California will see 61 more DC fast chargers through a $9 million California Energy Commission grant.
The 61 DC fast chargers will be installed at 41 sites along major routes on Interstate 5, Highway 99, and Highway 101. In addition, 40 sites will have one Level 2 charger, and one site will have two Level 2 chargers. That offers electric vehicle owners the chance to fully charge in 20 to 30 minutes at DC fast charger stations, and four to eight hours at Level 2 chargers.
The grants were awarded to four companies: Chargepoint Inc., EV Connect Inc., NRG EV Services LLC., and Recargo, Inc. ChargePoint, EV Connect (and its Blink charging network), and NRG EV offer fast chargers using both CHAdeMO and Combined Charging Standard (CCS) protocols. Recargo and its PlugShare mobile app offers EV drivers a mobile app for finding the best charging stations within their driving range.
CHAdeMO fast charging standards were initiated years ago in Japan. The Combined Charging Standard (CCS) protocols were derived from the Society of Automotive Engineers (SEA) standard combining its SAE 1772 240-volt charger guidelines with DC fast charger guidelines into one combined charging unit. CHAdeMO and CCS cover nearly all plug-in electrified vehicles operating in California and throughout the U.S. except for Tesla models, which use that manufacturer’s proprietary Supercharger fast chargers.
While there are several charging networks in California’s metro areas, private industry has been hesitant to develop sites along highway corridors. That’s where the state grants come in, to support highway charging station deployment so that EV drivers can travel from San Diego to the Oregon border without worrying about running out of energy, the CEC said.
The CEC also approved an additional $12.6 million in funding to the Natural Gas Vehicle Incentive Project (NGVIP), which offers fleet incentives for the purchase of natural gas vehicles. The grants for both the chargers and the natural gas vehicle incentives are funded through the state’s Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program (ARFVTP). That program aims to reduce California’s use and dependence on petroleum transportation fuels, and increase the use of alternative and renewable fuels and advanced vehicle technologies.
Other collaborations have been bringing fast chargers to California and other states. Last year, Volkswagen of America, BMW of North America, and ChargePoint installed 100 DC fast chargers plus supplemental level 2 chargers along heavily trafficked routes on the east and west coasts. In California, installations started in San Diego County.