California Utilities Plan To Spend $1 Billion To Electrify Transportation Sector


California’s three largest utilities have filed proposals with the state’s public utilities commission that would allocate up to $1 billion in new spending to “accelerate widespread transportation electrification.” The proposals are about more than adding charging stations for light duty cars and trucks. California wants to remove as many diesel powered vehicles from its roadways as possible, so the proposals also target “medium and heavy-duty” vehicles. That includes trucks, buses, fork lifts, port equipment, and any other devices involved in freight operations. A large percentage of the consumer goods Americans buy enter the country through ports in California.

California Utilities plan to boost electric bus infrastructure

The proposals are in response to a state law authored by Senate President Kevin De León that makes replacing oil as the dominant transportation fuel within the state a priority for the electric industry.  Doing so will reduce dependence on oil, improve air quality,  increase access to vehicles with no tailpipe emissions, and slash carbon pollution from within the state.

The largest proposal comes from Southern California Edison. It wants to invest $573 million to create the infrastructure needed to electrify the entire freight handling system at the Port of Long Beach. Containers unloaded there are towed by drayage tractors to inland distribution centers where they are loaded on trains and tractor trailers to be distributed throughout the nation. The transportation corridor between the ports and the warehouses has some of the wost air pollution in the country. The plan would electrify freight handling equipment in warehouses as well as the gantry cranes in the port that load and unload container ships.

Infrastructure for school buses, public transportation buses, and other medium and heavy duty vehicles not involved in freight handing would be part of the plan as well, including the thousands of trash hauling trucks in use in the area. $19 million would be used to encourage ride hailing drivers for Lyft and Uber to use electric vehicles. In addition, adding charging equipment for people living in multi-family condo and apartment complexes would be on offer.

Pacific Gas & Electric would spend $250 million adding to charging infrastructure for medium to heavy duty trucks and buses. A portion of that money would go to installing DC fast chargers along major highways in the area.

San Diego Gas & Electric proposes spending $225 million to add 90,000 home chargers in its service area. Participating customers will be required to sign up for a dynamic electricity rate that reflects wholesale energy prices. The plan would encourage customers to charge their cars, and do their laundry when there is an abundance of solar or wind energy available. $18 million will go to electrify ground support vehicles at local airports and install EV chargers in airport parking lots.

The money for all this will come from surcharges on utility bills submitted by all three companies to their subscribers. The PUC must now determine if the proposals are fair to individual rate payers as well as the population of the state taken as a whole. California has been far more active at promoting an emissions free lifestyle than any other US state and intends to continue down the zero emissions future it has set its sights on.

Source: National Resources Defense Council

About the Author

I have been a car nut since the days when Rob Walker and Henry N. Manney, III graced the pages of Road & Track. Today, I use my trusty Miata for TSD rallies and occasional track days at Lime Rock and Watkins Glen. If it moves on wheels, I’m interested in it. Please follow me on Google + and Twitter.

  • PeteDisqus321

    Keep it coming Steve, we’re desperate for some positive news from the US over here!

    • Steve Hanley

      As are we over here, Pete!

      • PeteDisqus321

        Steve, re. my pending post on “SAE Agrees On New Wireless Charging Standard” – how about an article on wireless vs. manual cable vs. robot arm charging?

  • kevin mccune

    Good grief at this rate , we are going to be wallowing in Kilowatts , due to renewable energy . The future looks bright please don’t let the right wing kill it .

    • bioburner

      Dump doesn’t know if a Strong or Weak dollar is good for the US economy, so don’t expect any common sense or any display of intellectual power from him………He won’t do the right thing (support renewables).

  • Eco Logical

    This is great news … get those dirty diesels off the roads … hopefully the other ZEV states will follow 🙂

  • Jerry3130

    But shouldn’t that money come from Carbon n Trade credit or diesel/gas tax, why should electricity users pay for this?

    • kevin mccune

      One reason being is that not every good conservative believes that excess carbon can harm the biosphere. After all its natural right ?(One of my former bosses said dumping used oil didn’t hurt anything , after all it came from the ground to start with ( native intelligence is hard to reason with )