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San Diego Approves Deal for Regional EV Charging Network

San Diego’s City Council approved a deal that will create a regional network of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations at every city library, recreation center and beach within two years, and at every city building within five years. 

This 10-year agreement will help the city replace its 5,000-vehicle, gas-powered fleet and make it easier for residents to own electric cars, thus reducing local greenhouse gas emissions. 

“This contract ensures all San Diegans can be confident in transitioning to cleaner electric vehicles regardless of where they travel in the city or whether or not they can charge at home,” said Heather Werner, interim director of the city’s Sustainability and Mobility Department. Noting that the distribution of EV adoption is stronger among higher-income and single-family housing, she adds that requiring chargers at all city libraries and recreation centers is expected to ensure chargers are available in low-income areas, where they might soon be needed the most. 

A report by the San Diego Union-Tribune noted that EVs made up 6 percent of all vehicles registered in San Diego County last year, doubling in share from the previous year. EV ownership also increased by 50% year over year in the city. 

The deal, signed by the city with True Upside Consulting of Virginia, calls for both parties to share in the risk that underutilization of the system could result in a decline in revenue. A worst-case scenario, where EV charging demand falls close to zero, estimates the city could pay as much as $60 million at the end of the agreement.  

A more reasonable worst-case scenario, according to Jordan More, Office of the Independent Budget Analyst (IBA), is that demand would drop to one-third of city estimates, costing the city $14.6 million for infrastructure. More notes that the availability of state and federal climate change grants for EV charging infrastructure makes even that scenario unlikely.   

“Our office does not have any major concerns with the structure of the contract,” said More. 

Read more here. 

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