California leads the Nation in EV adoption. Over 40% of all EVs sold are sold in California. Much of this results from ambitious targets and zero emissions goals. But where is the charging to support them? A critical bottleneck in EV adoption is the availability of charging infrastructure. We have seen significant installs of DC fast chargers but not Level 2 chargers, which are necessary for day-to-day charging needs. It appears California is falling short of its goals for Level 2 charging infrastructure, leaving EV drivers struggling to find convenient charging options.
The California Energy Commission (CEC) has set an ambitious goal of installing 250,000 Level 2 EVSE (Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment) chargers by 2025. This goal was established in response to Governor Gavin Newsom’s Executive Order N-79-20, which mandates that all new passenger cars and trucks sold in California be zero-emission by 2035. The CEC estimated California would need at least 1.5 million charging ports to meet the demand for electric vehicles. The CEC has approved $2.9 Billion for ZEV Infrastructure.
However, as of 2022, the number of Level 2 EVSE chargers in California is significantly lower than the CEC’s target. According to the CEC’s dashboard, there were only 71,599 Level 2 EVSE. This is less than one-third of the CEC’s target for 2025, and a significant shortfall from the 1.5 million charging ports required to support the expected growth in EVs.
This lack of charging infrastructure has a profound impact on EV adoption. With a limited number of Level 2 chargers, drivers often face long wait times and difficulty finding available chargers. This creates a significant barrier, as range anxiety and charging inconvenience are among the biggest concerns for prospective EV buyers. It also affects the state’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions.
To address this issue, the CEC is taking steps to accelerate the deployment of Level 2 charging infrastructure. In July 2021, the CEC approved a $384 million plan to fund the installation of 38,000 Level 2 charging ports across California. The Federal Government is providing support too. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) has $7.5 Billion for charging infrastructure. These plans aim to expand the existing charging network and make EV charging more accessible to Californians.
Much of the State funding has been allocated. The CEC reports over 100,000 charging stations have been funded but are not in the total counts. Counting the funded charges, California is on the path to reaching its ambitious goals. However, based on the CEC’s own dashboard, California falls significantly short. Hopefully, with the CEC’s recent funding plan and private investment, California will be able to rapidly expand its charging infrastructure and support the growing number of electric vehicles on its roads.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Thomas is the Executive Director of CleanStart. Thomas has a strong background in supporting small businesses, leadership, financial management and is proficient in working with nonprofits. He has a BS in Finance and a BA in Economics from California State University, Chico. Thomas has a passion for sustainability and a commitment to supporting non-profits in the region.