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San Diego Gas & Electric announced it will invest $7.5 million over the next five years to develop a new education campaign to create awareness, expand electric vehicle (EV) ownership and lead the charge among large cities to electrify the transportation sector. The campaign is aims to reduce harmful air emissions, promote the use of EV charging with power from the wind and sun and establish San Diego and south Orange County as America’s EV and clean energy capital.
The education campaign will complement the $45 million pilot program recently approved by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to install 3,500 charging stations at 350 local businesses, multi-family communities and disadvantaged neighborhoods. This combined $52.5 million comprehensive effort is expected to increase the use of clean energy as a fuel for transportation and help consumers overcome any obstacles to EV ownership.
“California is known for new ideas and innovation, and development of life-changing technologies. Now, we are leading the U.S. in creating the leading standard for de-carbonizing electricity and advancing clean transportation,” said Jeff Martin, SDG&E’s chairman, president and CEO. “Some problems are solved by looking to the future, not the past, and this is one of them,” he said. “That is why we are reducing carbon in the transportation sector by installing charging infrastructure throughout the communities we serve, and maximizing the use of renewable energy to charge vehicles.”
Martin announced the comprehensive campaign at a news conference alongside San Diego Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer, Chula Vista Mayor Mary Casillas Salas, San Diego Councilman Mark Kersey, and other local leaders.
“San Diego is a national leader in developing innovative solutions to reduce emissions and protect our environment,” said San Diego Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer. “I am happy to see SDG&E working to strengthen our reputation in this field by installing thousands of new electric vehicle charging stations at apartments, condos, businesses and underserved neighborhoods throughout our great city.
“San Diegans will not only save money on their gasoline bills, it will also help San Diego achieve its Climate Action Plan goals by cleaning up our air and reducing emission in the crucial transportation sector,” Mayor Faulconer added. “Power Your Drive demonstrates once again why the nation looks to San Diego for leadership in urban sustainability.”
SDG&E also introduced 20 multifamily communities and businesses that are committed to the growth of electric vehicles and charging stations under the company’s Power Your Drive pilot program. Taken together, these developments signal a watershed moment for promoting growth in EVs.
“California is a leader in setting policy supporting the widespread deployment of electric vehicles,” said CPUC Commissioner Carla Peterman. “The SDG&E pilot program will not only make EV charging more available, which is important for driving the sale of cars, but it will test how charging can benefit the power grid and bring down electricity costs for all ratepayers.”
SDG&E is working to sign-up 200 participants by the end of the year, in locations throughout all 26 cities in the region. At least 10 percent of the chargers will be in disadvantaged communities.
SDG&E’s new education campaign will include EV ride-and-drives in every geographical area of the region. These events allow customers to test drive EVs from all the major car manufacturers at one location, familiarize themselves with the many benefits of driving an EV such as tax credits and rebates of up to $10,000, low “fueling” costs and environmental protection. The campaign will also provide funding to community groups that will promote electric vehicles and other benefits. These education initiatives are intended to inspire the next wave of new drivers to switch to an electric vehicle and expand the use of EVs to all geographic and socio-economic areas.
In 2012, Gov. Jerry Brown set a bold vision of having 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles on the road in California by 2025. With the education campaign and thousands of new chargers dotting the community, SDG&E believes it’s possible to quadruple the current 20,000 EVs on San Diego’s roads by 2020, bringing the region closer to meeting its share of the state’s eventual goal.