San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) announced it will invest $7.5 million over the next five years to develop a bold new education campaign to create awareness, expand electric vehicle (EV) ownership, and lead the charge among large cities to electrify the transportation sector. The desired result: to reduce harmful air emissions, promote the use of EV charging with power from the wind and sun, and to establish San Diego and south Orange Counties as America's EV and clean energy capital.

The education campaign will complement the $45-million pilot program recently approved by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to install 3,500 charging stations at 350 local businesses, multi-family communities, and disadvantaged neighborhoods. This combined $52.5 million comprehensive effort is expected to increase the use of clean energy as a fuel for transportation and help consumers overcome any obstacles to EV ownership.

"California is known for new ideas and innovation, and development of life-changing technologies. Now, we are leading the U.S. in creating the leading standard for de-carbonizing electricity and advancing clean transportation," said Jeff Martin, SDG&E's chairman, president, and CEO. "Some problems are solved by looking to the future, not the past, and this is one of them," said Martin. "That is why we are reducing carbon in the transportation sector by installing charging infrastructure throughout the communities we serve, and maximizing the use of renewable energy to charge vehicles."

Martin announced the comprehensive campaign at a news conference alongside San Diego Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer, Chula Vista Mayor Mary Casillas Salas, San Diego Councilman Mark Kersey, and other local leaders.

SDG&E also introduced 20 multifamily communities and businesses that are committed to the growth of electric vehicles and charging stations under the company's innovative Power Your Drive pilot program. Taken together, these developments signal a watershed moment for promoting growth in EVs.

Among the participants to step forward and pledge to promote EV growth and charging included: American Lung Association, Bayview Baptist Church, Circulate San Diego, City of Chula Vista, City of National City, City of San Diego, County of San Diego, Cuyamaca College, Escondido Union High School District, Gildred Co., H.G. Fenton Company, I Love A Clean San Diego, Jewish Family Services, Menlo Equities, Palomar College, San Diego Housing Federation, Sea World, Sony, UCSD, and UTC Aerospace.

SDG&E is working to sign up 200 participants by the end of the year, in locations throughout all 26 cities in the region. At least 10% of the chargers will be in disadvantaged communities.

SDG&E's new education campaign will include EV ride-and-drives in every geographical area of the region. These events allow customers to test drive EVs from all the major car manufacturers at one location, familiarize themselves with the many benefits of driving an EV such as tax credits and rebates of up to $10,000, low "fueling" costs and environmental protection. The campaign will also provide funding to community groups that will promote electric vehicles and other benefits. These education initiatives are intended to inspire the next wave of new drivers to switch to an electric vehicle and expand the use of EVs to all geographic and socio-economic areas.

Originally posted on Work Truck Online