The state of California is trying to go electric. Governor Jerry Brown has announced that he wants to get 5 million electric zero-emission cars on the state’s roads by 2030, and signed an executive order committing the state to that plan.
In Brown’s 16th and his last State of the State speech as governor (he has been governor during the 1970s, 1980s, and 2010s), he outlined an ambitious target that makes previous goals seem like child’s play. That said, the state was already struggling to meet its goal of 1.5 million electric vehicles by 2025 due to a significant lack of charging infrastructure (California currently has about 350,000 electric vehicles, the most in the nation).
As of 2016, there were around 14.5 million registered cars in California, the country’s most populous state. Brown is more or less envisioning a world where at least a third of all California cars give off zero emissions, likely meaning they are electric vehicles.
“The goal is to make our neighborhoods and farms healthier, our vehicles cleaner — zero emission the sooner the better — and all of our technologies increasingly lowering their carbon output,” Brown said in the speech. “We’ve all got a lot of work. And think of all the jobs, and how much cleaner our air will be then.”
The big problem with scaling up so fast, however, is finding a place for so many EVs to charge. California currently has roughly 12,000 charging stations. That’s good compared to the rest of the country, but woefully inadequate for the bump Brown imagines. That’s why his executive order calls for a $2.5 billion investment for a surge in building chargers, with a goal of 250,000 around the state by 2025.
But the other problem is one of timing. There are around 8,500 gas stations in California, but trips to these stations are usually quick. It doesn’t take long to top off the tank, and if there are persistent lines, drivers start to get annoyed. Current tech means that it takes longer to charge cars than fill them with gas even in ideal conditions. With a single charger connected to a 240-volt outlet, getting a full Tesla charge takes around 9 hours to charge all the way.
While studies have shown that people only drive an average around 29 miles per day, people don’t buy cars because they want to fit into statistical averages. Surveys have shown that “passion in the mind of the buyer” affects car purchases. They don’t want to have to wait a long time to drive their cars, which is why PG&E wants to spend some its money on “fast-charging stations, which can refuel EVs in 20-30 minutes.” Brown’s executive order would up the number of fast-chargers from the current 1,500 to about 10,000.
Source: Mercury New