Insights | Jun 25, 2021

EV Charging Incentives – Key Design Features


EV Charging Incentives – Key Design Features

By Cory Bullis, Senior Public Affairs Specialist, FLO

President Biden’s “American Jobs Plan” is set to catalyze the EV industry at an unprecedented rate. The President’s commitment to build 500,000 public charging stations by 2030 provides a much-needed signal to industry that the federal government is committed to helping provide consumers with alternatives to oil and gas fueling infrastructure – and not just with value statements, but with meaningful incentive policies.

Looking ahead, the amount of funding allocated to EV charging incentives is not the only critical aspect of this groundbreaking commitment to the industry. How the funding is rolled out through program design features will have far-reaching policy implications, including influencing the overall trajectory of technology growth and development, where infrastructure is deployed, which communities benefit, whether the experience of users is positive or negative and, ultimately, how fast the industry can become self-sustaining.

The design of incentive programs has a major impact on their success, so federal agencies, and any entity designing an incentive program, should carefully program design features. With over a decade of experience designing, building and deploying charging stations across North America, FLO considers the following elements to be some of the most important design features influencing EV charging station deployment to program outcomes.

Administrative Features

Therefore, creating a clear and streamlined application process is critical. What that means in practice: clear, upfront application requirements and timing, including the date of the release of the incentives; providing an editable version of the application or an online platform to fill out the application; allowing submission of any required documents online, including electronic signatures; and giving the industry sufficient warning of the program timelines and details so they can prepare for the release of incentives and help find applicants.

 Proactive approach – incentive programs should be designed with input from community representatives from low-income and disadvantaged communities and, ideally, have an express mandate to factor in and address the needs of those communities from the very beginning. In our experience, it is much easier to build inclusive programs proactively, and they tend to have better acceptance when they do not leave people behind.

Incentive addersproviding higher incentive levels for chargers that are deployed in low-income and disadvantaged communities will help more equitably deploy chargers across the nation.

Minimum set aside – the U.S. needs to ensure that low-income and disadvantaged communities directly benefit from the transition to EVs. Reserving a minimum amount of funds to deploy stations in these communities directly is one of the most measurable ways to guarantee equity in this process.

Technological Features

FLO does not intend this for list to be exhaustive, but rather to have it capture some of the most important design features for any EV charging incentive program offered by governments and utilities. For the American Jobs Plan, these features will be critical to ensuring it delivers on its promise for catalyzing the charging industry in the right direction.