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California Approves Big Bucks for Electric Car Infrastructure

The California Energy Commission (CEC) has approved a $2.9 billion investment plan aimed primarily at expanding the state’s zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) infrastructure. Most of the budget goes to charging points for electric commercial vehicles.

The total equivalent value of 2.73 billion euros, the largest part, 1.7 billion dollars (1.6 billion euros), will be invested in charging equipment for medium and heavy electric vehicles until 2026.

The second largest investment is $900 million 8 million euros, which is reserved for new chargers for electric passenger cars and small commercial vehicles.

The new program is expected to create 90,000 new EV chargers in California, more than double the 80,000 currently installed. Combined with investments in energy facilities and other programs, the US state aims to reach a goal of 250,000 chargers by 2025.

The investment plan also includes 90 million dollars (85 million euros) for hydrogen fueling stations. California has already taken many steps toward a hydrogen economy. 

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This is complemented by a broader federal hydrogen strategy that focuses on the transportation of hydrogen across the country at the nation’s ports. Also important to California ports is the $97 million earmarked for “emerging capabilities,” in which CEC includes aviation, locomotives, marine, and vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) network integration.

The Port of Los Angeles is already on its way to reducing carbon emissions, while the state’s airports have been targeted for hydrogen concentration and decarbonization of ground transportation. 

On the V2G side of things, the country has had issues with blackouts and is understandably concerned about grid security, especially given the expected increase in electric vehicles. In addition to this government funding, V2G pilots are already operating between vehicles and utilities.

The budget also includes smaller items such as $15 million for “zero and near-zero carbon fuel production and delivery” (i.e, electric fuels) and $15 million for “low carbon fuels,”  along with a $10 million investment in workforce development.

In January 2022, California increased its e-mobility investment budget to a total of US$10 billion. In August, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) approved the Advanced Clean Cars II regulation, which paves the way for a ban on internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles in the United States starting in 2035. 

In November 2022, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) approved a $2.6 billion investment plan for electric vehicle purchases and mobility services as part of this system. 

Earlier that month, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) approved a five-year, billion-dollar statewide transportation electrification program.
“This transformative investment will quickly and fairly implement charging and refueling infrastructure so drivers of zero-emission cars and trucks can be confident they can refuel anywhere,” said Patty Monahan, CEC’s Chief Transportation Commissioner. “

The plan will increase the availability of charging and hydrogen fuel for individuals, businesses, and government agencies while supporting our evolving manufacturing ecosystem and creating jobs.” 

Most importantly, it provides critical funding to support the transition away from the dirty trucks and buses that have burdened our most vulnerable communities for too long.

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