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Local County Aims Power Up Amid California's Electric Vehicle Push

MODESTO (CBS13) — Planning for the future when it comes to electric cars — that's what's driving decisions in Stanislaus County.

Gov. Gavin Newsom wants California to have 100 percent of cars and trucks sold to be electric by 2035.

Attorney Anna Evans showed us the electric charging station she uses to power her Tesla outside the Modesto library.

"When there is only one car charging, you get about 30 miles per hour," she said.

Today, there are two using the same station, so she will only get 15 miles per hour.

"It's not too bad," Evans said. "I can usually get charged up here within four hours."

The charging station at the library is one of two public charging stations in the city. Evans has no problem powering up.

There are only 2,600 electric vehicles of the 400,000 registered vehicles in Stanislaus County, but if residents fully embrace the governor's initiative to reduce climate-changing emissions by 2035, there could be nearly 190,000 on the road.

Rosa DeLeon Park is with the Stanislaus Council of Governments, which teamed up with an outside consulting firm to produce a 153-page report looking at several things:

"How much is it going to cost to put this infrastructure in place and what's it going to entail?" Park said.

The county currently has 31 charging stations deemed level one and level two handful of level two charging stations.

"The difference between fast charging is 15-20 minute charge whereas the level two between 3-8 hour charging, it takes longer," Park said.

The council knows the expansion of public transit is bringing more people, and more are buying electric cars, but where to power them is the problem. According to the report, Stanislaus County has about 100 charging sites but not all are public.

"If you go along 99, say you're leaving Sacramento, there are no stations along your path," Park said.

The report goes on to say the county will need 21 charging stations to meet electric demand. And it won't be cheap: a four plug station that charges more slowly costs $31,000, while a faster charging site that serves more vehicles could cost ten times that.

"We have some estimates," said. "The 21 stations with the 14 level twos, that's about a cost of $3.5 million just to build those."

The cost comes at a time when many are willing to pay given the pain at the pump.

The council will meet Thursday and is expected to formally approve the study, paving the way for further discussion — specifically about how to fund it through federal and state. The $200,000 grant that paid for the report was made possible through SB-1, or the Gas Tax.

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