Long Overdue Catalyst

by Edward Sanchez | Jun 11, 2022

DC Fast ChargersIn less than a decade, EVs have gone from a fringe novelty considered practical only for wealthy suburbanites, to a scenario where many OEMs are supply-constrained trying to meet consumer demand for new EVs. Drivers that have experienced modern EVs first-hand are instantly enthused by the responsiveness, quietness and smoothness of the vehicles.

However, the persistent “elephant in the room” has been often inadequate charging infrastructure in many regions. While this has not been a major issue in areas with high population (and public charger) density, in the United States, the third-largest country on Earth by population, and fourth-largest by land area, electric vehicle charging infrastructure on a nationwide basis is spotty at best, with some areas enjoying a relative abundance of charger outlets relative to population and EV registrations, and others that regularly experience long wait times for EV owners waiting to charge, and still others where there is simply little to no public charging infrastructure. The Biden administration’s National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) program provides $5 billion in funding to states to expand their EV charging infrastructure.

As with most government programs, it comes with strings attached, but most of them are reasonable, and will result in a more consistent, high-quality experience for consumers. An 82-page document from the Federal Highway Administration outlines some of the key requirements or conditions to be eligible to receive federal assistance for Electric Vehicle Service Equipment (EVSE, or colloquially “charger”) installation. Among the key conditions are J1772 (for Level 2) and CCS (for Level 3) charging, cellular connectivity for remote monitoring, troubleshooting and diagnosis, and support for the ISO 15118 (Plug&Charge) standard. In addition to the automatic billing enabled by Plug&Charge, it is recommending support for contactless payment (either by mobile device or RFID-enabled payment card). The draft also “proposes requirements for public transparency when EV charging prices are set by a third party.” While not specified, this should be kWh-based, rather than time-based metering, which can unfairly penalize users if the charger has a slow charge rate.

Somewhat concerningly for the commercial and light truck segment, the draft proposal does not have any specific requirements for pull-through charging, something that should be considered a de facto requirement for large commercial vehicles, and vehicles towing a trailer. However, the document does encourage the consideration of pull-through charging facilities in the statement “States are encouraged to consider large vehicles, including medium- and heavy-duty vehicles (such as electric school buses and delivery vehicles) and vehicles with attached trailers.”

There is also no specific mention of the forthcoming Megawatt Charging Standard (MCS), a standard currently in the late stages of development designed specifically for Class 7-8 commercial vehicles, marine vessels, and heavy equipment.

As with most proposals initiated by government agencies and programs, the key will be implementation and compliance among participating parties. While NEVI may not be a panacea to solve all of the U.S.’s EV charging infrastructure issues, it’s a significant step in the right direction.

To learn more about Strategy Analytics’ Electric Vehicles Service, visit here, where you will find reports, market data, and other information about this rapidly growing segment.

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