fast chargers
The state’s first-of-its-kind public DC fast chargers were unveiled Monday near the U.S.-Mexico border. Photo via @SDGE Twitter

San Diego Gas & Electric unveiled four public, direct current fast chargers Monday at a truck stop north of the Otay Mesa Port of Entry — touted as the first of their kind to open at a truck stop in the state to serve medium and heavy-duty vehicles.

The four 250-kilowatt chargers can provide up to 250 miles per hour of charging for a passenger car, according to the utility company. They can charge a typical medium-duty box truck from 20%-80% in about an hour and fully charge from empty to 100% in about two hours.

“Reducing air pollution and tailpipe emissions are top priorities for our region and California especially in equity priority communities, and SDG&E is committed to building the infrastructure needed to enable businesses and residents to adopt electric vehicles and other clean technologies,” SDG&E CEO Caroline Winn said at the unveiling Monday. “We all share the goal of building a cleaner, more sustainable and healthier future.”

The Otay Mesa Port of Entry is the busiest commercial border crossing in California, processing nearly 1 million commercial trucks and 5 million privately owned vehicles each year.

“Idling vehicles waiting to cross the border is a key contributor to air pollution in the San Diego region,” according to an SDG&E statement.

The chargers are installed at Truck Net, 8490 Avenida de la Fuente, near the U.S./Mexico border.

The California Energy Commissioner’s Clean Transportation Program funded the chargers through a $200,000 grant. SDG&E built the infrastructure tying the chargers to the grid.

“Air pollution doesn’t recognize national boundaries, and to accommodate the transition to zero-emission trucks on both sides of the border, it’s critically important that we rapidly scale up the charging network,” said California Energy Commissioner Patty Monahan. “The California Energy Commission is helping fund this project and others across the state to build a better and more equitable charging infrastructure system for both cars and trucks.”

San Diego County Board of Supervisors Chair Nora Vargas, who serves on the California Air Resources Board and the county Air Pollution Control District board, spoke of her personal experience regarding idling pollution at the unveiling.

“As a fronteriza and someone who has experienced first-hand the air pollution associated with long lines of idling vehicles waiting to cross the border, I am thrilled to see the electric vehicle chargers installed at this truck stop,” said Vargas, who is also chair of the San Diego Association of Governments board. “This is a true community infrastructure solution that
proves that through public-private partnerships, we can improve poor air quality for families and children and promote economic prosperity for the binational region.”

According to the CEC, nearly a million battery-electric cars have been sold in California and nearly 2,000 zero-emission trucks and buses are on the road today. The state also has more than 80,000 public and shared private EV chargers. The vast majority, about 90%, are Level 2 chargers, which provide 14-35 miles of range per hour of charging. The remaining 10% are DC fast chargers.

City News Service contributed to this article.