In late March, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), a member of the National Electric Highway Coalition (NEHC), along with local and state officials, unveiled four public DC fast chargers at a busy truck stop just north of the Otay Mesa Port of Entry near the United States-Mexico border. These chargers are the first public charging equipment of its kind to be installed at a truck stop in California—and they are built specifically to serve medium- and heavy-duty electric vehicles (EVs).
While these chargers are designed to provide high-power charging for trucks, delivery vans, buses, and other large vehicles, they also have the ability to charge light-duty passenger vehicles.
For a passenger vehicle, the 250-kilowatt chargers can provide up to 250 miles in 15-30 minutes of charging. For the average medium-duty box truck, the chargers can fill between 20-80 percent of the vehicle’s battery in about an hour.
The Otay Mesa Port of Entry is the busiest commercial border crossing in California, processing nearly 1 million commercial trucks and 5 million privately owned vehicles each year. Idling vehicles waiting to cross the border are a major contributor to air pollution in the San Diego region.
“Reducing air pollution and tailpipe emissions are top priorities for our region and California, especially in equity priority communities, and SDG&E is committed to building the infrastructure needed to enable businesses and residents to adopt electric vehicles and other clean technologies,” said SDG&E CEO Caroline Winn. “We all share the goal of building a cleaner, more sustainable, and healthier future.”
“Air pollution doesn't recognize national boundaries, and to accommodate the transition to zero-emission trucks on both sides of the border, it's critically important that we rapidly scale up the charging network," said California Energy Commissioner (CEC) Patty Monahan.
The chargers are funded by a $200,000 grant through CEC’s Clean Transportation Program, which provided more than $1 billion to alternative fuel and vehicle technology projects that deliver health, environmental, and economic benefits to communities.
SDG&E built the underlying infrastructure that connects the fast chargers to the grid, as part of its Power Your Drive for Fleets program. The program connects fleet operators with resources and financial incentives to easily and cost-effectively design and install charging infrastructure for medium- and heavy-duty fleets.
Nora Vargas, chair of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors, emphasized the importance of reducing emissions in border communities and communities of color that have historically been overburdened by pollution due to their proximity to high-traffic corridors.
“As a ‘fronteriza’ and someone who has experienced first-hand the air pollution associated with long lines of idling vehicles waiting to cross the border, I am thrilled to see the electric vehicle chargers installed at this truck stop,” said Vargas. “This is a true community infrastructure solution that proves that through public-private partnerships, we can improve poor air quality for families and children and promote economic prosperity for the binational region.”
The project also supports California’s recently passed regulations requiring sales of all new passenger vehicles to be zero-emission by 2035 and medium- and heavy-duty vehicles to be zero-emission by 2045 where feasible.