SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — As gas prices soar, interest and demand for electric vehicles is also growing. But San Diego County doesn’t seem ready to meet the demand for charging stations and other infrastructure needed to support all those extra electric vehicles on the road.
This is especially true for drivers who cannot plug in their car at home and will have to rely on public chargers.
A recent SDG&E report found that there were 69,000 electric vehicles in San Diego in 2020 and only 6,761 publicly accessible charging stations in the county. By 2030, they estimate the number of electric vehicles will increase to 771,000. That would require more than 155,000 charging stations to keep pace.
Reaching that 155,000 mark means a combination of government and business will need to build more than 16,400 Chargers a year to keep up.
“It’s crucial that we continue to grow to achieve these goals,” says Corey Perman, Clean Transportation Project Manager for SDG&E.
“There are not enough chargers, at the moment, for everyone to charge,” he said. “It’s something we’re constantly looking at. There’s definitely a huge gap to meeting the state’s climate goals.”
Since 2018, SDG&E has built 3,260 public charging stations. They plan to build another 2,600 over the next few years. They also offer incentives and rebates to businesses or apartment complexes that want to build charging stations for employees and tenants.
In 2019, the San Diego County announced the Clean Cars for All program. Along with offering discounts to low-income families to buy an electric car, the program promised to build 2,000 charging stations across the county. A spokesperson told ABC 10News that the program has yet to launch.
But, the county’s Air Pollution Control District has the Incentive program for electric vehicles, which offers discounts to private companies that manufacture charging stations. According to their website, they have over $19.7 million.
All of this will hopefully help reduce what EV drivers call “range anxiety,” a form of stress brought on by not knowing where to charge their car.
Apps like PlugShare help identify charging locations. They also give information on the type of socket available, the number of chargers used and the charging time.
Experts say planning ahead is key.
“It takes a bit of foresight,” says Dan Wheeler of PlugShare. “Is there a grocery store they frequent that has a public charger? Depending on their vehicle, they may be able to fill up while they do their weekly shopping or eat at a favorite restaurant.”
Drivers say the extra planning is a hassle, but it’s worth it to feel like it’s saving money on gas and helping the environment.
“I think a lot more stations will appear,” says Cheng Tan, who drives a Hyundai Ionic. “I will feel more comfortable when there are more charging stations and more options.”
State leaders have set a goal of having 5 million electric vehicles on the road by 2030 and for all new car sales in California to be electric by 2035. Lawmakers passed several invoices aimed at making it easier and cheaper to ensure the state has the infrastructure in place so drivers can stay charged.