Mayor Lee Urges Cities to Commit to U.S. Electric Vehicle Future

Resolution Urging Green Energy Future Introduced at 79th U.S. Conference of Mayors in Baltimore, Maryland

— Mayor Edwin M. Lee today introduced a resolution at the 79th U.S. Conference of Mayors urging every city in the country to commit to making the United States the world’s most successful electric vehicle (EV) market, and asked Congress and the Obama Administration to appropriate significant funding for the necessary research, development, and market support to assure the widespread adoption of EVs nationwide. 

“America’s future lies beyond oil, and in San Francisco we are taking the steps necessary to start securing our green future today,” said Mayor Lee. “In 2008, San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland established a joint policy to make the Bay Area the EV capital of the nation, but today I want every city to join us in committing to making the U.S. the EV capital of the world. By accelerating the conversion of the car industry from its oil dependent century to its electric century, we can jump start the car industry, eliminate our dependence on oil, reduce our presence in the Middle East, create jobs, and eliminate a significant portion of our CO2 emissions.”

President Obama has set a goal of putting 1 million EVs on the road in the U.S. by 2015. The EV resolution was co-sponsored by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa, Mesa Mayor Scott Smith, Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker, Las Vegas Mayor Oscar B. Goodman, Portland Mayor Sam Adams, San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders and Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter. The resolution passed out of the Energy Committee unanimously and will be voted on by the U.S. Conference of Mayors on Sunday. 

Earlier this year, Mayor Lee issued a Mayoral Executive Directive announcing the City will offer free EV charging at all City-owned charging stations located on publicly accessible City properties through 2013 in order to build the local market for zero emission EVs. The charging stations will be located at 19 City-owned garages, San Francisco International Airport (SFO), and at other locations currently under review, including a number of neighborhood branch libraries. Multiple City agencies are involved in the project, including the Department of the Environment, SF Public Utilities Commission, Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), SFO, Department of Public Works (DPW), and Port of San Francisco.

The first of these charging stations will be installed in June 2011, and the City plans to install more than 80 charging stations citywide by the end of the year. Many of the stations will offer both Level 1 (120 volt) and Level 2 (240 volt) charging in order to serve the widest range of vehicles, powered by Hetch Hetchy’s carbon-free electricity.

Additionally, the cities of San Francisco and San Jose—in partnership with the EV charging innovator Better Place, and with funding from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District—are bringing North America’s first switchable battery electric taxi program to the Bay Area.  These stations are similar to battery switch stations Better Place is installing in Israel and Denmark that switch new batteries for depleted ones in a couple of minutes, thereby saving hours of charging time. As a result, these specially built EV taxis will easily be able to drive as many miles each day as a conventional taxi, but they will be zero-emission miles.

In addition to helping promote new clean vehicles, the City’s commitment to EV infrastructure will help San Francisco meet its greenhouse gas reduction goals. San Francisco has already met the Kyoto Protocol target of reducing greenhouse gases to 7 percent below 1990 levels, but with the aggressive goal of reducing greenhouse gases 20 percent below 1990 levels by 2012, the city will clearly need to explore carbon reduction opportunities on every front.

The transportation sector generates more than a third of all greenhouse gas emissions in San Francisco, and private autos and trucks are responsible for more than ninety percent of those emissions. In addition to implementing San Francisco’s Transit First policies, which are designed to dramatically reduce the number of single-occupancy vehicles on the City’s streets, and promoting increased biking and walking, San Francisco is further committed to promoting the cleanest vehicles available and making San Francisco the nation’s most successful EV market.