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California Utility Company Plans to Install 38,000 EV Chargers in the State Over the Next 5 Years

California Utility Company Plans to Install 38,000 EV Chargers in the State Over the Next 5 Years

Author: Eric Walz   

California utility company Southern California Edison (SCE) is launching its new program called "Charge Ready", which is designed to help businesses, government agencies, multi-unit residential building owners and other organizations install electric vehicle charging infrastructure in the state.

The $436 million Charge Ready program was approved by the state of California last year. It will add approximately 38,000 new electric car chargers throughout SCE's 50,000 square-mile service area over the next five years.

SCE is one of the nation's largest electric utilities, serving a population of approximately 15 million customers in a 50,000-square-mile service area within Central, Coastal and Southern California.

The new Charge Ready program for passenger vehicles is the largest electric passenger vehicle charging infrastructure program in the U.S. that's run by an investor-owned electric utility company, the SCE said.

The Charge Ready program helps participants by designing, installing and operating the EV chargers at no upfront cost. SCE also maintains the chargers. The Charge Ready participants however own the chargers and will be responsible for paying the associated utility bill for the EV chargers. SCE says the fees collected from drivers will help offset these costs.

Charging operator partner EV Connect will help customers manage the chargers, including energy load balancing to help reduce utility costs. EV Connect offers a smartphone app where customers can generate reports that track station use, performance and sustainability metrics. This data can help charging station owners set pricing, manage their chargers or scale to meet demand.

"As SCE is preparing its electric grid to serve the increase in transportation electrification, more charging equipment is needed to give EV drivers and fleet operators the peace of mind that they will be able to charge whenever they want," said Carter Prescott, SCE director of eMobility and Building Electrification. "Today, we are asking our customers to join with us to ensure that an effective framework is in place for a clean air future for our communities."

The large-scale Charge Ready program is modeled after a much smaller pilot that concluded in May, in which SCE partnered with businesses, local governments and other organizations to add more than 2,700 EV chargers at nearly 150 sites.

SCE said it will continue to focus on providing charging infrastructure at workplaces, public parking lots, schools, hospitals and destination sites such as shopping centers. But it will put an added emphasis on condominium and apartment complexes, where it is often difficult for residents to find convenient charging.

SCE_ServiceMap.jpeg

The EV chargers will be installed in Southern California Edison's service area.

California has the highest EV adoption rate in the U.S., but the SCE is looking to make charging available to drivers in all communities, not just in affluent areas and upscale shopping districts where many of Tesla's chargers are located. 

Charge Ready is setting a goal to locate 50% of the EV chargers in state-designated disadvantaged communities, or economically-impacted communities that suffer most from the negative effects of air pollution.

Over the years, the state of California has become a leader when its comes to reducing greenhouse gases in an effort to reduce air pollution. The progressive state already has the strictest emission standards for motor vehicles.

Last year, California Governor Gavin Newsom made headlines when he issued an executive order that bans the sale of new combustion engine vehicles in the state by 2035. The order requires that sales of all new passenger vehicles in the state be zero-emission by then. It also includes additional measures to eliminate harmful emissions from the transportation sector. 

The transportation sector is responsible for more than half of all of California's carbon pollution, including 80% of smog-forming pollutants and 95% of toxic diesel emissions, the Governor's office said. 

SCE serves customers in the heavily populated Los Angeles Basin and Central Valley in Southern California, which experiences some of the worst air quality in the country from the millions of vehicles clogging roadways each day. 

The various Charge Ready programs will help the state fight pollution from motor vehicles and further promote EV adoption by installing thousands of new chargers in Southern California.

In addition to Charge Ready for passenger EVs, SCE launched a $356 million program last year for larger commercial trucks and buses called "Charge Ready Transport", which aims to add charging to support at least 8,490 medium and heavy-duty electric trucks over a five-year period. The program for fleets is modeled after the Charge Ready program for passenger vehicles.

Eric Walz
Eric Walz
Originally hailing from New Jersey, Eric is a automotive & technology reporter covering the high-tech industry here in Silicon Valley. He has over 15 years of automotive experience and a bachelors degree in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the auto industry and beyond. He has worked at Uber on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology.
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