Last Friday, Gov. Jerry Brown set another ambitious and significant marker for California: 5 million zero emission vehicles on the road by 2030. As previewed in the governor’s final State of the State speech the day before, his Executive Order calls for substantial investments in electric and fuel cell vehicles, along with the necessary infrastructure to fuel and charge them. Transportation is the next frontier in building California’s advanced energy economy, and with this action, Gov. Brown has taken a big step forward.
The Administration proposed a $2.5 billion investment plan to help boost the market for zero emission vehicles in all regions of the state. The investment includes $1.6 billion ($200 million per year for eight years) in dedicated funding for vehicle rebates. This call for a more certain and dedicated stream of funding for the rebate program is similar to the intent behind AEE co-sponsored AB 1184 (Ting), which passed the Assembly last year and is now pending in the Senate. The executive order sets the stage for legislative discussion about how to better leverage public funds and restructure the existing rebate program to attract more buyers to the ZEV market.
In addition, Gov. Brown has ordered state agencies to coordinate with the private sector to jumpstart the construction and installation of 250,000 EV charging stations and 200 hydrogen fueling stations throughout the state by 2025.
Recognizing that the existing pace of ZEV infrastructure deployment is insufficient, the governor also laid out a 2018 Climate Investment plan that calls for $900 million over eight years to accelerate infrastructure deployment. These actions again set the stage for legislative discussion about the best mechanisms for maximizing the value created by these public investments in charging and fueling facilities. California has the chance to jump to front of the pack in what we’ve already seen as a flurry of activity in EV charging infrastructure across multiple states.
The Order further directs state agencies to collaborate on the following:
- Update the 2016 Zero-Emission Vehicle Action plan to help expand private investment in zero-emission vehicle infrastructure, particularly in low income and disadvantaged communities.
- Recommend actions that boost zero-emission vehicle infrastructure to strengthen the economy and create jobs in the State of California.
- Recommend ways to expand zero-emission vehicle infrastructure through the Low Carbon Fuel Standard Program.
- Support and recommend policies and actions that make it easier for people to install electric vehicle chargers in their homes and businesses.
- Ensure electric vehicle charging and hydrogen fueling are affordable and accessible to all drivers.
As with any new policy or executive action, implementation is key. The legislature and state agencies need to identify the missing links necessary to achieving these visions for vehicle and infrastructure deployment and move quickly to address them. Time truly is of the essence. AEE strongly supports the Governor’s vision and stands ready to help drive implementation.