The California Public Utilities Commission has approved San Diego Gas and Electric’s (SDG&E) electric vehicle (EV) grid-integration pilot project. This gives SDG&E the green light to own and install thousands of EV charging stations at businesses and multifamily communities throughout San Diego and south Orange Counties.
“This pilot program will provide us with a unique opportunity to support the increased adoption of zero-emission vehicles to reduce smog and other pollutants created by the transportation sector in California,” says Jim Avery, chief development officer of SDG&E.
In 2012, Gov. Jerry Brown set a vision of having 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles on the road in California by 2025. For the San Diego region to meet a mere 10% of that target – 150,000 electric vehicles – EV growth and supporting infrastructure must increase at a much quicker pace.
Today, SDG&E says the San Diego region has only 19,000 EVs, and 50% of the utility’s customers live in multifamily communities where installing charging stations can be problematic.
The company will install charging stations at up to 350 businesses and multifamily communities throughout the region, with 10 chargers at each location for a total of 3,500 separate chargers. SDG&E will install at least 10% of the chargers in disadvantaged communities.
The pilot program also features special rates that encourage EV drivers to charge their cars when electricity supply is plentiful and energy prices are low. The low rates are meant to encourage off-peak charging, helping to avoid on-peak charging that drives the need to build more power plants and other electric infrastructure.
SDG&E is also adding 163 more plug-in EVs to its fleet as part of a five-year purchase plan.