For Immediate Release: April 11, 2012
Media Contact: Percy D. Della - 916-654-4989


Energy Commission Grant Prepares Coachella Valley for Electric Vehicles

A grant of $200,000 will help the Coachella Valley develop a plan to prepare for the influx of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) on its roadways.

The grant approved unanimously today by the California Energy Commission, will help the Coachella Valley Association of Governments plan where best to add PEV charging stations in light of the region's natural diversity. The valley, with a population of 400,000 and temporary residents of 100,000 in the winter, is home to pristine desert valleys, national parks and monuments, native American tribal lands, agricultural and resort areas and bustling cities with urban challenges.

"The Coachella Valley's PEV readiness plan will study people's travel and commute patterns," says Energy Commissioner Carla Peterman. "These factors are essential in placing charging stations where they are needed."

Another part of the Valley's PEV readiness plan will involve efforts to streamline the permitting, installation and inspection of charging stations, while enlightening consumers on their use and benefits, like displacing petroleum fuels and reducing air pollution.

Specifically, the readiness plan will be a joint undertaking by the members of the Coachella Valley Coordinating Council. The council is composed of the cities of Blythe, Cathedral City, Coachella, Desert Hot Springs, Indian Wells, Indio, La Quinta, Palm Desert, Palm Springs and Rancho Mirage, along with the County of Riverside, the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians and the Cabazon Band of Mission Indians. Also in on the effort are Southern California Edison Company and the Imperial Irrigation District, the electric providers of the region.

The council will develop a plan to promote and prepare all of its nine cities and several unincorporated areas for the charging infrastructure in anticipation of the rapid deployment of electric vehicles, both PEVs and neighborhood electric vehicles (NEVs) in the Coachella Valley and Southern California beginning in 2014.

Furthermore, the council will work on region-specific guidelines for the placement of PEV facilities in residences, apartment complexes, job sites, commercial establishments, recreation areas and the siting of fast-charging stations in strategic areas.

The planning grant was approved by the Energy Commission today under its Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program mandated by law. Assembly Bill 118 provides the Commission a yearly outlay of $100-million to develop and deploy clean green vehicles, technologies and alternative fuels in support of California's climate change policies and goals.

Under the program, a total of $1.8 million in PEV planning grants have been awarded.

The California Air Resources Board recently unanimously approved regulations that require car manufacturers to cut smog emissions from new vehicles by 75 percent by 2025 and reduce greenhouse gases by 34 percent. To meet these goals, the number of plug-in battery electric vehicles in California is expected to double from current levels by 2013 and will reach 460,000 by 2020.

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