California utility to launch 4 new pilot projects for electric vehicle charging
SAN FRANCISCO — Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) will begin developing four new pilot projects aimed at helping fleet and residential customers simplify electric vehicle (EV) charging. The new projects were recently approved by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).
In California, transportation is the single largest contributor to greenhouse-gas emissions. Expanding access to EVs is essential to improving air quality and reducing greenhouse-gas emissions in the state. Through these new projects, PG&E will support widespread EV adoption and help drivers and companies become more confident in using electricity to power vehicles.
PG&E’s projects focus primarily on electric transportation for medium- to heavy-duty vehicles to address air pollution, since these vehicles typically run on diesel, a highly polluting fuel.
“California continues to lead the nation in the fight against climate change and clean transportation is critical to building our sustainable energy future. By connecting underserved communities to the necessary infrastructure and making clean energy transportation options more accessible, PG&E ensures all customers can participate in that future while helping the state and our communities meet their clean air and greenhouse-gas emission reduction goals,” said Geisha Williams, CEO and President of PG&E Corporation.
Testing New Use Cases
The four projects approved by the CPUC span a variety of transportation sectors:
- Transit fleets: Partnering with a local transit agency, PG&E will demonstrate how battery storage and smart charging can lower operating costs.
- School buses: PG&E will test new incentive structures to target EV charging for school buses during periods of high renewable generation – such as when there is excess solar energy during the day.
- Heavy-duty fleets: PG&E will evaluate economic viability for technologies that help customers with heavy-duty fleets eliminate engine idling to power auxiliary vehicle loads such as cooling and heating.
- Residential charging: PG&E will develop online resources to help simplify the home charger purchase and installation process for PG&E’s residential customers driving EVs, especially those in disadvantaged communities.
As a next step, PG&E is identifying customers with fleet vehicles to partner with on the demonstration projects. The pilots with customer fleet vehicles will be located in disadvantaged communities to support clean air initiatives and ensure access to this technology for all.
These projects are part of a comprehensive plan submitted to the CPUC in January 2017 aimed at accelerating widespread EV adoption and combating climate change. Complementing these pilot projects, PG&E expects the CPUC to vote on its proposals to expand electrification for medium- to heavy-duty fleets and to increase fast-charging stations to meet consumer demand.
Ongoing Support for EV Adoption
Recently, PG&E launched its new EV Charge Network program to help accelerate the adoption of EVs in California. Partnering with business customers and EV charging companies, PG&E will install 7,500 EV chargers at condominiums, apartment buildings and workplaces across Northern and Central California, including at sites in disadvantaged communities.
Online resources help customers driving EVs learn more and determine which rate plan makes sense for them. On PG&E’s residential EV rate plans, customers pay the equivalent of $1.20 per gallon to charge their vehicle overnight.
EV drivers who are PG&E residential electric customers can apply for the Clean Fuel Rebate, a one-time rebate of $500 rewarding them for using electricity as a clean transportation fuel. The rebate is part of California’s statewide Low Carbon Fuel Standard initiative, which aims to reduce transportation-related greenhouse-gas emissions by encouraging the adoption of clean fuels like electricity.