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Energy Commission Taking Steps to Support Adoption of Zero-Emission Vehicles in California
Californians are driving an increasing number of zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) and the California Energy Commission is strategically locating and funding electric vehicle charging and hydrogen refueling stations to enhance the adoption of ZEVs statewide.
That is according to the latest Tracking Progress report on ZEVs and infrastructure, which provides an update on the Energy Commission’s progress in ZEV infrastructure construction and vehicle deployment.
The state’s transportation system is responsible for 37 percent of California’s greenhouse gases, which is why Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. has set a goal of getting 1.5 million ZEVs on the road by 2025. The Energy Commission and other state agencies are working to implement the actions from Governor Brown’s ZEV Action Plan.
The transition to zero-emission vehicles will help California meet its greenhouse gas reduction goals, improve air quality, and reduce petroleum dependence. That transition is taking place through the efforts of state agencies such as the Energy Commission and a number of partners at the local level.
The Energy Commission’s Fuels and Transportation Division administers the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program (ARFVTP), which invests up to $100 million annually in projects that support the advancement of alternative and renewable fuels and advanced vehicle technologies.
As part of its investments in ZEVs, the Energy Commission is funding plug-in electric vehicle charging stations and hydrogen refueling stations.
Some efforts that the Energy Commission has taken include:
- To date, the Energy Commission has awarded more than $51 million for more than 8,500 electric vehicle charging connectors. That investment is helping to develop the largest network of electric vehicle charging stations in the nation.
- The Energy Commission has funded 48 hydrogen stations as part of the initial introduction of hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicles in the California marketplace. The Energy Commission is working to ensure as many of them as possible are open by 2017. As of mid-November, there were 23 open retail stations.
Assembly Bill 8 specifies that the ARFVTP allocate up to $20 million per year through January 1, 2024 for hydrogen station development until there are at least 100 stations.
In April, the Energy Commission released a grant funding opportunity for $33 million to support hydrogen refueling infrastructure. The proposed awards are scheduled to be announced in the first quarter of 2017.
- The Energy Commission issued two grant funding opportunities to support the deployment of 24 direct current (DC) fast charger corridors to help reduce the existing gaps for battery electric vehicle drivers by supporting charging needs and enabling interregional and interstate travel.
In April, the Energy Commission approved $8.9 million in grants to fund nine projects on nine corridors. The projects will install DC fast chargers and Level 2 chargers along Interstate 5, State Route 99, and U.S. Highway 101. These DC fast chargers allow battery electric vehicles to charge to about 80 percent capacity in 20 to 30 minutes. Level 2 chargers allow most electric vehicles to go from zero to full charge in four to eight hours.
The second grant opportunity will allow for expanded interregional travel within California and to the Oregon, Arizona and Nevada borders. In October, the Energy Commission released a notice for proposed awards that recommended funding 21 projects on 15 corridors for $13.9 million. The Energy Commission is scheduled to approve the proposed awards at the December 2016 and January 2017 business meetings.