EV Adoption in San Francisco

The International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) released a report on July 2018 which analyzed the 2017 EV market in the US and the factors driving growth. Of the 50 most populated metropolitan areas analyzed by ICCT, San Francisco ranked:

  • #1 in total EV promotion actions

  • #2 in EV uptake

  • #2 in public and workplace charging infrastructure

A summary of the report can be found here, and the full report can be found here.


EV 101 Presentation

SF Clean Cities staff developed a presentation covering the basics of shopping for, purchasing/leasing, and owning an electric car - including how to charge it. The presentation with informational notes and links to other resources can be downloaded as a PDF here.


Mayor's EV Working Group

In January 2015, Mayor Ed Lee established the Electric Vehicle Working Group (EVWG) to identify actions and policies to continue EV growth in San Francisco. Its objective was to ensure that EVs are available, affordable and easy to use for all San Franciscans. Led by the Office of the City Administrator and the San Francisco Department of the Environment (SF Environment), the EVWG was asked to develop recommendations and solutions that would electrify our municipal fleet, and transform the marketplace for EVs in the private sector.

As a result, two ordinances were passed in 2017: (1) the City Fleet Zero Emission Vehicle Ordinance which mandates the electrification of the City’s light duty passenger sedan fleet by 2022, and (2) the EV Readiness Ordinance, which mandates all parking spaces in new construction to be ‘made ready’ to support EV charging (scroll down to read more about both ordinances).

On October 30th, 2017 the EVWG launched a Subcommittee tasked with developing a citywide strategy focused on electrification of private vehicles within the transportation sector. The strategy (EV Roadmap) will (1) lay out a vision for reducing adverse public health and environmental impacts of private transportation and (2) identify pilots, programs, policies and partnerships to help realize an emission free transportation sector. Participants on the Subcommittee include interdepartmental, agency representatives and key external stakeholders. The Subcommittee aims to complete the Strategy by Fall 2018.

Ev roadmap: Getting san francisco to 100% electric mobility

San Francisco Clean Cities Coalition assisted the City and County of San Francisco in the development of a city-wide Roadmap to reach 100% electrification of all transportation in the city. A Subcommittee was organized and met every other week to discuss the different topic areas within the Roadmap, and the Subcommittee Co-Chairs (including SF Clean Cities) met twice a week to develop the document and organize Subcommittee meetings. The Subcommittee and Co-Chairs continued to meet through June, when the Roadmap was submitted to the Mayor’s Office for approval. More information will be made available shortly.

SF Clean Cities and the City of San Francisco also organized multiple Community Listening Sessions regarding the development of the EV Roadmap. The Sessions were held in the Sunset and Civic Center areas of the city and were open to the public. During these Sessions, City representatives and members of the public discussed two topics regarding electric vehicles: increasing electric vehicle awareness and electric vehicle charging infrastructure. There were several common themes brought up regarding what actions the City should take within these two topic areas:

Awareness – Common Themes

  • Support for creation of an “EV Ombudsman” position to provide technical support to the community and maintain a “one-stop-shop” resource website and helpdesk.

  • Debunk myths about EVs being expensive and infeasible for the average driver, communicate the economic benefits of EVs to the public (low maintenance and fuel costs), and connect drivers to all available incentives to reduce upfront costs.

  • Need for more local incentives as they are more effective then regulation.

  • Need for more marketing to multiple sectors of the community via billboards, radio ads, Pandora/Spotify, Next Door, and other social media outlets.

  • Distribute information on EVs to residents through the DMV.

  • City should collaborate with community organizations to reach residents, businesses, and visitors.

  • Educate the younger generation about EVs

  • EVs and charging infrastructure options need to be more visible

  • Provide opportunities for people to experience EVs through test drives/ride-and-drives and EV showcases.

  • Establish zero-emission zones in the city – no gas/diesel powered vehicles.

  • Concern that promoting EVs could encourage car ownership, leading to more congestion. Continue to work towards Transit First goal in parallel with electrification of cars and trucks that remain on roads and highways.

  • Promote shared mobility and EVs together (e.g., make ride hailing and car share options EVs).

Charging – Common Themes

  • Supply of publicly available charging isn’t meeting the demand.

    • Conduct city-wide survey of EV drivers on barriers to charging.

  • Residents, visitors, and businesses don’t want to drive to a charging station and have long dwell times.

  • Residents in apartments/condos face significant barriers to accessing charging where they live.

  • Citywide need for more fast charging.

    • Deploy centralized fast charging hubs.

    • Deploy fast charging stations at grocery stores/supermarkets, schools, parking garages/lots, restaurants, shopping districts, etc.

    • Deploy shared charging stations for neighbors.

  • Need curbside charging.

    • Connect charging with street lights.

  • Deploy charging stations at regional BART stations.

  • Concern that very inexpensive or free EV charging could encourage more driving and increase congestion. Also recognize that congestion is currently an issue and that vehicle miles traveled via EVs would reduce air pollution and human health impacts.

    • Continue to work towards Transit First goal in parallel with electrification of cars and trucks that remain on roads and highways.

SF Environment is reviewing these common themes in coordination with the development of the EV Roadmap for private sector transportation in San Francisco, which will be completed by Fall 2018.


Zero Emission Vehicle Municipal Fleet Ordinance

Ordinance overview

The City's Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Municipal Fleet ordinance requires all light-duty passenger vehicles in the City fleet to be ZEVs by December 31, 2022. The ordinance will advance the City's commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from light-duty vehicles while improving electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure at municipal facilities. 

 For vehicles parked on City owned facilities:

  • 75% of vehicles must be ZEVs

  • Up to 25% may be plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) with a waiver due to charging/operational challenges

 For vehicles parked on non-City owned facilities:

  • The department must make every effort to purchase/lease a ZEV

  • Otherwise, must obtain waiver to purchase/lease PHEV due to charging/operational challenges; no cap on how many PHEVs may be procured

 Police safety departments and emergency response vehicles are exempted from requirements, as per existing law. Here is the ordinance as adopted.


Electric Vehicle Readiness Ordinance

ordinance overview

Starting January 2018, the City's Electric Vehicle (EV) Readiness ordinance requires new residential, commercial, and municipal buildings, and major renovations, to have sufficient electrical infrastructure to simultaneously charge (at Level 2 charging) EVs in 20% of parking spaces provided. With this capacity, innovative load management systems afford the option to install an EV charger in every parking space. On day one, the building will be required to have full circuits for EV chargers installed at 10% of parking spaces (actual charging station installation not required), and will have the key resources to expand from there in order to meet tenant needs.

San Francisco's requirements are published as part of the San Francisco Green Building Code. Here it is also in stand alone ordinance form as adopted. You can also find the Staff Report here, and the Cost Effectiveness Analysis here.