Post Stimulus: City of San Francisco Unveils Electric Car Chargers

  • Published on February 18th, 2009

gavin newsom announces new plug-in hybrid electric vehicle stations in san francisco

On the first sunny day in the Bay Area in nearly a week, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom announced the installation of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations in front of San Francisco City Hall , in another step forward in making the Bay Area the “EV Capital of the U.S.”

The high-profile charging stations are part of a nine-step policy plan announced back in November by Mayor Newsom, San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed and Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums, to transform the Bay Area into the “Electric Vehicle (EV) Capital of the U.S.”prius san francisco

“Electric vehicles are the future of transportation and the Bay Area is the testing ground for the technology,” said Newsom, adding that the city began using plug-in hybrids in the city’s fleet last year. “Now, for the first time the public can plug-in to the next generation of cars and take them for a drive in San Francisco,” the Mayor said.

>>Read Mayor Newsom’s post at gas2.0

According to Newsom, the city will use tax breaks to promote sales of electric vehicles and encourage homes and businesses to make charging stations widely available. The city will also look at ways to speed up the permitting process to install charging outlets at homes and businesses.

But the media coverage and the buzz at Wednesday’s opening in Civic Center Park wasn’t purely a function of its California location. The opening was timed perfectly with the big boost provided to EVs by the economic stimulus package, thus garnering national attention, as well.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act allocates $2 billion in grants for manufacturing advanced batteries, plus tax credits to cover the cost of manufacturing facilities; it also provides tax credits of up to $7,500 for those who buy new plug-in electric vehicles; sets aside $300 million for federal agencies to buy alternatively-fueled vehicles, $400 million for “transportation electrification,” and another $4.5 billion for improving the nation’s electric grid.

So while California’s unprecedented budget woes continue to drag the state coffers down and threaten the viability of some of the state’s progressive environmental policies, the City of San Francisco continues to test the boundaries of what a municipality can do by itself to push environmental protection forward.

Images: Tim Hurst

About the Author

is the founder of ecopolitology and the executive editor at LiveOAK Media, a media network about the politics of energy and the environment, green business, cleantech, and green living. When not reading, writing, thinking or talking about environmental politics with anyone who will listen, Tim spends his time skiing in Colorado's high country, hiking with his dog, and getting dirty in his vegetable garden.


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