San Francisco Mayor London Breed has announced plans to update legislation to expedite the creation of new electric vehicle (EV) charging locations across the city.
Changes to the city’s planning code will mean petrol stations and car parks could be converted to EV charging locations. Planning Department processes would also be speeded up.
Specifically, the legislation adds a definition of “Electric Vehicle Charging Location” to the “Automotive Retail” land-use category and specifies where this new use is permitted.
Mayor Breed said: “Getting the city on a path to a healthier, cleaner, and more equitable future will require significant investments in reducing our reliance on fossil fuels. As we seek to transition to EVs and eliminate emissions from our transportation sector, we must update the Planning Code to make it easier to open standalone charging locations.”
According to a 2021 study by the International Council on Clean Transportation, San Francisco will need to increase the current number of public charging stations from 1,016 to 2,000 by 2025.
Electric vehicles currently account for about 11 percent of new car registrations in San Francisco – one of the highest in the US – but the city wants this figure to be 100 percent by 2040.
Expanding access to affordable and convenient charging options will be key to this goal, especially for low-income households and renters who do not have access to at-home charging.
Nearly 70 percent of city residents live in multi-unit dwellings, and most do not have access to off-street parking or home charging.
For those residents, public charging anxiety is a huge obstacle to EV adoption, and this legislation seeks to address that challenge.
“Public electric vehicle charging stations are essential to ensuring widespread and equitable access to EVs across San Francisco,” said Rafael Mandelman, Chair of the San Francisco County Transportation Authority.
“The federal infrastructure bill includes at least US$384 million for electric vehicle charging in California, and we have to be prepared to make good use of that investment at the local level. This ordinance will lay the groundwork and remove regulatory barriers for EV charging citywide.”
The proposed legislation will be heard by the Planning Commission before moving to the full Board of Supervisors.
Image: Noya Fields (Flickr)
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