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California Public Utilities Commission OKs $1B for EV charging project, mostly for trucks

Rob Nikolewski, The San Diego Union-Tribune on

Published in Automotive News

The California Public Utilities Commission has approved a $1 billion vehicle electrification charging project, with most of the money earmarked to accelerate the number of midsize- and heavy-duty trucks on the state's roads.

The rebate program will run for five years and costs will be spread out among utility ratepayers across California, with a commission staffer estimating the cost to San Diego Gas & Electric customers will come to "less than a dollar a month, for sure."

Some 70 percent of the funds will go to charging medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, which combine to account for a disproportionate amount of greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector.

"It's the highest priority," said CPUC commissioner Clifford Rechtschaffen. "We have very stringent state goals established by the Air Resources Board to electrify medium- and heavy-duty trucks and they need charging infrastructure in order to electrify their fleets."

The remaining 30 percent will go to charging light-duty electric vehicles at or near multi-unit dwellings.

The program places a priority on low-income and tribal areas, with 65 percent of the funds going to underserved communities. No money is allocated for building EV charging infrastructure at individual homes.

 

Details of how the rebate program will work still need to be figured out. A study will be conducted to determine the size of the rebate and customers who want to install the equipment will apply to a third-party administrator to receive the rebate.

"We don't know exactly what the amounts will be and how much the budget will cover," Rechtschaffen said, "but the idea is to cover all or most of the costs of the equipment."

The program will start in 2025 and run through 2029, with $200 million allocated each year through the state's utilities, with the money given back to customers in the form of rebates.

The charging infrastructure for trucks will be installed at a variety of places, including truck stops, ports and at facilities owned by companies that manage fleets. Transit agency depots are also potential sites for buses.

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