Merced College has teamed up with PG&E to participate in the EV Charge Network program.

The program’s goal is to install 7,500 electric vehicle charge stations at apartment buildings, condominiums and businesses throughout Central and Northern California.

The College broke ground on six such stations (12 total stalls) on the Los Banos campus over winter break. The stations are set to be completed by the middle of February.

“This is the pilot stage of the program, so we’re the first company to have the stations installed,” Merced College Director of Risk and Environmental Safety Paul Baxter said. “PG&E funded their portion of the project and then the rest will be paid for by the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District.

“The (Merced College) District has been developing an electric fleet of vehicles for some time, but the students and staff didn’t have access to those charging stations, so that’s when we started looking into this. The appeal of this program is that it meets our sustainability challenge from Associated Students of Merced College and it’s exciting being one of the leaders in the Central Valley to work with this evolving technology that’s better for the environment.”

Baxter said the program started on the Los Banos campus because of the PG&E incentives. The Merced campus is in Merced Irrigation District boundaries, but Merced College will use the PG&E rebate coupled with SJVAPCD funds to pay for four charging stations on the Merced campus. The plan is to have them constructed by the end of the spring semester.