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What does all electric vehicles by 2035 mean for Ridgecrest?

By Susan Read News Review Staff Writer– At the August 3, 2022 City Council meeting, Vice Mayor Solomon Rajaratnam announced that plans will begin for the installation of 20 Level 2 and 3 electric vehicle (EV) charging stations at the corner of China Lake Boulevard and French Avenue in Ridgecrest. In July, the city Planning Commission approved the site plan of a private developer who had applied through Southern California Edison’s (SCE) Charge Ready program, which is set up to make planning and installation easier. The Ridgecrest development plan includes the charging stations, a rest area, and a drive-through coffee shop.

Just three weeks after the Vice Mayor’s announcement, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) approved what it calls the “trailblazing” Advanced Clean Cars II regulation stating that, by 2035, all new cars and light trucks sold in California will be zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs), including plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. This is the first such rule set in any state.

“Once again, California is leading the nation and the world with a regulation that sets ambitious but achievable targets for ZEV sales,” said CARB Chair Liane Randolph. “Rapidly accelerating the number of ZEVs on our roads and highways will deliver substantial emission and pollution reductions to all Californians, especially for those who live near roadways and suffer from persistent air pollution.” According to CARB’s August 25, 2022 press release, “transportation is the single largest source of global warming emissions and air pollution in the state. Charging at home costs about half as much as gasoline for the same number of miles driven, and battery-electric vehicles can save drivers 40 percent in maintenance costs.”

Ridgecrest City Planner Heather Spurlock stated that SCE and the California Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Project (CALeVIP) provide comprehensive additional information for the public’s need to know more about EVs and charging infrastructure. CALeVIP’s webpage,, outlines plan projects, charging options, and instructions for stations to achieve Energy Star® certification. SCE provides a detailed EV Buyers Guide on its website at, which includes a charging station map and a list of dealers. There’s a link to browse EV models, a simple graph showing the comparison of gas versus electric power, and another link to a list explaining incentives, including tax credits, financing, and rebates.

So, let’s go back to the question, “What does that mean for Ridgecrest?” Heather Spurlock tells us that Public Works Director Travis Reed will take an amendment of the City of Ridgecrest Municipal Code for permit streamlining of EV charging stations to City Council for consideration. “The purpose of this action,” Spurlock said, “is to expedite permitting for EV charging stations through the Building Department as required by California Assembly Bill 1236.”

Next week’s The News Review will report on the City Council’s response to the amendment; but in the meantime, Travis Reed reports that Public Works does not currently have charging station projects for public use that would be city funded or maintained. “Rest assured,” Reed said, “the city will be looking into public options in this area within the next few years.”

The private development of the first 20 charging stations has Ridgecrest on track to prepare for the changes mandated by the year 2035. Its project may encourage others to seek additional station installations, assisted in great measure by state, SCE, and CALeVIP resources. There is much to consider when addressing the transportation needs of a small, vibrant community like Ridgecrest, which sits a fair distance from its nearest neighbors (and, ultimately, charging stations between sites).