Cities have thrown down the gauntlet for electric car charging in recent months, and utilities are increasingly eager to tout infrastructure efforts. Among automakers, the Renault-Nissan Alliance has been out in front working to coordinate governments, utilities and charge station companies to develop regional networks of hardware and services that drivers will need to make the automakers’ upcoming electric cars practical for daily use. But what steps follow a big partnership announcement, after a utility, a vendor or an automaker says it’s done a deal to ready the power grid for an EV rollout?
For at least one of the 26 partners that the Renault-Nissan Alliance has lined up so far — utility San Diego Gas & Electric — the vision for how to support plug-in vehicles at even a pilot scale is just beginning to take shape. In an interview last week, SDG&E’s Clean Transportation manager, Bill Zobel, gave us a glimpse of what the utility has accomplished so far, and what it has in the works.