Southern California Edison Electric Vehicle
ROSEMEAD > Southern California Edison is looking to increase the number of public electric vehicle charging stations in California by 16 percent.
The investor-owned utility received approval in January from the California Public Utilities Commission to spend $22 million to offset the cost of installing 1, 500 public charging stations at workplaces and multi-unit apartment and condominium complexes within its 50, 000-square-mile service area.
If the program is successful, the agency will have increased the number of EV charging stations in California to 11, 114. There are now 9, 614 public stations in the state, including 654 Level 1 (120-volt plugs), 8, 097 Level 2 (240-volt plugs) and 863 fast-chargers, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
The utility has signed up 100 potential customers who will be attending its launch on Wednesday at its technology center in Irwindale. Interested participants include hospitals, colleges, city halls, private employers and real estate developers, said Paul Griffo, SCE spokesman.
“Employers are very interested, ” said Caroline Choi, SCE vice president of energy and environmental policy. “A lot of their employees are going electric and they would really like to charge their cars at work.”
Choi said some employers want to install the chargers as a way to brand themselves as progressive or to fulfill corporate sustainability plans. Others are doing it to retain employees.
If all goes well, Edison hopes to expand the program by adding 30, 000 charging stations at a total cost of $355 million, Griffo said. SCE is supportive of the state’s effort to put 1.5-million zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2025 for an 80 percent reduction in carbon pollution from the transportation sector by 2050. Carbon pollution from the burning of gasoline in vehicles is the main contributor to global climate change, which an overwhelming majority of scientists say is warming the Earth, causing rising sea levels and catastrophic storms, floods and droughts. Electric cars are recommended as a way to cut air pollution and greenhouse gases.
With only about 150, 000 electric vehicles in the state on the road out of 13 million registered automobiles, the goal is still very far off.
Edison, which will earn revenue from the electricity used, says it wants to add charging stations as a solution to the “range anxiety” problem stopping more car-shoppers from buying electric or plug-in hybrid electric cars. EV car owners can get between 40 and 265 miles per charge; those on the lower end worry about being stranded without a charger in sight, while others drive plug-in electric with extended ranges.
“[Drivers] are concerned about the car getting them to where they want to go, ” Choi said. “So there is a critical need for more publicly available charging stations.”