New energy vehicle charging operators in Michigan received federal funds under the National New Energy Vehicle Infrastructure Initiative (NEVI), but could lose up to 30% of their funding due to poor reliability. The $7.5 billion government fund is used to promote charging nationwide, and the corresponding compliance conditions mean that operators may waive payments if their charging stations are running on average less than 97% of the time.
Currently, there is no industry standard for measuring uptime. Tesla, for example, claims a 99.95% uptime rate for its Supercharger network. However, after detailed analysis, it can be seen that this is measured at the charging station level, which means that even if half of the charging piles in the charging station are not operating, the facility will still receive 100% points.
To combat misleading statistics and enforce uptime requirements, operators receiving government funding must submit uptime data for individual chargers, and states can reduce O&M payments if they don’t meet the criteria. In Michigan, these O&M payments account for 30 percent of the operator’s grant funds, spread evenly over five years. All of these payments are likely to be cut, as annual payments are reduced by 25% for each quarter in which uptime falls below target.
Performance at chargers across the U.S. has so far been poor, leading to concerns about whether uptime metrics can be achieved or enforced. Automakers and charging companies have switched to Tesla’s North American Charging Standard (NACS) chargers, citing reliability as one of the reasons. Meanwhile, companies like ChargePoint are increasing network monitoring and usage predictive analytics to more quickly identify and repair damaged chargers.