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San Francisco hits milestone for electric vehicle charging stations

March 12, 2012

TodayMayor Edwin M. Lee and Assemblymember Fiona Ma joined the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) and the Department of the Environment to announce the completion of the City’s first round of electric vehicle (EV) charging station installations in City-owned parking facilities. The 26 newly installed EV charging stations will join existing units currently installed at San Francisco International Airport and on Treasure Island. In total, the City now operates 49 publicly accessible EV charging stations at 14 locations, offering 100 percent greenhouse gas-free Hetch Hetchy power.

“We’re making it easier for residents to charge their electric cars anywhere in San Francisco – from SFO to Treasure Island,” said Mayor Lee. “Our future lies beyond oil, and in San Francisco we are investing in the innovation and infrastructure that will jump start our green future today. We are using clean Hetch Hetchy power to charge electric vehicles and in the process we are improving air quality, reducing greenhouse gas, and creating green jobs.”

Each charging unit is monitored for energy usage, fuel savings and greenhouse gas reductions. By the end of 2012, the City’s EV infrastructure will increase by about 33 with new installations at additional City-owned parking facilities, Civic Center Plaza, the SF Zoo and more. Hetch Hetchy energy at the charging stations is available to the public at no-cost through 2013.

“Unlike many EV charging stations outside of San Francisco that use coal or natural gas as their energy source, inside San Francisco we use Hetch Hetchy hydroelectricity to ensure that your vehicle is a truly a greenhouse gas-free or zero-emission car,” said San Francisco Public Utilities Commission General Manager Ed Harrington.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, leading vehicle manufacturers already have plans for cumulative U.S. production capacity of more than 1.2 million electric vehicles by 2015. With 49 stations installed and more on the way, San Francisco is well-positioned to meet growing demand.

Installing electric vehicle charging stations became easier after Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Assemblymember Ma’s bill (AB 631), which codifies a California Public Utilities Commission decision to not regulate electric vehicle charging stations as utilities. AB 631 encourages economic growth, technological innovation, job creation in alternative transportation technologies and allows EV infrastructure and services to be developed in a free market.

“I thank Governor Brown for his leadership in further greening California’s economy and Mayor Lee for his dedication to making the San Francisco Bay Area region as the EV capital of the nation,” said Assemblymember Ma. “By improving the EV infrastructure, we are making sure ‘range anxiety’ goes away and we reduce our dependence on foreign oil. I look forward to the day when I trade in my hybrid vehicle for a true electric car.”

“AB 631 has helped accelerate the installation of electric vehicle infrastructure throughout California. Under Mayor Lee’s leadership, San Francisco has seized the opportunity and installed nearly 50 chargers for public use in 14 different locations, with dozens more chargers coming in the months ahead,” said San Francisco Department of Environment Director Melanie Nutter. “San Francisco has joined other ‘early adopter’ cities and is rapidly becoming a central hub for the electric vehicle market.”

For more Green updates check our San Francisco Examiner Green Living Column 

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