California Approves $44 Million for San Diego EV Charging

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Originally published on the NRDC Expert Blog.
By Miles Muller 

San Diego Gas & Electric will deploy roughly 2,000 new electric vehicle charging stations at apartment and workplaces across the San Diego region, under a $44 million program approved by the California Public Utilities Commission. The investment will allow the utility to help fill the need for charging infrastructure at workplaces and apartment complexes where cars are parked for long periods, supporting accelerated EV adoption and California’s ambitious transportation electrification goals.

Solar-powered rural EV charging. Image courtesy of Electrify America.

The approval of this program reflects the support of a broad and diverse group of stakeholders who participated in the Commission’s public process to review the proposal. NRDC, Sierra Club, the Union of Concerned Scientists, the Coalition of California Utility Employees, Greenlots, Siemens, EVBox, Enel X, and General Motors had all jointly urged the Commission to approve the program.

Expanding Access to Charging Across San Diego

The new program, the “Power Your Drive Extension,” will continue the momentum of SDG&E’s successful Power Your Drive Pilot which installed over 3,000 charging stations at apartments and workplaces over three years. The program is designed to satisfy the significant remaining demand for charging infrastructure at apartment and workplace sites not previously served by the pilot. The program retains most of the features of SDG&E’s successful pilot while incorporating lessons learned from the pilot and other utility programs like Southern California Edison’s Charge Ready pilot.

To improve air quality where such improvements are needed most and to enable greater EV adoption in historically underserved communities, the program also establishes ambitious targets for deploying stations in disadvantaged communities and apartments. The Power Your Drive Extension will deploy a minimum of fifty percent of stations in underserved communities, with a minimum of fifty percent of stations deployed at apartment buildings or nearby locations serving apartment residents. The program will also educate customers about the benefits of driving on electricity, with SDG&E working in collaboration with local Community Based Organizations to assist with outreach.

The Power Your Drive Extension also continues and refines the pilot’s “Vehicle Grid Integration” rate, which leverages dynamic pricing to encourage charging when renewable energy is abundant and making it cheapest to charge at those times. Paired with user-friendly web-interfaces and smartphone apps, the refined rate should allow EV drivers to maximize their fuel savings. The program also allows participating sites to enroll on SDG&E’s recently approved commercial EV rate, and establishes a default arrangement in which site hosts pass time-varying price signals directly through to drivers. This arrangement promotes charging in a manner that is consistent with grid conditions, offers the opportunity for drivers to realize fuel cost savings, and preserves flexibility to accommodate site host operational needs.

Filling the Charging Infrastructure Deployment Gap

By providing expanded access to charging at these locations and ensuring that drivers who charge in a manner consistent with grid conditions realize fuel costs savings relative to gasoline and diesel, the Power Your Drive Extension will support EV adoption in the region while helping achieve the state’s ambitious EV adoption and charging infrastructure deployment goals.

The Power Your Drive Extension was designed to help California meet its goal of deploying 1.5 million EVs by 2025 and 5 million EVs by 2030, which would amount to roughly 500,000 EVs in SDG&E’s service territory. To support these vehicles, the state has also adopted a goal of deploying 250,000 public and shared chargers by 2025. To meet this goal, a recent California Energy Commission report finds that  the state needs about 62,000 additional chargers on top of the 188,000 currently planned through existing state grants or approved utility investments. The approval of SDG&E’s Power Your Drive Extension is a critical, incremental step in filling that gap.

 



 


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