Seven leading electric vehicle (EV) charging companies are calling on the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to approve Electrify America’s Supplemented California Zero Emission Vehicle Investment Plan on July 27 to allow for the rapid deployment of EV charging infrastructure within the State.
We endorse Electrify America’s Investment Plan and Supplement (the “Final Plan”), and we are encouraged that “CARB staff recommends that the Board approve the Final Plan.” We are particularly thrilled to support their efforts to deploy projects in disadvantaged communities. Our coalition is prepared to deploy EV charging infrastructure as soon as CARB approves the Final Plan, which will maintain California’s leadership on clean energy technologies and help it to reach its ambitious climate and energy goals, create jobs, and reduce harmful pollution, especially in disadvantaged communities.
In addition to CARB staff, the support for immediate approval is broad and deep. The California Air Resource Board’s public comment period on Electrify America’s supplemented Final Plan closed last Friday and, of the sixty-six respondents, an overwhelming majority of them urged CARB to approve the modified plan. Respondents were as notable for their geographic diversity – from Sacramento to the Central Valley to Los Angeles – as for their organizational variety – Carson High School submitted a letter of support, as did the Union of Concerned Scientists, several prominent local government officials, and dozens of other stakeholders. Those statements of support were strikingly consistent in their full-throated endorsement of the supplemented Investment Plan (see Appendix 1).
We hope the CARB Board recognizes that it should act with urgency to approve the Final Plan when it hosts its hearing on July 27th to make a final determination. The rest of the country is moving forward. The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has already approved Electrify America’s national investment plan, and Electrify America has begun deploying projects in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. Continued delays will put California at risk of falling behind.
Further delay in approving Electrify America’s Final Plan will introduce market uncertainty in California, which will jeopardize the goal of deploying 1.5 million ZEVs in the state before 2025 and CARB’s goal of 4 million ZEVs before 2030. Although the State is a leader in both EV manufacturing and deployment, California has struggled with an infrastructure deficit that has slowed adoption of zero-emission electric vehicles. Our coalition’s global experience has shown that a high ratio of infrastructure-to-vehicles leads to a much higher adoption of EVs. For instance, in the Netherlands, which has the second highest per capita EV adoption in the world, there is a ratio of 1 charger for every 4 vehicles. In California, it is 1 to 17. Approving the plan quickly will ensure California remains a global leader on electric transportation.
CARB’s decision comes at a crucial time for the EV industry because there is an enormous opportunity to scale EV adoption. Automakers have introduced vehicles with greater range at lower costs. Yet, while the majority of today’s vehicles require 30 minutes to reach a near-full charge on the dominant public fast chargers in the field (50kW), long-range EVs will require 60 to 90 minutes. Without the investment called for in the Final Plan, drivers will spend more time on the chargers already installed and congestion will ensue, which may deter customers from purchasing an EV. It is critical to increase charging speeds to High-Power, as proposed in the Cycle 1 Plan, in order to reduce charge times and relieve congestion.
Finally, if CARB delays approval any longer, there is risk that the plan may go back to courts which will very likely cause even more substantial delays. California does not have that luxury because the total time to install both Level-2 and DC Fast Charging infrastructure from start to fully operational status typically ranges from multiple months to quarters.
As soon as CARB approves Electrify America’s Final Plan, which will unlock the initial $200 million of capital, companies in our coalition are prepared to move forward with new EV charging projects that will create more high quality California jobs, greater access to EV charging infrastructure, and a necessary catalyst for inspiring consumers to purchase electric vehicles. Those results will benefit California’s workers, economy, and the environment.
We stand in unison with CARB staff and other Californians who have expressed their support for Electrify America’s Final Plan. We urge the CARB Board to move forward with approval on July 27th.