Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has filed an application with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) for permission to build an estimated 25,000 electric vehicle (EV) chargers at sites across its service area in Northern and Central California—8 times the number currently installed. If approved, this program would be the largest deployment of EV charging stations in the country, PG&E said.
The cost of the plan would be shared by all electric customers as a contribution to helping the state meet its clean air and climate goals. The total impact on system average bundled rates would be minimal in 2016 and 2017 and would average only a tenth of a cent per kilowatt-hour over the next five years of the program. A typical residential customer would pay about 70 cents more per month over the period 2018 to 2022, according to PG&E.
The chargers would be located at commercial and public locations, including multi-family dwellings, retail centers, and workplaces. Approximately 10% of the chargers would be installed to support disadvantaged communities. PG&E would also provide tools and educational materials for site hosts and customers to learn about the benefits of electric vehicles.
More than 60,000 plug-in electric vehicles are currently registered in PG&E’s service area, which represents more than a fifth of all EVs in the United States. The Governor’s Office has called for 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles in California by 2025 to help meet the state’s ambitious goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. To support that plan, industry models suggest that PG&E’s service area will need about 100,000 Level 2 chargers in public locations by 2020.
All of the 25,000 stations PG&E proposes to build would have Level 2 chargers, which provide up to 25 miles of range for every hour of charging. To support travel between metropolitan areas, PG&E would also install at key locations 100 DC fast chargers, which can recharge an EV’s battery in only 30 minutes. A growing number of DC fast charging stations are being deployed along the “West Coast Electric Highway,” which serves drivers from British Columbia to Baja California.
The chargers would be provided at no cost to the site host. PG&E proposes to own all of the infrastructure, but contract with third parties to build, install and maintain the chargers and manage customer billing. The utility expects that the program will take about five years to complete following approval by the CPUC.
PG&E has more than 1,200 electric-base vehicles in its fleet, and is a leader in introducing new electric technology into its vehicles. It was one of the first utilities in the country to offer money-saving rate plans for EV customer charging. It recently announced a major smart-charging pilot program with automaker BMW.