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California Backs First of Its Kind Electric Vehicle Loan

The city of Anza, California is working to make electric car charging stations as ubiquitous as gas stations and now it will have extra help in doing that with new financing program.

Anza, a rural California town, has already installed its first charging station as a result of a new loan program from the California Energy Commission and the Treasurer’s California Pollution Control Financing Authority (CPCFA). Those two entities have partnered with the Anza Electric Cooperative, the local electric utility, to install a charging station at the utility’s HQ. The charging station is the only one in a 35-mile radius of the town. Financing for the project will come from the Pacific Enterprise Bank of Irvine and a $2 million electric vehicle incentive program backed by the California Energy Commission.

No details were provided on the total cost of the loan, which took almost a year to facilitate.

The first-of-its-kind initiative is a response to a 2012 executive order by Governor Jerry Brown that instructed state agencies to collaborate and develop sustainable financing for electric vehicle infrastructure.

“As the first lender to participate in the new program, we look forward to the opportunity it provides us to assist in the placement of electric vehicle charging stations,” said Russ Smith, Pacific Enterprise Bank’s chief credit officer.

California by law is committed to reducing carbon pollution to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. To do that, the state must transition to cars with no tailpipe emissions, serviced by a robust network of charging stations. California needs to increase the number of EV charging stations tenfold by 2020. In order to hit that goal, the state will need to target rural towns like Anza so that electric vehicle drivers can make it from one metropolitan area to the next while being able to charge up along the way.

In a statement, California State Treasurer John Chiang praised the financing and also took a swipe at President Trump who has put fossil fuels at the center of his energy initiative. California, he stressed will continue to “fight to protect the planet at a time when President Trump is trying to make us more dependent than ever on dirty fossil fuels.”

A growing number of Western states are building out networks of electric vehicle charging stations through a combination of federal grants, local financing, and private initiatives.  As CivSource reported in January, Idaho, Utah, and Wyoming will be part of a regional effort backed by a US Department of Energy Grant to create a regional electric vehicle corridor between. The future of similar federal awards remains uncertain in the Trump administration.