By John Addison (8/9/10)
The San Francisco Bay Area will add over 5,000 electric car charging stations (EVSE) in the next 2 years and continue as one of the nation’s leading areas for electric cars. The Bay Area’s 7 million people live in cities that have adopted hybrid cars, like the Prius, faster than in 99 percent of America. One in 5 new car sales are hybrids in cities like Berkeley, Palo Alto, and Sonoma. The San Francisco Bay Area already has about 8,000 electric cars on the road from Tesla Roadsters to Prius Plug-in Hybrids to light EVs limited to 25 miles per hour.
The Bay Area Air Quality Management District Board of Directors approved $5 million to support further development of a regional electric vehicle charging infrastructure program in the Bay Area. Most health damaging air pollution in the Bay Area is from cars and trucks. Electric cars and plug-in hybrids are also critical to achieving an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in the SF Bay Area.
“The past several years have seen exciting progress in the development of electric vehicle technology,” said Air District Executive Officer Jack P. Broadbent. “Creating a useful charging network will make it easier for Bay Area residents to Spare the Air every day by going electric.” Mr. Broadbent will present at the CAPCOA Climate Change Forum at the end of this month.
The new program will leverage up to $5 million in Air District funds to support electric vehicle charging infrastructure grants including:
- 3,000 home chargers at single family and multi-family dwellings
- 2,000 public chargers at employer and high-density parking areas
- 50 fast chargers within close proximity to highways
The plan will especially help the majority of early adopters that do not have houses with garages. Electric cars with ranges of less than 100 miles are well suited for people who live in the urban density of cities like San Francisco, San Jose, and Oakland. Most in these cities live in multi-family dwellings such as apartments and condos. Chargers for these dwellings, places of employment, and key public areas will be critical to encourage the Bay Area’s 4.5 million car and truck owners to buy and lease electric cars such as the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt.
Dozens of companies are now offering electric car charging stations that are smart grid enabled with network services for drivers and fleets: Aerovironment, Ecotality, Coulomb Technologies, Eaton, and GE.
Over 20 percent of the SF Bay Area’s energy comes from renewable sources such as wind, hydropower, solar, geothermal, and biowaste from agriculture. Ocean power is being added. Coal power plants are not allowed in the Bay Area. The new electric cars can be programmed to charge at night when excess power is on the grid. As utilities make the information available, they can even be programmed to charge when excess renewables are on the grid.