Suppose your electric cooperative had 12 years to help get half a million zero-emissions vehicles on the road in its service territory.

That's a tall order. But for San Diego Gas & Electric, it's reality.

California Gov. Jerry Brown wants 5 million ZEVs, and SDG&E's territory accounts for about 10 percent of the state.

"That means we have to get to 500,000 by 2030, and we're at 29 [thousand] right now. So that's about 15 times growth from where we're at," said Parina Parikh, SDG&E's clean transportation business development manager.

"The utility is a key piece of that puzzle of accomplishing the EV growth that our service territory needs to achieve."

Like many co-ops, SDG&E serves a largely residential load. "So when we thought about what was important to drive EV adoption in our service territory, we knew that we had to look at where are our customers going to charge," Parikh told the recent Smart Electric Power Association's Grid Evolution Summit in Washington.

"Primarily they're going to charge in their homes. And the second place they're probably going to charge is at work. So those seemed to be the two areas that we wanted to focus on."

But half of the utility's residential customers don't live in a single-family home.

That led SDG&E to create a pilot project called "Power Your Drive," which aims to install 3,000 charging stations in 300 facilities.

"These facilities are limited to apartment complexes, condos and businesses," said Parikh. "Getting charging infrastructure in a condo complex is very hard. And we were never going to be able to see the numbers of EV growth that we needed to see if we didn't address the need to have charging infrastructure in apartments and condos."

Properties in certain lower-income communities can get chargers installed free. Others pay a one-time participation fee of $235 per charger, with a five-charger minimum.

And while location is key, it's not the only thing. SDG&E customers can look at an app on their phones and know a day ahead, by hour, what rate they'll pay to charge.

It appears they're paying attention: Only 1 percent of charging is done in peak hours, said Parikh. "Our customers are not charging when they see high prices."

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