[Federal Register Volume 86, Number 224 (Wednesday, November 24, 2021)]
[Notices]
[Pages 67115-67118]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2021-25717]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY

[Docket No. FHWA-2021-0015]


Buy America Request for Information

AGENCY: U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), U.S. Department of 
Energy. (DOE).

[[Page 67116]]


ACTION: Notice; request for information (RFI).

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SUMMARY: Reshaping the United States transportation system with 
electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure is an important part of 
the solution to the climate crisis. EV charger manufacturing, assembly, 
installation, and maintenance all have the potential to not only 
support policies on sustainability and climate, but also to create 
good-paying, union jobs in the United States. This RFI is intended to 
gather information on shifting manufacturing and assembly processes to 
the United States considering the bold investment planned in EV 
charging. DOT and DOE (the Agencies) are interested in hearing from the 
public, including stakeholders (such as State and local agencies, the 
EV charger manufacturing industry, component suppliers, labor unions, 
related associations, and transportation advocates), on the 
availability of EV chargers manufactured and assembled in the United 
States, including whether they comply with applicable Buy America 
requirements.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before January 10, 2022.

ADDRESSES: To ensure that you do not duplicate your docket submissions, 
please submit all comments by only one of the following ways:
    [ssquf] Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to www.regulations.gov and 
follow the online instructions for submitting comments.
    [ssquf] Mail: Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of 
Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Ave. SE, W12-140, Washington, DC 20590-
0001.
    [ssquf] Hand Delivery: West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 
1200 New Jersey Ave. SE, Washington, DC 20590-0001, between 9 a.m. and 
5 p.m. E.T., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The 
telephone number is 202-366-9329.
    [ssquf] Instructions: You must include the agency name and the 
docket number, FHWA-2021-0015, at the beginning of your comments. All 
comments received will be posted without change to www.regulations.gov, 
including any personal information provided.
    [ssquf] Privacy Act: Except as provided below, all comments 
received into the docket will be searchable by the name of the 
individual submitting the comment (or signing the comment, if submitted 
on behalf of an association, business, labor union, etc.). You may 
review DOT's complete Privacy Act Statement in the Federal Register 
published on April 11, 2000 (65 FR 19477) or at www.regulations.gov/privacy.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For questions about this RFI, please 
contact Mr. Brian Hogge, FHWA Office of Infrastructure, 202-366-1562, 
or via email at [email protected]. For legal questions, please 
contact Mr. Patrick C. Smith, FHWA Office of the Chief Counsel, 202-
366-1345, or via email at [email protected]. Office hours for 
FHWA are from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., E.T., Monday through Friday, 
except Federal holidays.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Electronic Access

    A copy of this Notice, all comments received on this Notice, and 
all background material may be viewed online at https://www.regulations.gov using the docket number listed above. Electronic 
retrieval help and guidelines are also available at https://www.regulations.gov. An electronic copy of this document also may be 
downloaded from the Office of the Federal Register's website at: 
www.FederalRegister.gov and the Government Publishing Office's database 
at: www.GovInfo.gov.

Confidential Business Information

    Confidential Business Information (CBI) is commercial or financial 
information that is both customarily and actually treated as private by 
its owner. Under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) (5 U.S.C. 552), 
CBI is exempt from public disclosure. If your comments responsive to 
this RFI contain commercial or financial information that is 
customarily treated as private, that you actually treat as private, and 
that is relevant or responsive to this RFI, it is important that you 
clearly designate the submitted comments as CBI. Pursuant to 49 CFR 
190.343 and 10 CFR 1004.11, you may ask DOT and DOE to give 
confidential treatment to information you give to the Agency by taking 
the following steps: (1) Mark each page of the original document 
submission containing CBI as ``Confidential''; (2) send the Agencies, 
along with the original document, a second copy of the original 
document with the CBI deleted; and (3) explain why the information you 
are submitting is CBI. Unless you are notified otherwise, the Agencies 
will treat such marked submissions as confidential under the FOIA, and 
they will not be placed in the public docket of this RFI. Submissions 
containing CBI should be sent to Mr. Brian Hogge, FHWA, 1200 New Jersey 
Avenue SE, HICP-20, Washington, DC 20590. Any comment submissions that 
the Agencies receive that are not specifically designated as CBI will 
be placed in the public docket for this matter.

General Summary

    The President has laid out a bold vision for making transformative 
transportation investments to support job growth and reshape the U.S. 
transportation system to support a sustainable energy and climate 
future. The President has set the ambitious goal of building a new 
national network of 500,000 EV chargers by 2030.\1\ The Infrastructure 
Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) includes $7.5 billion to build out 
electric vehicle charging across the nation to make the bold vision a 
reality. EV charger manufacturing, assembly, installation, and 
maintenance all have the potential to not only support the President's 
policies on sustainability and climate, but also to create good-paying, 
union jobs in the United States. Currently, the Agencies have limited 
information on the manufacturing and assembly of EV chargers, such as 
whether EV chargers manufactured in the United States can comply with 
applicable Buy America requirements.
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    \1\ White House Fact Sheet: Biden Administration Advances 
Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure (Apr. 22, 2021), available 
at https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/04/22/fact-sheet-biden-administration-advances-electric-vehicle-charging-infrastructure/.
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    This RFI is intended to: (i) Help the Agencies better understand 
whether and to what extent domestic sourcing is available now or may be 
possible in the future for EV charging equipment and components; (ii) 
ensure domestic manufacturers have the opportunity to identify any EV 
charger meeting applicable Buy America requirement; (iii) ensure 
domestic manufacturers have the opportunity to identify any EV charger 
that could meet a domestic final assembly condition, and identify the 
portion of components that meet a domestic final assembly condition; 
and (iv) highlight benefits of shifting manufacturing and assembly 
processes to the United States considering the bold investment planned 
in this area.
    The investment in EV chargers in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal 
(Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, H.R. 3684, 117th Cong. (2021)) 
(hereinafter referred to as the BID), can create good-paying, union 
jobs in America for installation and maintenance that cannot be 
outsourced. Moreover, domestic jobs may also be created to manufacture 
domestically available components of those systems.

[[Page 67117]]

    The Agencies are seeking information on the potential benefits to 
the domestic EV industry of bringing more EV charging equipment 
manufacturing and assembly to the United States. By shifting 
manufacturing and assembly processes to the United States for EV 
chargers as soon as is practicable, and making necessary arrangements 
with vendors to obtain appropriate certifications showing Buy America 
compliance for steel and iron components, domestic manufacturing firms 
have potential to obtain significant first-adopter benefits from the 
bold investments planned in EV charging infrastructure. Due to FHWA's 
existing Buy America requirement, if only one domestic manufacturer 
produces an EV charger meeting its requirement, States that use 
Federal-aid funds would have to use that manufacturer assuming it can 
meet demand. The Agencies, through this RFI, aim to gather data and 
information on domestic manufacturing of EV chargers, including 
understanding the capability of maximizing the domestic content of EV 
chargers and opportunities for American workers to manufacture, 
assemble, install, and maintain them.
    Through this RFI, the Agencies seek information regarding the 
availability of EV chargers manufactured and assembled in the United 
States, including whether they comply with applicable Buy America 
requirements. Although the Agencies are not aware of any EV chargers 
currently able to meet applicable Buy America requirement for steel and 
iron, the Agencies are interested in promptly obtaining more 
information on this issue and others set forth below. Obtaining this 
information promptly is necessary for the Agencies to determine how 
best to simultaneously support the President's policies on climate, 
create a national network of EV charging infrastructure, and comply 
with Buy America requirements.

Background

    In January 2021, the President issued Executive Order (E.O.) 14005, 
titled ``Ensuring the Future is Made in All of America by All of 
America's Workers.'' 86 FR 7475 (Jan. 28, 2021). E.O. 14005 states that 
the United States Government ``should, consistent with applicable law, 
use terms and conditions of Federal financial assistance awards and 
Federal procurements to maximize the use of goods, products, and 
materials produced in, and services offered in, the United States.'' 
The Agencies are committed to ensuring strong and effective Buy America 
implementation consistent with E.O. 14005. Obtaining information 
through this RFI is essential to determine how the Agencies might spur 
and incentivize domestic manufacturing of EV chargers, including EV 
chargers that meet applicable Buy America requirement for steel and 
iron. At the same time, the Agencies must also consider how to ensure 
that EV chargers are widely available in the immediate future for FHWA-
funded projects in the United States in support of policies to address 
the climate crisis, as discussed below.
    In January 2021, the President also issued E.O. 14008, titled 
Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad. 86 FR 7619 (Feb. 1, 
2021). The President has directed the Federal government to use the 
full capacity of its agencies and implement a Government-wide approach 
to address the climate crisis throughout the economy. This approach 
includes deployment of clean energy technologies and infrastructure. In 
the context of EV charging infrastructure, the White House has also 
expressed the goal to accelerate deployment of electric vehicles and 
charging stations, which will create good-paying, union jobs and move 
us forward on the path toward a clean transportation future.\2\
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    \2\ White House FACT SHEET: Biden Administration Advances 
Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure, Apr. 22, 2021. https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/04/22/fact-sheet-biden-administration-advances-electric-vehicle-charging-infrastructure/.
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    EVs, which produce zero tailpipe emissions and can be powered by 
clean, renewable energy instead of gasoline or diesel fuel, are an 
important part of the solution to the climate crisis. The President's 
goal of building a new national network of 500,000 EV chargers by 2030 
is a key strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Buy America Requirements Under Title 23, United States Code, and the 
BID

    The existing FHWA Buy America requirement, set forth at 23 U.S.C. 
313 and 23 CFR 635.410, requires that all steel and iron that is 
permanently incorporated into a project must be manufactured in the 
United States unless a waiver is granted, including steel and iron 
components of a manufactured product. This requirement applies to the 
obligation of Title 23 U.S.C. funds. For all steel or iron materials to 
be used in projects that involve the obligation of Federal funds, all 
manufacturing processes, including application of a coating, must occur 
in the United States. Coating includes all processes which protect or 
enhance the value of the material to which the coating is applied. Such 
projects involve both the acquisition and installation of such 
equipment. Additionally, the FHWA's Buy America requirement applies to 
all contracts regardless of the funding source if any contract within 
the scope of a determination under the National Environmental Policy 
Act (NEPA) involves an obligation of Federal funds. See 23 U.S.C. 
313(g). DOT and DOE are also committed to ensuring strong and effective 
Buy America implementation consistent with E.O. 14005. E.O. 14005 calls 
for maximizing domestic content and services using terms and conditions 
of Federal financial assistance awards and Federal procurements.
    FHWA currently applies its standard for steel or iron materials 
under 23 CFR 635.410 to the steel or iron components of predominantly 
steel or iron manufactured products.\3\ For steel and iron components 
of predominantly steel and iron products, FHWA requires that ``all 
manufacturing processes, including application of a coating, for these 
materials must occur in the United States.'' 23 CFR 635.410(b)(1)(ii). 
For manufactured products that are not predominantly steel and iron, 
the FHWA currently has a nationwide general waiver from Buy America 
requirements, which has been in effect since 1983. 48 FR 53099 (Nov. 
25, 1983).
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    \3\ See https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/programadmin/contracts/122297.cfm; and Question #12, at https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/construction/contracts/buyam_qa.cfm.
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    In addition to existing FHWA Buy America requirements, Title IX, 
Subtitle A of the BID, entitled ``Build America, Buy America'' (BABA), 
provides that not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of 
the BID, funds made available for a Federal financial assistance 
program for infrastructure may not be obligated for a project unless 
all of the iron, steel, manufactured products, and construction 
materials used in the project are produced in the United States. BID, 
at Sec.  70914(a).
    The compliance standard for iron or steel products in the BID at 
Sec.  70912(6)(A) is similar to the FHWA standard for steel or iron 
materials at 23 CFR 635.410(b)(1). Also, the BID adds a new category of 
materials that are covered by Buy America. Specifically, the BID 
extends Buy America coverage to ``construction materials.'' BID, at 
Sec.  70912(6)(C). The bill also provides that not later than 180 days 
after the date of enactment of BID, the Director of the Office of 
Management and Budget (OMB) must issue standards that define the term 
``all manufacturing processes''

[[Page 67118]]

in the case of construction materials. BID, at Sec.  70915(b)(1). In 
issuing the standards, OMB must ensure that each manufacturing process 
required for the manufacture of the construction material and the 
inputs of the construction material occurs in the United States. BID, 
at Sec.  70915(b)(2). OMB must also take into consideration and seek to 
maximize the direct and indirect jobs benefited or created in the 
production of the construction material. Id.

Request for Information

    Through this RFI, the Agencies are soliciting information and 
suggestions from the public and a broad array of stakeholders across 
public and private sectors that may be familiar with or interested in 
manufacturing and assembly of EV chargers and their deployment as part 
of Federal-aid construction projects.

Request To Specify EV Charger Type

    In answering the questions below, the Agencies ask that you 
indicate in your written comments which question(s) you are answering 
and to specify in each answer what type of EV charger you are 
discussing. For example, specify what level of charging is it used for, 
whether it uses the SAE J1772 connector for AC charging (also known as 
the J-plug), whether it provides DC Fast Charging, whether it uses the 
Combined Charging System (CCS) connector, whether it uses the CHAdeMO 
connector, and other relevant information.

General Questions on EV Chargers

    1. Identify all EV charger manufacturers currently selling, 
manufacturing, or operating in the United States, of which you are 
aware.
    2. Identify all such EV charger manufacturers of which you are 
aware that can either meet FHWA's Buy America requirement or can 
currently assemble EV chargers in the United States to meet a domestic 
final assembly condition. For those that can meet a final assembly 
condition, please identify the percentage of components manufactured in 
the United States (if known).
    3. What is the total cost of a typical EV charger?
    4. How much does cost vary for EV chargers? Why does the cost vary?
    5. What is the average delivery timeline for an EV charger?
    6. How much does delivery time vary for EV chargers? Why does the 
delivery time vary?
    7. For manufacturers: What type(s) of EV chargers are currently 
produced or likely to be produced in the near future?

Manufacturer Ability To Meet FHWA's Existing Buy America Requirement

    8. Are there existing EV chargers that meet FHWA's existing Buy 
America requirement for steel and iron? (Yes or No)
    9. If you answered yes to the preceding question:
    a. How many EV chargers meeting FHWA's existing Buy America 
requirement for steel and iron can be manufactured per year?
    b. What is the price typically paid for the steel and iron for used 
in EV chargers?
    c. What percent of the total price is typically representative cost 
of the steel and iron used in EV chargers?
    d. Can the origins of the steel and iron used in your charger by 
certified by documentation? If so, how?
    e. What is the typical delivery timeline for EV chargers?
    10. For those EV chargers currently manufactured that cannot meet 
FHWA's Buy America requirement, what steps can be taken to provide EV 
chargers that meet FHWA's existing Buy America requirement? How long 
might it take to undertake those steps? What is the volume of EV 
chargers that could be shifted to manufacture in compliance with FHWA's 
Buy America requirement? Can that volume be ramped up over time?

Manufacturer Ability To Meet Domestic Final Assembly Condition for EV 
Chargers

    11. Are there existing EV chargers that are currently assembled in 
the United States that could meet a domestic final assembly condition? 
(Yes or No).
    12. If you answered yes to the preceding question, provide details 
about domestic final assembly. Also explain whether this includes 
domestic final assembly of all EV charger components and whether the 
assembled EV charger is ready for installation and use.
    13. If you answered yes to Question 12:
    a. How many EV chargers assembled in the United States (meeting a 
domestic final assembly condition) currently meet the domestic final 
assembly requirement?
    b. How many EV chargers assembled in the United States (meeting a 
domestic final assembly condition) could be expected to be provided 
annually each year between 2022 and 2030?
    c. What would be the likely price of EV chargers meeting the 
domestic final assembly requirement?
    d. What is the likely timeline for delivery of those EV chargers?
    e. What percentage of the components used in an EV charger 
assembled in the United States are themselves made in the United 
States? Of the components made in the United States, what percentage of 
those are iron and steel as opposed to other parts?

EV Charger Components and Subcomponents

    14. Identify each component and subcomponent typically contained in 
an EV charger (or for manufacturers, in the EV chargers you produce).
    15. What materials do the components and subcomponents consist of 
(e.g., iron, steel, non-ferrous metals, semiconductors, plastics?
    16. Provide information on the manufacturing processes for each 
component and subcomponent, including where the manufacturing processes 
occur.
    17. Provide information on the assembly steps for each component or 
subcomponent including where the assembly steps occur (if the answer 
differs from the preceding question).
    18. Provide information on the cost of each component or 
subcomponent.
    19. Provide information on the domestic content of each component 
or subcomponent, including the amount and percentage of domestic 
content (relative to foreign content). If this cannot be traced, 
explain why.

Ability To Maximize Domestic Content, Services, and Labor

    20. Provide information on how the domestic content of EV chargers 
(including their components, subcomponents, or component bundles) could 
be maximized (even if full Buy-America compliance is not possible).
    21. Provide information on how domestic services and labor used in 
the manufacturing and assembly of EV chargers (including their 
components, subcomponents, or component bundles) could be maximized 
(even if full Buy-America compliance is not possible).
    Authority: 23 U.S.C. 313; Pub. L. 110-161; 23 CFR 635.410.

Polly Trottenberg,
Deputy Secretary, Department of Transportation.
Kelly J. Speakes-Backman,
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and 
Renewable Energy, Department of Energy.
[FR Doc. 2021-25717 Filed 11-23-21; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-22-P