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California has an ambitious plan for reducing the carbon pollution from transportation. Governor Gavin Newsom has set a goal that all new cars sold in the state will be zero-emissions by 2035.

That’s expected to accelerate the state’s transition to electric vehicles. But in order to drive EVs, many more people will need easy access to charging.

In cities, a lot of people live in apartments and park on the street or in shared lots, so they cannot install their own charger. And in rural areas, people often drive long distances and need to charge up away from home.

Patty Monahan is a commissioner at the California Energy Commission. She says the state needs to rapidly develop an extended network of public and shared chargers.

Our assessment indicates that on the light duty vehicle side, by 2030, we’re going to need 1.2 million chargers,” she says.

Currently, California has only about 70,000.

“So we’re going to need a massive scale-up,” Monahan says.

She says that will require major public investments in the short term. But as more EVs hit the road, charging companies will become increasingly profitable.

“We want this to be a flourishing private market without public dollars,” Monahan says.

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media