The CPUC develops policies to support the deployment of zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs). ZEVs include pure battery plug-in electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles. These transportation technologies are essential to achieve California’s renewable energy, air quality, and climate change goals. To achieve these goals, the CPUC works with utilities to provide rebates, rates, charging infrastructure, and vehicle-grid integration technologies to ZEV drivers as detailed below.
Rebates and Incentives
Low-Carbon Fuel Standard Rebates
The electric utilities will provide rebates to plug-in
electric vehicle (PEV) drivers.
The natural gas utilities – PG&E, Southern California
Gas Company (SoCalGas), and SDG&E – will also provide a rebate to customers
that use natural gas to fuel their vehicles. These rebates are under
The rebates are part of a statewide greenhouse gas reduction
program administered by the California Air Resources Board. The funds
come from the utilities’ sales of credits received through California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard
(LCFS) Program. In 2014, the CPUC issued a Decision
directing the utilities how to allocate LCFS credit revenues back to their
State Vehicle Rebates
Customers that purchase or lease an electric vehicle may be
eligible for rebates through the Clean
Vehicle Rebate Project. This program has issued nearly $350 million in rebates since
the program started in 2009.
Plug-in Electric Vehicle Customer Rate Options
and SDG&E each offer
electric vehicle “time-of-use” energy rates for residential customers.
Time-of-use rates encourage customers to charge during “off-peak” hours. This
helps minimize the impact of the energy demand from electric vehicles on the
electric grid. Customers may elect to measure both their home and electric
vehicle energy use on one meter or measure them separately.
SCE currently offers rates
specifically for commercial customers’ electric vehicle load.
Plug-in Electric Vehicle Sub-metering Pilot
Residential and commercial plug-in electric vehicle customers
of PG&E, SCE, and SDG&E, including Net Energy Metering customers, are also
eligible to participate in the Plug-In Electric Vehicle Sub-metering
pilot, which uses energy meters specifically for PEV charging to help drivers
save on fuel costs and avoid paying to install a new utility meter just for
their PEV. Phase 1 of the pilot has been completed and Phase 2 begins runs from
January 2017 through April 2018.
Infrastructure Pilot Programs
PG&E, SCE, and SDG&E are currently implementing
pilot programs to install infrastructure to support electric vehicle charging
at multi-unit dwellings, workplaces, and public interest destinations. Each utility
convenes a program advisory council comprised of representatives from state
agencies, ratepayer advocates, environmental justice groups, technology
providers, automakers, and others to provide feedback and guidance on pilot
design and implementation. The three utility pilots will install the
infrastructure to support up to 12,500 charging stations with total budgets up
to $197 million. This table summarizes key pilot information.
Proposed IOU Infrastructure programs
The CPUC is currently considering several charging
infrastructure programs proposed by the state’s investor-owned utilities as required
under Senate Bill 350. More details on the Energy Division’s work to support
transportation electrification as required under Senate Bill 350 are available here.
EVgo provides funding for “make-ready” installations within
the PG&E, SCE, and SDG&E service territories. A “make-ready” is a
parking space wired with the electrical infrastructure to support electric
Available funding covers infrastructure costs, generally up
to $3,000 per space, with a target of 10 installations per site. Funds are
available on a first come, first serve basis for qualifying multi-family,
workplace, and public interest sites. Interested parties should contact EVgo
directly at InfrastructureFunding@evgo.com.
This funding is the result of a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission-approved agreement
NRG entered with the CPUC in 2012 to settle outstanding legal issues regarding
the California energy crisis. The settlement requires NRG to invest more than
$100 million in electric vehicle charging infrastructure in California. NRG is
required to make quarterly reports on its progress in fulfilling provisions of
the settlement agreement and make a list of its charging stations and other EV infrastructure
installations publicly available.
The CPUC, in collaboration with other state agencies, is developing
policies that support vehicle-grid integration (VGI). VGI helps align electric
vehicle charging with the needs of the electric grid. To do this, electric vehicles must have
capabilities to manage charging or support two-way interaction between vehicles
and the grid.
The CPUC supported development of the 2014 California
Vehicle-Grid Integration Roadmap, which maps a way for state agencies to
develop solutions that enable electric vehicles to provide grid services while
meeting consumer driving needs.
The CPUC Energy Division Staff’s 2014 white
paper on Vehicle-Grid Integration has served as the launching point for
developing policies that best support VGI. CPUC also provided a presentation to the California Energy Commission in November 2014 about vehicle-to-grid integration use cases and regulatory issues.
On December 4, 2013, the CPUC Energy Division held a workshop on Vehicle-to-Grid Integration and Financing. The presentations from that workshop can be accessed below:
Program Investment Charge (EPIC) supports the development of
non-commercialized new and emerging clean energy technologies in California and
provides assistance to commercially viable projects. The California Energy
Commission administers 80 percent of the funds collected, and the three IOUs
administer the remaining 20 percent. Several EPIC projects are related to
Demand Response Pilots
PG&E and SCE implemented “demand response” pilots for
electric vehicles developed in accordance with D.12-04-045.
Demand response (or DR) is when customers change their electricity usage
(typically reducing use or shifting use to other times in the day) at certain
times in response to economic incentives, price signals, or other conditions.
partnered with BMW for its program to use PEVs
as DR resources, and provided incentives of up to $1,540 for 100 electric
SCE developed a Workplace PEV Charging
Pilot Plan focused on testing different DR technologies at its own
locations, and a Smart
PEV Charging Pilot Plan to further test DR technologies for commercial and
Department of Defense Vehicle-to-Grid Pilot
is partnering with Los Angeles Air Force Base to conduct a pilot program
that allows its electric vehicle fleet to send power back to the electric grid.
The vehicle batteries can act as storage, charging when power is cheapest – typically
midday when renewable energy generation peaks – and discharge energy back to
the grid when there are supply constraints. The fleet of 34 electric and hybrid
vehicles serves as a storage resource participating in the California power
market. Throughout the pilot, which is funded by the California
Energy Commission and the U.S. Department of Defense, SCE is providing L.A.
Air Force Base a specific
vehicle-to-grid (V2G) rate. The project went live
in late 2015 and is expected to run through September 2017.
The CPUC works jointly with other state agencies to meet
California’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and criteria air
pollutants from the transportation sector.
The CPUC began implementing policies aimed at reducing
emissions from transportation energy in 1990 but its work escalated in 2006
after the passage of Assembly
Bill (AB) 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act, which aims to reduce
greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.
In 2008, the California Air Resources Board created an initial
Climate Change Scoping Plan, which found that efficient, zero-emission
vehicles using low carbon fuels are “vital components” of the state’s efforts
to achieve its GHG emission reduction goals. In 2009, pursuant to the Scoping
Plan and Senate Bill 626, the CPUC began an Alternative Fuel Vehicles
to support the widespread deployment and use of plug-in hybrid and electric
Prior to the existing time-of-use rates, SDG&E conducted
a PEV TOU Pricing and
Technology Study. Customers were eligible for Experimental PEV Rates (Rev.1) (Rev.2), approved in Resolution
E-4334. SDG&E published a final
evaluation of the pilot, which ended in 2013
PG&E and SCE conducted pilot projects offering
time-of-use pricing to public transit systems, in an effort to develop rates
that meet the charging and utilization demands of bus and other public transit
fleets. These pilots were limited to three years and available only to
government-owned or operated fleets, as the CPUC works to develop policies that
address electric vehicle fleet charging needs and behaviors statewide.
In 2013, CPUC continued to develop rules with a specific
focus on electric vehicles (EVs). It decided (D.13-06-14)
that the utilities should continue conducting research about the grid impacts
of the load associated with electric vehicle charging and costs associated with
any new transmission infrastructure needed to service increased electric
vehicle load. The joint IOU load research reports can be found here:
In December 2014, the
CPUC decided that investor-owned utilities could own transportation
electrification infrastructure but programs must be considered on a
case-by-case basis. This facilitated the development of PG&E, SCE and SDG&E's infrastructure pilot programs.
In recent years, CPUC has hosted several workshops to help inform its policy making including these listed below:
- The Basics of Cost Effectiveness Analysis:Presentations
- PEV Infrastructure Site Selection (6/10/15) and Metrics & Data
The current, ongoing proceeding, R.13-11-007,
develop policies that ensure that PEVs efficiently integrate with the
grid and have access to fair rates that encourage electrification. CPUC
working with other state agencies to implement policies and programs
encourage the deployment of charging equipment and infrastructure. A key
part of the agencies' work is focused on implementing requirements set
forth by California Senate Bill (SB) 350 to support widespread
electrification. More information about the investor-owned utilities'
most recent proposals to accelerate the deployment of transportation
electrification is available on the SB 350 transportation electrification website.