PG&E Launches New Tools To Support Electric Vehicle Adoption In Northern And Central California

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) today released a new report and interactive map to support and ease the installation of critical electric vehicle (EV) fast chargers in Northern and Central California to help increase EV adoption and extend EV benefits across communities.

Today, transportation is the single largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in California. State goals aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and support one million EVs on the road by 2020. Access to public charging is critical to meeting these goals and increasing EV adoption by building driver confidence in their ability to charge away from home. However, direct current (DC) fast charging infrastructure, with chargers that can refuel an EV in 20-30 minutes, has been slow to develop due to the high costs and complexity of installations.

Collaborating with researchers at the Plug-In Hybrid & Electric Vehicle Research Center at the University of California, Davis and other EV infrastructure experts, PG&E developed best practices for siting DC fast chargers and applied those findings to recommend potential locations for DC fast chargers within PG&E's service area of Northern and Central California. Available on an interactive map, these locations are based on traffic patterns, unmet charging demand and PG&E's electric system.

"When we survey our customers, we hear that range anxiety is still a barrier to EV adoption. By offering new tools to help installers, governments and communities get more chargers in the right places on the roads - especially fast chargers - we hope to spur EV adoption with our customers and help the state meet its ambitious greenhouse gas reduction goals," said PG&E Vice President of Customer Energy Solutions Aaron Johnson.

Expanding public charging in California

Today, there are about 5,000 public chargers in Northern and Central California, including only about 280 DC fast chargers - which drivers often prefer due to quick charging times. A DC fast charger can almost fully charge an EV in 20-30 minutes, compared to standard EV charging, which can take several hours. However, finding suitable locations to install DC fast chargers can be complex and expensive. PG&E's report identified the 300 areas in Northern and Central California with the highest expected need for DC fast charger installations by 2025 based on EV adoption forecasts.

The interactive map allows installers and on-the-ground planners to explore and prioritize potential sites for DC fast chargers within those 300 areas. The tool identifies sites where the existing local electric capacity could potentially support high-powered DC fast charging, hopefully helping installers avoid some need for costly energy grid upgrades.

"Our research center partners with organizations to understand the plug-in vehicle market, and advance policy making and business decisions on sustainable transportation. We partnered with PG&E to match electrical capacity with charging demand to determine the best sites for DC fast chargers. This will not only inform installers but also speed up EV adoption in California by helping consumers become more comfortable with EVs," said Dr. Tom Turrentine, Director of the UC Davis Plug-in Hybrid & Electric Vehicle Research Center at the Institute of Transportation Studies.

Accelerating Investment in DC Fast Chargers

Investment in DC fast chargers continues to support the use of EV technology. Among other EV initiatives, the White House announced goals to accelerate the deployment of a national network of fast charging infrastructure to increase EV adoption. Most recently, the Department of Transportation designated the 48 major traffic corridors that will be part of this national network — covering nearly 25,000 miles across 35 states.

This year, the California Energy Commission approved $9 million in grants for the installation of DC fast chargers along major state freeways and highways to increase EV adoption and consumer confidence in charging networks in the state.

About PG&E

Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric energy companies in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with more than 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation's cleanest energy to nearly 16 million people in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit www.pge.com/ and pge.com/news.

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