Nov 1, 2018
by Will Carruthers
Santa Rosa will be one of nine California cities to see the silver lining of a car company's foiled effort to skirt environmental regulations.
Electrify America announced this week that Santa Rosa was picked as the beneficiaries the company's latest round of investments in electric vehicle charging stations and education initiatives.
EA is the result of Volkswagen's foiled attempt to fool environmental regulators by programming their cars to operate more efficiently during regulatory tests.
A 2017 settlement between the German car maker, the Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board requires the company to invest $2 billion in "[Zero Emission Vehicle] charging infrastructure and in the promotion of ZEVs," according to an EPA summary of the settlement.
Volkswagen is required to invest $800 million in California and $1.2 billion across the rest of the country by 2027, ten years after the settlement was reached.
Santa Rosa and eight other Californian cities will benefit from investments in DC Fast Charging stations as part of the Electrify America's second round of funding in the state. In this round, Electrify American will invest $200 million in charging stations across the state between July 1, 2019 to Dec. 31, 2021.
Recipients were picked after an outreach process involving California government and business leaders, according to a press release.
“Our goal to establish one of the largest, most technologically advanced and customer-friendly charging networks in the U.S. remains. We want to demystify what it means to own and drive electric vehicles by making chargers more visible, more convenient, and more a part of the everyday lives of Californians across the state,”Giovanni Palazzo, Electrify America's president and chief executive officer, stated.
"The DC Fast Charging stations will be placed in retail locations but also consider the needs of adjacent multi-unit dwellings where Level 2 (L2) residential charging deployment is oftentimes challenging," the press release states.
The company will also invest in "stations specifically targeting shared mobility drivers - car share, taxis and transportation networking company (TNC) drivers."
The investment will add to local efforts to incentives people and companies to purchase electric vehicles.
For the past several years, Sonoma Clean Power, the local public electricity provider, has been offering electric vehicle rebates and free charging stations for locals through its Drive EV program. The program is coming to end in two weeks.
Still, Sonoma County will have to have a lot more EVs by 2030 to meet its climate goals, according to a report released last year by the Center for Climate Protection.
"Sonoma County currently has about 4,500 EVs on the road, and by 2030 it will need approximately 138,000 EVs (replacing internal combustion vehicles) to meet our climate goals," the report states.
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