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Bay Area to install over 5,000 EV charging stations

District board approves $5 million in funding for vehicle charging stations with hopes that the investment will lead to improved air quality for the region.

Three EV stations were installed across the street from San Francisco City Hall in 2009 as part of a pilot program to promote EV interest. Two years later the area is set to install more than 5,000.

The San Francisco Bay Area is set to receive $5 million to install charging stations for electric vehicles throughout the area, the Department of Energy announced Wednesday.

The $5 million will cover the installation of 50 fast-charging EV stations along highways, 2,000 public stations for public parking lots and participating company-owned parking lots, and 3,000 residential charging stations.

Approval for the funds came through last week from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District Board of Directors, a panel that oversees air quality concerns for the nine counties that make up the Bay Area. The funds will be distributed as grant money as part of its "Spare the Air" program.

"In the Bay Area, the transportation sector accounts for more than 50 percent of air pollution. Significant emission reductions from the transportation sector will help the Bay Area attain and maintain state and national air quality standards," the board said in a statement.

The announcement is something of a milestone for the region when one considers that as recently as February 2009 it was big news that the city of San Francisco was installing just three EV charging stations as part of a pilot project.

But the infrastructure change does follow an ambition plan that was set forth two years ago by three area mayors.

In November 2008, the mayors of San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose publicly announced that they were setting a goal to make the Bay Area the electric vehicle capital of the U.S.

Installing thousands of stations was not on the list at that point. Instead their nine-point plant toward reaching their EV capital vision included establishing EV station standards, and "identifying a roll-out plan" for those stations.