The California Energy Commission approved nearly $9 million in grants for the installation of DC fast chargers along major state freeways and highways to allow electric vehicle drivers to travel from San Diego to the Oregon border without worrying about running out of energy.
The grants went to four companies—Chargepoint Inc.; EV Connect Inc.; NRG EV Services LLC; and Recargo, Inc.—which will install 61 DC fast chargers at 41 sites along major routes on Interstate 5, Highway 99 and Highway 101. Fast chargers allow vehicles to fully charge in 20 to 30 minutes. Additionally, 40 sites will have one Level 2 charger, and one site will have two Level 2 chargers. Level 2 chargers allow most vehicles to go from zero to full charge in four to eight hours.
Several plug-in electric vehicle charging networks currently operate in metropolitan areas. However, private industry has been hesitant to develop sites along highway corridors.
Commissioners also approved an additional $12.6 million in funding to the Natural Gas Vehicle Incentive Project (NGVIP), which offers incentives for the purchase of natural gas vehicles. This funding will help reduce the current wait list as well as fund future applications. The University of California, Irvine, administers the program. Last year the Energy Commission allocated more than $11 million to recipients to purchase natural gas vehicle for use in California for at least three years. These incentives can help fleet managers replace aging gasoline and diesel vehicles with cleaner alternatives.
The grants for both the chargers and the natural gas vehicle incentives are funded through the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program (ARFVTP), which aims to reduce California’s use and dependence on petroleum transportation fuels and increase the use of alternative and renewable fuels and advanced vehicle technologies.
Energy Commission also approved funding from the Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC) Program, which develops, demonstrates, and brings to market technologies and best practices that support California’s energy policy goals. Grants approved include:
Incubating technologies. Three grants totaling nearly $15 million will expand incubator-type services and facilities available to clean energy entrepreneurs in the Bay Area, Central Valley, and San Diego regions. The recipients are Physical Science Innovations, Inc., California State University, Fresno Foundation, and Cleantech San Diego Association.
Zero net energy. A grant for nearly $3 million will maximize energy efficiency and help achieve zero net energy. The recipient, Prospect Silicon Valley, will fund the demonstration of energy efficiency improvements in a Bay Area grocery store.
Environmental and public health impacts of electricity generation. Nine grants totaling more than $6 million will focus on air quality, aquatic resources, terrestrial resources and climate change related to energy generation.
Energy efficiency in plug loads. Two grants totaling nearly $2 million will fund research and development projects for the next generation of plug load efficiency technologies and strategies for the building sector. The two recipients are Fisher-Nickel, Inc. and Electric Power Research Institute.