San Francisco May See Charging Ports At All New Parking Lots

Two San Francisco city officials are working to get new buildings’ parking lots as “EV Ready” as possible for charging electric vehicles.

Mayor Edwin Lee and Supervisor Katy Tang have introduced municipal legislation requiring new residential, commercial, and municipal property owners to plan for charging infrastructure that could be used from any space in the lot.

If enacted, this new ordinance would require new residential and commercial buildings to have 10 percent of the parking spaces be “turnkey ready” for EV drivers to charge their cars; an additional 10 percent of the parking would be “EV flexible” for potential charging and upgrades.

The other 80 percent of the parking lot would need to be “EV capable,” meaning that conduit tubes are placed in the hardest to reach areas of the parking garage to make sure every car has access to charging.

San Francisco would be following the lead of two other bay area cities that have enacted EV Ready programs. Fremont was the first to pass an “EV Ready” ordinance, followed by the City of Oakland.

The two San Francisco officials say bay area cities have played a unique role as “test-beds for electric vehicle innovations.” That includes having a large share of EV sales, being in close proximity to each other, and job training like the Automotive Hybrid and EV Technology certification program through San Francisco City College.

Funding has come from a grant by the California Energy Commission that’s framed on researching opportunities for to expand charging infrastructure in new construction projects.

Lee and Tang are concerned that requiring existing building owners to covert over to EV-ready parking lots would be too cost-prohibitive to work out. As for new buildings, they cite a 2016 report which makes the case that EV charging in new construction can reduce those costs by 75 percent or more, while also making the buildings accessible to what’s becoming a growing market demand.

They described Rockwell, the city’s newest residential development, as a case in point. Working with the ChargePoint charging station company, the property owner was able to designate 15 percent of its parking spots for EV charging. Nearly all them have been used on a constant basis.

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Another reason why the backers of the ordinance think it will succeed is California’s generous incentive programs for first time EV buyers or lessees. This has helped the state see more than 250,000 EVs having been sold.

Another move by the state cited is that California building codes now require 3 percent of parking spaces to be designed for serving EVs.

“I am proud to be co-sponsoring this important legislation to make electric vehicle charging more accessible to drivers, while keeping costs reasonable for developers and building owners,” said Supervisor Tang. “San Francisco should be leading the charge and encouraging more San Franciscans to choose clean vehicles. While some may question whether climate change is real, San Francisco is taking steps to ensure that we have a sustainable future.”

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