Infrastructure for electric transportation is heating up. Companies like Coulomb Technologies and Ecotality are already deploying electric vehicle charging stations region by region. And just today, general Motors said it was gearing up to announce a charging partner for its forthcoming Chevrolet Volt.
Now in the San Francisco Bay Area, one of the most progressive regions when it comes to advanced transportation, the Air Quality Management District is funneling $5 million into an initiative to roll out 3,000 home chargers, 2,000 public chargers in commercial areas, and as many as 50 rapid charging stations along nearby highways (capable of juicing car batteries in 30 minutes or less).
The goal is to spur wider adoption of plug-in vehicles, which are only expected to capture a sliver of market share in their first few years. The key will be to make charging stations accessible wherever people need to go, allowing them to quickly and efficiently extend the range of their green cars without high prices or the hassle of long waits.
The new initiative is an extension of the Bay Area EV Corridor program launched in 2008 to install billions of dollars worth of charging stations around the region. In addition to providing vouchers for charging equipment, it will provide an undecided dollar amount in incentives for homeowners looking to install chargers in their garages before the end of the year. A federal tax credit equivalent to 50 percent of the cost of a home charger is already available. Pairing the two incentives could make this equipment essentially free.
The Air Quality Management District, which is picking up the bulk of the costs, wants to get the ball rolling on EV infrastructure before the release of the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf later this year. Right now, pretty much the only electric cars on the road in the Bay Area are Tesla Roadsters, but this is soon to change.