Finding a charging station will soon get a lot easier—at least in California.

America's largest electric-vehicle market will see a significant boost in the number of available charging stations in the state following an investment by its largest electricity producer.

Electricity provider Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), based in San Francisco, announced last week it would roll out some 7,500 charging stations between now and 2020.

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The utility aims to install Level 2 charging stations in such locations as condominiums, apartment buildings, and workplaces throughout its service area in the central and northern regions of the state.

Dubbed the EV Charge Network program, its $130 million initiative will see PG&E partnering with charging-station installers and operators to make more charging more available to its customers—including itself.

Of the total of 7,500 planned charging stations, PG&E may own and maintain up to 35 percent of them—some 2,625 charging stations.

2018 Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid charging at office park, Santa Cruz, California, Dec 2017

2018 Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid charging at office park, Santa Cruz, California, Dec 2017

Electric-car drivers and future buyers who are interested in purchasing a station can apply to buy one through the PG&E website.

The utility is also soliciting business from charging-service vendors, though it specifically excludes solar charging stations.

The program aims to install 15 percent of the charging stations in disadvantaged communities, PG&E said in its release.

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Merced College will be the first customer of the program, installing six charging stations on its Los Banos Campus to support charging 12 vehicles simultaneously.

“We are committed to doing our part to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions in California and also look forward to providing increased access for future electric vehicle users,” said Joe Allison, Vice President of Administrative Services at Merced College.

PG&E claims nearly 70 percent of the electricity it delivers to customers is from greenhouse gas-free resources.

Pacific Gas & Electric plug-in hybrid Class 6 truck

Pacific Gas & Electric plug-in hybrid Class 6 truck

Roughly half the sales of battery-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles in the U.S. since 2010 have been in California, which had long had a leading role among states in reducing air pollution and vehicle emissions.

California is so far the only state to bring a bill banning the future sale of fossil-fuel vehicles before its state legislature.

Assemblymember Phil Ting introduced AB 1745 earlier this month, which would ban fossil-fuel vehicles from being sold in the state as of 2040.


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