Does California's New EV 'Transparency' Law Give Companies a Loophole?

David Shultz

David Shultz reports on clean technology and electric vehicles, among other industries, for dot.LA. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Outside, Nautilus and many other publications.

Does California's New EV 'Transparency' Law Give Companies a Loophole?
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Early today Gavin Newsom’s office announced that the governor had signed the EV Charging Reliability Transparency Act. On the surface, the bill—which was originally introduced by assembly members Phil Ting and Eloise Gómez Reyes—aims to improve electric vehicle charging infrastructure in the state by mandating that the California Energy Commission (CEC) work with public utility companies (PUC) to assess and document vehicle charger uptime across the state.


It sounds like sensible policy, but David Rempel, a professor at University of California San Francisco who studies the EV charger network, says the policy “doesn't add much to what's already being done by the California Energy Commission.” Rempel says some of the concessions in the bill might even be detrimental to improving the vehicle charging infrastructure. The CEC and the federal government have already begun recording charger network uptime and have even set minimum requirements for chargers built or operated with federal funds [PDF].

Even more concerning, Rempel says, is that two pieces of language in the bill may actually prove detrimental to accelerating the state’s push toward an electrified vehicle fleet. The first is that the bill only requires the CEC and public utility companies begin documenting their charger uptime by January 2024. This may provide a way for charging companies to argue that they don’t need to implement these policies for another 15 months, which would be a considerable step backwards since—again—most of them are already doing this.

In section 2, part C number 3, the bill also provides a potential loophole for companies to get out of providing the very data the law seeks to record: “An individual or company supplying information or data to the commission pursuant to this section may request that the information or data be held in confidence by the commission pursuant to Section 25322.”

Rempel says the only reason such language would make it into the final version of the bill is because the electric vehicle service providers (i.e. the charger companies) asked for it. Without more details describing when such requests would be approved or denied, it’s hard to look at this as anything other than a concession to the service providers that runs antithetical to the stated goal of “transparency.”

Finally, the bill fails to establish any sort of third-party verification system for documenting uptime. Rempel’s research has previously documented significant discrepancies in uptime between charger companies' claims and what’s observable in the real world.

“The companies right now have reported uptime, of 97, 99%. And when we did our field investigation of DC fast chargers in the San Francisco area, we found that only 75% were working,” he says. “You can play games with uptime.”

The Governor’s office did not respond to requests for comment.

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Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

When avatar startup Genies raised $150 million in April, the company released an unusual message to the public: “Farewell.”

The Marina del Rey-based unicorn, which makes cartoon-like avatars for celebrities and aims to “build an avatar for every single person on Earth,” didn’t go under. Rather, Genies announced it would stay quiet for a while to focus on building avatar-creation products.

Genies representatives told dot.LA that the firm is now seeking more creators to try its creation tools for 3D avatars, digital fashion items and virtual experiences. On Thursday, the startup launched a three-week program called DIY Collective, which will mentor and financially support up-and-coming creatives.

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Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

LA Tech Week—a weeklong showcase of the region’s growing startup ecosystem—is coming this August.

The seven-day series of events, from Aug. 15 through Aug. 21, is a chance for the Los Angeles startup community to network, share insights and pitch themselves to investors. It comes a year after hundreds of people gathered for a similar event that allowed the L.A. tech community—often in the shadow of Silicon Valley—to flex its muscles.

From fireside chats with prominent founders to a panel on aerospace, here are some highlights from the roughly 30 events happening during LA Tech Week, including one hosted by dot.LA.

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AmazeVR Wants You To Attend K-Pop Concerts Virtually

Kristin Snyder

Kristin Snyder is an editorial intern for dot.la. She previously interned with Tiger Oak Media and led the arts section for UCLA's Daily Bruin.

AmazeVR Wants You To Attend K-Pop Concerts Virtually
Photo courtesy of AmazeVR

Virtual reality startup AmazeVR now has $17 million to further expand its VR concert experience.

The West Hollywood-based company’s latest funding amounts to a bet that virtual shows, a staple of the pandemic, are here to stay. Mirae Asset Capital led the Series B funding round, with Mirae Asset Financial Group subsidiary (Mirae Asset Venture Investment), CJ Investment, Smilegate Investment, GS Futures and LG Technology Ventures investing again. Mobile game maker Krafton joined the group—but South Korean entertainment company CJ ENM’s stake reveals AmazeVR’s plans to expand into K-pop world.

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