California Targets Nearly $400M to Fill Gaps in EV Charging Infrastructure

The California Energy Commission is putting a “down-payment”
of $384 million over the next three years on the electric vehicle
charging and zero-emissions vehicle infrastructure needed to meet
Gov. Gavin Newsom’s pledge to end sales of new gasoline-powered
cars by 2035.�

CEC’s clean transportation plan released Wednesday (PDF)
will direct $133 million for light-duty EV charging systems, and
another $130 million for infrastructure for zero-emissions medium
and heavy-duty vehicles, most of it electric charging. 

Another $70 million will go toward hydrogen refueling
infrastructure, and $25 million for “zero-and near-zero carbon
fuel production and supply,†to meet the need for alternatives to
battery-powered vehicles in the decades to come.

This week’s announcement follows on Gov. Newsom’s surprise
decision last month, amid record-breaking heatwaves and wildfires
driven by global warming, to set
a 2035 deadline
 for ending sales of new gasoline-fueled
vehicles. That move puts California in the vanguard among U.S.
states, and in line with more aggressive transportation
decarbonization goals being set in European countries
including France, the U.K. and the Netherlands. 

Transportation accounts for about two-fifths of California’s
carbon emissions, and vehicles are harder to decarbonize than
electricity generation or using fossil fuels for heating buildings.
California’s goal to zero out carbon
emissions by 2045
 across its economy will require massive
growth in zero-emissions vehicles to reduce that figure. 

Of the roughly 26 million automobiles and 6 million trucks
registered in California, about 726,000 are ZEVs, according to CEC
data, including about 422,000 full EVs, nearly 300,000 plug-in
hybrids, and about 8,000 fuel cell vehicles. Current state goals
call for 1.5 million by 2025 and 3 million by 2030.  

California will also need to add tens of thousands of publicly
accessible EV charging systems to provide the electricity drivers
and fleet owners will need. “Electric vehicle infrastructure
investments are growing at a slower pace compared to trajectories
of PEV adoption,†the CEC’s Wednesday report warned.  

California has an estimated 57,000 level 2 chargers and 4,900 DC
fast chargers today, according to CEC data. Current funding plans
from the CEC and utilities are expected to add another 117,000
level 2 chargers and 4,300 DC fast chargers by 2025 — enough to
close in on, but still not reach, the goal of 240,000 level 2
chargers and 10,000 fast chargers by mid-decade set by former Gov.
Jerry Brown in 2018.

 

CEC’s new funding represents a “down payment on electrifying
transportation,†Patty Monahan, CEC’s lead commissioner for
transportation, said in a statement. But it’s also meant to drive
economic development and reduce pollution in low-income and
disadvantaged communities, with half of its funds designated for
projects in those areas. 

The funds are already allocated from state laws passed in 2007
and 2013, making them available for competitive funding
solicitations or direct funding agreements over the next three
years. The CEC has already invested about $900 million in clean
transportation including EV charging, compressed natural gas (CNG)
over the past 13 years, with an additional $880 million in matched
funding. 

While the new funding levels aren’t tied to specific EV
charger deployment targets, CEC’s previous $375 million in
electric transportation program funding has brought 11,276 EV
chargers to the state to date. That provides a frame of reference
for how many could be installed with the new funding, spokesperson
Lindsay Buckley said in an email. 

California is a hub for EV charging growth for providers like
Tesla, ChargePoint, Electrify America, EVgo, and other key vendors.
California utilities are investing more
than $1 billion in charging
 infrastructure, including the
electrical system upgrades and interconnections needed to support
EV chargers and incentives for the businesses and institutions that
host them.  

Southern California Edison won regulator approval this summer to
spend $436
million to install 38,000 light-duty
 EV chargers and $356
million for at least 870 commercial
 charging stations for
medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. Pacific
Gas & Electric’s EV charging
 program will spend $130
million to bring 7,500 Level 2 chargers to its territory over the
next few years, and San Diego Gas & Electric’s $100 million
program will install
about 3,000
 medium and heavy-duty vehicle chargers. 

CEC is directing the lion’s share of new funding to EVs, since
they’re the fastest growing segment of ZEVs. Increased
development of new EV models, and falling prices for batteries, are
expected to drive costs down to parity with
fossil-fueled vehicles by mid-decade.

But vehicles like semi trucks that need to go long distances
will likely need a low-carbon fuel source that can be stored in
tanks, rather than in batteries. Fuel cell-powered
vehicles using
green hydrogen
 produced from water and carbon-free electricity
could serve as a substitute for fossil fuels as that fuel, although
almost all fuel cells today use natural gas or hydrogen produced
from fossil fuels. 

Hydrogen fueling has received about $156 million in CEC funding,
but has seen only 44 fueling stations deployed to date. Another 128
are expected to be built with new funding over the next five years,
leaving the state 28 stations shy of its goal of 200 by 2025. 

Source: FS – GreenTech Media
California Targets Nearly 0M to Fill Gaps in EV Charging
Infrastructure