Are you ready to be a part of California’s EV revolution? The California Energy Commission (CEC) has just announced a groundbreaking funding opportunity that could shape the future of transportation in the Golden State. Here’s everything you need to know about the “Charging and Refueling Infrastructure for Transport in CALifornia Provided Along Targeted Highway Segments” (CRITICAL PATHS) initiative.

Eligibility: Who Can Apply?

This exciting solicitation is open to a wide range of stakeholders, including:

  • Public and private entities
  • Federally-recognized California Native American Tribes
  • California Tribal Organizations serving Federally-recognized California Native American Tribes

Notably, investor-owned utilities are not eligible to apply. However, it’s important to highlight that you don’t necessarily need to have your company headquarters in California to participate. What’s required is that you have at least one physical office within the State of California.

Key Dates to Remember

Mark your calendars because these dates are crucial:

  • Release Date: September 26, 2023
  • Submission Deadline: November 17, 2023, 11:59 pm
  • Questions Deadline: October 13, 2023, 5:00 pm

For assistance with the application process, make sure to view the User Registration Instructions and Applying for a Solicitation on the CEC’s website.

Purpose of the Funding Opportunity

The CRITICAL PATHS initiative aims to propel California’s EV infrastructure forward by providing up to $20 million in support for Medium- and Heavy-Duty infrastructure. This includes charging and refueling facilities for both electric and fuel cell electric vehicles. The designated corridors for this infrastructure have been identified through the diligent efforts of the Clean Transportation Commission, as mandated by Senate Bill 671.

Why Invest in Electric Vehicle Infrastructure?

Before delving into the specifics of this funding opportunity, let’s take a moment to explore why investing in EV infrastructure is crucial for California’s future.

  • Reducing Emissions: California has been a pioneer in environmental protection, and the transportation sector is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Promoting electric vehicles is a key strategy in reducing emissions and combatting climate change.
  • Improving Air Quality: Electric vehicles produce zero tailpipe emissions, contributing to improved air quality, particularly in urban areas where air pollution poses serious health risks.
  • Energy Independence: Transitioning to electric transportation reduces dependence on fossil fuels, promoting energy independence and enhancing energy security.
  • Economic Growth: Investing in EV infrastructure creates jobs and stimulates economic growth, particularly in industries related to clean energy technology.
  • Enhanced Mobility: EVs offer quiet, efficient, and accessible transportation options for all, reducing the burden of mobility costs on individuals and communities.

Now, let’s delve deeper into the specifics of this funding opportunity.

Terms and Conditions

Applicants should be aware that each grant agreement resulting from this solicitation will include specific terms and conditions that outline the rights and responsibilities of the grant recipient. It’s important to note that these terms and conditions will be non-negotiable.

The specific terms and conditions that will apply to your organization may vary but could include:

  • University of California and California State University terms and conditions.
    These terms are designed to ensure that universities receiving funding comply with all relevant policies and regulations. They may cover aspects such as reporting, budgeting, and project management.
  • U.S. Department of Energy terms and conditions.
    If your project involves federal funding, you may be subject to the terms and conditions set by the U.S. Department of Energy. These conditions are typically aligned with federal grant management regulations.
  • Standard terms and conditions.
    The CEC will have standard terms and conditions that all grant recipients must adhere to. These may cover matters like reporting, auditing, and compliance with state laws and regulations.

Additionally, there may be special terms and conditions for Federally-recognized California Native American Tribes and California Tribal Organizations serving them, as well as any other conditions deemed necessary by the CEC. You can find the standard terms and conditions on the CEC’s funding resources website.

Get Informed: Pre-Application Workshop

For those looking to delve deeper into the details and gain valuable insights into the application process, a Pre-Application Workshop will be held on October 10, 2023. This workshop is a great opportunity to get your questions answered and clarify any doubts you might have.

This workshop is not to be missed, especially if you’re new to the grant application process or if you want to understand the specific requirements and expectations of the CRITICAL PATHS initiative.

The Importance of Targeted Highway Segments

The CRITICAL PATHS initiative focuses on designated corridors for EV infrastructure. These corridors have been identified through the diligent work of the Clean Transportation Commission, mandated by Senate Bill 671. But why target specific highway segments?

  • Efficiency: By concentrating efforts and resources on selected corridors, the development of EV infrastructure becomes more efficient. This targeted approach ensures that critical routes are equipped with the necessary charging and refueling facilities.
  • Strategic Impact: Designating corridors strategically impacts transportation in key regions of California. It addresses the needs of both urban and rural areas, promoting equitable access to clean transportation.
  • Network Expansion: Focusing on specific segments facilitates the expansion of the EV charging and refueling network. As these corridors become well-equipped, it encourages further EV adoption and infrastructure expansion in neighboring areas.
  • Policy Alignment: The identification of corridors aligns with California’s policy goals for clean transportation, making it easier to track progress and measure the impact of investments.

Prepare for Success: Application Tips

As you prepare your application for the CRITICAL PATHS funding opportunity, consider these essential tips to enhance your chances of success:

  • Clearly Define Your Project: Provide a comprehensive description of your project, including its objectives, scope, and expected outcomes. Highlight how it aligns with the goals of the initiative.

  • Budget Wisely: Develop a well-thought-out budget that covers all project costs. Ensure that your budget aligns with the funding limits and guidelines outlined in the solicitation.

  • Demonstrate Impact: Clearly articulate the anticipated impact of your project on California’s EV infrastructure. Explain how it will benefit the state, reduce emissions, and promote sustainable transportation.

  • Partnerships Matter: If applicable, emphasize any partnerships or collaborations that strengthen your project’s credibility and effectiveness.

  • Compliance Is Key: Familiarize yourself with all applicable terms and conditions, and ensure that your proposal aligns with them. Failure to do so could result in disqualification.

A Sustainable Transportation Revolution

California is leading the way in sustainable transportation, and this funding opportunity is a testament to the state’s commitment to cleaner, greener, and more accessible transportation options. Whether you’re an established entity or a tribal organization, your participation could be a game-changer in California’s journey towards a cleaner and more sustainable future.

By investing in EV infrastructure along critical highway segments, California is not just creating a transportation network but also building a foundation for a sustainable future. These charging and refueling facilities will not only serve the needs of today but also pave the way for generations to come, ensuring that California remains a beacon of innovation and environmental stewardship.


Vladislav Gerasimov

Digital Marketing Manager

About the author

Vladislav Gerasimov is Digital Marketing Manager at AMPECO EV Charging Platform.