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SCE Kicks Off Program to Speed Up Adoption of Electric Vehicles

The Charge Ready project will help businesses and government organizations install charging stations throughout the service area.
By Mary Ann Milbourn

No one needs to sell Lisa Rosen on electric vehicles. She and her family have owned EVs since they first came on the market in 1997. They believed so much in EVs that Rosen’s son and husband started a business to help people install EV chargers.

So Rosen was eager to learn about Southern California Edison’s new Charge Ready program, a $22 million pilot project that seeks to accelerate the installation of EV charging stations and support the governor’s environmental goal of having 1.5 million EVs on the road in California by 2025.

Under the program, which starts May 27, SCE will help non-residential customers install 1,500 EV charging stations at workplaces, apartment and condo complexes, fleet vehicle parking lots, campuses and other locations where people park their cars for four hours or more.

“It’s going to leapfrog the adoption of EVs over the next 10 years,” said Rosen, who was one of about 200 people who attended a customer kick-off meeting on Charge Ready.

The program is designed for customers planning to install a minimum of 10 charging stations at one location. If the location is in a disadvantaged community there is a minimum of five stations.  At least 10 percent of the stations must be installed in disadvantaged communities.

SCE will pay the cost of designing and installing the electric infrastructure for the charging stations. Customers will select a vendor and pay for the charging stations and their maintenance. Rebates provided by the program will be available to help defray some or all of the cost of buying and connecting the charging stations.

Lisa Cagnolatti, SCE vice president of the Business Customer Division, noted the high cost of infrastructure and the complexity of the process have been major barriers to the installation of charging stations outside of single family residences.

“Our goal is to make all of that easy for you — the planning and construction,” she told the attendees at the kick-off meeting. “My goal is to have a long line of customers who want to participate.”

The meeting attracted a wide variety of SCE non-residential customers ranging from a building owner who wants to install EV charging stations as an amenity for new tenants to school districts and entertainment venues like Fairplex in Pomona.

Will Hamilton, who works for the city of Redlands, said he was on a scouting expedition to see if the program was something the city would be interested in doing. He said the city currently doesn’t have any charging stations at its facilities.

“And we haven’t had anyone ask for charging stations,” he said. “But we anticipate that will come.”

At the pilot’s conclusion, SCE plans to seek authority from the California Public Utilities Commission to expand the program to about 30,000 charging stations.

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