- The California Public Utilities Commission approved a major new utility investment in EV charging infrastructure this week, allowing San Diego Gas & Electric to install charging stations at “up to 350 businesses and multi-family communities throughout the region, with 10 chargers at each location for a total of 3,500 separate chargers,” per Clean Technica. At least 10% of the chargers will be in disadvantaged communities. It’s a step in the right direction, as electric utilities probably provide the best hope for getting adequate infrastructure up and running for EVs in the long run.
- The California Energy Commission is finally soliciting bids to put fast chargers in key travel corridors in California. Some of the prime routes include I-15 north of Victorville to outside of Las Vegas, I-10 from Beaumont past Palm Springs, and I-80 from Auburn out to Lake Tahoe. It’s about time.
- Tesla is killing it on their proprietary network of supercharger sites, adding about 50% more chargers in 2015 alone, per Green Car Reports. The company is on its way to becoming a vertically integrated monopoly. Imagine if GM owned all the great cars, plus all the gas stations and dealerships. That’s the path Tesla is on.
- But sadly, NRG is still lagging on their implementation of the $100 million settlement with the California Public Utilities Commission. The audit of their performance, announced over a year ago by the commission, has so far failed to materialize. I called the agency for a status update a few months ago and never heard back. In some ways, their failure to meet the terms of the agreement has created the need for more public dollars to go to this charging infrastructure investment, while Tesla’s success makes NRG’s slow progress look even worse by comparison.
In general, the infrastructure news is positive. But sales of plug-in electrics are still lagging due to cheap gas, failure to introduce new models with better range, and poor marketing. More work to be done, but this all-in-all a good start.