West Coast states propose to electrify the I-5 corridor charging sites

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Electric utilities in three West Coast states have announced the results of a study that could lead to significant reductions of pollution from freight transportation up and down the Pacific Coast and create jobs in an economy hit hard by the novel coronavirus.

The West Coast Clean Transit Corridor Initiative, a study commissioned by an unprecedented collaboration among nine electric utilities and two agencies representing more than two dozen municipal utilities, recommends adding electric vehicle charging for freight haulers and delivery trucks at 50-mile intervals along Interstate 5 and adjoining highways.

Katie Sloan, director of eMobility and Building Electrification for Southern California Edison, one of the study’s sponsors stated that, the results of the study provided a roadmap for electric utilities in Washington, Oregon and California to help electrify transportation in a coordinated fashion. This study came at a time when they believed that major investment in electric vehicle charging infrastructure would help significantly with economic recovery from COVID-19 in their states.

Other sponsors of the study are Los Angeles Department of Water & Power, Northern California Power Agency, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Pacific Power, Portland General Electric, Puget Sound Energy, Sacramento Municipal Utility District, San Diego Gas & Electric, Seattle City Light and Southern California Public Power Authority. HDR completed the study.

The study’s final report, published today, proposes a phased approach for electrifying the I-5 corridor. The first phase would involve installing 27 charging sites along I-5 at 50-mile intervals for medium-duty electric vehicles, such as delivery vans, by 2025. Then, later, 14 of the 27 charging sites would be expanded to also accommodate charging for electric big rigs by 2030, when it is estimated that 8% of all trucks on the road in California could be electric.

Of the 27 proposed sites, 16 are in California, five are in Oregon and six are in Washington. An additional 41 sites on other highways that connect to I-5 are being proposed for electrification. Those highways include Interstates 8, 10, 80, 210 and 710 and state routes 60 and 99 in California; I-84 in Oregon and I-90 in Washington.

Will Einstein, PSE’s director of New Product Development commented that, they were proud to work closely with their customers to help drive the electrification of commercial freight and fleet vehicles. By supplying their customers with clean electricity as a transportation fuel, they can support their customers’ desire for lower-carbon electricity and transportation fuel options, reduce air emissions and improve community health outcomes while helping Washington state accelerate its efforts to meet stronger environmental goals.

The report recommends expanding state, federal or private programs that provide funding for electrification, which could further accelerate electric truck adoption and expand economic opportunities associated with building sites. Several utilities in California — LADWP, PG&E, SDG&E and SCE — have programs aimed at supporting the adoption of electric trucks, but more support will be needed to reach electrification levels identified in the study and to meet state climate goals.

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