In a third quarter update to the California Air Resources Board, Electrify America says all 50 or so of its highway corridor DC charging sites planned for California are on track for completion by the June, 2019 deadline when the first $200 million cycle of investment ends. Another 110 or so community DC charging sites are nearly on schedule but some locations may not be completed and operational until the last half of 2019.
All highway locations use 150 kW or 350 kW DC chargers for CCS but a CHAdeMO cable set aside for use by the Nissan LEAF and some other cars is limited to 50 kW (and perhaps 100 kW later) because no liquid-cooled CHAdeMO cables and plugs are available from suppliers yet. Highway locations have between four and ten charging spaces.
Community DC charging sites are located in retail and public areas of six designated metropolitan areas in California and contain between three and six charging spaces.
The ElectrifyAmerica.com website was recently overhauled and now shows 16 locations in California as “coming soon” because they have secured permits and are under active development.
At the end of the third quarter, the company reports that 97 of 157 planned DC charging sites had been leased and an additional 13 sites had been reviewed and validated. Of those 97 sites, 26 were added during the third quarter. At least 66 sites had a preliminary design and 53 of them had been submitted to local authorities to obtain construction permits. None of the sites are operational yet but 3 of them have completed construction.
The average time to gain permits was 56 business days which was nearly twice the average for all sites being built nationwide. So far, the company has obtained 10 times as many permits for its planned locations outside of California. The company says it considers permit delays and costly design changes due to permit processes to be “the largest threat to meeting the Cycle 1 California ZEV Investment Plan commitments on time and on budget.”
Electrify America said it had to cancel a few planned locations during the third quarter due to “onerous requirements and lengthy permitting timelines” that couldn’t be met during the Cycle 1 timeframe and budget. Previous plans had called for 162 DC charging sites but that number has now fallen to 157.
The report says “this is an ambitious target, based on aggressive cost estimates, and it is subject to likely revisions as final station costs are realized”. At the same time, Electrify America has chosen to upgrade “up to” 70 percent of the community DC chargers to 150 kW instead of the originally planned 50 kW chargers. In all, over 600 DC chargers are planned for installation at highway and metro locations during Cycle 1.
Another 1,500 or so 240V AC charging spaces will be added in six metropolitan regions with about 75 percent of them installed at workplaces and the remainder at multiunit residential complexes. These units are being installed by Greenlots, EV Connect, and SemaConnect under contracts with Electrify America.
So far, only 64 out of a planned 350 workplace and residential 240V sites have been leased but the company has identified 776 leads as meeting key site criteria. The report says “both the timeline to convert leads and the conversion rate did not meet projections during the quarter” and the company and its partners are taking further steps to expedite the process.
The first three 240V sites are now operational. Two them are workplace installations in the San Francisco Bay Area. One is at a financial district office building at 201 California Street in San Francisco. The other is at Bigge Crane and Rigging Company in San Leandro. The third site is part of the Green City Initiative in Sacramento.
Green City Initiative
According to Electrify America, the goals of the Green City Initiative are “to increase ZEV awareness, provide ZEV access to underserved, low-income and disadvantaged communities, increase use of ZEV technology to maximize ZEV miles traveled while reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and test the economic viability of ZEV access initiatives.”
One aspect of the initiative is electric car sharing services. There will be two different services. GIG, a subsidiary of the American Automobile Association, will use a fleet of 260 Chevrolet Bolt EVs in a “free float” style inside of a 13 mile “Home Zone” in urban Sacramento.
Another service, Envoy, will provide a “round-trip car share” service at dedicated parking spaces in residential complexes and commercial areas. About 70 to 75 percent of both services are located within areas identified as low-income or disadvantaged. Past plans for the Envoy service have called for 71 locations containing two or more parking stalls each with 240V AC charging for a total of 152 EVs. Plans have called for using 2018 Volkswagen e-Golfs.
In support of these vehicles and to provide intensified community charging, 12 leases for community charging sites have been signed in the sacramento region.
In other actions, the company has committed to match up to $2 million for the Veloz non-profit organization’s “Electric for All” campaign and so far has spent just over half a million dollars. Another $2 to $3 million is being set aside to collaborate with various organizations involved in low-income communities to promote the use of electric vehicles.
Although the vast majority of the $200 million budgeted for Cycle 1 is planned to be spent before the end of the cycle in June of 2019, some work may continue into the last half of 2019. The company expects that $10.5 million for a dozen electric buses for use in the Green City Initiative may be spent after June due to delays in bus procurement and long manufacturing lead times. Some community DC charging sites may also miss the June deadline and be completed later in 2019. Any delays in Cycle 1 work are not expected to materially impact the Cycle 2 budget.
Funding for Electrify America, a Volkswagen subsidiary, comes as a result of legal settlements with the state of California and with the federal government related to the so-called “dieselgate” scandal. VW is putting aside a total of $2 billion which will be spent in 4 investment cycles over 10 years. Of that amount, 40 percent or $800 million is dedicated to California.