SFEnvironment Join Assemblywoman Ma to Support EV Infrastructure

SFEnvironment Join Assemblywoman Ma to Support EV Infrastructure

(March 24, 2011)


Assemblywoman Fiona Ma (D-San Francisco and San Mateo Counties) announced legislation today at San Francisco City Hall to provide market certainty for the infrastructure that is needed to support California's electric vehicle consumer fleet. The legislation, Assembly Bill 631, will place into law a decision by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to not regulate electric vehicle charging stations as utilities. Assemblywoman Ma is joined at the press conference by Environmental Defense Fund and Plug in America, which are the leading advocacy organizations for drivers of electric vehicles.

"Electric vehicles are the next generation of fuel for California's green economy," said Assemblywoman Ma. "Absent this bill, the charging stations needed to support electric vehicles on California roads won't exist."

"Plug-in electric vehicles are the future of clean transportation, and we need to do everything we can to make it easy for cities, businesses and private citizens to site and install EV charging stations," said San Francisco Environment Department Director Melanie Nutter. "Assemblywoman Ma's bill will help make a vibrant EV market in California, and will go a long way towards creating a charging infrastructure that will combat range anxiety that might otherwise discourage potential EV drivers from giving up their gasoline cars."

"Electric vehicles are a true 'game changer' that can save drivers thousands of dollars in gas costs while reducing pollution and increasing our energy independence," explained Wade Crowfoot, Regional Director of the Environmental Defense Fund. "Assemblywoman Ma's bill recognizes this opportunity. It will help attract entrepreneurs to build charging stations while keeping alive a structure that is able to ensure electric vehicles advance both environmental and infrastructure priorities."

During President Obama's State of the Union Address he set a goal of 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2015. Last spring, Tesla Motors announced plans to manufacture its electric vehicles in the former NUMMI plant in Fremont, California. The California Energy Commission (CEC) projects the number of electric vehicles could grow from 32,756 in 2011 to 1.5 million by 2020 and 2.8 million by 2030.

Despite the emphasis to put more electric vehicles on the street, consumers need these vehicles to be as convenient to own as the gasoline car today. AB 631 is consistent with the prior PUC decision on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG). Several years ago, the PUC ruled that CNG as a transportation fuel should not be regulated as a public utility. The Legislature, wanting to provide regulatory certainty, the next year codified that decision. Likewise, the PUC ruled last year that electricity used for electric vehicle charging services should not be regulated as a public utility. AB 631 codifies the PUC decision to not regulate electricity that is used as a transportation fuel for vehicles.

The bill has been referred to the Assembly Utilities and Commerce Committee and is expected to be heard on April 1.