A letter sent today to state departments of transportation on behalf of the Ceres Corporate Electric Vehicle Alliance and NAFA Fleet Management Association (NAFA) urged state officials to strongly consider commercial and public fleets in their plans for electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure in their respective states. In addition, fleet owners also call for the design and installation of charging infrastructure that supports the charging of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles (MHDVs).
In February, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) issued the final minimum standards for the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program that will provide funding and guidance to states for the build-out of cost-effective, equitable, and reliable EV infrastructure.
The federal government’s standards are a much-needed step to significantly advance the electrification of the high-emitting transportation sector, but continued transportation decarbonization will rely heavily on actions at the state and local levels.
“The rapid electrification of the transportation sector is crucial to addressing the climate crisis. It will both reduce our nation’s dependence on fossil fuels and the outsized impact of greenhouse gas emissions stemming from the transportation sector,” said Sara Forni, director of clean vehicles at Ceres, and leader of the Ceres Corporate Electric Vehicle Alliance. “We applaud the Biden administration’s efforts to not only expand the roll-out of EV charging infrastructure in the U.S., but to ensure that the infrastructure meets a minimum set of standards that allow chargers to be reliable, easy to use, and have transparent and fair pricing.”
“However, the final NEVI minimum standards are just that—a baseline for the successful implementation of publicly- and privately-funded infrastructure projects,” Forni added. “We call on state transportation officials to include the consideration of high-mileage fleet vehicles as well as medium- and heavy-duty vehicles as they utilize federal funding for their future siting plans.”
While the final NEVI minimum standards do not include specific requirements to support charging of MHDVs, the FHWA noted that the rule does not preclude medium- and heavy-duty charging infrastructure and encouraged states to consider future charging needs for these vehicles. These vehicles currently account for 21% of transportation greenhouse gas emissions. In addition to reducing transportation emissions, electrification will improve public health. MHDVs typically run on diesel fuel, the top source for pollutants like nitrogen oxides and particulate matter which are most threatening to human health.
“As fleets move to rapidly decarbonize and electrify it is critical that we plan and construct comprehensive infrastructure to sustain the important public health and safety services that fleets provide. Whether it is police and ambulance services, school buses, utility repairs or ensuring grocery stores are stocked, Americans rely on fleets every day,” said Bill Schankel, CAE, CEO of NAFA Fleet Management Association. “It is important that we establish a widespread national charging network that is reliable and able to serve all fleet vehicles, including light-, medium-, and heavy-duty. Fleets stand ready to do our part to advance decarbonized transportation while ensuring that Americans can continue to rely on our services.”
Established by the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the NEVI program provides access to funding for states with a goal to build out 500,000 chargers along America’s highways. To access this funding, each state is required to submit plans to the federal government on how it intends to build out their respective electric vehicle infrastructure using its share of NEVI funds. Investments like these increase access to charging stations in underserved and marginalized communities, which are the most likely to be adversely impacted by pollution from automobile exhaust.
“We thank the federal government for releasing guidance that will support the expansion of EV infrastructure in every region of the U.S. It’s now up to state leaders to implement the planning and installation of this infrastructure in a strategic and thoughtful manner,” said Hari Nayar, Vice President of Fleet Electrification and Sustainability at Merchants Fleet. “We work with fleets that operate light-, medium-, and heavy-duty vehicles nationwide, and achieving a connected, reliable, and accessible charging network is critical to their successful deployment of EVs. A clean transportation future is crucial for our business, the environment, and the communities we live and work in, and supporting fleet electrification will put us on that pathway.”
“AT&T applauds the Federal Highway Administration for releasing its final minimum standards for the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Formula Program. Corporate fleet transition to electric vehicles will not be possible without charging infrastructure that is affordable, equitable, reliable, and resilient, and these standards are a great first step,” said Heather Martin, VPGM Global Fleet Operations at AT&T. “AT&T and other major corporations will be looking to states to ensure that a national electric vehicle charging network meets the needs of commercial fleets.”
Ceres is working to decarbonize the transportation sector—one of six of the highest emitting sectors in the U.S. economy—through its Ceres Ambition 2030 initiative and through the work it is leading with the Corporate Electric Vehicle Alliance.
The 32-member Alliance, whose members include Amazon, DHL, Hertz, and Otis, is working to accelerate fleet electrification in the U.S., and charging infrastructure is a critical piece of the puzzle. Collectively, Alliance members own, lease, or operate over 2.5 million on-road vehicles in the U.S. alone. In the coming months, members will review the new standards and identify the ways it can support states in leveraging federal funding for both passenger and commercial fleet charging.
Today’s letter is a follow up to comments the Alliance and the NAFA Fleet Management Association submitted last July to the FHWA on NEVI.