Electric vehicles being charged. Photo courtesy SDG&E

San Diego Gas & Electric announced Thursday it will install thousands of electric vehicle charging stations throughout San Diego and Orange counties under a pilot program approved by California Public Utilities Commission.

The company will install charging stations at up to 350 businesses and multi-family communities, with 10 chargers at each location for a total of 3,500 separate chargers. At least 10 percent of the chargers will be located in disadvantaged communities.

The program is designed maximize the use of renewable energy to charge electric vehicles and minimize the need to build new fossil-fuel power plants.

“Today’s decision not only creates an exciting new opportunity for us to better serve our customers, it also delivers a real solution to achieving California’s ambitious climate goals,” said Jim Avery, chief development officer of SDG&E. “This pilot program will provide us with a unique opportunity to support the increased adoption of zero-emission vehicles to reduce smog and other pollutants created by the transportation sector in California.”

In 2012, Gov. Jerry Brown set a goal of having 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles on the road in California by 2025. SDG&E said that for the San Diego region to meet its share of 10 percent of that target — 150,000 electric vehicles — much more supporting infrastructure is needed. Currently the region has only 19,000 electric vehicles.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.