Bringing EV Fast Charging to Underserved Communities in California

One of the biggest challenges with the transition to electric vehicles is making the transition as equitable as possible. As with most new tech, EVs come at a premium (at the cash register — not over the life of the vehicle). In general, new cars are an upper-middle-class purchase, or at least middle-class purchase (depending on the circumstances). The good news is that more and more EVs are arriving on the used car market, and with enough depreciation, they are a great option to cut one’s transportation costs. Cars aside, though, an EV driver needs a place to charge, and many less advantaged portions of the public don’t have a way to charge at home. A collaboration in California is working to improve the situation for these people and make it easier to go electric.

To be specific, California’s largest electric utility, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), has the program underway. EV charging leader EV Connect just got its first two projects under the program commissioned. That includes 8 Tritium 50kW DC fast chargers, which are located between a United Park convenience store in Chowchilla, California, and an SWS Fuel–managed convenience store in Madera, California. In total, EV Connect will roll out more than 40 DC fast chargers through this program. That includes moderately powered 50kW chargers like the ones above as well as some fast chargers that get up to 180kW power capacity. In total, it has been awarded 10 sites for EV fast charging deployment, with 8 of those now pending implementation.

“As a vendor in the EV Fast Charge Program from the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), EV Connect worked alongside the utility and with multiple partners, including Gilbarco Veeder-Root, the world’s leading fueling, and convenience store equipment and technology manufacturer, to identify sites and deploy charging stations,” EV Connect writes.

Regarding the sites where it was just announced EV Connect installed chargers, there are of course equity-related reasons for choosing them. That’s the point of the program. “The SWS Fuel store was chosen for its 24/7 operating hours, location in an economically disadvantaged community, and proximity to California State Route 99,” EV Connect adds.

“We are excited to participate in the program and work alongside an industry leader like EV Connect to deploy charging stations around the state,” said Rajdeep Singh, Manager at SWS Fuel. “This collaboration positions us for larger-scale EV adoption and directly supports our mission to build a cleaner transportation future in California.”

This program has been years in the making. Back in 2018, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), the state’s utility regulator, approved a $22.4 million PG&E plan to grow electric vehicle charging, especially in disadvantaged communities. Four years later, we are beginning to see the fruits of that. In total, the aim is to get 200 DC fast chargers installed, with at least 25% of those being in disadvantaged communities. Furthermore, additional rebates will be available to qualified program participants.

Here’s EV Connect’s pitch for why it’s the best partner for this program: “EV Connect will provide certified charging hardware, installation, operations support resources, and its industry-leading, open-standards-based EV charging network management platform to the PG&E EV Fast Charge Program participants. Through automated data reporting, the program participants who select EV Connect will benefit from the company’s vast project management experience, joint marketing, and compliance with utility requirements. With EV Connect, participants can select from a wide range of Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) from multiple manufacturers, which can then be centrally managed and monitored with advanced charge station analytics using the EV Connect platform. The EV Connect platform also features compliance with the OpenADR standard in anticipation of advanced grid management requirements like Demand Response. For more information on how the EV Connect works with utilities, please visit www.evconnect.com/utility.”

Note that we conducted a webinar earlier this year with EV Connect about attracting and retaining residents with EV charging. Check it out for more insight into what EV Connect does and why it’s a top choice for this program:


 


 

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