With California’s mandate for new vehicles to be zero emission by 2035, the race is on to create the infrastructure to meet the charging demands of the expected crush of new EVs, as per the Los Angeles Business Journal.
Deployment and management of EV charging stations
To meet this demand, plenty of area-based companies have surfaced (or turning to) for deploying and managing EV charging stations. Notably, these companies are challenging Silicon Valley for supremacy in the regional marketplace for EV charging systems development.
Given the costs of large-scale manufacturing in this region, some of these companies make the actual charging equipment.
They and several other companies are focusing on software innovation and management to guide the chargers’ deployment, according to Matt Petersen, chief executive of the downtown-based Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator, which has among its company ranks several pursuing EV charging systems’ buildout.
“If you have to manufacture large-scale products, this is not the place,” said Petersen.
“But there are so many other areas that are integral to this industry: software, deployment of components, repair and maintenance, just to name a few.”
These companies are assisted by a push among local government agencies for the region to be the center of this rising industry.
“In 2018, we set regional targets to have enough electric vehicle charging stations in place to accommodate 80% of new vehicles being sold being electric,” stated Petersen.
“It’s all part of the commitment to have LA be the market leader in electric vehicles and electric vehicle infrastructure.”
There’s also a lot of public funding available to aid these companies in getting off the ground.
Calstart hands out $270 million in state funds
For instance, a zero-emission vehicle industry consortium based in Pasadena, Calstart, is handing out $270 million in state funds to establish the infrastructure to power hydrogen and electric vehicles.
Furthermore, the consortium is set to start disbursing in early 2023 another $90 million in funds for letting the plugging in of high-capacity EV charging equipment.
Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach
In addition, the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are kicking in millions of more dollars to boost the infrastructure development to transform heavy-duty cargo transport trucks to electric power.
For example, in 2021, the ports announced a $25 million partnership with Reston, Virginia-based Electrify America, to construct charging infrastructure in and around the ports.
“We’re going to see more projects like this to build out a zero-emission freight corridor,” said Alycia Gilde, vice president of clean fuel and infrastructure for Calstart.
However, these companies face challenges in efforts to place chargers throughout Southern California.
“First and foremost is the cost of land,” said Petersen.
“Finding sites is a challenge,” he added. “Then, once you find the sites, you have to go through permitting.”
However, Petersen said, public agencies are starting to streamline that permitting process. And the region is starting to attract notice from private-sector funders.
“Venture capital firms from around the country are looking at LA as a market for EV infrastructure,”