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San Francisco installing EV charging stations

Charging stations placed prominently across the street from city hall are part of a two-year pilot project to promote electric vehicle use.

Coulomb Technologies charging stations keep the cord with a plug for an electric car locked behind a door for safety and theft prevention. An RFID reader signals the door to unlock when met with a recognized key fob or smart card. Coulumb Technologies

The city of San Francisco is installing three EV (electric vehicle) charging stations across the street from city hall as part of a two-year pilot project to promote electric vehicle use, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom announced Wednesday at a press conference.

The Smartlet Networked Charging Stations supplied by Coulomb Technologies will serve hybrid electric plug-in vehicles from Zipcar, City CarShare, and the city's municipal fleet, according to a statement from the mayor's office.

Because the EVs will be readily available for daily rental, skeptics and enthusiasts alike will have a chance to see what it's like to drive an electric car for a day.

"Electric vehicles are the future of transportation and the Bay Area is the testing ground for the technology," Mayor Newsom said in a statement to the press.

"Now, for the first time, the public can plug-in to the next generation of cars through car sharing organizations and take them for a drive in San Francisco," he said.

As part of the two-year pilot project, the Coulomb Technologies networked car charging system will include a "Fleet Management Portal," which texts drivers to inform them when their car needs charging and when it's fully charged and can be unplugged.

The installation of the three networked charging stations are part of San Francisco's nine-step plan for making electric vehicles popular in the Bay Area.

Along with Mayor Ron Dellums of Oakland, Calif., and Mayor Chuck Reed of San Jose, Calif., Newsom pledged last November to make the Bay Area the "EV Capital of the United States."

San Jose became the first city to test Coulomb Technologies' charging stations last June.