California Judge Michael F. Kugler on Thursday ruled that a car battery charger used by the state to charge electric cars does not violate California’s law prohibiting battery waste.
Kugler’s ruling could be a setback for automakers and electric-vehicle makers that have sought to charge their vehicles with batteries from a battery-stabilizer device that can be used only for backup power.
The California Department of Transportation and state regulators have said the battery-swapping device does not provide backup power for an electric vehicle.
Kubler also said he is not convinced that a battery charger is necessary for a car.
The judge said he was troubled that the department failed to consider how the charging equipment could be used for backup, instead of to charge a vehicle.
The agency said the regulator’s ruling is final and the department has no further comment.
Kogler’s decision came as California officials announced a plan to phase out the use of battery-saver devices for charging electric vehicles by 2022.
The plan, which was first announced by the California Air Resources Board last month, will save the state an estimated $20 billion a year in costs.
Agency officials said the plan will cut about 3,000 jobs and require the closure of more than 5,000 facilities, which could mean the loss of about 700,000 vehicles and jobs.
California is one of a number of states that have been trying to reduce the use and cost of battery storage.
In a memo to the public on Thursday, the state’s Public Utilities Commission said the new plan will save California $16 billion a day by 2030.
California’s public utilities commission said it had reviewed the court’s ruling and is reviewing the case.
The state said it will not make any changes to the current plan, and the state has asked the judge to reverse the ruling and issue an injunction to block the plan.