The state of California is moving to expand the availability of electric vehicle (EV) fast charging stations in low-income and disadvantaged communities. The California Energy Commission (CEC) is offering rebates to cover the cost of installing direct current (DC) fast chargers with a minimum output of 150 kW. These rebates can cover up to 50% of the total project cost, capped at $50,000 for chargers from 150 kW to 274.99 kW and $100,000 for chargers 275 kW and above.
Applications for these rebates will be accepted through December 12th from businesses, nonprofits, tribes and public entities in 28 counties across the state. The aim of this initiative is to ensure that all populations have access to electric vehicle charging stations and to promote greater adoption of electric vehicles.
In addition to these efforts, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) is also making changes to electric vehicle purchase incentives to help low-income drivers. CARB has announced that income-based incentives will become the norm nationwide and will give priority to low-income applicants.
Electric vehicles currently account for 15% of new car sales in California, and the share is even higher for plug-in hybrids. The state is actively working to increase the number of public electric vehicle charging stations, although a recent analysis shows it is doing better than expected in terms of charging capacity and charging points per road length.
Despite expansion efforts, the reliability of fast chargers remains a problem in the state. A study last year found that 22.7% of DC fast charging sites in California were not working, and many of them experienced long periods of downtime.
California’s commitment to expanding electric vehicle fast-charging infrastructure and making it more accessible to low-income communities is an important step toward widespread electric vehicle adoption.