California approves massive electric vehicle charging program across Southern California

"This program marks the largest single program for any utility in the nation, a major win for clean air and healthier communities."

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A $437 million electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure program was approved by the California Public Utilities Commission expanding EV charging throughout Southern California. Southern California Edison’s (SCE) Charge Ready 2 program will add 38,000 new charging stations over the course of the next four years.

In a 5-0 vote by the CPUC, the program is the “largest single program for any utility in the country, and it establishes strong goals to increase access to clean transportation options in historically underserved communities,” a press release stated.

“We applaud the Commission on today’s unanimous vote to approve the Charge Ready 2 program, which puts equity front and center in Southern California’s leading charge to expand electric vehicle charging stations and reduce pollution from transportation,” Joe Halso, an attorney for Sierra Club, said. “This program marks the largest single program for any utility in the nation, a major win for clean air and healthier communities.”

The approved program is designed to help reach “California’s goal of attaining a 40 percent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels by 2030 and an 80 percent reduction by 2050,” according to the CPUC. It will help make “electric vehicle charging available in apartment complexes and workplaces, with a critical priority on expanding infrastructure in low-income neighborhoods.”

Some of the highlights of the program outlined in the press release include:

  • “Make-ready” infrastructure for charging stations at workplaces and multi-unit dwellings, and to support the electrification of fleet vehicles; “turnkey” infrastructure solutions for charging stations at multi-unit dwellings; and rebates to ensure newly constructed buildings are EV-ready;  
  • Strong commitments to serve disadvantaged communities, including a 50 percent target for “make-ready infrastructure;” a 100 percent target for “turn-key solutions,” and a 30 percent target for new construction rebates;
  • $14.5 million for dedicated education and outreach efforts. 

To date, more than $2.1 billion in utility-driven EV infrastructure programs have been approved by regulators in California and across the country. New York regulators recently approved a $701 million program among its electric utilities.

“We applaud California for its precedent-setting leadership on vehicle electrification and will continue to advocate for model policies to expand EV charging infrastructure in communities around the nation,” Halso said.

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