Electrify America recently opened its 209th site, yet only 14 are located in the Golden State even though California receives 40 percent of the company’s investment dollars.
Elsewhere, the company has already opened more than half of its roughly 324 non-California locations that are planned for completion by the end of 2019.
Recently, some would say finally, the company has listed the addresses of many new “coming soon” locations inside California to the online map at its website.
Altogether, the online map now shows 412 locations either already open or under development. The company has stated a goal of opening at least 484 locations by the end of 2019 which means some 72 intended locations are not yet shown on the map.
Company officials have blamed a number of factors for the delays in California including longer times to obtain a permit and difficulties with site designs due to local rules and confusion around recent requirement changes for disability access.
According to a company statement in its Q1 2019 progress report to California:
“At this time, the cost to build Electrify America’s ultra-fast charging stations average more than 30% higher in California than in the rest of the nation. While many factors contribute to station costs, the additional burdens imposed by permitting – including costs to relocate and redesign stations repeatedly, to enclose power cabinets in stone enclosures, to provide accessibility consistent with California-specific guidelines, and to incorporate aesthetic requests of local jurisdictions such as screening and landscaping – appear to be the primary cause of these additional costs, along with higher labor costs. This higher cost per station necessarily means that California will receive fewer stations per dollar invested by Electrify America.”
The company says it has been working with the governor’s office and state officials to help educate and cajole local officials into relaxing some requirements and speeding application processing for EV charging infrastructure as required under a recent state law called AB 1236.
Electrify America and other charging providers say that for every five charging spaces they are being required to set aside a wider space designed for easier use by drivers with wheelchairs or mobility limitations.
Interestingly, Tesla does not appear to be subject to that regulation. Electrify America and Tesla designed and built adjacent DC charging facilities simultaneously at an outlet shopping mall in Livermore, California last year. Tesla added 20 identical Supercharger spaces using typical parking space widths while Electrify America added eight standard charging spaces and two wider spaces designed in accordance with disability regulations.
Additional delays have come from utilities which have to review the high power requirements of Electrify America’s locations which can require between one and three megawatts. The higher density of these locations being built in California adds further burdens on utility engineers. PG&E, the major utility in Northern California has also been faced with financial turmoil and bankruptcy due to massive wildfires last year sparked by its transmission lines.
As a result of all this, the Q1 2019 report has scaled back the original schedule calling for 160 California sites to be open or under development by the end of June, 2019. The new goal calls for between 100 and 120 sites. With only a couple of weeks left to go the current count sits at 106.
Despite this, company spokesperson Mike Moran says the plan is to catch up and have between 150 to 160 sites open in the state at the end of the year.