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San Francisco Electric Plug-In Car Project Faces a Few Roadblocks

Plug-in electric vehicles are becoming more affordable, available, and popular. Leading “green” city, San Francisco, passed legislation to help increase the convenience of electric vehicles in hopes of enticing residents to purchase the green cars. The city is challenged with the task of installing 80 public charging stations at 20 locations by 2012.

The city has been working for roughly two and a half years to implement the charging station policy and necessary infrastructure. Robert Hayden, the manager of transportation programs for SF Environment, describes the goals of the project: to make San Francisco residents feel comfortable enough to buy electric vehicles and to make San Francisco the plug-in vehicle capital of the nation.

City officials expect the Bay Area to have between 1,000 and 2,000 plug-in electric vehicles by the end of 2011.

Roadblocks due to the cities dense, urban nature are beginning to emerge as the city works toward the ambitious goal. Specifically, the city's mostly renter population and limited street parking are at the heart of problem.

"It's very complicated," Hayden said during a recent San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association presentation. "There are right-of-way issues, metering issues. We're looking at ways of easing in (the policy)."

Current Roadblocks:

- Standard charging stations take 4-6 hours (meters usually have 2 hour limits)

- Fast charging stations, such as those used in Washington DC, will not be standardized until after the 2012 deadline for the SF project

- Efficient electric vehicle charing occurs at night when residents are likely to be parked at home instead of metered spots

- Officials must work with landlords in order to maximize the placement of the stations in order to make them accessible to the most residents as possible in areas where there is the highest demand for the technology

Read more at the SF Appeal Online News article on the topic.