EV Charging Plan for Schools, Recreation Areas Gets State OK

The two-year SCE pilot will install hundreds of charging stations at schools, state parks and beaches.
Dec 11, 2019 10:00 AM ET
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by Paul Griffo, Energized by Edison Writer

Southern California students, teachers, beachgoers, campers and bird-watchers who drive electric vehicles just got some good news.

The California Public Utilities Commission has approved a two-year pilot that will allow Southern California Edison to add hundreds of new EV charging stations at schools and state recreation areas.

“This pilot allows us to support the use of clean electric vehicles at California’s pristine state parks and beaches,” said Katie Sloan, SCE director of eMobility and Building Electrification. “It also will help reduce harmful pollutants in the air around our schools, which is especially critical for students with respiratory conditions.”

Under the plan, as many as 250 new charging ports will be installed at 40 elementary schools and another 130 ports at about 27 state parks or beach sites. The school charging stations will serve faculty, staff, student family and visitor cars. The state park and beach charging stations will be for fleets, employees and visitors.

The $20 million pilot approved Thursday also includes funding to produce print and online educational materials about EVs for schools and to build public awareness of the availability of charging at state recreation areas.

In 2017, the state passed Assembly bills 1082 and 1083, legislation that gives utilities like SCE the authority to put charging stations at schools and state recreation areas. SCE then began working with state school and park officials to consider the best potential locations, giving priority to communities that are disproportionately affected by pollution and economic hardship.

“To meet our state’s goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2045, SCE forecasts the need for 76% electric vehicles — that’s more than 26 million — on California highways by then,” said Jered Lindsay, SCE principal manager of Air and Climate Policy. “EV charging programs like this one will ensure we have the infrastructure we need to support those electric vehicles.”

Over the last few years, SCE has installed more than 1,200 charging stations at more than 70 sites throughout its service area and has recently completed fast-charging sites in Pomona and Garden Grove that can charge an EV in as little as 30 minutes.

The approximately 380 charging stations for schools and recreation areas — some which will be fast-charging sites — are among the 50,000 SCE plans to install over the next five years. Some of those stations will include charging for trucks, buses and other medium- and heavy-duty vehicles.