Apr 16, 2024 - News

San Diego looks to expand EV charging network

A vehicle is plugged into an EV charger in a parking lot.

An electric vehicle charges in a La Jolla parking lot. Photo: Bing Guan/Bloomberg via Getty Images

San Diego, already a hot spot for electric vehicles, is working towards making 400 EV-friendly parking lots at beaches, parks and other public facilities across the city.

Why it matters: Expanding the city's network of charging stations would make it easier for local companies and residents to switch to EVs, particularly residents living in apartments who can't "fuel up" at home.

Zoom in: Locally, the infrastructure would help meet a state mandate that by 2035, 100% of new cars and light trucks sold in California must be zero-emission vehicles.

The big picture: Cities nationwide have been racing to add EV networks over the past few years.

  • California ranks fourth in the U.S. for its rate of public charging ports, with about 12 per 10,000 drivers, per a recent LendingTree study.

Driving the news: Last month, city officials selected True Upside Consulting to build the network and pay for the use of city property, The Union-Tribune reported.

  • If the deal goes through, the contractor would install chargers at every city library, beach and recreation center within two years, and then at all other city buildings within five years, per the U-T.
  • Yes, but: The city could have to pay up to $60 million in reimbursement costs for the project, which concerns some City Council members.

By the numbers: The charging rate would start at 50 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) and would need city approval to increase.

Context: A typical EV with 300 miles of range usually takes about 75-100 kWh to go from empty to full.

What they're saying: "There is still a lot of price herding in the industry with players, by and large, setting their prices based on what other nearby chargers have set their prices at," Stable CEO Rohan Puri tells Axios.

  • More networks in the past six months have started adopting Tesla's variable pricing model, which accounts for the site location, time of day and amount of power a station is delivering.

What's next: The City Council is set to consider the proposed contract in mid-May.

Average EV charging station prices, January 2024
Data: Stable Auto; Note: Does not include Tesla charging stations; Map: Erin Davis/Axios Visuals
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