The California Plug-in Electric Vehicle Collaborative held its first public event last week at Universal Studios in southern California. Event organizers cited the studio’s work in sparking public imagination 25 years ago with the time-traveling DeLorean in Back to the Future. This public-private partnership has the more modest goal of installing one million EV charging units in California by 2020. These EV chargers will be necessary to help communities throughout the Golden State turn California into the EV capital of the United States.
The goal of installing a million EV chargers will be carried out by 30 partners ranging from research institutes to automakers. This collaborative includes representatives from the Office of the Governor, the California State Senate and State Assembly. State agencies will work to reduce regulatory obstacles and create incentives for widespread EV adoption. Producers like ECOtality, BMW Group and Better Place are tasked with creating eco-friendly transportation options for consumers. Utilities including Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas & Electric Co. are working with the collaborative to streamline EV charging at public locations. These partners will work to surmount the significant obstacles to creating a charging network in such a large state.
California has been witness to several developments in green transportation in the past two weeks. Nissan delivered the first LEAF EV in the United States to a customer in San Francisco last week. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) announced that the state would need 250,000 green vehicles to meet the board’s emission standards by 2025. The California Plug-in Electric Vehicle Collaborative no doubt loved these chance occurrences ahead of its coming-out party. The Nissan LEAF EV delivery drives home the commercial viability of EVs while CARB’s announcement applied greater pressure on green vehicle developers to pick up the pace.
Consumers throughout California should expect to see far more than a million EV chargers by 2020. The California Plug-in Electric Vehicle Collaborative features heavy hitters in the sectors needed for a streamlined EV charging network. State lawmakers are pressuring the top six automakers to offer battery-powered vehicles in California starting in 2012. Los Angeles and the Bay Area have already taken significant steps to promote green vehicle adoption over the next decade. The California model for EV infrastructure development should be replicable throughout the United States, creating a chain reaction that could turn electric vehicles from extravagances to viable options for consumers.