Village News Reporter
San Diego Gas & Electric has a Power Your Drive for Fleets program which reimburses 80% of the cost to install fleet charging infrastructure for conversion to lower-emission vehicles. The Fallbrook Public Utility District received a $70,668 grant from the program, and a 5-0 FPUD board vote Monday, Dec. 4, accepted the grant and approved the grant agreement.
The grant will allow FPUD to install three high-speed Level 3 chargers and six Level 2 charging stations. A Level 3 charging station can provide 50 to 400 kilowatts of power and can charge an electric vehicle to 80% of power in 60 minutes.
“No matter what happens down the road with electric vehicles, having that power structure into that building isn’t going to be a bad thing,” Jack Bebee, general manager of FPUD, said.
A California Air Resources Board regulation would require that by 2024 half of all fleet purchases for vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of at least 8,500 pounds will need to be zero emission vehicles and by 2027 all such purchases will need to be zero emission vehicles. Zero emission includes both electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.
FPUD has purchased two electric trucks; one has already been delivered and one has not yet been received. The district plans to test those electric vehicles to ensure they meet the district’s needs before purchasing additional zero-emission vehicles.
“We’re going to kind of see how it goes,” Bebee said. “We won’t be the leader on it.”
The December 2022 FPUD board meeting included approval of a vehicle fleet replacement plan, and that motion also authorized district staff to pursue the Power Your Drive for Fleets grant.
FPUD staff has evaluated installing chargers at the district’s wastewater treatment plant on Alturas Road, the Santa Margarita River Conjunctive Use Project groundwater treatment plant on the Alturas Road property, and the FPUD administration building on East Mission Road. Although the SDG&E grant only covers the main office location, FPUD’s long-term plan is to have charging infrastructure at all three facilities.
The agreement requires FPUD to maintain the electric vehicle supply equipment in good working order for the ten years and provide usage data for a period of five years.
“We intend to maintain the system for at least years,” Bebee said.
FPUD staff typically moves less reliable vehicles into lighter service such as engineering before removing them from the fleet entirely, so Bebee expects the electric vehicles to be part of FPUD’s fleet for more than years.
“My sense is we’ll have them through the life of them,” he said.
The charging stations are expected to be delivered to FPUD in March 2024.
“We’ve got the free infrastructure,” Jennifer DeMeo, board president of FPUD, said. “I’m excited to see it.”