How Do Government Incentives Aid Convenience Stores in Installing EV Chargers?

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How Do Government Incentives Aid Convenience Stores in Installing EV Chargers?

The U.S. once celebrated the creation of the Interstate Highway System, hailed as the most significant public works achievement in its history. Today, a new ambitious project is underway, aiming to match its predecessor’s impact: a nationwide electric vehicle (EV) charging network. This initiative seeks to accommodate between 30 and 42 million EVs by 2030, ensuring that EV chargers are accessible across the entire country. Thanks to the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program and the Charging and Fueling Infrastructure (CFI) Discretionary Grant Program, a seamless network of EV charging stations will soon link the nation from coast to coast. This opens up exciting opportunities for businesses situated in vital regions, as the government is offering incentives for the installation of electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE). These incentives are designed to engage businesses in the crucial task of expanding the national EV charging infrastructure. For those looking to introduce EV charging at their convenience stores, understanding the ins and outs of these new EV corridors and how to secure project funding is essential.

How Many Charging Stations Will Be Added Across America?

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) released a report titled “The 2030 National Charging Network: Estimating U.S. Light-Duty Demand for Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure,” projecting the need for 28 million charging ports across the U.S. This forecast is based on a mid-adoption scenario where 33 million electric vehicles (EVs) are expected on the road by 2030. A significant portion of these charging ports will be located at private residences and businesses, providing drivers with the convenience of charging their vehicles overnight or while at work. However, this network of private charging stations will need to be complemented by public charging ports to fully support the growing EV market.

NREL’s full breakdown is as follows:

  • 182,000 DC fast charging (DCFC) ports, available publicly, will be installed to support long-distance EV travel, electrification of ride-hailing services, and assist drivers without access to home charging.
  • 1 million Level 2 charging ports are to be set up in public spaces, including areas with high residential density, office complexes, and shopping centers.
  • A total of 26 million charging ports, combining Level 1 and Level 2, are expected to be installed at private venues, covering single-family homes, apartment buildings, and workplace parking areas.

Truck stops and roadside convenience stores are pivotal in the transition to electric vehicles (EVs). Just as drivers of traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles habitually pause at these spots for refueling, it’s natural for EV drivers to look to the same venues for charging their vehicles. Recognizing this, the government has introduced two significant federal funding programs aimed at supporting convenience stores and gas stations in installing EV charging stations, thereby reducing the financial burden of such projects.

Federal Support for Setting Up EV Charging Infrastructure

The federal government offers multiple financial incentives for commercial entities interested in setting up electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE).

Two key federal programs particularly relevant to truck stops and roadside convenience stores include:

  • The Alternative Fuel Vehicle Refueling Property Tax Credit
  • The National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Formula Program (NEVI).

EV Charging Tax Credit

The EV Charging Tax Credit, under Section 30C, known as the Alternative Fuel Vehicle Refueling Property Credit, offers businesses a chance to get a tax credit of up to 30% for each EV charger they install, covering both Level 2 chargers and Direct Current Fast Chargers (DCFC).

To qualify for the initial 6% of the tax credit, the chargers must be placed in areas identified as low-income communities or those outside urban zones. The Argonne National Laboratory provides a 30C Tax Credit Eligibility Locator tool to check if a location meets these criteria. For the full 30% credit, the installation process must comply with the U.S. Department of Labor’s prevailing wage rates and apprenticeship requirements.

Businesses looking to claim this tax credit should file IRS Form 8911 with their business tax returns. It’s important to note that for claims relating to installations before January 1, 2023, the applicable version of Form 8911 for the year of the project should be used.

NEVI Formula Program

The National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program, overseen by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration, supports up to 80% of the costs for eligible projects. These costs can include:

  • The purchase and installation of EV chargers;
  • Integration of EV chargers into networks for enhanced data collection, accessibility, and reliability;
  • Ensuring the proper operation and maintenance of EV charging stations;
  • Commitment to share data on EV charging station usage over the long term.

To be eligible for NEVI funding, your project must feature at least four DC fast chargers (DCFCs) located within a mile of an alternative fuel corridor. Blink provides a comprehensive solution for businesses looking to qualify as a NEVI charging station host, covering all aspects from installation to maintenance.

State incentives for EV charging

Beyond federal incentives, states also provide their own benefits for businesses such as truck stops and convenience stores looking to add EV charging stations. To discover the incentives available in your area, you can use the Blink Commercial Incentives tool. This resource allows you to search based on zip code and charging station model, making it easier to identify specific state-level incentives that could support your EV charging station project.

Selecting the best EV chargers for truck stops and roadside convenience stores

When drivers pull over to recharge along major travel routes, they typically prefer brief stops. DC fast chargers meet this need perfectly, as they’re capable of charging most EVs in less than an hour. Many EV drivers opt to charge their cars to 80% capacity, which can cut down the charging time even further. For locations that also cater to plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), installing at least one Level 2 charger is advisable to ensure all EV types can be accommodated.

For fast charging needs, the 60kW-360kW DC Fast Charging Station is recommended. It includes features such as credit card and RFID readers, supporting payments through the Blink Mobile App, Blink cards, credit cards, as well as Apple Pay and Google Pay via the RFID reader.

On the Level 2 front, the Blink Series 8 is suggested. This charger comes with a credit card reader and delivers up to 80amps and 19.2 kW of power. Payments can be made using a credit card, the Blink mobile app, a Blink RFID card, or via phone through an automated voice system. Level 2 chargers are particularly beneficial for businesses located near entertainment venues or restaurants, offering drivers the convenience of charging their vehicle for an hour or more while they enjoy nearby amenities.

Conclusion

Both federal and state incentives are in place to streamline the process for gas stations and convenience stores to set up electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) and integrate into the burgeoning EV charging network across America. Thinking of taking the plunge?

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