Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E), one of California’s biggest utility companies, has applied to state regulators for the necessary permits and permissions required to massively expand the number of electric car charging stations available in Northern and Central California, increasing public charging provision for electric and plug-in hybrid drivers alike.
In an official statement made yesterday on its website, the utility company said that if approved, the program would constitute the largest single deployment of electric vehicle charging infrastructure in the U.S. to date, and would create an estimated 25,000 new level 2 charging stations for plug-in cars to charge at.
Additionally, while the majority of sites will offer just level 2 charging — enough to recharge most cars at a rate of between 10 and 30 miles per hour depending on the power of the on-board charging circuits — PG&E says 100 key locations will also feature DC quick charging stations compatible with CHAdeMO and CCS-equipped electric cars.
At those locations, recharging from empty to 80 percent full will ordinarily take around 30 minutes for most quick-charge equipped electric cars on the market today.
Currently, PG&E estimates there are some 60,000 plug-in cars registered within its service area, representing more than one fifth of all electric vehicles registered in the entire U.S. In order to ensure that the state of California meets its 1.5 million zero-emission vehicle target set for 2025, representatives for the utility say, a total of 100,000 public charging stations will be needed throughout PG&E’s service area by 2020.
Yesterday’s submission of proposals to state regulators represented just a quarter of the required charging stations ultimately needed.
Alongside approving the necessary permits required to install charging stations at no cost to site hosts throughout its coverage area, PG&E needs to receive permission from the California Public Utilities Commission in order to fund the project, which it says it will do by raising utility rates for all its customers.
As a consequence, each and every PG&E customer would pay their bit toward the charging stations, which would be built, installed and maintained for PG&E by various third-party charging providers.
If approved, the project would take around five years to complete, with each PG&E customer seeing an average price increase of a tenth of a cent per kilowatt-hour of electricity for 2016 and 2017, rising to a typical flat fee of 70 cents per month more for the period between 2018 and 2022.
While the majority of quick charging sites will be located along major arterial routes, helping California link up with the West Coast Electric Highway, PG&E says its Level 2 charging stations will be located in a variety of different locations, including multi-family dwellings, retail centres, workplaces, commercial and other ‘public’ locations.
Ten percent of these will be in so-called ‘disadvantaged communities’, where the state is already working hard to provide extra financial assistance to help those on lower-incomes afford a plug-in car.
“Our proposed build-out of EV charging infrastructure aims to accelerate customer adoption of clean, quiet and efficient plug-in vehicles by reducing lingering range anxiety,” said Tony Early, Chairman, CEO and president of PG&E. “It reflects our commitment to helping the state of California meet its critical clean air and greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals by promoting cleaner transportation.”
“By supporting marketplace acceptance of electric vehicles, it should create tremendous new opportunities for other infrastructure and technology companies, help keep California in the forefront of EV innovation, and create new jobs in local communities accross Northern and Central California,” he continued.
At the time of writing, there’s no indication as to how long the California Public Utilities Commission will take to reach its decision, or indeed if it will approve the proposed rate rise required to pay for the charging stations. But as always, we’ll keep you posted of the latest developments as we have them.
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