California is arguable the most friendly state out there when it comes to electric vehicles. On top of a federal tax credit of up to $7,500 available across the country, residents of California are eligible for additional rebates of up to $2,500. There are also special decals that let owners drive in the carpool lane solo. This puts a lot of EVs on California roads and utility companies want help installing enough chargers to keep them all going.
It’s no small amount of money. The three largest utilities in the state are looking for $1 billion to expand the charging infrastructure. Their plans call for expanding charging for larger vehicles like buses as well as increasing the number of quick-charge stations.
The money will also go to research aimed at increasing the use of electric vehicles, especially in new situations. This includes electrifying heavy-duty vehicles, simplified charging for residential customers, and the possibility of working with third parties on electrification plans.
It sounds like a lovely idea, but it won’t come cheap. PG&E is looking for $250 million, SCE is hoping to get $570 million, and San Diego Gas & Electric is seeking $246 million. And just like that, the State of California is looking at one billion dollars to expand the scope of electric vehicle usage.
Looking at those high numbers, you might think they’re suffering from a shortage of charging stations in California, but you’re more likely to find one there than anywhere else in the country. The US Department of Energy figures there are around 40,000 charging stations available to the public across the country. You’ll find 12,000 in California alone.
The requests from these utility companies falls in line with meeting California’s greenhouse-gas emissions goals. These call for 40 percent reduction in those gases from 1990 to 2030. Estimates credit 40 percent of state’s greenhouse gas emissions to transportation, which makes electric vehicles a large part of the solution.
Aside from California’s state-specific goals, the EPA has its own lofty requirements for automakers. They’re looking for fleet fuel economy goals of 54.5 mpg by 2025 which is quite a stretch from where we are today. There is the possibility the current administration will relax those numbers, but California intends to have their own strict standards that are higher than the EPA’s no matter what the federal government requires. The electric utilities want to help make it happen, they just need a cool billion dollars for their troubles.