As elec­tric ve­hi­cles be­gin to spark Val­ley’s in­ter­est, will pow­er­ing up be a prob­lem?

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - Front Page - BY TIM SHEEHAN tshee­[email protected]­nobee.com

There are fewer than 5,000 au­to­mo­biles in Fresno, Kings, Madera and Tu­lare coun­ties that are pow­ered pri­mar­ily by elec­tric­ity – ei­ther bat­tery-elec­tric or plug-in hy­brid ve­hi­cles that get their charge from a cord and an out­let rather than a hose and a gas pump.

And de­spite what auto deal­ers say is grow­ing pop­u­lar­ity among cus­tomers, such elec­tric ve­hi­cles ac­count for less than half of one per­cent of all cars and trucks on the road in the Val­ley. If de­mand con­tin­ues to grow, how­ever, re­searchers say their num­bers could put in­creas­ing strain on a lim­ited in­fra­struc­ture of pub­lic charg­ing sta­tions at which driv­ers can power up their bat­ter­ies – and po­ten­tially have con­se­quences for the state’s power grid.

“Cal­i­for­nia’s pub­lic charg­ing sta­tions are pri­mar­ily lo­cated around ma­jor traf­fic cor­ri­dors or high­ways, or where there is a high PEV (plug-in elec­tric ve­hi­cle) den­sity,” Lawrence Berke­ley Na­tional Lab­o­ra­tory sci­en­tists Anand Gopal and Ju­lia Sz­i­nai wrote in an anal­y­sis re­leased Thurs­day. “How­ever, pub­lic charg­ing sta­tion con­struc­tion has not kept pace with the ex­ist­ing and ex­pected mag­ni­tude of PEV de­ploy­ment across the state. This short­age of charg­ing sta­tions threat­ens to be­come a crit­i­cal bot­tle­neck to mass adop­tion of PEVs.…”

Cal­i­for­nia has al­most 30.6 mil­lion reg­is­tered cars and trucks; of that, about 342,000 are bat­tery-elec­tric or plug-in hy­brid ve­hi­cles, ac­cord­ing to Jan. 1 reg­is­tra­tion fig­ures from the Depart­ment of Mo­tor Ve­hi­cles. But aside from own­ers who may have charg­ing sys­tems in­stalled at their homes, there are fewer than 4,500 pub­lic charg­ing sta­tions across the state with about 16,000 charg­ing out­lets. That’s not go­ing to be enough, Gopal and Sz­i­nai wrote in the re­port pro­duced for Next 10, a non­par­ti­san pol­icy or­ga­ni­za­tion.

Ear­lier this year, Gov. Jerry

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