BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                              1

                                 ALEX PADILLA, CHAIR

          SB 1455 -  Kehoe                                  Hearing Date:   
          April 6, 2010              S
          As Introduced                      FISCAL                B


           Current law  requires the California Public Utilities Commission  
          (CPUC) to direct the development of an infrastructure sufficient  
          to facilitate the widespread use of plug-in hybrid electric  
          vehicles and full electric vehicles (collectively EVs) and to  
          adopt rules to address infrastructure barriers by July 1, 2011.

           This bill  requires the CPUC to prepare and make available a  
          handbook that notifies an EV owner of specified safety features  
          and hazards associated with charging an EV at home and whom  
          should be contacted to ensure that a charging location conforms  
          to any applicable code.

          Ready or Not, Here They Come - According to the California  
          Energy Commission (CEC) there were 14,670 EVs operating in  
          California in 2008 down from an industry high of 23,399 in 2003.  
           However an increasing number and variety of EVs are expected to  
          hit the showroom floors of car dealers in the coming months and  
          years.  The CEC expects the number of EVs to grow from 32,756 in  
          2011 to 1.5 million by 2020 and 2.8 million by 2030.  

          An historic number of automakers have already begun or announced  
          deployment of a range of on-road EVs, including light-duty  
          plug-in hybrid EVs, full-size battery EVs, two wheel battery  
          EVs, and three or four wheel low-speed neighborhood EVs  
          beginning this year.


          Readying the Grid - The state's investor-owned utilities (IOUs)  
          do have tariffs in place for electric cars and have assisted  
          residential customers and fleet managers with the charging  
          infrastructure necessary for the vehicles on a limited basis.   
          However regulators, the utilities and the electric grid are not  
          ready for the thousands of cars expected.  Infrastructure  
          investments and policies at the customer site, commercial site,  
          public charging site, and distribution system level are all  
          required to prepare the electricity system for the widespread  
          use of EVs.

          In response to the marketplace and the directives of SB 626  
          (Kehoe, 2009) the CPUC has initiated a rulemaking (R.09-08-009)  
          to determine the barriers and opportunities presented by EVs on  
          the grid.  Issues under consideration include rate design for  
          the charging of EVs, options for development of metering and  
          charging infrastructure, and how to incorporate EV charging with  
          renewable energy supply.

              1)   Author's Intent  .  As an increasing number of EVs come to  
               the new car market, the author is concerned about whether  
               the buyers of those vehicles will have the information they  
               need to understand the relationship between a vehicle that  
               needs to be charged at home and the electrical features and  
               safety measures they will need to consider in order to  
               safely and appropriately charge their vehicle.  The author  
               notes that information coming from the manufacturer of an  
               EV will likely be limited to the features and basic  
               charging requirements for that vehicle and not the  
               infrastructure necessary to establish a charging connection  
               for the EV.

               To address these issues the bill requires the CPUC to  
               develop a handbook for EV owners or potential buyers of an  

              2)   Intended Audience  .  The information that a potential  
               buyer of an EV needs is very different from that of an EV  
               owner but the bill attempts to meld the two.  When  
               considering the purchase of an EV the consumer will have  
               many questions not easily answered beginning with the type  


               of charging infrastructure available, whether the retrofit  
               of a home's electric system is necessary, whom to contact  
               to do a needs determination, electric rates for charging an  
               EV, and the cost of installing a charger in the home.  If  
               these questions are not asked and answered before the EV  
               purchase, a consumer could end up with an EV but no place  
               to charge it since it is not at all clear that a new car  
               dealer is obligated to take a car back if the consumer has  
               no means to charge it.

             Once the consumer owns an EV and has a charging  
               infrastructure in place it would seem to be incumbent on  
               the installer of the charging infrastructure (be it a  
               utility or private party) to educate the consumer on the  
               proper use and safety precautions associated with charging  
               the vehicle which could vary depending on the equipment. 

             In considering these issues the author intends to amend the  
               bill to direct the CPUC to provide consumer information on  
               the essentials of readying a residence for an EV charging  
               infrastructure including the specialized charging equipment  
               necessary for an EV, tariffs, metering and load management  
               techniques, and any other information deemed necessary to  
               ensure that a consumer who intends to purchase an EV is  
               aware of the cost and infrastructure associated with  
               fueling the EV.  This would provide the consumer and motor  
               car dealers one clear and authoritative source of  
               information for the essentials of accommodating EVs.

              3)   Distribution Mechanism  .  This bill requires the CPUC to  
               develop a handbook but does not indicate what the CPUC's  
               responsibility is to distribute the handbook.  In  
               considering this issue the author intends to amend the bill  
               to limit distribution of the consumer information to the  
               CPUC's website.

              4)   Related Legislation  .  SB 1437 (Kehoe) requires the CPUC  
               to determine the costs to be borne by each class of  
               ratepayers for the costs of bringing EVs to the grid.

              5)   Double Referral  .  Should this bill pass this committee,  
               it should be re-referred to the Senate Transportation and  
               Housing Committee. 



          None on file.

          None on file.

          Kellie Smith 
          SB 1455 Analysis
          Hearing Date:  April 6, 2010