Thursday, September 28, 2023

The California Energy Commission is allocating $38 million to expand access to fast-charging electric vehicles for low-income communities

The California Energy Commission (CEC) has committed $38 million to increase the availability of fast-charging options for electric vehicles (EVs) in low-income and disadvantaged communities. Funds will be distributed in the form of rebates to businesses, nonprofits, tribes and public entities in 28 counties across the state. These discounts can cover up to 50% of the total cost of installing DC fast chargers with a minimum power of 150 kW.

Applicants can receive a maximum of $50,000 for chargers rated at 150 kW to 274.99 kW and up to $100,000 for chargers rated at 275 kW and above. The refund request window is open from September 13th to December 12th.

This initiative is part of California’s coordinated effort to promote electric vehicle adoption across all populations. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has also implemented income-based incentives to help low-income drivers access incentives for purchasing electric vehicles. These changes prioritize low-income applicants and aim to make electric vehicle ownership more affordable for all residents.

Currently, electric vehicles account for 15% of new vehicle sales in California, making it critical to invest in robust charging infrastructure. While there appears to be a lack of public EV charging stations in the state relative to the number of registered electric vehicles, a comprehensive analysis found that California is doing better than the simple ratio would suggest. The analysis took into account factors such as charging performance and the number of charging points per road length.

However, expanding the charging infrastructure for electric vehicles is not the only challenge. A study last year highlighted problems with the reliability of fast chargers in California. Of the 181 DC fast charging sites analyzed, 22.7% were out of service or experiencing extended downtime.

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