Electric Vehicle Charging Stations in California

Photo credit: www.hybridcars.com
Photo credit: www.hybridcars.com

Photo credit: www.hybridcars.com

After eight blissful years with my Mazda, an expensive 100,000-mile service was looming, and I decided I was tired of scrambling for my earphones every time a client called me in the car (okay, it was probably my mom calling, but you get the idea). I decided it was time for a new car. After a lot of research, and taking into consideration my daily commute from Los Angeles to Orange County, I decided it was time to be a little greener, save on gas money, and most importantly, get my hands on those fantastic green carpool lane stickers. I settled on a plug-in hybrid and haven’t looked back (except at the people not in the carpool lane).

After getting the car, and like many things in life (see wedding or vacation planning), I had to become an expert quickly in an area I knew little about. The subject at hand? How am I going to charge this thing?  I discovered that public electric vehicle (“EV”) charging stations are readily available throughout most of California. However, the availability varies greatly depending on location. I started to wonder:  Why do some communities seem to have a charging station on every corner? Are we going to start referring to areas without them as “EV Charger Deserts”? And who makes the decision where to install a charging station? 

A quick Google search revealed the following facts:

1)    Fast chargers are now located every 25 to 50 miles along the 585 miles of I-5 running through Washington and Oregon, as well as along other major routes in these states. 
2)    California also plans to add charging stations along its length of I-5, extending what state governments have called the “West Coast Electric Highway” all the way to Mexico.
3)    California currently has more than one-fifth of the U.S. public charging stations.

Based on that information, it’s clear cities and state governments have the ability to install EV charging stations as needed. Cities could add the initiative to their General Plan or offer incentives to private companies to install them. Private developers can benefit from the inclusion of EV charging stations by attracting customers. For example, someone with an electric car may choose to shop at one grocery store over another because they can charge their car while they shop. 

With more electric cars on the road than ever before and the demand increasing, it may be time to ask yourself, “Am I in an EV charger desert?” 

Written by Jane Carlson, an Associate at RSG