We are entering a new era, and California is leading the way — as it has been for
years decades. Everyone knows the auto market is electrifying, and electric school buses are slowly making their way into school transportation fleets. The Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) utility in California is now helping to electrify transport at schools in more ways.
First of all, the program, “EV Charge Schools,” involves putting somewhere between 88 and 132 EV chargers in at 22 schools, and the first charger was just installed. The chargers are not fast chargers, but rather “level 2 charging stations at school facilities and educational institutions for staff, parents and students to charge their EVs, with access varying by location.”
The chargers can go in at either lower education or higher education facilities. Of those, 40% should go in at disadvantaged communities. However, the first installation to go up with the launch of the program is located at Eastside College Preparatory School in East Palo Alto, California.
“PG&E will help fund the costs of purchasing and installing the EV charging equipment and networking fees at these schools as well as ongoing maintenance and operations.”
Overall, the program goes for 2 years and has $5.76 million in funding. “Customers who choose to own the EVSE themselves will be able to select any equipment from the prequalified vendors on PG&E’s RFQ. For customers who select PG&E ownership, PG&E will offer the customer a choice of the two vendors, ChargePoint or EVBox.” So, clearly, this is a big boost for ChargePoint and EVBox as well.
That’s the hardware side of it. There’s also an education component. The pilot program also involves EV curriculum, helping kids to learn about EV-related topics. “PG&E also will develop EV and sustainability curriculum for all schools in its service area along with teacher training options. The kindergarten through grade 12 curriculum will allow teachers to connect classroom learning to real-world infrastructure and help expand awareness of clean energy transportation.”
Cleaning Up California Transportation
Before any myths about dirty EVs work their way into the discussion, let’s note that the PG&E grid is quite clean, and more EVs mean big reductions in emissions. “The electricity fueling EVs in California comes from one of the cleanest energy mixes in the country. PG&E estimates that 93% of its customers’ electricity in 2021 came from greenhouse gas-free resources.”
In general, this topic has been covered for years. Electric vehicles clean up the air and help keep the climate cooler. Most recently, we wrote this story on the issue: “Lifecycle Emissions Of EVs & CO2: Debunking TED Talk Video.”
PG&E EV Programs
PG&E was keen to point out with this news that it has a number of EV programs to help accelerate the transition to electric vehicles. PG&E writes:
- As part of its first EV charging infrastructure program, EV Charge Network, PG&E installed 4,827 Level 2 EV charging ports at customer sites across Northern and Central California.
- EV Fleet Program: Aims to install or rebate make-ready electrical infrastructure to support the adoption of 6,500 medium- and heavy-duty EVs.
- EV Fast Charge Program for Public Fast Chargers: Complements state and privately funded initiatives by installing Direct Current (DC) fast charging in highway corridor and urban sites. PG&E has seen high demand for the program, receiving five times the applications for available funding.
- EV Charge Parks: Will provide charging infrastructure at California State Parks and Beaches in support of California’s electrification goals.
- Special Rates, Rebates and Tools: PG&E offers electric rate plans tailored for EV drivers and provides tools such as PG&E’s EV Savings Calculator and Fleet Calculator (ev.pge.com and fleets.pge.com) to help customers understand costs when deciding whether to drive an EV.For more information, visit pge.com/ev.
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