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San Francisco, California

More than half of the San Francisco Bay Area’s air pollution, and 40% of its GHGs, come from cars and trucks. In 1973, San Francisco adopted a Transit First Policy that prioritizes public transportation over private automobiles. In 2000 the city expanded the policy to favor additional modes such as bicycling, walking and ride-sharing.

To minimize the GHG and pollution impacts of automobiles, which are still used by 39% of the city’s commuters, San Francisco is facilitating the adoption of electric vehicles through a wide range of policies and programs.

  • Publicly Available Chargers – SF has installed 49 chargers in city-owned garages and lots, and will nearly double this number by the end of 2012. These chargers will be available to the public without a fee until 2014.
  • City Fleet – SF currently has 26 BEVs and PHEVs and will double that number in the coming year.
  • Taxi Battery Switch Station – In collaboration with Better Place, the city will be installing battery switch stations to be used with 60 specially built vehicles to be used as taxis for a several-year demonstration.
  • Zero Emission Neighborhood EV Taxi – 25 EVs will be purchased for use as a small taxi fleet primarily operating in outlying, underserved neighborhoods, and two fast-charge stations will be installed to support them.
  • Multifamily Buildings – SF is administering a demonstration program to establish models and best practices for making chargers available to residents of apartment buildings, condos and co-ops.
  • Workplace Charging – The city is coordinating with BC3 (The Business Council on Climate Change) to promote charger installation by businesses through outreach and production of educational materials.
  • EV Car Sharing – SF spurred the adoption of EV programs by local car sharing companies by providing curbside chargers for car sharing pods in front of City Hall.
  • Regional EV Planning – San Francisco is active in bringing EV infrastructure to the entire Bay Area through collaboration with the Bay Area EV Council, the EV Communities Alliance and the Bay Area Climate Collaborative, as well as various regional government planning agencies.

Because California’s electricity grid is very clean, a battery-electric vehicle charged from the commercial utility system in San Francisco reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 75% compared to a conventional gasoline vehicle, and by 55% compared to a hybrid vehicle. These reductions will increase as the grid incorporates even more renewable energy sources in the coming years under the state’s aggressive renewable portfolio standards. Significantly, EVs charged at stations on city property are powered by 100% renewable energy.