San Diego-based San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) says it will invest $7.5 million over the next five years to develop a new education campaign to expand electric vehicle (EV) ownership, create awareness and “lead the charge” among large cities to electrify the transportation sector.
According to SDG&E, this investment is intended to reduce harmful air emissions, promote the use of EV charging with power from the wind and sun, and to establish San Diego and south Orange counties as America’s EV and clean energy capital.
The utility says that this education campaign will complement the $45 million pilot program recently approved by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to install 3,500 charging stations at 350 local businesses, multifamily communities and disadvantaged neighborhoods. This combined $52.5 million comprehensive effort is expected to increase the use of clean energy as a transportation fuel and help consumers overcome any obstacles to EV ownership.
“Some problems are solved by looking to the future, not the past, and this is one of them,” says Jeff Martin, SDG&E’s chairman, president and CEO. “That is why we are reducing carbon in the transportation sector by installing charging infrastructure throughout the communities we serve and maximizing the use of renewable energy to charge vehicles.”
SDG&E also introduced 20 multifamily communities and businesses that are committed to the growth of EVs and charging stations under the company’s Power Your Drive pilot program. SDG&E asserts that taken together, these developments signal a watershed moment for promoting EV growth.
“San Diegans will not only save money on their gasoline bills, it will also help San Diego achieve its Climate Action Plan goals by cleaning up our air and reducing emission in the crucial transportation sector,” says San Diego Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer. “Power Your Drive demonstrates, once again, why the nation looks to San Diego for leadership in urban sustainability.”
“The SDG&E pilot program will not only make EV charging more available, which is important for driving the sale of cars, but it will test how charging can benefit the power grid and bring down electricity costs for all ratepayers,” says CPUC Commissioner Carla Peterman.
According to the utility, it is working to sign up 200 participants by the end of the year, in locations throughout all 26 cities in the region. At least 10% of the chargers will be in disadvantaged communities.
SDG&E says its new education campaign will include EV ride-and-drives in every geographical area of the region, allowing customers to familiarize themselves with the many benefits of driving an EV, such as tax credits and rebates of up to $10,000, low “fueling” costs, and environmental protection. The campaign will also provide funding to community groups that will promote EVs and work to expand the use of EVs to all geographic and socio-economic areas.