For Immediate Release: February 8, 2012
Media Contact: Adam Gottlieb - 916-654-4989


Bay Area Prepares for Electric Vehicles
With Energy Commission Grant

SACRAMENTO - The nine-county San Francisco Bay region about to become much more friendly to plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs), thanks to a $200,000 planning grant from the California Energy Commission.

"Before cleaner, battery-powered vehicles can become an important part of California's transportation mix, drivers must feel confident they will find adequate charging stations when they need them," said Energy Commissioner Carla Peterman. "With this grant to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, local planners will be able to decide where best to add chargers in this dynamic area of 7 million people. Local governments will streamline the planning, permitting, installation and inspection of plug-in chargers, and insure that consumers know about the charging improvements and the benefits provided by electric vehicles."

The San Francisco Bay Area Region includes Sonoma, Marin, Napa, Solano, San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo, and Santa Clara counties.

The $200,000 Energy Commission grant will allow the air quality management district to serve as lead entity for the "Plug-in Electric Vehicle Coordinating Council" (PEVCC), a group of public and private leaders representing counties, cities, public agencies, community organizations, private industry, higher education, and utilities. The Bay Area Air Quality Management District will also contribute $200,000 in match funds. The council will help encourage the use of plug-in electric vehicles and create a set of consistent best-management practices to simplify their introduction into the marketplace. The council considers the 2011-2013 time frame to be a critical "tipping point" in the move to electrified transportation.

"The Plug-in Electric Vehicle Coordinating Council was created in early 2011 to establish the greater San Francisco Bay Area as 'EV Capital of the United States,'" said Commissioner Peterman. "To meet that goal, the Bay Area must have consistent regional planning. Using this grant, the PEVCC, with its extensive number of participating agencies, will help make the planning process uniform and transparent, open to ideas from a wide range of stakeholders."

Government agencies that will make up the Plug-in Electric Vehicle Coordinating Council will include the Association of Bay Area Governments, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the San Francisco County Transportation Authority, the Transportation Authority of Marin, and the Sonoma County Transportation and Climate Protection Authority.

Non-governmental organizations include the Bay Area Climate Collaborative; the EV Communities Alliance; CityCar Share, a non-profit vehicle-sharing program; Plug-in America, an electric vehicle advocate; and Bay Area Clean Cities Coalitions, promoters of electric vehicle use in fleets.

Cities taking part include San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland, and Berkeley, along with Marin County.

PEVCC members from private industry include the Silicon Valley Leadership Group; Kleiner Perkins Caulfield Byers, a leading venture fund in Silicon Valley; Itron, a leader in Smart Grid infrastructure and services; Coulomb Technology, manufacturer of PEV technology; ECOtality, a clean energy technology company; electric-vehicle manufacturer Tesla; and Pacific Gas & Electric, the area's local utility.

With a population of over 7 million living in 101 different communities, the Bay Area needs to create consistent permitting and inspection guidelines for PEV infrastructure. Currently there can be long wait times for inspectors to approve residential home chargers, and there is a lack of coordinated planning for complex installations at commercial properties, government facilities or multi-unit dwelling complexes. The local utility also must ensure that any infrastructure improvements made for electric vehicles do not cause supply problems on the local power grid.

This planning grant is one of four approved today by the Energy Commission's Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program, which supports the use of sustainable transportation fuels. Similar grants went to the San Diego Association of Governments, the Ventura County Air Pollution Control District, and the Sacramento Area Council of Governments - entities that represent three other areas of the state where electric vehicle use is expected to be heavy within the next ten years.

The California Air Resources Board recently unanimously approved regulations that require car manufacturers to cut smog emissions from new vehicles by 75 percent by 2025 and reduce greenhouse gases by 34 percent. To meet these goals, the number of plug-in battery electric vehicles in California is expected to double from current levels by 2013 and will reach 460,000 by 2020.

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Assembly Bill 118 (Núñez , Chapter 750, Statutes of 2007) created the California Energy Commission's Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program. The statute, amended by Assembly Bill 109 (Núñez , Chapter 313, Statutes of 2008), authorizes the Energy Commission to develop and deploy alternative and renewable fuels and advanced transportation technologies to help achieve the state's climate change policies. Under the statutes, the Energy Commission invests nearly $100 million a year in a variety of projects, leveraging existing federal, state and local funding and private investments in the process.

The California Energy Commission is the state's primary energy policy and planning agency. Created by the Legislature in 1974 and located in Sacramento, six basic responsibilities guide the Energy Commission as it sets state energy policy: forecasting future energy needs; licensing thermal power plants 50 megawatts or larger; promoting energy efficiency and conservation by setting the state's appliance and building efficiency standards; supporting public interest energy research that advances energy science and technology through research, development, and demonstration programs; developing renewable energy resources and alternative renewable energy technologies for buildings, industry and transportation; planning for and directing state response to energy emergencies.