California state officials gave Southern California Edison the green light for an expansive electric car charging infrastructure program that will add about 38,000 new chargers throughout the utility’s 50,000-square-mile service area.
“This action by the California Public Utilities Commission is critical to supporting California’s transition from fossil fuel toward electrification,” said Katie Sloan, SCE director of eMobility and Building Electrification. “Also, investment in EV charging infrastructure can be a catalyst to help with economic recovery from COVID-19, while also supporting vital air quality and climate benefits to all communities.”
The program is an expansion of SCE’s Charge Ready pilot, which was launched three years ago. During the pilot phase, the utility has partnered with businesses, local governments and other organizations to add more than 1,800 EV chargers at more than 100 sites. The $436-million Charge Ready 2 program will continue to focus on providing charging infrastructure at workplaces, public parking lots, schools, hospitals and destination centers.
“By making more charging stations available, we are helping to advance a key component of California’s ambitious climate and transportation electrification goals,” said Jered Lindsay, SCE principal manager of Air and Climate Policy. “SCE’s analysis of the steps that the state must take over the next 25 years to meet those goals calls for 76% — or 26 million — cars on California highways to be electric.”
Through Charge Ready, SCE installs and maintains the supporting EV charging infrastructure and provides rebates to reduce charging station costs, while participants typically own, operate and maintain qualified charging stations.
“Going forward, we will have an added emphasis on the unique challenges faced by apartment and condo complexes, where one-third of SCE customers live and have limited access to at-home charging options,” Sloan said. For this reason, the expanded program has added rebates to support the installation of EV charging ports in new multifamily dwellings that are under construction.
Charge Ready 2 also sets a target to locate 50% of the chargers in state-designated disadvantaged communities, or economically impacted communities that suffer most from the effects of air pollution.
In addition to Charge Ready 2 for passenger EVs, SCE launched a program last year for trucks, buses and off-road industrial equipment. The largest program of its kind in the U.S., Charge Ready Transport aims to add charging to support at least 8,490 medium- and heavy-duty EVs over a five-year period. The $356 million program is also modeled after the Charge Ready pilot.