On February 9, 2015, Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) brought forward a proposal to install more than 25,000 EV charging stations within their territory. Readily embraced by environmentalists, the project faced opposition from ratepayers (questioning the value of this investment) and other electric service providers (who did not relish direct competition from a utility). Last October PGE reached a settlement with ten interested parties that reduced the project to almost a third of its’original size. Pointing out that “No proposal is supported by all parties, and no party supports all of the proposals made,”1 a California Utilities Comission (CPUC) judge brought forward a new proposed decision of his own. Only according to Tom Ashley, Greenlots’ head of government relations, the proposed terms for what is still the largest EV Charging program in North America “could have a chilling effect on utility investment in EV infrastructure.”
There have been highly successful joint promotions of solar and electric vehicles. According to the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP), 72% of EV purchases in a Colorado campaign were made by people who had not previously intended to buy. Around 15% also bought a solar system. The latest solar-EV combo brings Plugshare and Sungevity together for a state-wide “Drive Solar” campaign.
It has been nine months since the Governments of California, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia embarked upon a shared initiative. In their joint press release, group spokesperson Governor Kate Brown explained “The West Coast Electric Fleets initiative leads the way in helping fleets scale up zero-emission vehicles to reach our goal that, by 2016, 10 percent of all new purchases are electric vehicles.” How is the West Coast Electric Fleets Initiative Doing?
It has been almost ten months since the NRG eVgo Freedom Station in the Fashion Valley Mall, in San Diego, opened. It was hailed as the first station capable of supporting “all EVs on the road”. There are now eVgo networks in Los Angeles, San Francisco, the greater Washington, D.C. area, Dallas and Houston. A company spokesperson says that, in conjunction with their new partnership with BMW, they will be installing 100 DC SAE Combo Fast Chargers in California. One of their infograms shows a band of green stretching from Washington state down through California and across America to Washington DC. Much of this is future, but eVgo is not the only charging network. Tesla’s expanding Supercharger system is expected to make their vehicle to 80% of the US public this year. Are we approaching the EV tipping point?