SDG&E starts major overhaul to support electric vehicles

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) – San Diego Gas & Electric has started a major program to support the transition to zero-emission vehicles and equipment around the county.

The Power Your Drive for Fleets infrastructure program, announced Wednesday, will run parallel to SDG&E’s own goal to transform its entire operations fleet — including pickup trucks and bucket trucks — to zero emission vehicles by 2040.

According to the utility, the fleets program will install charging infrastructure to support a minimum of 300 locations and will deploy at least 3,000 medium- and heavy-duty electric vehicles in the San Diego region over the next five years.

“One of the most impactful ways to tackle climate change and air pollution is to reimagine our transportation sector as it is the single largest source of harmful emissions in our region and throughout California,” said Estela de Llanos, SDG&E’s vice president of clean transportation, sustainability and chief environmental officer. “As we support local businesses and organizations to electrify their fleets, it’s important that we live by example and are working simultaneously to transition our own fleet of about 1,700 vehicles to zero-emission vehicles.”

The utility has made plans to electrify 100% of its light-duty fleet vehicles and transition 30% of its overall fleet to zero emission vehicles by 2030. Since 2010, SDG&E has replaced 17% of its fleet with low-emission vehicles.

Transitioning to a zero-emission fleet can result in significant financial and environmental benefits, a statement from the utility said. Aside from eliminating tailpipe emissions, fleet owners may be able to reduce total cost of ownership over the long term and simplify vehicle maintenance, as electric and other zero emission vehicles have fewer moving parts than conventional vehicles.

However, installing the electrical infrastructure required to power a zero-emission fleet can be time- and cost-intensive, because it may require upgrading transformers and other underlying infrastructure due to the amount of power that larger vehicles and equipment draw from the grid.

To help minimize or eliminate these upfront costs, the Power Your Drive for Fleets program can assist organizations install electric vehicle charging infrastructure by reducing electricity pricing plans, offering financial incentives and rebates, as well as site design, permitting, construction, activation, maintenance and upgrade support.

The program also offers additional rebates on charging equipment for schools, transit agencies and eligible sites located in communities that struggle with socio-economic disadvantages — including air pollution due to proximity to traffic or large commercial/industrial facilities.

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