For years, the state of California has been at the front of EV-friendly policies with generous tax rebates, single occupant EV-access to miles of high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes, and more EV models on the market than any other state in the U.S.
But thanks to six new pieces of legislature signed into law today by California State Governor Jerry Brown, California has just got even more EV-friendly.
Appropriately signed this morning to coincide with the start of celebrations for the third annual International Plug-in Day, Governor Brown said by signing the bills the state of California would “reaffirm our commitment in California to an electric vehicle future.”
Some of the legislation, like the paired bills of AB266 and SB 286, were signed to extend existing legislation. In this case, the two bills confirm the extension of California’s existing single-occupant green and white-sticker HOV-lane access privileges for qualifying plug-in hybrid and all-electric vehicles until 2019.
Similarly, SB359 is also an extension of California’s existing green vehicle policies, approving amongst other things a $30 million top-up to the state’s Clean Vehicle Rebate program. Available to any new plug-in vehicle owner, rebates of up to $2,500 can help dramatically reduce the cost of buying a plug-in car and can be applied alongside the Federal Government’s tax rebate program for qualifying plug-in cars.
On a more general note, AB8 provides a wide sweep of programs designed to improve air quality throughout the state through the use of low emission and all-electric vehicles and the reduction of tailpipe emissions. The metaphorical stick to the carrot incentives offered by Bills AB266, SB359 and SB 286, the programs outlined in AB8 will continue to make it harder for automakers to sell polluting cars in the state and easier for residents to make the switch to an EV.
Without question however, it is bills AB1092 and SB 454 which will have the largest impact on EV owners in California.
Introduced by Assemblymember Marc B. Levine (D-San Rafael), AB1092 “Requires the California Building Standards Commission and the Department of Housing and Community Development to develop standards for electric vehicle charging infrastructure in multi-family housing and non-residential developments.”
In other words, it should make it far easier in the future for Californian apartment or Condo owners to own an electric car, even if they don’t have their own garage. Moreover, the same building should make it more likely that residents of California will find charging infrastructure in the parking lot when they visit that local store on a lunch-break errand.
But SB454 will have the biggest impact on EV ownership in California we’ve ever seen, simply by making charging station providers work together.
In a bid to end the ‘wallet full of RFID cards’ that many EV drivers know so well, the legislation will not only mandate that charging station providers accept RFID cards from rival firms using a system similar to mobile phone network roaming, but it will also require that users can pay for the electricity they use with a credit card, finally making charigng your car as easy — or easier — than visiting the petrol station.
Supported by Jay Friedland, Legislative Director of Plug In America, these bills are only good news for EV fans, and should help encourage more and more drivers to dump the pump for good.
Congratulations to the state of California and Governor Brown for signing these new bills into law, and to all in California and around the U.S., we wish you a very happy International Plug-In Day!
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