Electrification, Legislation + Regulation

Waiver of Buy America Requirements for EV Chargers

Waiver of Buy America Requirements for EV Chargers


The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) established a temporary public interest waiver to waive Buy America requirements for steel, iron, manufactured products, and construction materials in electric vehicle (EV) chargers. The temporary waiver became effective on March 23, 2023.

This short-term, temporary waiver enables EV charger acquisition and installation to proceed while also ensuring the application of Buy America to EV chargers by the phasing out of the waiver over time. On the effective date of this waiver, it will apply to all EV chargers manufactured by July 1, 2024, whose final assembly occurs in the United States, and whose installation has begun by October 1, 2024.

Beginning with EV chargers manufactured on July 1, 2024, FHWA will phase out coverage under this waiver for those previously covered EV chargers where the cost of components manufactured in the United States does not exceed 55 percent of the cost of all components. This second phase will therefore apply to all EV chargers that are manufactured on or after July 1, 2024, whose final assembly occurs in the United States, and for which the cost of components manufactured in the United States is at least 55 percent of the cost of all components.

For all phases, EV charger housing components that are predominantly steel and iron are excluded from the waiver and must meet current FHWA Buy America requirements. As of the effective date of this waiver, FHWA is also removing EV chargers from its existing general applicability waiver for manufactured products.

On November 15, 2021, the President signed into law the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), enacted as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) (Pub. L. 117-58). The BIL makes the largest investment in EV charging in U.S. history, including $5 billion over 5 years that will be made available under the new National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program.

Complete information for the FHWA temporary waiver for EV chargers can be found here

Image: Pexels.com


  • Jeffrey David Schwartz November 21, 2023, 11:07 AM

    Interesting article but it fails to explain why the exemptions were made. Buy American is not only a good plan, but also the right plan and exceptions like this will only delay our progress.

    • David Shiller November 22, 2023, 4:37 PM

      Jeff, thanks for your comment. To answer your question, I dug into the Federal Register and found the following:

      “The FHWA believes it most appropriate to carry out Congress’ intent to timely complete EV charger infrastructure projects and ensure that the steel, iron, manufactured products, and construction materials used in infrastructure projects are produced in the United States through a specially tailored waiver that balances the need to have a supply of EV chargers with the need to ramp up domestic production through a phased approach, which, during the 55 percent phase, will cover EV chargers in close alignment with the BABA standards for manufactured products. The FHWA also proposed and intends to implement a final waiver with a phased approach, which provides an incentive for manufacturers to shift toward domestic manufacturing processes to comply with the narrowing scope of the waiver.

      Further, as discussed in more detail below, FHWA plans to exclude the housing, cabinet, or enclosure of an EV charger (hereinafter referred to as the “housing”) of EV chargers, if that component is predominantly steel or iron, from coverage under both phases of this waiver. Doing so gives effect to FHWA’s long-standing practice of excluding predominantly steel and iron components of manufactured products from the Manufactured Products General Waiver. This also seeks to remove uncertainty among recipients [12]

      and the EV charger industry over which components would need to comply with FHWA’s existing requirements for iron and steel. The FHWA believes that this final waiver therefore is consistent with the public interest and is justified pursuant to section 70914(b)(1) of BABA.”

      “While FHWA acknowledges the progress that some companies have made in manufacturing Buy America-compliant EV chargers, FHWA is still uncertain whether these companies can respond to the immediate demand for EV chargers that will result from programs under BIL, such as the NEVI Formula program and supply equipment that is certified as fully Buy America-compliant. The FHWA is also unsure if statements that existing EV chargers are Buy America-compliant are relying on the Manufactured Products General Waiver being available to cover non-domestic components that are not predominantly steel or iron. While some manufactures may be able to domestically assemble chargers at the present, FHWA is concerned that many manufacturers could not produce Buy America-compliant chargers without the Manufactured Products General Waiver being in effect. The FHWA believes, as noted above, that removing EV chargers from the Manufactured Products General Waiver aligns with the goals of Buy America requirements and seeks to ensure that EV chargers are produced with domestic manufactured components. Finally, FHWA seeks to reiterate that this waiver does not prohibit the purchase of Buy America-compliant EV chargers by a recipient if such chargers are available; the comments received, however, indicate a limited supply of EV chargers that is currently insufficient to ensure that EV charger infrastructure projects are delivered on time, which is the basis for this waiver.”

      Source: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2023/02/21/2023-03498/waiver-of-buy-america-requirements-for-electric-vehicle-chargers#:~:text=The%20FHWA%20believes%20it%20most,specially%20tailored%20waiver%20that%20balances


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