California Charging up for Electric Vehicles

Governor Brown signs Assemblywoman Ma’s AB 631 to increase the number of charging stations in CA


For Immediate Release: October 6, 2011
Contact: Nick Hardeman or
Gina Frisby Phone: 916-319-2012

SACRAMENTO, CA– Today, Governor Jerry Brown singed legislation to provide market certainty for the infrastructure that is needed to support California’s electric vehicle consumer fleet. Assembly Bill 631, authored by Assemblywoman Fiona Ma (D-San Francisco and San Mateo Counties), will place into law a decision by the California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to not regulate electric vehicle charging stations as utilities. The bill was passed by the legislature in August with bipartisan support and was supported by the California Public Utilities Commission, San Francisco Department of the Environment, Environmental Defense Fund, CALSTART, Plug in America, the California Apartment Association, California Business Properties Association and others.

For more information on the bill,

“Electric vehicles are the next generation of fuel for California’s green economy,” said Assemblywoman Ma. “This new law will relieve range anxiety for people like myself who want to own electric vehicles, but fear a lack of charging stations. I applaud the Governor for his commitment to electric vehicles and the green economy.”

“This landmark legislation means that private industry in the Golden State will fund and build the charging infrastructure needed for electric vehicle owners,” said Richard Lowenthal, founder and CTO at Coulomb Technologies. “This straightforward and comprehensive law will accelerate California’s EV industry resulting in thousands of new jobs.”

President Obama’s State of the Union Address set a goal of 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2015. Last spring, Tesla Motors announced plans to manufacture its electric vehicles in the former NUMMI plant in Fremont, California. The California Energy Commission (CEC) projects the number of electric vehicles could grow from 32,756 in 2011 to 1.5 million by 2020 and 2.8 million by 2030.

Despite the emphasis to put more electric vehicles on the street, consumers need these vehicles to be as convenient to own as the gasoline car today. AB 631 is consistent with the prior PUC decision on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG). Several years ago, the PUC ruled that CNG as a transportation fuel should not be regulated as a public utility. The Legislature, wanting to provide regulatory certainty, codified that decision the next year. Likewise, the PUC ruled last year that electricity used as fuel for electric vehicle charging services should not be regulated as a public utility. AB 631 codifies the PUC decision to not regulate electricity that is used as a transportation fuel for vehicles.

For more information on the bill,