Federal Funding Programs
While the funding table at the end of this section provides a comprehensive list of available programs, the below overview highlights some of the most relevant and widely used programs for rural EV infrastructure. These “key programs” are organized by administering agency.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL)
On November 15, 2021, President Biden signed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) which contains significant new funding for EV charging stations. Key new USDOT programs include the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program ($5 billion) and the Discretionary Grant Program for Charging and Fueling Infrastructure ($2.5 billion). The law also makes the installation of EV charging infrastructure an eligible expense under the USDOT Surface Transportation Block Grant formula program. Additionally, BIL provides funding to USDOT, DOE, and EPA for the deployment of electric school buses and ferries, port electrification, a domestic supply chain for battery production, and battery recycling, among other EV-related initiatives.
The Inflation Reduction Act
Signed into law on August 16, 2022, the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) will be the largest climate investment in U.S. history. The IRA includes provisions to revitalize American manufacturing and create clean energy jobs and provides additional resources to improve access to EVs and EV charging infrastructure. The IRA will enable several EV-related programs across multiple Federal agencies, including USDOT, DOE, EPA, HUD, and the Department of the Treasury.
USDOT Key Programs
The National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Formula Program (NEVI) created under BIL apportions a total of $5 billion to States, D.C., and Puerto Rico over five years, from Fiscal Year 2022 through 2026, to strategically deploy EV charging infrastructure and to establish an interconnected national network to facilitate station data collection, access, and reliability. Program funds can be used for the acquisition, installation, network connection, operation, and maintenance of EV charging stations, as well as long-term EV charging station data sharing.
Initially, funding under this program is directed to designated Alternative Fuel Corridors (AFCs) for electric vehicles to build out this national network, with DC fast chargers every 50 miles and within 1 mile of the corridor. FHWA funded projects must meet the EV Charging Minimum Standards Rule, issued in February 2023. Once a State’s AFC network is fully built out, funding may be used on any public road or in other publicly accessible locations.
States are required to submit annual plans on how they will strategically and equitably use their NEVI funds for EV infrastructure deployment. Many States have created websites with information on their plans, and many are soliciting public input, including from Tribal Governments and organizations, to ensure equitable use of NEVI funds. The Joint Office of Energy and Transportation provides key technical assistance and guidance to States in developing and implementing their plans.
- Eligible EV activities: LDV charging, public transportation charging, infrastructure planning, workforce development.
- Eligible applicants: States, D.C., Puerto Rico.
- FY22-FY26 formula grant range (to States, D.C., and P.R.1): $13,600,000 – $407,800,000.
- Frequency: Funding is allocated to State DOTs on an annual basis.
- Match requirement: The Federal share of eligible project costs is 80 percent. Private and State funds can be used to provide the remaining cost-share.
1 This grant range represents the total amount of money distributed to each State over a 5-year period. These funds are distributed at a national level based on a formula. These formulas may use various characteristics of each State to provide variable levels of funding.
The Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) program provides a flexible funding source to State and local governments for transportation projects and programs to help meet the requirements of the Clean Air Act. CMAQ funds are apportioned to each State and administered through State DOTs or MPOs. Funding is available for transportation projects that reduce congestion and improve air quality for areas that do not meet the National Ambient Air Quality Standards; States without such areas may use CMAQ funds for Surface Transportation Block Grant eligible projects. Funds may be used for a transportation project or program that is likely to achieve these objectives and is included in the region’s current transportation plan. EV charging infrastructure is considered eligible under this program. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law added a new eligibility for shared micromobility, including bikesharing and shared scooter systems. CMAQ funds may be transferred to FTA for administration of eligible transit projects.
- Eligible EV activities: LDV charging, commercial charging, public transportation charging, workforce development, vehicle acquisition, shared micromobility
- Eligible applicants: States, Tribes, localities, transportation providers, nonprofits
- FY22 formula grant range (to States)1: $10,000,000 – $505,000,000.
- Frequency: Funding is allocated to State DOTs on an annual basis
- Match requirement: Determined at the State level
1 This grant range represents the amount of money distributed to each State. These funds are distributed at a national level based on a formula. These formulas may use various characteristics of each State to provide variable levels of funding. For State-run programs, this sum represents the total amount of available funding that applicants can apply for, and these funds are then further distributed by the State to the applicants based on a discretionary grant-making process.
The Charging and Fueling Infrastructure (CFI) Discretionary Grant Program created under BIL is a competitive grant program to strategically deploy publicly accessible electric vehicle charging infrastructure as well as hydrogen, propane, and natural gas fueling infrastructure along designated Alternative Fuel Corridors or in other publicly accessible locations.
At least 50 percent of CFI funding must be used for a community grant program where priority is given to projects that expand access to EV charging and alternative fueling infrastructure within rural areas, low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, and communities with a low ratio of private parking spaces.
The Joint Office of Energy and Transportation created under BIL supports the implementation of this program. Tribal and local governments can use this program to complement State efforts initiated under NEVI. FHWA funded projects must meet the EV Charging Minimum Standards Rule, issued in February 2023.
- Eligible EV activities: Light, medium, and heavy-duty vehicle charging, public transportation charging, commercial charging, infrastructure planning.
- Eligible applicants: States, Tribes, localities, MPOs, and U.S. Territories (corridor and community projects). Additional eligible entities for community-based projects include housing authorities, parks authorities, public stadium authorities, public development authorities, and other State or local authorities with ownership of publicly accessible transportation facilities.
- Grant range
- Corridor Program: $1,000,000 – no maximum.
- Community Program: $500,000 - $15,000,000.
- Frequency: Annual
The Federal Lands Access Program (FLAP) provides funds for projects on Federal Lands Access Transportation Facilities that are located on or adjacent to, or that provide access to, Federal lands (e.g., national parks, national forests). Projects are typically located within 10 miles of the Federal land boundary. Funds are distributed by formula among States that have Federal lands. State DOTs, Tribes, and local governments interested in EV infrastructure can apply through their State for FLAP funding for charging infrastructure and transportation planning.
- Eligible EV activities: LDV charging, public transportation charging, commercial charging infrastructure planning, workforce development, vehicle acquisition
- Eligible applicants: States, Tribes, localities
- FY22 formula grant range (to States): $21,000-$31,000,000 (ultimate recipient awards vary by State)
- Frequency: Varies by State
- Match requirement: The Federal share of eligible project costs is 80 percent. A sliding scale provision may apply for States with higher percentages of Federal lands.
Success Story: Low-No Bus Discretionary Program
In 2021, the Michigan Department of Transportation received $5.2 million on behalf of Thumb Area Transit (TAT) in rural Huron County to replace an undersized, aging transit facility with a centrally located LEED-certified maintenance, operations, and administrative center to improve transit services and maintain its new battery-electric bus fleet. The facility will include electric bus charging equipment and other infrastructure to allow TAT to provide reliable transportation across its 836-square-mile service area while improving air quality.
FTA offers grant funding for transit agencies and State, local, or Tribal government agencies to replace, rehabilitate, and purchase buses and related equipment, including vehicles that produce low or no emissions (Low-No) for public transportation services. The program includes both formula and competitive grants.
The Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Formula Program provides funding to States and transit agencies through a statutory formula. The statute also includes two discretionary programs through which rural entities can receive funding for EV bus infrastructure and EV fleet acquisition: the Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Discretionary Program and the LowNo Emissions Bus Discretionary Program.
Note that rural applicants to both competitive programs must be submitted by a State, either individually or as part of a consolidated statewide application.
- Eligible EV activities: Public transportation charging, vehicle acquisition
- Eligible applicants:
- Formula Grant: States, transportation providers
- Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities (Discretionary): States, local governmental authorities who operate fixed route, designated recipients who allocate funding to fixed route public transportation, Tribes
- Low-No Bus (Discretionary): States, Tribes, localities, transportation providers
- FY22 grant ranges:
- Frequency: Annual
- Match requirement: The Federal shares of net capital project costs are 80 percent for traditional propulsion projects, 85 percent for bus acquisition for projects that are compliant with the Clean Air Act or ADA, and 90 percent for bus-related equipment and facilities that are compliant with the Clean Air Act or ADA.
Success Story: BUILD Grant in Idaho and Wyoming
In 2020, USDOT’s BUILD program awarded $20 million to Wyoming and Idaho for the Teton Mobility Corridor Improvements Project. This rural project will implement a series of multimodal improvements along the Idaho 33/Wyoming 22 corridor. The project includes the purchase of two electric local buses among many other improvements to the corridor.
The Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE, formerly known as BUILD and TIGER) discretionary grant program provides an opportunity for USDOT to invest in road, rail, transit, and port projects that achieve national objectives.
The eligibility requirements of RAISE allow project sponsors at the State and local levels to obtain funding for multimodal, multi-jurisdictional projects that are more difficult to support through traditional USDOT programs.
For FY21, RAISE increased program focus on zero-emission vehicle infrastructure, including EV charging.
- Eligible EV activities: LDV charging, infrastructure planning, commercial charging, public transportation charging
- Eligible applicants: States, Tribes, localities, transportation providers
- FY22 grant ranges:
- Capital Awards: $1,100,000-$25,000,000
- Planning Activities: $260,000-$25,000,000
- Frequency: Annual
- Match requirement: The Federal share of net capital project costs is 100 percent for rural projects and projects located in Areas of Persistent Poverty or Historically Disadvantaged Communities, and 80 percent for urban projects.
- Definition of rural: Located outside an Urbanized Area (as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau) or any area with a population of less than 200,000
The Transportation Alternatives (TA) Set-Aside from the Surface Transportation Block Grant (STBG) Program provides funding for a variety of generally smaller-scale transportation projects such as pedestrian and bicycle facilities; construction of turnouts, overlooks, and viewing areas; community improvements such as historic preservation and vegetation management; environmental mitigation related to stormwater and habitat connectivity; recreational trails; safe routes to school projects; and vulnerable road user safety assessments. FHWA considers shared micromobility projects as eligible for the TA Set-Aside.
- Eligible EV activities: Shared micromobility
- Eligible applicants: States, Tribes, localities, regional transportation authorities, transit agencies, MPOs, nonprofits
- FY22 grant totals: $5,300,000-$113,000,000.
- Frequency: Annual
- Match requirement: The Federal share of eligible project costs is generally 80 percent. States can use a number of flexibilities, including some new ones under the BIL, to increase the Federal share for specific projects to 100 percent. Specifically, an upward sliding scale adjustment is available to States based on public land area (23 U.S.C. 120). Flexibilities for safety, Federal lands, and Recreational Trails Program projects are described in more detail in the Federal Share and Flexibilities for Increasing Federal Share section of the TA Set-Aside Guidance.
DOE Key Programs
Success Story: VTO’s WestSmartEV
As of 2019, the Western Smart PEV Community Partnership project (led by Pacificorp in partnership with several Clean Cities coalitions) installed 879 chargers along interstates and corridors, among other programs to accelerate the growth rate of EVs in the region. VTO provided $3.5 million for the project and other local organizations provided the remaining $8.0 million as cost share.
DOE’s VTO supports high-impact projects that can significantly advance its mission to reduce petroleum reliance by developing and deploying more energy efficient and sustainable transportation technologies.
VTO regularly updates its Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs) with information on available VTO funding opportunities. Specific topics and funding amounts for VTO FOAs vary from year to year depending on program priorities and stakeholder needs.
Historically, many of these funding opportunities have supported transportation electrification projects, including the planning and installation of EVSE; EV demonstration and deployment; and EV data collection and analysis. Sign up for the VTO Newsletter to receive notifications of future VTO FOAs.
- Eligible EV activities: Varies (past FOAs included LDV charging, infrastructure planning, commercial charging, public transportation charging)
- Eligible applicants: States, Tribes, localities, transportation providers, nonprofits, private sector, individuals
- Grant range: Varies
- Frequency: Varies
Success Story: SEP and VW Settlement Funds in Alaska
In June 2021, the Alaska Energy Authority awarded nearly $1 million in grants to support EV charging station deployment throughout the State. The grants will enable the installation of eight Level 2 chargers and 15 DCFCs in nine communities across the State.
Funding for the project comes from the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust Fund and the U.S. Department of Energy’s State Energy Program.
The DOE State Energy Program (SEP) provides annual formula funding and technical assistance to all 50 States, five territories, and the District of Columbia to enhance energy security, advance State-led energy initiatives, and increase energy affordability.
States may choose to allocate funds for transportation projects, including planning and projects that promote access to EVs and buildout of EV charging infrastructure. Eligible activities include planning support for light-, medium-, and heavy-duty vehicle usage and associated charging needs, equitable charging access, public fleet and transit electrification, grid security and resilience associated with transportation electrification. A State energy office can provide information about program guidance and eligibility for a particular State.
- Eligible EV activities: LDV, commercial, fleet, and public transportation charging, EV education and access, and infrastructure and mobility planning
- Eligible applicants: States energy offices
- Grant range: Varies by State based on annual formula allocation
- Frequency: Annual, based on Congressional appropriations
DOE’s Loan Programs Office has loan guarantee authority for innovative deployment projects under the Title 17 Innovative Energy Loan Guarantee Program. Projects that support innovative renewable energy and energy efficiency projects (including charging infrastructure) in the United States can be eligible for loan guarantees to support project deployment costs.
- Eligible EV activities: Light duty vehicle charging (level 2 or DC fast charging that brings an innovation to market) including equipment procurement and site construction activities.
- Eligible applicants: Project developers (State and local governments, private developers), charging companies.
- Loan amount: Varies and LPO typically provides a maximum of 50 to 70% of total project cost funding.
- Frequency: Applications accepted year-round
USDA Key Programs
The Community Facilities Direct Loan Grant Program provides funding to develop essential community facilities in rural areas. An essential community facility is defined as a facility that provides an essential service to the local community in a primarily rural area and does not include private or commercial activities. Funds from the program can be used to purchase, construct, or improve essential community facilities, which includes various EV infrastructure.
- Eligible EV activities: Purchasing or constructing EV/LDV charging infrastructure, financing the development of municipal infrastructure including for BEBs and ESBs, vehicle acquisition—specifically for supporting essential community facilities (e.g., school programs, police and fire departments) that primarily serve a rural population.
- Eligible applicants: : Federally recognized Tribes, public bodies, community-based localities, nonprofits.
- Frequency: Ongoing
- Grant Match requirement: The Federal share of net capital project costs ranges from 75 percent to 15 percent. Assistance is provided on a graduated scale with smaller communities with the lowest median household income being eligible for a higher proportion of grant funds. Loan and grant combos are also eligible.
- Definition of rural: Areas including cities, townships, villages, and other rural communities with no more than 20,000 residents according to the latest U.S. Census Data.
The Rural Energy Savings Program (RESP) is a relending program that provides loans to energy efficiency service providers to relend for energy efficiency projects, including EV chargers and the infrastructure to supply EV chargers, in rural areas
- Eligible EV activities: EV chargers; reimbursement for the cost of infrastructure installation (electrical and broadband) necessary to construct an EV charging station, renewables, electric storage devices.
- Eligible applicants: Electric service providers, Tribes, localities, other energy efficiency service providers.
- FY22 average loan: Varies
- Grant Match requirement: None
- Definition of rural: Areas with no more than 50,000 residents according to the latest U.S. Census Data.
EPA Key Programs
The EPA’s DERA Program funds grants and rebates that protect human health and improve air quality by reducing harmful emissions from diesel engines. The program can be used to replace heavy-duty diesel vehicles and equipment with electric vehicles and chargers. DERA has multiple grant programs for different types of applicants and projects including National Grants, Tribal and Insular Area Grants, State Grants, and School Bus Rebates. In 2021, EPA additionally offered a $7 million funding opportunity for electric school bus rebates in underserved communities funded by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. A list of previously awarded DERA grants with project topics and funding levels is available online.
- Eligible EV activities: Commercial charging, public transportation charging, vehicle acquisition—
- specifically, the replacement or retrofit of heavy-duty diesel vehicles, engines, and equipment with lower emissions technology, such as EVs and their charging infrastructure. Commercial and public transportation charging equipment is only eligible in combination with vehicle acquisition projects.
- Eligible applicants:
- National: States, Tribes, localities, transportation providers (public only), nonprofits
- Tribal and Insular Area: States (U.S. territories only), Tribes
- State: States
- School Bus Operators: States, Tribes, localities, private sector. Targeted to underserved communities.
- FY20 award ranges:
- National: $44,000 – $300,000
- Tribal and Insular Area: $155,000 – $520,000
- State: $81,000 – $680,000
- School Bus Rebates: $20,000 – $300,000
- Frequency: Annual
EPA’s Clean School Bus Program (CSB) created under BIL provides $5 billion over 5 years, from FY 2022 to FY 2026, to replace existing school buses with clean and zero-emission models. EPA made available up to $965 million in 2022 for zero-emission and low-emission school bus rebates as the first funding opportunity. Applicants in the 2022 CSB Rebates Program could request funding for the replacement of up to 25 school buses.
In addition, 2022 CSB Rebate recipients can use funds for charging infrastructure for up to $20,000 per bus in high-priority school districts and up to $13,000 per bus for all other eligible school districts. The 2022 Clean School Bus Rebates Program was the first of several funding opportunities for the multiyear CSB Program. EPA anticipates running both a grant and rebate competition in FY 2023. Additional information on the Clean School Bus Program is available at: https://www.epa.gov/cleanschoolbus.
- Eligible EV activities: Vehicle acquisition, charging infrastructure
- Eligible applicants: State or local governmental entities that are responsible for providing school bus service to one or more public school systems, or the purchase of school buses; Indian Tribes, Tribal organizations, or Tribally controlled schools responsible for providing school bus service to one or more schools funded by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, or the purchase of school buses; Eligible Contractors; Nonprofit School Transportation Associations
- FY22 award ranges:
- Serving high-priority school districts: Maximum of $285,000 – $375,000 per bus
- Serving other eligible school districts: Maximum of $190,000 – $250,000 per bus
- Frequency: EPA anticipates offering multiple funding opportunities through FY 2026; see https://www.epa.gov/cleanschoolbus for more information.
IRS Federal Tax Incentives
As expanded by the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), EV charging infrastructure installed through December 31, 2032, is eligible for a tax credit of 30 percent of the cost, not to exceed $100,000. Eligible fueling equipment must be installed in census tracts where the poverty rate is at least 20 percent, or the median family income is less than 80 percent of the State median family income level. Consumers who purchased qualified residential charging equipment prior to December 31, 2032, may receive a tax credit of up to $1,000.
- Eligible EV activities: LDV charging
- Eligible applicants: Nonprofits, private sector, individuals
- Maximum credit amount: 30 percent of eligible project costs, maximum $100,000 (or $1,000 for consumer EV users)
- Frequency: Ongoing, through 2032