The California Energy Commission (CEC) has approved $1.4 billion in funding to build out the state’s electric vehicle (EV) charging and hydrogen refueling infrastructure.

Electric Vehicle Sales

The investments would support Gov. Gavin Newsom’s executive order to phase out new gasoline-powered passenger vehicle sales by 2035, CEC said. 

“This plan charts the path for Governor Newsom’s historic budget investments in zero-emission transportation infrastructure and manufacturing,” said CEC’s Patty Monahan, lead commissioner for transportation. “These dollars close the 2025 infrastructure funding gap so that access to charging and hydrogen fueling isn’t a barrier for those exploring cleaner transportation options including individuals, businesses and public agencies.”

Nearly 80% of available funding would go toward EV charging stations or hydrogen refueling, CEC said. Included is $314 million for light-duty EV charging infrastructure; $690 million for medium- and heavy-duty zero emission vehicle (ZEV) infrastructure including battery-electric and hydrogen; and $77 million for hydrogen refueling infrastructure.

Remaining funds comprise $25 million for zero- and near-zero-carbon fuel production, $244 million for ZEV manufacturing, and $15 million for workforce training and development.

The ZEV manufacturing funds would cover 1,000 school buses, 1,000 transit buses and 1,150 drayage trucks, “which will reduce harmful air pollution in frontline communities,” CEC said. 

Funds would be available over the next two years and distributed to projects through a mix of competitive funding solicitations and direct funding agreements, the commission said. 

CEC said it “remains committed to the goal of providing at least 50% of funds from this plan to projects that benefit priority populations, including low-income and disadvantaged communities.”

The approved funding amounts to a six-fold increase in the budget of CEC’s Clean Transportation Program, with $1.1 billion of the total coming from Newsom’s 2021-2022 state budget. The budget includes a $15 billion spending package focused on climate and clean energy efforts, as well as wildfire and drought resiliency.

Additionally, on Friday (Nov. 19), the California Air Resources Board (CARB) approved $1.5 billion in clean transportation incentives. Funded projects include $525 million for clean car rebates and $843 million for heavy-duty and off-road equipment investments.

Rystad Energy earlier this month said global EV sales would surpass seven million vehicles globally this year, more than doubling 2020 sales of 3.2 million. The Oslo-based consultancy estimated that EVs, including plug-in hybrids and battery electric vehicles, would account for one in every 10 new vehicles purchased, with a global market share of 10.3%, up from 5.3% in 2020.”

The Energy Information Administration (EIA), meanwhile, in its International Energy Outlook 2021 forecast EVs would grow to 31% in 2050, reaching 672 million vehicles, from 0.7% of the global light-duty vehicle (LDV) fleet in 2020.

“Significant growth in EV sales and shares of sales through the projection period results in the global conventional gasoline and diesel LDV fleet peaking in 2038,” EIA researchers said last month.