Full Speed Ahead for Electric Vehicles in California, Minnesota, and Nationwide

There’s been plenty of good news and forward progress for electric vehicles, clean transportation, and the smart grid over the past week, with announcements of new public-private collaborations across diverse communities in California, Minnesota, and nationwide. For starters, San Diego’s utility, San Diego Gas & Electric, signed an agreement to collaborate with automakers, electric vehicle service providers, environmental groups, and labor unions to move forward with an Electric Vehicle Grid-Integration pilot project. The proposal, which calls for installation of up to 550 electric vehicle charging sites, aims to ease the disproportionate impact of pollution on low income communities and communities of color. It also represents a step forward in meeting Governor Brown’s goal of 1.5 million zero emission vehicles on California roads by 2025.

In Minnesota, the Great River Energy cooperative is offering renewable wind energy to electric vehicle owners for the same price as fossil fuels. Its “Revolt” program offers standard or off-peak rates for the electricity used to “fuel” the vehicles. And at the federal level, the Department of Energy signed a deal with Edison Electric Institute, the industry group representing investor-owned U.S. electric companies, to increase the use of electric vehicles while bolstering America’s energy security. According to the DOE, “federal agencies and states will be asked to collaborate on ways to break down barriers to electric-powered driving and expand electric vehicle opportunities in communities across the country,”

Plug-in vehicle owner Jukka Kukkonen sums it up this way: “Electric vehicle owners are already some of the happiest drivers on the planet because they know they’re making a positive impact on the environment.”  Three cheers for California, Minnesota, the DOE … and more to come.

San Diego electric vehicle grid pilot wins wide wupport

Environment News Service June 4, 2015 

SAN DIEGO, California – San Diego Gas & Electric and automakers, electric vehicle service providers, public interest environmental groups and labor unions Wednesday signed a formal agreement in support of the utility’s innovative Electric Vehicle Grid-Integration pilot project.

If adopted by the California Public Utilities Commission later this year, the Vehicle Grid-Integration pilot project would make electricity a low cost, clean transportation fuel that would be available to more drivers in this California coastal city of 1.4 million on U.S.-Mexico border.

The project would help the state comply with federal air quality standards and would be a key step in meeting Governor Jerry Brown’s goal of having 1.5 million zero emission vehicles on California roads by 2025 – just 10 years from today.

The pilot calls for San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) to install electric vehicle charging infrastructure at up to 550 sites throughout the utility’s service territory and offer special rates to encourage EV charging at optimal times for the grid.

With rates encouraging off-peak charging, vehicles would be efficiently integrated onto the grid, helping to avoid on-peak charging that drives the need to build more power plants and other electrical infrastructure.

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