Electric Vehicles (EV)


The transition to electric vehicles (EV) affords tremendous opportunity for transportation leaders to expand their market share and innovative new entrants to stake their claims. This includes car makers, Tier 1 component and equipment suppliers, battery and charging system manufacturers, vehicle fleet operators, and others. In 2021, worldwide sales of EVs climbed to more than 2.65 million vehicles in the first two quarters, and is projected to reach 6.4 million EVs sold by year-end, representing 98% YoY growth.  Global leaders continue to pursue policies and create incentives favoring the switch to low-carbon transportation systems. But embracing an all-electric future requires an understanding of the evolving policy landscape, a multidisciplinary lens on the legal and business risks associated with broad deployment of EVs, and adept counseling to navigate changing regulatory landscapes.

Linking our government policy expertise, regulatory depth, and litigation know-how with four decades of transportation experience, Crowell & Moring’s EV practice is at the forefront of change in the sector, helping EV clients pursue opportunities while navigating challenges and mitigating risks. We stand ready to assist our EV clients in a number of areas, including:

Powering an EV Fleet and Developing Infrastructure

  • Determine how to power EV fleets based on our knowledge of the current and likely future commercial and regulatory dynamics of infrastructure and energy markets.
  • Identify opportunities to obtain and negotiate the purchase of electricity, accounting for the corresponding state and federal regulatory implications.
  • Navigate regulations applicable to owners and operators of EV charging stations, which some states may view as subject to utility-type regulation by public utilities commissions.
  • Assist in obtaining and leveraging the value of environmental credits.

Complying with Environmental, Emissions, and Other Regulations

  • Advise on compliance with federal and state regulations governing purchasers, users, and servicers of EVs, including CO2 emissions regulations and hazardous waste disposal regulations.
  • Provide guidance on regulations governing repairs to EVs under the Clean Air Act’s emissions control “defeat device” provisions and prohibitions against tampering, and help ensure compliance with EPA certifications.
  • Counsel EV fleet operators on purchase and sale decisions regarding the desired mix of EVs and combustion-engine vehicles for fleets in light of regulatory and other legal considerations.
  • Address compliance with NHTSA and other vehicle regulations insofar as they pertain to EVs.

Corporate Transactions and Commercial Agreements

  • Negotiating commercial and license agreements and managing liability and data issues.
  • Navigating monetization of data and other information and assets.
  • Structuring transactions in evolving partnership and joint‐venture models.
  • Developing and structuring risk‐managed mergers & acquisitions, growth strategies and investments.

Establishing Government Relations

  • Represent U.S. manufacturers and other EV stakeholders seeking increased federal investment in critical EV infrastructure or other government action before Congress.
  • Guide the development of a government affairs strategy to strengthen relationships with policy makers and identify business development opportunities.
  • Develop congressional affairs strategies in preparation for hearings on vehicle emissions rules.

Expanding the Nationwide Charging Station Network

  • Advise on federal and state legislation and funding initiatives for the nationwide network of EV charging stations.
  • Advocate on behalf of organizations—as a visible player, coalition member, or strictly behind the scenes—as policy decisions are made on charging station funding, location, and taxes.
  • Develop and implement a land-use strategy to ensure charging stations are available to customers.

Marketing and Advertising Guidance

  • Review and revise marketing materials to ensure compliance with the Federal Trade Commission’s Green Guides and to minimize exposure to class action claims of false or misleading advertising, including “greenwashing” and overstatement.

Warranty Advice and Product Liability Protection

  • Tailor warranties to account specifically for EV battery, lidar, and associated technologies.
  • Anticipate and risk-assess product liability and other claims focused on EV technologies.
  • Conduct due diligence assessments associated with potential partners in EV enterprises, acquisitions, or suppliers.
  • Adapt internal company compliance and corrective action systems to EV recall and exposure scenarios.

Navigating EV Tax Issues

  • Advise on current and proposed tax benefits (credits/depreciation/recapture) for EVs and charging stations.
  • Advise on legislation and regulations imposing highway trust fund taxes based on EV “miles travelled.”

Protecting EV Innovation

  • Provide freedom to operate opinions and patent landscape advice on electric vehicle technologies.
  • Secure patent protection for electric vehicle innovations including BEVs, PHEVs, and HEVs and related electric vehicle technology.
  • Protect and defend electric vehicle innovation in patent litigation and inter partes reviews.
  • Assist with IP licensing strategies and technology partnerships to support EV commercialization and charging station infrastructure development.