CEC DCFC Corridor Gaps Southern San Joaquin & Mojave Desert; Grapevine, Valencia, Tehachapi

By Paul Gipe

Note: The following is a letter emailed on 3 March 2015 to the staff of the California Energy Commission responsible for determining where new DCFC stations will be installed in California.

We live in Bakersfield and like others in the Southern Joaquin Valley we drive to Los Angeles several times per year.

There are two routes from here to Los Angeles: Hwy 99 to I-5 and the Grapevine, and Hwy 58 through the Tehachapi Pass and on to Palmdale.

We own a 2015 Nissan Leaf. Like others we find it very difficult to drive the Leaf to Los Angeles. It’s very difficult to get over the Tejon Pass, necessitating a lengthy lay over in Lebec, charging at the Flying J truck stop. See my article on this route at EV Trip Report: Bakersfield to Lebec and the Grapevine.

Once we clear the summit, we have to lay over for several hours again in Valencia before we can proceed into the LA Basin or reach Ventura along the coast.

There’s an urgent need by owners of consumer-oriented EVs for a DCFC (DC Fast Charge) station either at the base of the Grapevine or at Lebec. Similarly, there’s an urgent need for a companion station in Valencia.

During the winter, the alternative route to the LA Basin is through Tehachapi to Mojave and then on to Palmdale. Currently there are two DCFC in the Palmdale-Lancaster area.

To my knowledge, we are the first to pioneer a route to Tehachapi in an EV, opening up the route to Los Angeles via the Mojave Desert. Again, this is very difficult to do with today’s vehicles, necessitating a long stay in Tehachapi. See my article on this route at EV Trip Report: Bakersfield to Tehachapi.

Thus, there’s also an urgent need for a DCFC station in Tehachapi or in Mojave. This station would enable routes to Los Angeles via Palmdale or routes on to Barstow and eventually Las Vegas.

In sum, EV owners of the south valley need DCFC stations at the Grapevine, Valencia, and Tehachapi or Mojave, and we need them now. Any help you can provide in expediting installation of these stations will be appreciated not only by today’s users but by those of tomorrow.