This winter, businesses, commercial property owners and multi-family residences in San Jose can apply for steep discounts on electric vehicle charging stations as a result of an energy partnership’s efforts to bolster green infrastructure in the city.
San Jose Clean Energy (SJCE) and the California Energy Commission’s California Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Project (CALeVIP) committed $14 million to increase the number of charging stations in San Jose and promote the use of electric vehicles.
“Approximately 60 percent of the carbon emissions in San Jose are transportation-based,” said Zach Struyk with SJCE. “So electrifying transportation in San Jose is extremely important.”
Within the next two years, the city needs 4,091 public charging ports, according to a city report. San Jose currently has 900 and 304 are scheduled to be installed. The $14 million investment — $4 million from SJCE and $10 million from the California Energy Commission — will add about 100 direct current (DC) fast charging ports and 1,400 level 2 ports to the city.
In 2018 Gov. Jerry Brown signed an executive order calling for more electric vehicles and charging stations in the state to promote cleaner air and reduce carbon emissions. California, which has one of the largest markets for electric vehicles in the world, set a goal of getting 5 million electric vehicles on the road by 2030 and installing 250,000 electric vehicle charging stations by 2025. For this reason, the state already offers incentives for purchasing electric vehicles.
But as the number of electric vehicles increases in the city, property owners will be responsible for adding more charging stations, which can set them back thousands of dollars.
Starting Dec. 16, businesses, commercial properties, multifamily residences and local government facilities can apply for rebates on two models of charging stations: the level 2 charging station and the pricier, yet more powerful, DC fast charging stations.
Level 2 charging stations are most widely found in San Jose and are best for workplaces and apartment buildings, as charging can take an hour or more, according to Andy Hoskinson with CALeVIP. DC fast chargers are more similar to gas stations, designed for quick power-ups. This makes them suitable for businesses such as coffee shops, where people often spend less than 45 minutes.
Installing a level 2 charging station can cost about $1,200 to $3,000 while a 50 kW DC fast charging station can cost $25,000 to $30,000, according to Hoskinson. He said the hefty cost typically stems from installation, as power often needs to be moved to areas such as parking lots that aren’t already connected to the grid.
Under the new program, residents can receive rebates of up to $4,500 for level 2 chargers and discounts from $50,000 to $80,000 for DC fast charging stations, depending on charger power.
Applicants also can receive free consultations to help them decide which charging stations to install, where to place them on their property and how much to charge customers for use based on their prospective bill, according to Hoskinson.
“We are thrilled to offer these incentives to our community,” said Lori Mitchell, director of the Community Energy Department, which operates SJCE. “Making EVs more affordable and expanding the city’s charging network will help San Jose shift to an electric transportation system, which will lead to cleaner air and healthier communities.”
SJCE also set a goal of putting 25% of the charging stations in low-income areas. Businesses in low-income communities or disadvantaged areas can apply for an additional $500 rebate. Multi-family units are also eligible for another $1,000 discount.
The majority of electric vehicle owners in San Jose make more than $100,000 per year, according to city data. Twelve out of 100 households making $150,000 had an electric vehicle. Out of 100 households that made about $56,000 annually, there were an average of two registered electric vehicles.
Hoskinson said the discounts for installing chargers in low-income areas will bring more electric opportunities to these areas and hopefully reduce inequities.
The San Jose program is part of a larger Peninsula-Silicon Valley Incentive Project that is investing $55 million in funding for electric vehicle and charger discounts in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties.
To apply for the electric vehicle charger rebates, go to the Peninsula-Silicon Valley Incentive Project website.
Contact Carly Wipf at [email protected] of follow @CarlyChristineW on Twitter.