May 31, 2018, by Mark Chediak and Joe Ryan
In a single day, the electric car boom may have scored hundreds of millions of dollars of additional investments in three states.
First, New Jersey’s biggest utility owner Public Service Enterprise Group laid out a plan to spend $300 million on electric-car charging stations. Then California cleared utilities to invest a combined $738 million on projects promoting EVs. And the New York Power Authority committed as much as $250 million on charging stations, including ones at airports.
States are doubling down on efforts to replace gasoline-guzzling cars with emissions-free, electric vehicles, even as the White House moves to unravel automotive efficiency standards. Just as electric-car initiatives were gaining speed in California, New Jersey and New York on Thursday, the Trump administration was said to be seeking an end to California’s unique authority to set its own fuel efficiency limits to curb emissions.
Related: EPA Said to Seek End of California’s Authority Over Auto Mileage
Despite federal efforts to save fossil fuels, the U.S. is on pace to have more than 1 million electric vehicles on the road by the end of the year. Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimates that figure will surpass 16 million in 2028.
“It’s a watershed moment,” said BNEF advanced transportation analyst Salim Morsy. “There’s no longer any question that electrification is going to happen on a very large scale.”
The plan approved by the California Public Utilities Commission on Thursday marks the largest-ever utility investment toward the adoption of electric vehicles in the U.S., laying the groundwork for a statewide electric car-charging network. It follows a 2015 California law that required utilities to invest in electrifying transportation to help curb greenhouse-gas emissions.