DC Fast Charge Program

Approximately $3.45 million will be available in Phase 1 of the DC Fast Charge Program, which is designed to expand the state’s charging infrastructure network along priority designated corridors, particularly high-traffic routes between population hubs. A separate RFP for Level 2 stations will be released at a later date.

Benefits of Installing DC Fast Charging Stations

  • Attracts EV owners to your business or community
  • Offers a convenient place to charge that extends driving range
  • Encourages EV adoption by increasing visibility of EVs and charging options
  • Provides a valuable amenity to attract new customers
  • Shows an example of meeting customers’ requests and future needs
  • Promotes sustainability efforts and social responsibility
  • Supports emerging technologies and showcases your business as innovative

Application Logistics

  • Applications and supporting documentation must be submitted by 5 p.m. on September 30, 2019, using the downloadable application form at https://deq.nc.gov/VWsettlement-DC-RFP.
  • This is a reimbursement program: Applicants must provide their own funding and then track and document all expenses for reimbursement. Grant payments will be disbursed as reimbursements after the work is completed, verified and approved.Do not purchase anything or start the project until contract documentation is signed with the NCDEQ.
  • Eligible applicants include incorporated nonprofits, public school districts, municipal governments and authorities, NC State government agencies, tribal government agencies, local metropolitan or rural planning organizations, businesses incorporated in or registered with the NC Department of the Secretary of State, and air quality or transportation organizations.
  • Applicants can request funds to cover the cost to purchase, install and maintain electric vehicle supply equipment on government property (up to 100% can be funded) and non-government property (up to 80% can be funded).
  • A combination of evaluation factors will be considered during the proposal review process. The NCDEQ will consider the overall cost-effectiveness and the potential for early implementation and completion of each application. The scoring criteria can be found on page 15 of the RFP.
    • Priority will be given to particular interstate and highway corridors in North Carolina, and certain location-specific requirements must be met. Lower priority will be given to proposals in metropolitan areas already served by DC fast charging infrastructure.
    • The station must be able to deliver at least 50 kW and offer both CHAdeMO and CCS connectors.
    • The site must be publicly accessible 24 hours per day, seven days per week.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is a DC fast charger? How is it different from other charging stations, like one I would use at home?
    • DC fast chargers supply current directly to an electric vehicle’s battery, unlike Level 1 and Level 2 stations (common in homes), which supply AC power that has to be converted to DC before reaching the battery. This design allows DC fast chargers to charge a vehicle much faster than Level 1 and Level 2 stations, up to about 80% in 30 minutes. They are particularly beneficial for drivers looking for a quick charge while on a longer trip.

      DC fast chargers also use different types of connectors than do Level 1 and Level 2 stations. The leading fast charging standards are CCS and CHAdeMO, and each is compatible with particular electric vehicles. For this reason, the RFP requires that proposed DC fast charge stations offer both CCS and CHAdeMO connectors. (Tesla also has its own DC fast charge connector for its Superchargers, but it is not covered in this RFP.)

  2. How much will having a DC fast charger cost me as a site host?
    • It depends. If you are considering installing a DC fast charger on your company’s premises, talk to your utility about your electricity rate and how a charging station might impact your monthly bill. Typically, your rate (and therefore your bill) will comprise three parts: total energy use (in kWh), a demand charge (in kW) and a fixed charge (to maintain access to the grid).

      While total energy use (kWh) increases as more people charge, demand (kW) can be a bit less straightforward. In simple terms, the maximum kW value represents the total amount of power that a utility must keep available for a customer (in this case, the site host) to use. If electricity use due to charging spikes at any one time, this could increase the demand charge.

      The overall cost of a DC fast charger depends largely on the utilization of the charger and the rate structure in place where it is installed. Keep in mind that cost recovery of hosting a charger comes in many forms, including increasing traffic to your location (as drivers stop to charge) and establishing a cost to charge.

  3. Some charging stations appear to be free, but others cost money. What’s the difference, and how does this work?
    • DC fast charging stations have the option to require payment, and payment options are at the discretion of the operators who install or maintain the stations.

      Regardless of the fee structure implemented, the stations must be networked, which means that they must connect to a network either through wired Ethernet, Wi-Fi or a cellular connection. Networked stations can capture and report charging characteristics, which will need to be provided to the NCDEQ.

  4. What type of regulations do the charging stations have to follow?
    • Charging stations must make every effort to be compliant with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and follow all applicable laws, ordinances, regulations and standards. More information can be found here and here.
  5. What needs to be discussed with electrical contractors and inspectors?
    • This handbook is geared toward contractors and inspectors and includes overviews, guidelines and checklists to help them install charging stations. However, keep in mind that your charging station vendor will handle many of these steps when coordinating installation.

Next Steps

  • Contact your electric utility to see if your site can handle a DC fast charging station.
  • Reach out to vendors to secure pricing for charging equipment and installation. If you are a government entity and required to purchase through state contract, you can find vendors here.
  • Evaluate how much your company or organization is willing to contribute to the project. The more cost-sharing you can do, the more likely you are to receive funding.
  • Connect with Plug-in NC or your local Clean Cities coalition for help with your application.