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California power companies want $1 billion to build EV chargers

They believe they need government help to build a charging grid.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
January 24, 2017
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Allen J. Schaben via Getty Images

It's expensive to build an electric car charging network, and California utilities want the government's help covering the tab. PG&E, SDG&E and Southern California Edison are requesting roughly $1 billion in funding to build both EV chargers and the power infrastructure needed to support them. Edison is asking for the most. It's asking for $570 million to build public fast charging sites, the foundations for charging medium- and heavy-duty vehicles (including buses) and incentives in both electricity rates and for EV-toting ridesharing drivers.

The other two aren't quite so ambitious, but are proposing additional efforts. PG&E would like to offer rebates on fast chargers for less fortunate communities, while SDG&E wants to both install chargers at 90,000 homes and offer dealerships rewards for selling EVs.

It's not surprising why the three are asking for official help: California wants to dramatically reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, and meeting that goal on time could require some help. With that said, it's not guaranteed that the state will hand over as much cash as they want, if any. These companies tend to make hefty profits (PG&E made $388 million in one quarter, for instance) -- it may be hard to argue for a handout when a firm could pay for its strategy without batting an eye.

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