California’s largest power companies could build charging stations for electric cars at state parks, beaches and schools, under legislation moving through the state Senate. It’s the latest proposal to rely on electricity users to meet California’s zero-emission vehicle goals.
The measures would allow electric utilities to propose and install an unspecified number of stations and bill ratepayers for the expense—subject to approval by energy regulators.
UC Davis electric vehicle researcher Gil Tal says the state needs more places for drivers to plug in, to meet its goal of putting 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles on California roads in less than a decade.
“In order to get there, we need more infrastructure than what we have right now,” Tal says. “Without public investment, without the utilities, no one will install chargers at schools, no one will install chargers at parks.”
Critics of the measures question why ratepayers who do not own electric vehicles should pay to install charging stations.
The commission has already approved pilot projects by the utilities to install charging stations at apartments and businesses.