Electrify America has released its plans for Cycle 3 of its zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) infrastructure and education program in California, mandated by the Volkswagen dieselgate settlement. The settlement, reached in October of 2016 required the Volkswagen Group to invest $2 billion in ZEV charging infrastructure and in the promotion of ZEVs. Volkswagen then formed Electrify America to be the entity that would administer the entire program. 

The $2 billion was to be invested over a ten-year period, broken up into four 30-month cycles. Cycle 1 ran from January 2017 to June 2019. We're currently in Cycle 2 which runs from July 2019 to December 2021. Cycle 3 will start in January of 2022 and last until June of 2024 and Cycle 4 begins in July of 2024 and ends in December of 2026. 

The $2 billion investment is also broken up into two separate programs. One for California, which receives $800 million of the settlement ($200 million for each 30-month cycle), and the other is for the rest of the US and receives the $1.2 billion balance ($300 million per cycle). What Electrify America is now reporting are the details for the $200 million 3rd cycle investment of the California program, which begins in January 2022. 

Electrify America charging infrastructure for Proterra electric buses
Electrify America charging infrastructure for Proterra electric buses

Highlights of California’s 3rd Cycle ZEV Investment Plan 

The central focus of electric vehicle charging infrastructure investment will focus on building strategically-placed charging stations in many of Electrify America’s existing metro areas, where electric vehicle drivers are expected to charge most often. DC fast charging stations will be placed in retail locations, but will also consider the needs of adjacent multi-unit dwellings, where Level 2 residential charging deployment is often challenging. In addition to existing metro investments, Electrify America will invest in five new metro areas.

“This is the next exciting phase of our mission to increase EV infrastructure and awareness in California as the state works towards its commitment to help make 100 percent of new passenger vehicles zero-emission by 2035,” said Giovanni Palazzo, president and chief executive officer of Electrify America. “This added investment will provide equitable access to expanded EV infrastructure, technology and services for communities across California, further supporting an electric mobility revolution across all regions of the state.”

New metro area investments:

  • Bakersfield
  • Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura
  • Santa Maria-Santa Barbara
  • Stockton 
  • Visalia

Expansion of existing metro area investments:

  • Fresno
  • Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim
  • Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario
  • San Diego-Carlsbad
  • San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward
  • San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara

Following the success and key learnings of building EV infrastructure from its previous $400 million investment in California over the last five years, Electrify America will focus the $200 million across three main categories: Infrastructure; Public Education, Awareness, Access & Marketing; and Green Cities. Additionally, Electrify America's goal is to ensure that 35 percent of the investment is in low-income and disadvantaged communities, as guided by California Air Resources Board (CARB). 

The California ZEV investment plan provides ultra-fast charging in more metro areas, as well as strengthens highway and regional charge routes while providing charging infrastructure and solutions for medium and heavy-duty fleets. Approximately 90 percent of Californians live within 15 miles of an Electrify America charging station, with 96 percent living within 25 miles. 

In addition to infrastructure, the investment will continue brand-neutral ZEV education and awareness efforts, and the development of the second Green City program in the Long Beach-Wilmington community. Electrify America would begin implementation upon approval by CARB, and continue these investments through June 30, 2024.

Electrify America Cycle 3 plan

Green City Investment - $25 Million in Long Beach-Wilmington

One key part of the California plan is the $25 million investment in a Green City program in the Long Beach-Wilmington community, home to the nation’s busiest port complex and served by a fleet of more than 18,000 drayage trucks. 

Building on Electrify America’s first successful Green City program in Sacramento, the company will work with Long Beach and Los Angeles city officials and fleet operators to implement projects focused on charging transit and heavy-duty electric vehicles, showcasing ultra-fast charging technology, energy storage and renewables and energy management for these two emerging use cases.

Efforts will focus on tackling medium and heavy-duty emissions in a predominantly disadvantaged and low-income community, which is classified as an extreme non-attainment area under the Clean Air Act (sixty-four percent of Long Beach/Wilmington community is classified as low-income and disadvantaged by the California Air Resources Board.) 

Electrify America conducted a detailed and quantitative evaluation to determine where to focus Green City investments that would meet the greatest needs and most positively impact the host community. Insights from this analysis revealed that CARB’s zero-emission truck mandate, approved in June 2020, and CARB’s Innovative Clean Transit Regulation, adopted in 2018, have spurred a significant, and serious new effort by fleet operators to electrify fleets. Working with that framework, Electrify America recognized the strong need for transit and heavy-duty truck charging solutions as part of this investment.

Electrify America Cycle 3 plan

Focus on Shared Mobility

Another major focus of metro-oriented charging station investment will be in supporting electrification transitions for shared mobility drivers – car share, taxis, and transportation networking company (TNC) drivers, where oftentimes charging solutions are not readily available. Electrify America will also invest approximately $2 million in incentives to lower the cost for these drivers and to incentivize access, purchase, and deployment of electric taxis and TNC vehicles. 

This new focus for the company, and the state, has the opportunity to significantly reduce emissions and support drivers. Emissions savings from electrifying a TNC vehicle are nearly three times as high as electrifying an average vehicle in California, and TNC and taxi drivers are often in low-income brackets, so transitioning to an EV can unlock lower cost for some shared mobility drivers, resulting in more take-home pay. Electrifying TNCs also provides an educational opportunity for passengers, as they get to experience riding in an EV and frequently end up hearing about the benefits of driving an EV from the driver.

Additional Investment Plan focus areas include:

  • Highways & Regional Routes: The new investment will expand highway network DC Fast Charging stations, featuring charging power up to 350 kilowatts for capable vehicles, adding density along major routes and investing in regionally significant routes to new destinations including Joshua Tree National Park. 
  • Transit and Medium-Duty/Heavy-Duty Fleet Charging: Both the transit and medium/heavy-duty sectors are poised for significant growth over the coming decade. Electrify America is investing in infrastructure to support these emerging, but transformational, technologies.
  • Hardware Development and Capacity Building: Electrify America plans to invest in new tools and techniques, such as site-level energy management and energy modeling, to drive down both capital and operating costs, and ensure a fast, reliable, and customer-centric experience at all of our stations.
  • Rural Investments: As part of the plan, the company will build off its more than $81 million investment to date in rural parts of the state, including the Central Valley, where Electrify America has built more stations to date than any other charging provider.
  • Renewable Generation: Consistent with California’s broader air quality goals, Electrify America will invest in renewable generation for select stations as site-level energy management tools to help to reduce station operating costs and reduce the carbon consumption for EV recharging.
  • Brand Neutral Education and Awareness: Electrify America plans to drive increased ZEV education and awareness through educational marketing, ride and drives and other experiential marketing, bringing messaging directly to consumers through social media and other marketing channels. 
  • Sponsoring and Supporting ZEV Education and Training Efforts of Others: Electrify America will continue investing to collaborate with local organizations working specifically within California’s low-income and disadvantaged communities to increase ZEV adoption, building on the more than $6 million of support for local organizations to date. Electrify America will also continue to sponsor the effective brand-neutral education, awareness, and workforce training efforts of other organizations, continuing our past support for the great work of organizations such as Veloz, EV Noire, Plug In America and the LA Cleantech Incubator.
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