Legislation Would Require EV Chargers to Include Universal Connectors, Reduce “Range Anxiety” By Enabling Drivers to Access Any Public EV Charger in the State
Source: Sierra Sun Times
Last week, Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel (D - Woodland Hills) announced new legislation that would address “range anxiety” and bolster consumer confidence by requiring all new and retrofitted electric vehicle (EV) chargers in California to be accessible to all types of electric vehicles. In particular, Assembly Bill (AB) 591, will mandate that all new and retrofitted EV chargers—other than those in private residences—include universal connectors and be publicly accessible to all types of EVs.
“Charging an EV should be as easy as filling up your tank at a gas station,” said Assemblymember Gabriel. “Ensuring that EV chargers are open and accessible to all types of vehicles is essential not only for increasing driver confidence in our state’s charging network but also for reducing carbon emissions and meeting California’s ambitious climate goals. This bill will strengthen efforts by the Biden Administration to make progress on this critical issue.”
“Communities of color and low-income communities disproportionately bear the consequences of climate change, yet have been the last to benefit from California’s clean transportation transition due to high costs and a lack of infrastructure in the areas they live and work,” said Alvaro Sanchez, Vice President of Policy at The Greenlining Institute. “If we are to achieve the state’s ambitious climate goals, all Californians must have equitable access to clean transportation options. AB 591 takes us one step closer to making electric mobility more affordable and ensuring EV infrastructure is accessible to everyone in California.”
AB 591 builds upon recent federal action taken by the Biden-Harris administration that outlines new nationwide plans for creating convenient and reliable electric vehicle charging networks. In keeping with this call to action, AB 591 mandates all EV chargers in California to include universal connecting ports and directs private companies such as Tesla to open their chargers to the public, thereby dramatically increasing the number of chargers available to EV drivers in California. The legislation also will help facilitate the transition to zero-emission vehicles set forth in Governor Gavin Newsom’s Executive Order N-79-20, which requires all new passenger vehicles sold in California to be zero-emission by 2035.
Charger connectors, which determine whether a vehicle can charge when it arrives at a charging station, remain fragmented across different vehicle and charger models. For a driver, this means that fast charging requires that they not only find a nearby station but also verify whether that charging station has a connector compatible with their vehicle. This inconsistency and lack of certainty inconveniences EV drivers, creates confusion and hesitancy among prospective EV buyers, hinders widespread vehicle-grid integration, and exacerbates “range anxiety”—which is often cited as one of the greatest barriers to EV purchases. Universal connectors will reduce that barrier while streamlining the charging process.
Improving electric vehicle infrastructure is also essential to protecting public health. The transportation sector is responsible for more than half of California’s carbon pollution, 80 percent of smog-forming pollution, and 95 percent of toxic diesel emissions.