State utility regulators unanimously signed off on a transportation electrification plan Nov. 17 that directs utilities’ proposed investments in electric vehicle charging infrastructure be approved under one California Public Utilities Commission program from 2025-30.
The CPUC’s new plan also approves Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, San Diego Gas & Electric and two smaller utilities spending up to $1 billion of ratepayer money on chargers for small, medium and large vehicles. The spending on charging infrastructure is to prioritize benefits to polluted disadvantaged and tribal communities.
“The plan marks an important milestone in our role to promote transportation electrification,” said CPUC Commissioner Cliff Rechtschaffen.
From 2025-30, 70% of the funds—$700 million—will be to support medium–and heavy-duty vehicle chargers because trucks and other large vehicles produce a disproportionate amount of greenhouse gas emissions and pollutants that damage the lungs. The remaining 30% of the money will be for chargers for cars and other light duty vehicles at or near apartments.
The new program will offer rebates for investments in charging infrastructure made by residential, commercial and industrial customers. The rebates are to be higher for projects in disadvantaged and tribal communities.
The EV market in California has been growing significantly, currently making up 17% of new car sales. There are 115 EV models and zero emission vehicles are one of the state’s leading exports, Rechtschaffen said.
Earlier, the CPUC approved $1.8 billion in spending on transportation electrification of light and heavy duty vehicles. But the investor-owned utilities have spent only $333 million on the charging infrastructure, 17% of the funds, according to the CPUC.
The California Energy Commission estimates California may need up to 1.2 million chargers to support an estimated eight million light-duty EVs. As of April, there were only a little more than 79,000 public and private chargers installed. In addition, 157,000 chargers are needed to support medium and heavy duty EVS.
More Energy Commission EV grants
The day before, the Energy Commission approved $8 million in grants for new electric vehicle chargers that are to be accessible to underserved communities. The funding approved Nov. 16 seeks to increase electric vehicle ownership and advance the state’s equity goals.
Charging company EVgo Services was awarded $2.76 million to install 24 direct current fast chargers, with a mix of ports with capacities of 100 kW and 350 kW.
One of the grants is for ports in Southern California that are to be sited at five shopping centers within five miles of several multi-family dwellings housing 186,000. The company was also awarded $868,600 for nine fast chargers in Santa Clara that are accessible to 36,000 low income apartments.
Charge Point was awarded two grants, each for $2.1 million, to install 254 charging ports in multifamily residences in both halves of the state. Of those, 75% of the level 2 ports are to be installed in low income and disadvantaged communities.
More than $655,700 was awarded for ports in Ukiah, which are to be placed at the county Administrative Services Center and a social services center.