PG&E (NYSE:PCG) has gone live with the first installment of what it promises will be an extensive network of electric vehicle (EV) fast charging stations. The big California utility said Thursday that four chargers are now providing juice in the parking lot of a 7-Eleven convenience store in West Sacramento.
The chargers are 125 kilowatt-capable structures that PG&E claims can provide hundreds of miles of range to EV cars in a "refill" lasting only 30 minutes. The company pointed out that Level 2 chargers take several hours to achieve the same result.
The installations are part of a broader PG&E initiative, the EV Fast Charge Program. In mid-2018, the California Public Utilities Commission granted the utility more than $22 million in public funding to build out fast charging EV infrastructure.
That plugs directly into the state's ambitious plans to become greener in the coming years. Its goal is to have 5 million zero-emission cars on its roads by 2030. It needs 250,000 charging stations to support this, including 10,000 fast chargers.
The state is also under an executive order issued by Governor Gavin Newsom to eliminate the sale of gasoline and diesel-powered automobiles starting in 2035.
"PG&E has been an active partner in helping make EVs an option for millions of Californians, including by increasing EV charging options across our service area," said PG&E Chief Customer Officer Laurie Giammona. "Reducing vehicle emissions is good for our state and good for the environment."
While PG&E did not provide any estimates as to how EV Fast Charge might affect its fundamentals, renewable energy is clearly the future of the utilities sector, and it's encouraging to see the company driving directly toward it.