Zero-Emission Vehicles

The CPUC develops policies to support the deployment of zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs). ZEVs include pure battery plug-in electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles. These transportation technologies are essential to achieve California’s renewable energy, air quality, and climate change goals. To achieve these goals, the CPUC works with utilities to provide rebates, rates, charging infrastructure, and vehicle-grid integration technologies to ZEV drivers as detailed below.

Rebates & Incentives : Rates : Infrastructure : VGI : Pilots : Regulatory History : Contact


Fast Facts:

 

Rebates and Incentives

Low-Carbon Fuel Standard Rebates

The electric utilities provide rebates to their customers that drive plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs).

The natural gas utilities provide rebates to their customers that use natural gas to fuel their vehicles.

  • PGE&E Clean Fuel Rebate
  • Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) and SDG&E rebates are under development.

Funds for these rebates come from the utilities’ sales of credits received through California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS).  Find out more about LCFS here  

Utility Shareholder-Funded Incentives

SDG&E offers a $1,000 point-of-sale rebate to eligible teachers and first-responders in its service territory through its Champions For Clean Air program.

State Vehicle Rebates

Customers that purchase or lease an electric vehicle may be eligible for rebates through the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project. This program has issued nearly $350 million in rebates since the program started in 2009.

Drive Clean

Visit ARB's buying guide for clean and efficient vehicles to identify additional incentives.

Rates

Plug-in Electric Vehicle Rates

PG&E, SCE, SDG&E and Liberty each offer electric vehicle “time-of-use” energy rates for residential customers. Time-of-use rates encourage customers to charge during “off-peak” hours. This helps minimize the impact of the energy demand from electric vehicles on the electric grid. Customers may elect to measure both their home and electric vehicle energy use on one meter or measure them separately.

SCE and Liberty offer rates for commercial customers’ electric vehicle charging.

Plug-in Electric Vehicle Submetering Pilot

Residential and commercial plug-in electric vehicle customers of PG&E, SCE, and SDG&E, including Net Energy Metering customers, are also eligible to participate in the Plug-In Electric Vehicle Submetering pilot, which uses energy meters specifically for PEV charging to help drivers save on fuel costs and avoid paying to install a new utility meter just for their PEV. Phase 1 of the pilot has been completed and Phase 2 begins runs from January 2017 through April 2018.

Charging Infrastructure

Infrastructure Pilot Programs

PG&E, SCE, and SDG&E are currently implementing pilot programs to install infrastructure to support electric vehicle charging at multi-unit dwellings, workplaces, and public interest destinations. Each utility convenes a program advisory council comprised of representatives from state agencies, ratepayer advocates, environmental justice groups, technology providers, automakers, and others to provide feedback and guidance on pilot design and implementation. The three utility pilots will install the infrastructure to support up to 12,500 charging stations with total budgets up to $197 million. This table summarizes key pilot information.

Proposed IOU Infrastructure programs

The CPUC is currently considering several charging infrastructure programs proposed by the state’s investor-owned utilities as required under Senate Bill 350 as described here.

CPUC/NRG Settlement

EVgo installs two types of infrastructure to support EV charging within the PG&E, SCE, and SDG&E service territories at no cost to site hosts: 

  •  A “make-ready” is a parking space wired with the electrical infrastructure to support electric vehicle charging.  Multi-family, workplace, and public interest sites are eligible to receive this infrastructure.  Contact InfrastructureFunding@evgo.com.
  • Public fast charging stations

This investment is the result of a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission-approved agreement NRG entered with the CPUC in 2012 to settle outstanding legal issues regarding the California energy crisis. The settlement requires NRG to invest more than $100 million in electric vehicle charging infrastructure in California. NRG is required to submit quarterly reports on its progress in fulfilling provisions of the settlement agreement and provide a list of its public charging stations and make-ready installations.  EVgo is currently implementing the settlement requirements on behalf of NRG.

Vehicle-Grid Integration

The CPUC, in collaboration with other state agencies, is developing policies that support vehicle-grid integration (VGI). VGI helps align electric vehicle charging with the needs of the electric grid.  To do this, electric vehicles must have capabilities to manage charging or support two-way interaction between vehicles and the grid.

The CPUC is currently collaborating with other agencies to explore whether adopting one or more communications protocols is necessary to enable VGI.  Additional information and documentation, including presentations from previous events, can be found on the VGI working group website.

Pilot Programs

EPIC Program

The Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC) supports the development of non-commercialized new and emerging clean energy technologies in California and provides assistance to commercially viable projects. The California Energy Commission administers 80 percent of the funds collected, and the three IOUs administer the remaining 20 percent. Several EPIC projects are related to vehicle-grid integration.

Demand Response Pilots

PG&E and SCE implemented “demand response” pilots for electric vehicles developed in accordance with D.12-04-045. Demand response (or DR) is when customers change their electricity usage (typically reducing use or shifting use to other times in the day) at certain times in response to economic incentives, price signals, or other conditions.

Department of Defense Vehicle-to-Grid Pilot

SCE is partnering with Los Angeles Air Force Base to conduct a pilot program that allows its electric vehicle fleet to send power back to the electric grid. The vehicle batteries can act as storage, charging when power is cheapest – typically midday when renewable energy generation peaks – and discharge energy back to the grid when there are supply constraints. The fleet of 34 electric and hybrid vehicles serves as a storage resource participating in the California power market. Throughout the pilot, which is funded by the California Energy Commission and the U.S. Department of Defense, SCE is providing L.A. Air Force Base a specific vehicle-to-grid (V2G) rate. The project went live in late 2015 and is expected to run through September 2017.

Electric Vehicle Pilot Survey

The CPUC collected information about a variety of past and ongoing pilot projects through a survey, and compiled the results into an easily-searchable presentation.

Low Carbon Transportation Choices Research

The Air Resources Board's low carbon transportation choices research program seeks to improve understanding of what drives vehicle choices, identify real-world emissions benefits of new and used electric vehicles and help increase adoption of zero and low-emissions vehicles across all income levels. Results of ARB's research through this program helps inform many of its clean vehicle incentive programs.

Regulatory History

The CPUC works jointly with other state agencies to meet California’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and criteria air pollutants from the transportation sector.

The CPUC began implementing policies aimed at reducing emissions from transportation energy in 1990 but its work escalated in 2006 after the passage of Assembly Bill (AB) 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act, which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.

In 2009, pursuant to the Scoping Plan and Senate Bill 626, the CPUC began an Alternative Fuel Vehicles rulemaking (R.09-08-009) to support the widespread deployment and use of plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles.

Prior to the existing time-of-use rates, SDG&E conducted a PEV TOU Pricing and Technology Study. Customers were eligible for Experimental PEV Rates (Rev.1) (Rev.2), approved in Resolution E-4334. SDG&E published a final evaluation of the pilot, which ended in 2013

PG&E and SCE conducted pilot projects offering time-of-use pricing to public transit systems, in an effort to develop rates that meet the charging and utilization demands of bus and other public transit fleets. These pilots were limited to three years and available only to government-owned or operated fleets, as the CPUC works to develop policies that address electric vehicle fleet charging needs and behaviors statewide.

  • PG&E offered the San Joaquin Regional Transit District its small general service TOU energy rate to meet the transit district’s new electric bus charging load from September 2013 to 2016, as approved in Resolution E-4628.
  • SCE offered a small general service TOU rate from December 2012 to December 2015 to governments that included electric vehicles in their fleets , as approved in Resolution E-4514.

In 2013, CPUC continued to develop rules with a specific focus on ZEVs. It decided (D.13-06-14) that the utilities should continue conducting research about the grid impacts of the load associated with electric vehicle charging and costs associated with any new transmission infrastructure needed to service increased electric vehicle load. The joint IOU load research reports can be found here:

In December 2014, the CPUC decided that investor-owned utilities could own transportation electrification infrastructure but programs must be considered on a case-by-case basis. This facilitated the development of PG&E, SCE and SDG&E's infrastructure pilot programs.

In recent years, CPUC has hosted several workshops to help inform its policy making including these listed below:

  • The Basics of Cost Effectiveness Analysis:Presentations (3/6/15)
  • PEV Infrastructure Site Selection (6/10/15) and Metrics & Data (6/16/15)  Presentations

The current, ongoing proceeding, R.13-11-007, seeks to develop policies that ensure that ZEVs efficiently integrate with the utility grid and have access to fair rates that encourage electrification. CPUC is also working with other state agencies to implement policies and programs that encourage the deployment of charging equipment and infrastructure. A key part of the agencies' work is focused on implementing requirements set forth by California Senate Bill (SB) 350 to support widespread transportation electrification. More information about the investor-owned utilities' most recent proposals to accelerate the deployment of transportation electrification is available on the SB 350 transportation electrification website.

Resources

Disadvantaged Communities
California Air Resources Board
California Energy Commission
California Sustainable Freight Action Plan
An interagency action plan aimed at improving freight efficiency, transitioning to cleaner fuels, and increasing the competitiveness of California’s freight system.

CPUC Contacts

Amy Mesrobian at amy.mesrobian@cpuc.ca.gov or Carrie Sisto at carolyn.sisto@cpuc.ca.gov.

Media please contact the CPUC’s News Office at (415)703-1366 or news@cpuc.ca.gov.

There are two ways to receive information related to a Commission proceeding:

  1. Join a proceeding service list to receive e-mails with all documents sent by the Commission, by parties participating in the proceeding, as well as notices of workshops or other events.  To add yourself to a service list, email Process Office@cpuc.ca.gov and include the proceeding number, your name, title, organization, address, phone number, and e-mail.  The Process Office will email you to confirm your addition to the service list, which could take a few weeks.
  2. Sign up for the Commission's Subscription Service to follow a particular proceeding, industry, or type of document.  Note that you will only receive documents from the subscription service once they have been accepted for filing, so there will be a delay in receiving notification of filed document.  Additionally, some types of doucments, such as testimony and other communications, are not provided via subscription service and are sent only to the service list.
 

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