California truck stop gets DC fast chargers

By Chad Elmore29 March 2023

Chargers near Mexico border to speed charging for trucks, delivery vans, buses

San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) has unveiled four public, direct current (DC) fast chargers at a truck stop just north of the Otay Mesa Port of Entry – reportedly the first of its kind to open at a truck stop in California to serve medium and heavy-duty vehicles. While the chargers are designed to provide high-power charging for trucks, delivery vans, buses and other large vehicles, they can also be used to charge passenger cars.

truck stop A truck is shown charging at one of the new ChargePoint DC fast chargers installed at a San Diego truck stop. (SDG&E photo)

Installed at Truck Net LLC in San Diego and near the U.S./Mexico border, the 250 kW chargers from ChargePoint can reportedly provide up to 250 miles per hour of charging for a passenger car. They can also charge a typical medium-duty box truck from 20%-80% in about an hour and fully charge from empty to 100% in about two hours.

The Otay Mesa Port of Entry is known as the busiest commercial border crossing in California, processing nearly one million commercial trucks and five million privately owned vehicles each year. Idling vehicles waiting to cross the border is a key contributor to air pollution in the San Diego region, said SDG&E.

“Reducing air pollution and tailpipe emissions are top priorities for our region and California especially in equity priority communities, and SDG&E is committed to building the infrastructure needed to enable businesses and residents to adopt electric vehicles and other clean technologies,” said SDG&E CEO Caroline Winn. “We all share the goal of building a cleaner, more sustainable and healthier future.”

The chargers are funded by a $200,000 grant through the California Energy Commissioner (CEC) Clean Transportation Program. In its 14th year, the program has provided more than $1 billion to alternative fuel and vehicle technology projects in the state. Funding for the program is scheduled to phase out at the end of the year.

SDG&E built the underlying infrastructure tying the chargers to the grid, as part of its Power Your Drive for Fleets program. The program connects fleet operators with resources and financial incentives to design and install charging infrastructure for medium and heavy-duty fleets.

The project is expected to support the California governor’s executive order that will require sales of all new passenger vehicles to be zero-emission by 2035 and medium- and heavy-duty vehicles (Class 2b-8) to be zero-emission by 2045 where feasible.

According to the CEC, nearly a million battery-electric cars have been sold in California and nearly 2000 zero-emission trucks and buses are on the road today. The state also has more than 80,000 public and shared private EV chargers. The vast majority, about 90%, are Level 2 chargers, which provide 14 to 35 miles of range per hour of charging. The remaining 10% are DC fast chargers.

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