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San Diego gets state’s first high-speed chargers for trucks

San Diego officials celebrated the official opening of an electric vehicle charging station near the Otay Mesa border crossing. KPBS Environment Reporter Erik Anderson says the station is designed for medium and heavy duty trucks.

California is taking a step toward a trucking fleet that is no longer polluting the state’s air.

San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) officials celebrated the opening of a high-power DC charging station near the U.S. Mexico border.

Medium and heavy-duty trucks that are capable of charging at the station’s top speed of about 250 kilowatt-hours could add up to 250 miles of range to their batteries in about an hour at one of the four stations.


The chargers are located at the TruckNet truck stop near the Otay Mesa border crossing at a business that already serves and fuels diesel-powered trucks.

“This is an important commercial point, a transportation corridor hub for our region in San Diego and for the state of California,” said Miguel Romero, vice president for Energy Innovation for SDG&E. “So, with these types of fast charging investments, we hope to see a lot more conversion of the fleets as those technologies become more and more available.”

More than a million commercial trucks and 5 million passenger vehicles cross the border at the Otay Mesa Port of Entry each year, making it the busiest commercial border crossing in California.

The DC chargers are the first public high-capacity chargers designed to serve medium and heavy-duty trucks.

Expanding that network will be key to hitting the state’s target to have a zero-emission trucking fleet by 2045.


And switching to a zero-emission trucking fleet will help clean up San Diego’s air, especially in border and portside communities that have long suffered from diesel pollution. Barrio Logan, National city and San Ysidro are all communities that California considers among the most polluted in the state.

Truck exhaust is considered one of the main culprits.

“This is a wonderful step in a good direction, to make sure that we’re opening the door for many more, similar partnerships,” said Nora Vargas, Chair of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors and a member of the California Air Resources Board. “We can really focus on clean air while at the same time working to promote economic prosperity and green jobs.”

Vargas represents the region and has a long record of activism fighting for clean air and water in the region.

“Reducing air pollution and tailpipe emissions are top priorities for our region and California and SDG&E is committed to building the infrastructure needed,” said Caroline Winn, SDG&E CEO.

The utility helped build the infrastructure to tie the chargers into the grid. It is part of an effort to connect fleet owners with the resources and financial incentives to install charging infrastructure for medium and heavy-duty trucks.

The California Energy Commission awarded the fueling station’s owner $200,000 to install the charging stations on the TruckNet property.

A company official hopes to expand zero-emission fueling options at the truck stop by adding a hydrogen fueling station on the property soon.