Electric Vehicles

Report finds that California needs 1.2 million electric vehicle chargers by 2030

New analysis from the California Energy Commission (CEC) shows the state will need nearly 1.2 million public and shared chargers by 2030 to meet the fueling demands of the 7.5 million passenger plug-in electric vehicles (EVs) anticipated to be on California roads.

The inaugural Assembly Bill (AB) 2127 Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Assessment examines charging needs to support California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s executive order requiring sales of all new passenger vehicles to be zero-emission by 2035 including battery electric and fuel-cell technologies. The initial assessment projects electric charging requirements to meet demand in 2030, while future reports will analyze 2035 needs.

In addition to the 1.2 million chargers for passenger vehicles, the CEC expects 157,000 chargers will be required by 2030 to support 180,000 medium- and heavy-duty electric trucks and buses also anticipated.

More than 73,000 public and shared chargers have been installed to date, with an additional 123,000 planned by 2025, the CEC noted. These numbers fall short of the state’s goal of 250,000 chargers by 54,000 installations. Newsom’s proposed 2021–22 budget includes $500 million to help fill the gap and ensure essential infrastructure arrives as more state residents go electric.

The report notes that the California Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Project (CALeVIP), the state’s incentive program for EV chargers, is oversubscribed by hundreds of millions of dollars, demonstrating strong market and consumer demand for public funding. Incentives for fast chargers regularly sell out minutes after applications open, according to the CEC.

The assessment also found that in 2030, electricity consumption from passenger EV charging could reach about 5,500 megawatts (MW) around midnight and 4,600 MW around 10 a.m. on a typical weekday, increasing electricity demand by up to 20–25 percent at those times.

To manage the new load and maximize EVs as an energy resource, the CEC emphasized the importance of pursuing vehicle-grid integration (VGI) technology. VGI enables drivers to program charging to make it easy to charge during hours when renewable generation is high, demand on the grid is low, and electricity is cheapest.

Other key recommendations from the report include:

  • Ensuring equitable charger deployment throughout the state through targeted public investments; 
  • Supporting local efforts to prepare for transportation electrification, including community engagement, and land use planning and permitting;
  • Prioritizing establishing common connector and communication standards for hardware and software; and
  • Supporting innovative charging solutions and financing mechanisms to foster market growth. 

The report is available here.