Major Companies Are Calling for Federal Standards Ensuring Open Access and Simple Payment Methods for Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure

Nov 22, 2021 11:50 AM ET
Press Release

November 22, 2021 /3BL Media/ - Members of the Corporate Electric Vehicle Alliance are calling on the U.S. government to establish federal standards and protocols that will streamline and speed the adoption of electric vehicles by ensuring that publicly-funded charging stations can adopt any management software, join new networks, and accept all payment methods — as other fueling stations function today.

“We share a common goal of electrifying our fleets and networks, and we write to emphasize the need for widespread open charging standards that would rapidly accelerate zero emission vehicle deployment in the U.S. through enhanced accessibility,” reads a letter sent to government officials today from the Alliance, whose 28 members together represent over $1 trillion in annual revenue and collectively own, lease, or operate over one million fleet or networked vehicles in the U.S. 

The Alliance members applauded the Biden administration’s goals announced earlier this year to improve electric vehicle adoption and infrastructure, as well as the recently-signed bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act — which allocated $7.5 billion to building out a national network of electric vehicle chargers. They also expressed support for the historic clean transportation investments in the Build Back Better Act, which is still under negotiation in Congress. 

The Biden administration’s target of having electric vehicles make up 50% of all new U.S. passenger vehicle sales by 2030 is an important step toward both achieving critical climate goals, reducing air pollution in our cities, and spur cost savings for companies, as detailed in a September Alliance letter to the Environmental Protection Agency. The transportation sector is currently the largest and fastest growing greenhouse gas-emitting sector in the U.S. economy.

“Open standards for electric vehicle charging infrastructure are essential for fleet operators in particular,” said Sara Forni, Ceres’ director of clean vehicles, who also leads the Corporate Electric Vehicle Alliance. “Open-access charging sites help ensure that electric vehicles can be used across a greater range of routes. Interoperability enhances equity and reduces range anxiety, and is critical to driving the widespread adoption of electric vehicles. Over the long term, open charging standards allow the industry to move forward as a cohesive unit, reducing the risk of tying infrastructure to technology that may become obsolete.”

Today’s letter urges officials from the Department of Energy, Department of Transportation, and General Services Administration to develop public charging infrastructure funding programs and plans that incorporate standards that enable electric vehicle drivers to freely utilize public charge points, stimulating competition that will help grow the electric vehicle market. 

“Most public EV charging systems live on proprietary islands and don’t allow for open payment, like you have at a gas station,” said Chris King, SVP-eMobility Strategic Partnerships for Siemens. “But we can change that with technologies that already exist, and progress is underway. We’re encouraged by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal and look forward to supporting its broad vision for infrastructure, including open standards and equitable access for a national EV charging network.”

“Merchants Fleet supports establishing EVSE interoperability standards as they will help improve charging accessibility for our clients while also affording flexibility in the planning for long term charging operations,” said Hari Nayar, director of electric vehicles and sustainability for Merchants Fleet. “We believe these standards will improve the charging environment for lease and rental EV fleets across the nation and will further empower both the public and private sector’s ability to achieve their sustainability goals.”

The Corporate Electric Vehicle Alliance, founded by Ceres in 2020, is a collaborative group of companies focused on accelerating the transition to zero emission vehicles. The concepts of interoperability and open access are a key component of the Alliance’s principles, designed as a roadmap for policymakers, regulators, and vehicle manufacturers, providing steps they can take to accelerate commercial electric vehicle deployment in the United States.

Ceres is a nonprofit organization working with the most influential capital market leaders to solve the world’s greatest sustainability challenges. Through our powerful networks and global collaborations of investors, companies and nonprofits, we drive action and inspire equitable market-based and policy solutions throughout the economy to build a just and sustainable future. For more information, visit ceres.org and follow @CeresNews.