Taken together, this initiative represents the largest coordinated effort for the state of California’s electric car infrastructure spending to date. Utilities expect to make the most of the future boom in this sector, even if growth remains slow.
The California Public Utility Commission (PUC) has been charged with facilitating the implementation of infrastructure plans for the three utilities – Pacific Gas & Electric (PG & E), San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG & E) and Southern California Edison (SCE) – via a law dating from 2015.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, PG & E will spend more than $ 22 million to install 230 DC fast charging stations in the state. PG & E and SCE will spend $ 236.3 million and $ 342.6 million, respectively, for infrastructure and financial assistance for electric trucks, buses and other vehicles. The investment also includes 1,500 charging stations. SDG & E has set aside $ 136.9 million to provide discounts to 60,000 customers who will install charging stations in their homes.
The three utilities also dedicated $ 29.5 million to study the effectiveness of their programs.
Public services between two fires
Public services have an interest in promoting electric vehicles: combating fuel expenditure in the transport sector is a major challenge. Especially when it comes to a distant state of the oil and gas industry.
However, they do not wish to encourage the adoption of electric vehicles too quickly . A study conducted in January by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has shown that too many electric cars in a given neighborhood could put a strain on the network,leading to expensive upgrades.
Slow breakthrough of electric vehicles globally
Despite California’s major commitment, the breakthrough of electric vehicles is slow. According to a report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) released last week, three million electric vehicles to board passengers would be in circulation in the world at the moment, against 2 million there is a year.
Figures certainly encouraging but somewhat disappointing. According to the IEA, policy changes are needed to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles.
California’s public service plans are a positive step, but the fact that other states are following the example of California is another challenge at the moment. With the exception of New York and New Jersey both of which approved similar expenditures for electric vehicle charging infrastructure of $ 250 million and $ 300 million, respectively.
The IEA notes that there are currently around 3 million chargers for personal electric vehicles worldwide and about 430,000 chargers available to the general public.