PG&E Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Report 2017

Clean Transportation

PG&E is committed to making plug-in electric vehicle (EV) ownership easy and affordable. In collaboration with automakers, charging equipment providers and state programs, we are actively working to support the large-scale electric infrastructure needed to incorporate EV charging systems into the energy grid and help California achieve its target of deploying the infrastructure needed to support one million zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2020. Accelerating EV adoption will help California meet its clean air and greenhouse-gas emission reduction goals.

Our Approach

With about 270,000 EVs already on California roads, and 120,000 in PG&E’s service area, PG&E is working proactively to expand charging infrastructure and simplify EV ownership. One in five EVs in the United States plugs into PG&E’s grid, charging with electricity that is nearly 70 percent greenhouse gas-free. We also offer electric rate plans tailored for customers who drive EVs and seminars and test-drive events to help customers understand the benefits of EVs.

Examples of our work include:

PG&E also continues to green its fleet by integrating more low-emission vehicles, from hybrid-electric bucket trucks to compressed natural gas vehicles.

We are also participating in California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) program, which aims to lower the carbon impact of California’s transportation fuels by 10 percent by 2020. Through this program, PG&E earns credits when customers charge their EVs or purchase compressed natural gas (CNG) for their vehicles, which we sell to LCFS-regulated parties and then pass on to our customers, as a $500 Clean Fuel Rebate for electric vehicle owners, and as an on-bill credit for CNG-vehicle drivers.

2016 Milestones

Highlights of our work to transition customers to EVs include:

  • Received CPUC approval to roll out the EV Charge Network. Over the next three years, we plan to install up to 7,500 level 2 EV charging stations at multi-family dwellings and workplaces. Installations are scheduled to begin in late 2017, and those interested in siting chargers can sign-up for more information and to receive updates as the network launches.
  • Launched an interactive map identifying 300 potential locations for fast chargers. Direct current fast chargers can “fill up” an EV in 20 to 30 minutes, but suitable locations require complex analysis. PG&E’s new interactive map tool identifies potential installation locations based on travel demand and capacity in PG&E’s electric system. The California Energy Commission provided additional support for this technology by approving $9 million in grants for the installation of fast chargers along major state freeways.
  • Collaborated on White House EV initiative. In 2016, PG&E signed on to a White House initiative to deploy EV charging infrastructure covering 25,000 miles of roads across 35 states.
  • Continued to explore new technologies for submetering EV charging. To enable access to new rates, PG&E is piloting third-party submetering technologies to measure customers’ EV charging usage. Within this pilot, customers can have their EV charges billed at a different rate than their home or business usage.

Measuring Progress

Plug-In Electric Vehicles in PG&E’s Service Area Footnote 1
  Approximate Number of EVs
2011 3,224
2012 11,565
2013 30,348
2014 57,772
2015 78,490
2016 111,232
  • 1. Electric Power Research Institute, based on external registration data, 2016.

The number of EVs in PG&E’s service area continued to increase in 2016, with battery and plug-in hybrid EV ownership reaching 111,000 vehicles. PG&E expects that by 2020, our customers will own and operate more than 200,000 plug-in vehicles.

In addition, PG&E maintains a network of 24 compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicle refueling facilities that are open to customers—refueling vehicles or fleets with about 2.3 million gallon equivalents each year. PG&E also uses its expertise to help commercial customers take advantage of this relatively low-emitting, domestic alternative fuel in their own fleets.

Looking Ahead

With EV ownership accelerating across the state, PG&E remains focused on designing programs that meet customer needs and promote EV adoption.

In January 2017, PG&E submitted a $250 million proposal to the CPUC for seven projects aimed at accelerating widespread electric vehicle adoption in California and reducing greenhouse-gas emissions. These projects include:

  • A five-year program that would build electric infrastructure for medium- to heavy-duty electric vehicles and off-road fleets.
  • A five-year program to support the development of public fast charging plazas across Northern and Central California. Fast charging stations can refuel an EV in 20 to 30 minutes, but they require specialized infrastructure to install and have been slower to develop.
  • Five pilot projects to simplify charging installation for residential customers, heavy-duty and commercial smart vehicle charging, and potential third-party electrification projects.

While PG&E awaits regulatory approval for its proposal, we are working closely with transit agencies and medium-to-heavy duty fleet operators who are piloting new technologies. PG&E is helping these market leaders manage charging infrastructure requirements and energy rates to enable a smooth transition toward cleaner electric fleets.

Looking ahead, PG&E will also continue to promote low-carbon fuel options for customers, including CNG, liquefied natural gas and hydrogen for heavy-duty truck and marine transportation.