Pacific Gas & Electric wants to install 25,000 new EV charging stations in its central and northern California area. At present, there are only 3,000 stations in the entire Golden State.
California has an ambitious plan to have at least 1.5 million EV and plug in cars on its roads by 2025 as it seeks to lower CO2 emissions to 80% of 1990 levels by the year 2050. PG&E says it will take at least 100,000 charging stations to support that number of cars. There are less than 300,000 such cars on the roads in all of America at the moment. The cost of the new charging stations will be paid for by a surcharge on the electric bills of all PG&E customers of about $0.70 per month.
All the new charging stations would be 240 volt Level 2 units, capable of adding about 25 miles of range for every 30 minutes of charging. They will be located at apartment complexes, shopping malls and selected work locations. In addition, 100 DC fast chargers will be installed along Interstate 5, the principal north-south road from British Columbia to Baja, Mexico. PG&E will also provide tools and educational materials for site hosts and customers to learn about the benefits of electric vehicles.
The utility will own the chargers when the project is completed in about 5 years but will contract with a service provider to manage the system and take care of billing chores. The provider will buy electricity from PG&E and resell it to car owners at retail rates.
Not everyone is happy with the plan. ChargePoint, a major recharging network, has unleashed withering criticism of the plan, saying it prefers the program offered by Southern California Electric, which will not pass the cost of its EV charging network along to all its subscribers. One suspects that ChargePoint’s criticism would evaporate if it got the contract to administer the PG&E system.
PG&E has more than 1400 EV or plug in vehicles in its own fleet of vehicles and has been an innovator in devising ways to provide charging services at competitive rates.