Plans to build more electric vehicle charging stations in California received a boost Wednesday in the form of a $15 million grant that state officials hope will grow much larger.
The initial money was approved by the state’s Energy Commission to create incentives for business parks, apartment complexes and individuals to install charging stations.
By partnering with regional and city governments, the commission hopes the grant money will grow to as much as $200 million.
“This really changes the landscape of electric vehicle charging infrastructure in California,” said Colin Santulli of the San Diego-based nonprofit Center for Sustainable Energy. The center was selected to administer the incentive programs.
“What the energy commission committed to do today was develop a system to quickly and efficiently inject public funding into the infrastructure space,” he added.
Over the past six years more than 200,000 plug-in electric vehicles have been sold in California. There are only about 3,600 public charging sites to serve those drivers across the state.
John Kato of the state energy commission said many more stations are necessary to meet Gov. Jerry Brown’s goal of supporting 1.5 million clean energy vehicles by 2025.“We are still basically in the beginning stages,” Kato said. “But we believe that we’ll hit critical mass fairly quickly. And we’re sending I think a very strong market signal that mass deployments of EV infrastructure is closer than we all think.”