Federal funding to help California expand electric vehicle charging network

According to a statement from Caltrans, California has the green light to start using federal infrastructure funding to expand electric vehicle charging stations along the state’s interstates and highways following the recent federal approval of a joint plan by Caltrans and California Energy Commission.

The U.S. Joint Office of Energy and Transportation’s signoff on the California Deployment Plan for the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Program makes an initial $56 million in funding available to install charging stations throughout the state. Funded by the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021, California expects to receive a total of $384 million for the program over the next five years. The federal funding will build on California’s historic $10 billion, multiyear investment to accelerate the transition to zero-emission vehicles by improving affordability and expanding charging infrastructure.

“Thanks to the Biden-Harris Administration’s approval of California’s NEVI plan, we can start putting historic levels of federal infrastructure funding to work to close gaps in our state highway system’s evolving EV charging network and improve availability and reliability for low-income and rural residents,” said California Transportation Secretary Toks Omishakin. “Coupled with unprecedented levels of state investments in zero-emission vehicles, this funding will help supercharge California’s nation-leading efforts to drastically cut climate-changing pollution from the transportation sector.”

The IIJA funds will add to efforts to complete a 6,600-mile statewide charging network and deploy 1.2 million chargers by 2030 to meet the anticipated charging needs of the state’s EV fleet.

“With this unprecedented federal investment, California can advance our vision of a unified network of charging stations along the state’s busiest corridors,” said California Energy Commission Commissioner Patty Monahan. “This new network will increase charging access, particularly in the rural areas of our state, and help EV drivers charge up on long trips.”

The state’s NEVI plan focuses on construction of fast-charging stations near interstates, U.S. routes and state routes throughout California. These charging stations will increase the availability of charging options, improve the reliability of the charging network and remove barriers to accessing EVs. NEVI funding will also support upgrades to existing infrastructure, charging stations’ operation and maintenance costs, community and stakeholder engagement, workforce development, and related mapping and signage.

California surpassed one million zero-emission vehicles sold in 2021 and leads the country in all ZEV market metrics including the highest level of public funding, the largest EV market share percentage, and the most extensive public charging infrastructure. The success of the state’s programs has led to ZEVs becoming a top export and has spurred major advances in manufacturing and job creation.

For more information on the NEVI Formula program, visit FHWA’s NEVI website and DriveElectric.gov. For the latest developments on California’s deployment efforts under the NEVI program, visit the CEC’s NEVI website.

For more information on the state’s progress, explore CEC’s Zero Emission Vehicle and Infrastructure Statistics dashboards.