Published on February 23rd, 2016 | by James Ayre


West Coast Electric Highway Gets $9 Million Boost From California

February 23rd, 2016 by  

Originally published on EV Obsession.

Nearly $9 million in new funding was awarded by the California Energy Commission to 4 companies (split via 9 different awards) to build electric vehicle fast-charging stations along major routes in the state, according to recent reports.

The new funding — $8,875,457, to be exact — will be used to create DC (direct current) fast-charging stations along Interstate 5 (I-5), State Route 99 (SR 99), and Highway 101 (US-101).


Of the 9 awards mentioned above, ChargePoint won 3, EV Connect won 3, NRG EV Services won 2, and Recargo won 1. ChargePoint’s 3 awards totaled $3,739,615 (42% of all funding awarded); EV Connect’s awards totaled $1,843,179 (21% of all funding awarded); NRG EV Services’ 2 awards totaled $1,659,928 (19% of all funding awarded); and Recargo’s one award totaled $1,632,735 (18% of all funding awarded).

Green Car Congress provides more info:

The awards stem from a solicitation released in July 2015 (GFO-15-601), with the overall objective of completing the West Coast Electric Highway which stretches from British Columbia to Baja California. CEC received a total of 35 proposals requesting a combined $39,159,298.

The solicitation defined 7 primary and 2 secondary corridor segments. While both primary and secondary segments required networked charging equipment (EVSE), the primary segment required at least one CHAdeMO fast charger, one SAE CCS Fast Charger and one J1772-compliant Level 2 charger or one dual unit with both CHAdeMO AND SAE CCS connectors and (1) J1772-compliant Level 2 charger either as a separate unit or integrated. Secondary segment solutions were required to have one CHAdeMO fast charger and (1) J1772-compliant level 2 charger, although proposals also including an SAE CCS fast charger scored higher.

The California Energy Commission released a new solicitation (GFO-15-603) for DC fast chargers for California’s interregional corridors in January.

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About the Author

's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy. You can follow his work on Google+.


    Pretty sad…we need more Fast Chargers in the southern san joaquin valley….the worst air in the US.

  • John Moore

    Does anyone know how many charging stations that this $8.8 million will get built?

  • Pat

    That’s quite a angry citizen persona you are carving out for yourself, Marion. Impressive. So let me get this straight. You are railing about DCFC infrastructure going in the ground, anticipating being “raped”? Yet the vehicle you drive is only able to Level 2 charge? There are HUNDREDS of L2 chargers available to use along these corridors already. The DCFC infrastructure is for fast-charge BEVs. It has nothing to do with you. Yes, the CEC required one L2 charger at each location, but they needn’t have bothered. (Who is going to stop for a couple hours or more to charge up using L2 on a long-distance trip?)

    Let me help you out. Corridor-based, long-distance DCFC infrastructure DOES NOT EXIST today in California, unless you drive a Tesla. If the CEC didn’t fund it, it might not exist for many years. Why doesn’t it exist? Because the charging networks cannot make money installing it. So the State subsidized it. When it is done, non-Tesla BEVs will be able to travel throughout the state for the first time. By the way, the frequency of long-distance trips is very, very, low. So typical drivers will only need to use the DCFC infrastructure a few times a year, if that. And the price, I assure you, will be far below gas prices.

    • Mark

      I don’t believe she ever suggested that she was confused that her Volt could not use a DCFC. I think her point was that she bought a Volt BECAUSE of the issues surrounding DCFCs. She can drive all electric in town and then use the same car to drive long distance with no worry about running out of charge, having to pay an absurd amount for the little electricity used by EVs available today (they want $0.35/kWh CAD where I live, and $7.50 USD per session in WA state), or arriving at a station that is in use, has a line-up, or is faulted/broken. This has been my experience in BC and is exactly why I bought a Volt in 2014 to complement the Leaf I bought in 2013. The Leaf is never taken out of town but used in the city and for the wife to get to work, the Volt is used 99% electric going to and from my work and then it is our long distance car. After one trip with the Leaf on I-5 in WA and seeing how fast it ate electrons doing the speed limit and all the issues with limited DCFCs that break down or are not available due to only having one charge point and too much demand, I realized the Volt was the only option for long distance….since I can’t justify a Tesla. Would much prefer to drive long distance without burning a drop of gas but we are not there yet for this to be a realistic expectation.

  • Marion Meads

    The bad news about this is that it will show how awfully hard it would hit your wallet to move your butt from point A to point B using electricity instead of gasoline when you charged from these stations.

    If they make it free charging, then by all means, it is the best. And when it is free, there could be fights erupting in the limited number of places to charge.

    • John Moore

      Marion, so I guess you feel like either way, the glass is half empty.

  • Marion Meads

    The only way to make this feasible, both in terms of cost and the reduced or comparable billing charges is for the electric utilities to build these stations with support from the DOE. The State and Federal government should fund the constructions of these supercharging stations on the provisions that the utilities will only charge the tier 1 electric rates. This will add revenue streams to the utilities with minimal cost to them. Heck, all those vacant lands next to the rest areas would be ideal for utilities to install solar, wind where available in conjunction with battery storage for 24 x 7 energy sales.

    No other private entities would be able to recoup the investment in these without charging way over the tier 1 rates. I haven’t seen any technical paper proving that this is a profitable venture when the rates are charged at tier 1 residential.

    • Pat

      The utilities? Brilliant. They are only concerned with the borders of their service area. The only way they could be meaningful players is if they cooperated on a statewide or national basis (A HA HAHAHA, like that would happen!) each building out their portion of a state or national plan. And then the costs just get shifted to ratepayers. And I it would be REAL EASY to forge a national/state confederation of utilities to all build out the DCFC infrastructure, say by the year 2099. Brilliant.

  • JamesWimberley

    The specification is for only two fast charging points per station. This is not enough for real use. I hope the companies will actually build bigger; there must be considerable economies of scale.

    • Foersom

      They need to get started. It is more important to charge stations through out a long route every 40-50 km. This will assure that they will not be stuck with no where to charge. As usage grow they add more.

  • Marion Meads

    Will they offer free charging from these stations or will they charge onerous convenience fee after fleecing out the government? They should at the most charge only the minimum residential rates for electricity if it is not free, otherwise this is the fleecing out of my taxpayers money!

    If they built these stations with their own money and not a penny from the government, then I have no complaints at whatever rates they would charge all you folks out there as I go merrily along the I-5 in my Volt.

    • vensonata

      But how useful is fast charging in a volt on a long trip? With a 50 mile electric range how many times are you going to stop?

      • If you bought a Volt with the pretense of fast charging it, you bought the wrong car.

        • Marion Meads

          Rest assured that no Volt owner have ever thought of such tiny ignorant idea in their mind.

      • Marion Meads

        I would charge opportunistically when I stop by rest areas to take a break. And that’s one thing nice about the Volt, it is not a time waster not requiring you to wait when there are hogs parked around the charging stations like they’re entitle to it.

    • My guess is since they awarded the contracts to EV Connect and ChargePoint they will NOT be free.

      • sjc_1

        Let’s say fast charging costs the same as $3 gasoline per mile, would people still pay? My guess is YES.

        • Not entirely sure on that notion. People who pay 90k+ for a TESLA are hanging around TESLA Superchargers in Fountain Valley and SJC to suck of the power tit. These are local owners who have no reasonable excuse for abusing this.

          • sjc_1

            I am referring to out on the highway, in the city they can charge at home.

        • Mark

          What do you mean by “$3 gasoline per mile”?

          • sjc_1

            $3 per gallon gasoline can take you 20 miles.
            5 kWh can take you 20 miles in an EV.
            If the electricity costs 60 cents per kWh at a fast charger, that is the same cost per mile.

          • Mark

            I see. Your original statement was missing important details like $ per gallon (rather than per mile), ICE equivalent efficiency, DCFC cost, and EV efficiency. I would not pay $0.60/kWh for sure. Not for the extra stress of driving a Leaf long distance only to have to pay $12 to recharge and recoup at most 100km and maybe arrive at a faulted unit. Long distance is what we bought the Volt for….and local driving to and from work.

          • sjc_1

            $3 gasoline usually means $3 per gallon, the context is the meaning.

          • Mark

            Sure, but you left a lot of other details out. That was my only point.

    • John Moore

      I am all for “wasting” tax payer money to bring us closer to the end of the ICE era. Tax payer money should be spent to make it easier to buy EVs. We must do this. We should be doing much, much more of this.

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