Coming Soon: Charge Your Car at a Power Pole

Coming Soon: Charge Your Car at a Power Pole

An innovative pilot project seeks to unlock SCE’s existing infrastructure and make EV charging more convenient.
a person looks at their phone while plugging in their vehicle
sunset over santa monica yacht harbor. Traffic and pedestrians and a row of rentable scooters
a vehicle plugged in to a charging station, buildings in the background

SCE and municipal assets in Santa Monica and Huntington Park will be transformed into EV public charging stations as part of a pilot program that could serve as a model for other cities.

FLO will provide the charging stations for the pilot program, which is funded by a $750,000 award from the California Energy Commission.

Wednesday, June 29, 2022 - 9:30am

CONTENT: Article

By Eliza Gano Energized by Edison Writer

Soon, ordinary streetlights, street poles and transformers along Southern California roads will have an extraordinary role to play in the electric transportation revolution, thanks to an innovative pilot program. These standard street fixtures will soon be retrofitted with electric vehicle public charging stations.

“By utilizing already-existing utility and city assets, this project will provide more comprehensive access to EV charging,” said Eric Seilo, Southern California Edison senior manager of Electrification Strategy and Program Development.

The potential to capitalize on some of SCE’s extensive existing infrastructure presents a new, low-cost way to roll out EV charging infrastructure.

“We’re figuring out how to take utility equipment that was designed with specific connections and attach non-SCE hardware that have their own specific connections,” said Jordan Smith, SCE’s project lead. “A key part of the project is creating that design and obtaining approval from our engineering teams so that we can conduct the demonstration. This could potentially facilitate many more of these deployments within SCE’s service area and could serve as a model for other electric utilities as well.”

The team will attach multiple FLO chargers to SCE assets in Santa Monica and Huntington Park. The potential for scaling is vast­ — California has more than 4 million street poles and streetlights in urban neighborhoods.

“Huntington Park is excited to be chosen by SCE to provide this new cutting-edge technology that will give our community the ability to utilize green technology that is limited in our region,” said Huntington Park Mayor Graciela Ortiz. “It will give our residents the ability to charge their vehicles while shopping in our main business corridor.”

“Supporting universal charging for every kind of residence is a critical step in expanding EV adoption in Santa Monica and all urban areas,” said Santa Monica Mayor Sue Himmelrich.

A significant barrier to EV adoption is the lack of charging infrastructure where many people do not have access to charging stations. The project team is focusing on low-income communities and those who live in multi-family homes with limited access to individual charging stations.

“Installing public curbside charging gives access to residents who either don’t have dedicated off-street parking or don’t have the ability to install charging stations due to cost or because they are renters,” Seilo said. The transformation is possible through a $750,000 award from a California Energy Commission BESTFIT project called Unlocking Existing Utility Assets for Curbside EV Charging. The project team includes SCE; FLO, a leading North American charging network that supplies more than 80,000 EV drivers with power; Arup, one of the world’s largest technology, engineering and infrastructure advisory firms; Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator; and support from the Electric Power Research Institute.

By leveraging the team’s collective expertise, “this pilot will allow us to demonstrate that it is possible to scale public charging infrastructure in a cost-efficient way,” said Frank Fata, FLO’s global head of utilities. By making EV charging stations more widely available, the project team is helping to ensure that decarbonization efforts benefit every community as well as meet California’s climate goals.

Lessons learned will be shared with other cities, stakeholders and developers to ensure similar deployments can be repeated and to kickstart more widespread curbside deployment throughout the state. The pilot is expected to run through September 2023.

Last summer, SCE launched the Charge Ready program for light-duty vehicles. The $436-million program will add more than 30,000 new EV chargers throughout SCE’s service area over the next few years.

To learn more about SCE's clean energy initiatives, visit