Will be mostly in low-income communities

The California Public Utilities Commission approved 15 proposals to expand electric vehicle access and charging infrastructure submitted last year by Pacific Gas and Electric, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas and Electric under Senate Bill 350. The projects, considered under “expedited review,” were revised to increase EV access in low-income communities and will support more than 5,300 new charging points overall.

The approved projects cover a variety of needs, ranging from facilities to charge school buses with renewable power to education and incentives for EV dealers.

These smaller projects build on earlier commitments by the utilities to install a minimum of 1,625 electric vehicle charging stations in disadvantaged and low-income communities, and are connected to a larger batch of projects currently being considered. Overall, the just-approved and pending proposals represent a $1 billion investment in new EV infrastructure and related transportation electrification projects.

“The original projects were underwhelming in terms of delivering concrete benefits to low-income communities of color, the neighborhoods hit first and worst by air pollution and climate change,” said Greenlining Institute Environmental Equity Legal Counsel Joel Espino, who led Greenlining’s advocacy in the proceedings. “Fortunately, SB 350 provides solid legal grounds for the CPUC to modify these proposals to ensure that all Californians can truly benefit from the growth of clean transportation, and we’re grateful the Commission acted.”

For additional background on the connections between EVs, California climate efforts, and low-income communities of color, see Greenlining’s “Electric Vehicles for All” online toolkit, authored by Espino. For real-world examples of how EV efforts and other California climate policies benefit underserved Californians, visit UpliftCA.org.

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