In a significant achievement, California has installed 10,000 fast chargers for electric vehicles (EVs), well ahead of the state’s 2025 deadline. Direct-current fast chargers (DCFC) are crucial in the transition to EVs, as they allow drivers to quickly recharge their batteries while on the road. These fast chargers can provide power outputs of 50 kW to 350 kW, allowing for a battery charge of up to 80 percent in as little as 20 minutes. In comparison, Level 2 chargers take four to 10 hours to reach the same level of charge.
Former Governor Jerry Brown issued an executive order in 2018 mandating the installation of 250,000 EV chargers, including 10,000 fast chargers, by 2025. California has now almost quadrupled the number of public and shared private fast chargers, from around 2,600 to over 10,000, to meet this target. Governor Gavin Newsom highlighted California’s progress at Climate Week NYC in New York, emphasizing that the future of transportation is happening now in the state.
However, California still has work to do to reach its goal of 250,000 total chargers by 2025. Currently, there are approximately 93,800 public and shared private chargers, with only 41,000 of them fully public. Furthermore, the 250,000 charger goal, set over five years ago, no longer represents the rapid pace at which Californians are adopting EVs.
With over 1.6 million EVs in the state, and 25 percent of new cars sold in the first quarter of 2023 being electric, California’s charging infrastructure needs are increasing. A recent report from the California Energy Commission showed that the state would require over 1 million chargers, including 39,000 fast chargers, to support 7 million EVs by 2030.
John Gartner, senior director of transportation programs at the Center for Sustainable Energy, emphasized the need for the charging market to keep up with the rising demand for EVs. He noted that while it is significant that 10,000 fast chargers have been installed, the industry still faces high equipment costs and lengthy permitting and connection processes. Gartner highlighted the importance of federal and state incentive programs to reduce financial risks and attract private investment in EV infrastructure.
California has already invested billions in incentives and funding for EV infrastructure. In addition to opening applications for $38 million in equity-focused incentives for charging stations in low-income and disadvantaged communities, a bill awaiting Governor Newsom’s signature would provide nearly $2 billion for zero-emission vehicle incentives and infrastructure support until 2035. The federal government is also offering $5 billion through the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure program to support EV infrastructure, with a goal of installing 500,000 chargers nationwide by 2030.
While California leads the way in EV infrastructure, other states have a long way to go. Florida, Texas, and New York, the three most populous states after California, have only a fraction of the number of fast chargers. Alaska has the fewest fast chargers, with just 32 in the entire state.