San Diego Gas & Electric Invests $7.5 M in Electric Car Education Campaign

San Diego Gas & Electric Invests $7.5 M in Electric Car Education Campaign

Taking their recent initiative a step further,  San Diego & Electric (SDGE)  is adding  a whopping $7.5 M to on an electric car education campaign.  The project will push through in the next five years and is set to complement its initial investment of $45 million on the establishment of charging stations. At the onset of  2016, SDGE announced its plan of putting up 3,500 charging stations for electric vehicles at its 350 sites. The project intends to make the charging stations more accessible to communities where a number of the family lives, the underprivileged neighborhoods, and  businesses. The group also targets to allocate 10% of its total number of charging stations to the disadvantaged neighborhoods. The concept is to allow the residents to charge their cars and drive during the day.

Power Your Drive and the California Legislature

The $7.5 M project is part of the “ Power Your Drive” and will include education on EV, test drives,  and the goal to include those who belong to the low-income brackets and areas.  The CEO of SDG&E reiterated that his group will make sure that the installations will be equally available to residents of different income brackets, and will not only cater to the wealthy. This massive project from SDG&E on EV chargers and electric car education has been given the green light in January by the California Public Utilities Commission. This move is also linked to the Clean Air Initiatives in the state of California. The said initiative was mandated by the California Legislature and the Hon. Governor Jerry Brown.  

The governor has initially called for a staggering 1.5 electric vehicles ob the road before 2025. In addition, the Senate Bull 350 likewise targets for a broader source of renewable sources.  The said Bills aims to harness renewable sources to be used by 50% of te entire state of California. The initiatives have been receiving a positive response from the public since it was publicized.  For instance, an active member of  a Baptist Church in San Diego,  Herman Collins, also expressed his delight at the news. He believes that the project is community-focused. He also expressed that his church is looking forward to having at around 2-5 EV charging station on its 60,000 square-foot property.

To those who are interested in making use of the charging stations, they may expect to be billed.  The billing process is done  electronically .The future users of the electric charging stations will soon become part  of the 41% of clients billed via electronically. However, they will be updated on the energy prices, particularly when it hits rock bottom, via the smartphone app of the company. In addition, SDG&E spokesman Hanan Eisenman also highlighted that they encourage drivers to also charge in the evening that they will not contribute to the peak point of usage times. This would also benefit those who work during the night or those who need to recharge while on a long-haul trip.

Eisenman also guaranteed that there would be sufficient supply of energy as there is also a possibility of overproduction of solar energy during the day.  This program is also set to be the first in the country as it brings forward two major benefits – one is the possibility of owning a charging station and the access to real-time pricing mechanism. Aside from the innovative method of charging and disseminating real-time information, the group also intends to continue incorporating its advocacy. For instance, land protection will continue to be observed throughout the installation process.   Sustainability will also be its foremost consideration and goal.

More Support from the Local Leaders

It is important to note also that aside from the state government and SDG&E, another group is working hand-in-hand with them ,particularly on the installation of the charging stations. Chula Vista, for example, is in charge of about 60 stations to be installed it its own facilities and in another part of the state. Mayor Mary Casillas Salas herself expressed her approval of the said project during her participation at the Paris Climate Summit in December 2015.  According to her, the project will encourage many residents to get themselves an electrical vehicle as they now have places where they can simply plug in and charge them up.   SDG&E also has its own Green Team that is dedicated to ensuring that projects truly foster sustainability while working with local officials on the implementation.

Aside from the mayor of Chula Vista, the SDGH&E Power your Drive and the educational campaign also earned the support of council member Mark Kersey of San Diego.  Kersey himself owns and drives an electric vehicle, and is happy about the initiatives of the local government and SDG&E. As per the council member, the dramatic rise in the number of charging stations would alleviate the ‘range anxiety of drivers’ . This particular concern refers to the anxiety cost by potential power drainage of the car before it even hits home. Once the charging stations begin to mushroom, drivers may start building a better sense of assurance. Indeed, infrastructure is truly everything in this type of endeavor.

Despite the strong support the project has earned from the local politicians, the colossal energy-related project also earned its critics.  One is  Reason Foundation Vice President Adrian Moore who is also an  economist by profession.  According to Moore, the multi-million project of  SDG&E does not respond to their basic mission of providing a much more accessible access to energy. He suggested that it could have been better if SDG&E had just utilized the money to lower down the cost of energy for  the poor. On the other hand, SDG&E is adamant that the project corresponds to what the drivers and residents of California truly one – accessible and cleaner energy for all.

Other  Educational Campaigns of SDG&E

The free courses of SDG&E had already started during the first quarter of 2016.  The course took place at the Energy Innovation Center of the company. While the courses were offered FREE to the public, they had to register in advance. The course itself is focused on educating individuals on the technical and non-technical aspects of sustainability educational , demand response, and energy efficiency. Another interesting information about the courses is that they are generally held in the Innovation Center of the company which happens to one of the country’s first Double Leed Platinum Certified instructions.  This is the highest rating provided by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification system of the U.S. Green Building Council. Aside from the courses, the group also offers educational tours.

Other Successful Projects of the SDG&E

While the electric car educational campaign is still being pushed through,  SDG&E had already quite a few successful projects and accomplishments.  For example, the group has been recognized by the Environment Protection Agency not just once but twice. It has earned the Organizational Leader award back in 2012. On 2013, it has added the Supply Chain Leadership award to its list of recognition. Its massive growth in renewable energy supply has also provided the group the Renewable Leadership award. The group also prides itself on having about 90% of alternative fueled cars out of its entire fleet. The use of bio-diesel was also reintroduced by the group 2012.  While achieving all of these, the group has also been consistently passing all environmental inspections.

Educating people on how to utilize energy on an electric car more effectively is a skill that can be used for a long period of time. With the growing interest of California drivers on the electrical vehicle and the evident need to switch to a more  sustainable option, the San Diego Gas and Electric company foresees the projects and its multimillion investment a massive success. Needless to say, a project like this should be emulated.  As for the automobile manufacturers,  this is clearly a win-win situation for them.

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