California’s $3B plan will double its public EV charger count


California has approved a $2.9 billion plan that will more than double the number of EV chargers in the state, and will greatly expand charging infrastructure for electric buses and commercial trucks.

“California is bringing our roads and highways into the 21st century with electric vehicle chargers in every community, in every corner of our state,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement.

The new funding represents an increase of 30 times from 2019 levels, and will go toward the installation of 90,000 new chargers in the state, according to a press release from the California Energy Commission (CEC), the regulatory agency that approved the funding.

Volvo VNR Electric and Electrify America charging station

Volvo VNR Electric and Electrify America charging station

Along with the 80,000 chargers already installed in California, the new chargers will bring the total number to 170,000 chargers. This pushes California much closer to a goal of 250,000 chargers by 2025, in combination with other programs, such as those funded by the $7.5 billion federal EV charging network.

The plan specifically includes $1.7 billion for “medium- and heavy-duty ZEV infrastructure,” likely to be used by commercial trucks and buses, something that California has been backing, even as the Megawatt Charging System (MCS) starts to take form.

Not all of the funding will go to EV charging, however. The plan earmarks $90 million for hydrogen refueling infrastructure, $15 million for “zero- and near-zero carbon fuel production and supply,” and $15 million for “low-carbon fuels.” When it comes to passenger cars, though, California’s main focus will be battery-electric vehicles and their charging needs.

2023 Cadillac Lyriq at EVgo DC fast-charging station.

2023 Cadillac Lyriq at EVgo DC fast-charging station.

California governor Newsom announced in 2020 that it would ban the sale of new gasoline-powered (non-plug-in) light vehicles by 2035. And since then, that’s a move that the state has stepped up to back with policy.

Even before 2035, the expanded charging network will benefit the relatively large number of EVs already on California roads.

Fully electric vehicle sales in the state lead those of any other state, and earlier this year they cracked 15% of the new-vehicle market there. As of earlier in the year, California figured out to be roughly one-eighth of Tesla’s global market.

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