NEVI and CFI Grant Applications – How to put the odds in your favor!

The introduction of the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program and the Charging and Fueling Infrastructure (CFI) Grant Program have been a whirlwind. Over the past several months, we have seen several announcements on how the government will deploy BILLIONS of dollars slated for the programs. The opening of the first EV charging station funded through the NEVI formula program outside of Columbus, Ohio made the program “real” and added another level of excitement.

With all the excitement, enthusiasm, and opportunity, there is also misinformation and false assumptions about how the programs work. There is a need to understand the rules of engagement AND the business at hand, EV charging. Go-Station consulted and submitted applications for several of our clients and partners.

Here are a few tips to consider while navigating a complicated, complex, and sometimes daunting process.

Know the rules and understand the expectations: Nuances are within the nuance. The NEVI and CFI programs have similarities and meaningful differences. While they require the same site deployment standards (equipment type, quantity, power level, Buy America Standards) they target different use cases (AFC corridors vs. community deployments). As a result, each program has a different objective, and it is in the applicant’s best interest to focus on those priorities in the application. For example, does the proposal address the needs of rural or underserved communities? Have you contemplated a solution that will support medium and heavy-duty vehicles? It is a competitive bid process, and addressing these objectives in your application is critical. The EV charger (device) is just a box. THE question is….. How will your solution integrate into the community and meet the challenges of today with an eye on the future?

Do your due diligence and quantify the opportunity: Buyer beware! Some of the most expensive mistakes start with a “great deal.” Many applicants are lured by the prospect of receiving 80% funding and rarely ask about the business case and unit economics. While EV adoption is forecasted to rise, “build it and they will come” isn’t a practical strategy. Grant funding does not save a bad site. You will want to ensure the site is sustainable and profitable over time. To do so, you must conduct a thorough analysis and answer a few critical questions.

  1. How many charging events can I expect per year, and what is the annual growth?
  2. How much can I charge?
  3. Is the site attractive, and would I be comfortable with my loved one charging here?
  4. How do utility demand charges impact the profit potential, and how can I mitigate the risk?

Conducting a site visit, analyzing the anticipated utilization, and evaluating pricing strategies will help answer those questions.

Get help from trusted partners: Pursuing grant funding is a daunting task. You will require expertise in different areas to be successful. You will need a grant writer, a project manager, and an experienced turn-key EV charging provider. Local relationships can also be helpful.

It is an incredible time for the EV industry and the broader EV ecosystem. It is often called “a once-in-a-generation opportunity,” and we agree. Please visit Go-Station.com or email us at info@go-station.com if you have questions regarding NEV, CFI, or other funding sources.

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