Bay Area/ San Francisco/ Transportation & Infrastructure
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Published on March 20, 2024
San Francisco Charges Ahead with Comprehensive EV Adoption Plan, Aiming for Citywide Charging AccessibilitySource: Google Street View

San Francisco is pushing hard on the gas pedal to make electric vehicles (EVs) the ride of choice for its residents. Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, along with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) and Environment Department officials, announced a new initiative to amp up the city's EV infrastructure. According to a press release from SFMTA, the plan includes a citywide assessment for curbside EV charging, laying the groundwork for a pilot program set to start in 2025.

The city's ambitious roadmap aims to fast-track the transition to greener transportation. “Although demand for EVs in San Francisco is triple the national average, the majority of San Franciscans reside in multi-unit housing without access to off-street or home charging spots," Mandelman noted, highlighting the necessity for increased public charging solutions. The study will to thoroughly evaluate the implementation of curbside charging across selected locations, with the ultimate goal of rolling out a citywide program. "Allowing San Franciscans to connect their home electric meter to the curb is one of the fastest ways we can help decarbonize transport," said SFMTA Director of Transportation Jeffrey Tumlin in the release.

San Francisco looks to other cities for inspiration, seeking to emulate successful models of curbside EV charging. New York City's pilot rollout saw 81% charger efficiency with near-perfect uptime, numbers that the bay city hopes to match or exceed. The upcoming study is set to include these best practices, hoping to tailor-make a solution that fits San Francisco's unique cityscape. "Strategic deployment of curbside charging infrastructure will ensure convenient and equitable public access to charging solutions, effectively democratizing the adoption of electric mobility," added Tyrone Jue, Director of the San Francisco Environment Department.

At present, the city boasts 1,193 public EV charging stations, but connectivity is scarce in areas predominated by Black and Latino communities or where incomes fall below the median threshold. Supervisor Mandelman is poised to introduce a resolution to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, ensuring support for the EV curbside charging initiative, which also aims to integrate equity and community feedback into the feasibility study. “It is past time for us to serve people where they are, and Acterra is thrilled to support this program,” said Lauren Weston, Executive Director of Acterra, per SFMTA release.

Enthusiasm for the project is shared by a broad coalition, from environmental advocates to trade unions eager to put their members to work on a greener San Francisco. Marc Geller from the Golden Gate EV Association expressed his group's readiness in backing the venture, anticipating a more robust EV charging network. Taking note of the potential economic benefits, Aaron McCall, EnviroVoters Federal Advocacy Coordinator, referenced the Inflation Reduction Act's role in financing the transition. On the labor front, John Dougherty of IBEW Local 6 expressed excitement to have his members contribute to making the city EV ready. These supporters align on the vision of an accessible, sustainable future on San Francisco roads. The SFMTA is now charged with conducting the study and formulating the pilot program's framework, with a view to giving the city's EV ambitions a full jolt of life.