Two DC Fast Chargers Coming This Summer to I-5 Grapevine Corridor

By Paul Gipe

EV owners who’ve tackled the Grapevine on I-5 with today’s consumer-oriented EVs know how difficult the route is, necessitating long layovers in Lebec and again in Valencia. That is about to change. This summer a contractor to the California Energy Commission (CEC) expects to have installed not one but two DC Fast Charging or Quick Charging stations on this route.

Lloyd Tran of the US Green Vehicle Council, a CEC contractor, says the stations should be operational this summer.

One station will be installed at the Laval Road exit at the base of the Grapevine, expediently across I-5 from Tesla’s Super Station the Petro Plaza truck stop. The DCFC station will be in the vicinity of the huge Tejon Outlet Mall complex on Del Sol Dr.

The nearest charging station to the north is in Bakersfield, 35 miles distant. The nearest station to the south is in Valencia, 50 miles away.

The new station will enable southbound drivers on Hwy. 99 to recharge within 30 minutes before climbing to the 4,000-foot summit of the Tejon Pass. For northbound drivers, the station allows them to recharge before crossing the flat floor of the San Joaquin Valley.

The second station will be installed at the junction of I-5 and Hwy. 126 near Valencia. Hwy 126 that connects I-5 with Ventura and points along the cost by following the scenic Santa Clara Valley.

The two quick charging stations are the missing link in EV travel from the San Joaquin Valley, the LA Basin, and Coastal California.

Currently drivers are forced to spend several hours charging at Level 2 stations in Valencia, and several more hours charging at the Shorepower terminals in Lebec using portable EVSEs. This has effectively prohibited most EV drivers, except the most adventuresome, from tackling the route.

The new fast chargers have been long awaited. Consumer-oriented EVs have been on the market for nearly four years. Both Washington and Oregon installed a string of fast chargers along the I-5 corridor several years ago. California has badly lagged its northern neighbors.