Charging Forward: LA Tops 10,000 Commercial EV Charging Stations

By Paola Adler

LADWP has met and exceeded its goal of supporting the installation of 10,000 commercial electric vehicle (EV) charging stations throughout the city.

As of January 1, 2021, Los Angeles has an estimated 11,045 commercial charging stations, the most of any city in the United States. L.A.’s extensive charging network provides expanded options for the city’s growing EV community, with an estimated 62,851 EVs currently registered. This milestone was surpassed two years earlier than LADWP’s goal of 10,000 commercial EV charging stations by 2022, outlined by Mayor Eric Garcetti’s 2019 Sustainable City pLAn, also known as the L.A Green New Deal.

“LADWP wants every EV owner in Los Angeles to have convenient, accessible fueling options,” said Nancy Sutley, Senior Assistant General Manager of External and Regulatory Affairs and Chief Sustainability Officer. “We have worked diligently alongside public and private partners to install and support a variety of commercial EV charging stations across the city. We are proud to have completed our goal ahead of schedule, and are looking forward to expanding this network even further, especially in underserved communities.”

The city’s commercial EV charging stations include 2,477 that are publicly accessible as well as 8,568 non-public charging stations at workplaces, fleet operations and multi-unit dwellings. Within Los Angeles, there are 10,779 commercial Level 2 charging stations and 266 DC fast chargers (DCFC), which can provide light-duty vehicles with an 80 percent battery charge in 30 minutes and can also be used to support medium- and heavy-duty EVs, such as electric buses.

Charging stations installed at Cal State LA allow students, faculty and staff to save money on fuel while helping reduce carbon emissions. (Photo courtesy of Robert Lopez)

Los Angeles is on track to meet future milestones of 25,000 commercial charging stations by 2025 and 28,000 by 2028, which will support the goal of 500,000 EVs in the city and provide EV infrastructure for the 2028 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games. The L.A. Green New Deal also aims for 80 percent electric and zero emission vehicles in the city by 2036 and 100 percent by 2045, and for 100 percent of city and transit fleets to be electrified by 2028. L.A.’s electrification efforts will also support Governor Gavin Newsom’s executive order mandating 100 percent of new passenger car sales be zero emission by 2035 and 100 percent of medium and heavy-duty vehicles be zero emission by 2045.

A large portion of charging stations were directly funded by LADWP’s Commercial EV Charging Station Rebate Program, including those located at Cal State LA. “Cal State LA hosts 55 Level 2 EV charging ports, and six DC fast chargers. These charging stations allow students, faculty and staff to save money on fuel while helping reduce carbon emissions in our region,” said Cal State LA Energy & Sustainability Manager Brad Haydel. “All Level 2 charging stations are available for two hours of free charging, and DCFC stations are free for the first hour and 20 cents per minute for the second hour.”

LADWP’s rebate program offers financial incentives to help offset the cost of equipment and installation, up to $4,000 per Level 2 charging station (or up to $5,000 if located in a disadvantaged community), up to $75,000 per DCFC, and up to $125,000 per charging station for medium- and heavy-duty EVs. As of January 1, 2021, LADWP has issued 8,157 rebates to date, with over 60 percent for multi-unit dwellings.

LADWP has installed 44 utility pole-mounted, curbside charging stations across the city, available to the public free of charge to ensure equitable access to charging infrastructure. (Photo by Chris Corsmeier)

Charging stations were installed throughout the city, on public and private properties, by third-party commercial charging station installers and by LADWP and other City of Los Angeles departments. As of January 1, 2021, LADWP has installed 953 commercial EV charging stations, an effort that includes constructing public infrastructure like EV charging plazas and utility pole-mounted chargers. The Department has also installed 15 publicly accessible DCFC stations, including the DCFC at the Los Angeles Zoo, one of the top five most utilized charging stations in North America according to PlugShare.

LADWP’s installations also include its own work locations, which has motivated employees like Stephanie Spicer to dump their gas-fueled vehicles. “Having EV charging stations at work gave me the push I needed to drive electric,” said Spicer, LADWP Community Affairs Manager. “As an LADWP employee, the switch to an electric vehicle made me feel like I’m putting our Department goals into action and making my small but important contribution to a cleaner and greener future for L.A.”

Community Affairs Manager Stephanie Spicer was motivated to switch to an EV because she could fuel up at charging stations installed at LADWP headquarters. (Photo by Chris Corsmeier)

Other City of Los Angeles departments, such as the Bureau of Street Lighting, Los Angeles Department of Transportation, Department of General Services and Los Angeles Public Library, have installed a total of 1,344 charging stations, funded through LADWP’s Commercial EV Charging Station Rebate Program, shared grant funding or direct funding from the Department. “The Los Angeles Public Library takes its role as an environmental steward seriously, and we have significantly advanced our sustainability efforts through an agreement with LADWP to install EV charging stations at libraries around the city,” said City Librarian John F. Szabo. “Currently, 11 branch libraries provide 39 EV charging stations to support the adoption of electric vehicles, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and make Los Angeles greener.”

Through an agreement with LADWP, the Los Angeles Public Library has installed 39 commercial EV charging stations at 11 of its branches. (Photo courtesy of Lauren Skinner)

LADWP is continuing to enhance its “Charge Up L.A.!” EV rebate programs, focusing in particular on increasing access to disadvantaged and underserved communities. The Department currently offers an additional $1,000 rebate for eligible commercial Level 2 charging stations installed in underserved communities, and is working on increasing the rebate for income-qualified customers who purchase used EVs. LADWP’s current used EV rebate program provides up to $1,500 toward the purchase of a used battery electric or plug-in hybrid vehicle.

The Department is investing further in publicly-accessible charging infrastructure to support drivers who cannot charge at home or work. In addition to installing DCFC charging plazas throughout Los Angeles, LADWP continues to partner with City departments and third-party installers to deploy additional DCFCs at public facilities and parking lots. The Department is also supporting the Bureau of Street Lighting’s effort to install 450 streetlight EV charging stations across the city.

With EVs becoming increasingly commonplace in Los Angeles, the rapid expansion of charging station infrastructure in the city helps ensure drivers will always have a way to charge up – and may help alleviate concerns about range anxiety and access to charging for those thinking of purchasing an EV. LADWP will continue its commitment to creating and incentivizing convenient, widespread fueling options for L.A.’s EV community.

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