Electric vehicle charging stations open to public

New electric vehicle charging stations are giving a jolt to SF State's sustainability efforts.

Nine charging stations are now available for free public use in the University parking garage (Lot 20) on the street level accessed by State Drive. The stations each occupy a parking space, one of which is accessible to individuals with disabilities, and will fully charge most electric car models in about four hours.

A photo of electric car charging stations in the University parking garage.

Electric car charging stations are now available in the University parking garage.

The charging stations were donated to SF State by manufacturer Clipper Creek through a grant from the California Energy Commission. The University provided the electrical hookup and will pay for the electricity used to charge cars. While users must pay for parking as with any space in the garage, they do not have to pay extra to use the charging station.

Electric vehicles produce significantly fewer greenhouse gas emissions than gas-powered vehicles. Sustainability Programs Manager Caitlin Steele said a number of faculty and staff members had asked her office in recent years about installing charging stations, but funding for such a project was not available until recently.

The stations' location in the parking garage makes them available to the public, a condition of the California Energy Commission grant. Depending on their popularity, Steele said, the University may explore adding stations elsewhere on campus.

By installing the units, she added, the University is not only benefitting members of the campus community who drive electric vehicles but also providing a boost to the electric car movement overall. Adding to the statewide network of stations helps California's efforts to reduce dependency on greenhouse gas-producing fossil fuels.

"There are two parts to electric vehicles: the car and the electricity distribution system. For electric cars to work, there have to be many locations throughout California where they can plug in," Steele said. "We're expanding the number of locations where electric vehicles can recharge their batteries and that encourages people to buy or lease these types of cars."

The charging stations are the latest in a range of sustainability initiatives at SF State, which has been ranked by the Princeton Review as one of the nation's most environmentally responsible campuses. Other initiatives include Sustainable Move-Incampus-wide recycling and composting and a fuel cell plant that generates efficient, emissions-free electricity. In addition, Steele was recently named the California State University 2013 Sustainability Champion. To learn more about sustainability on campus, visit Sustainable SF State's website.

-- Jonathan Morales