Leading by example: City pilot program explores innovative ways to reduce emissions from City vehicles

City of San Diego logoAs part of his ambitious climate action goal of halving the City’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2035, San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria announced the launch of a pilot program that will use solar power to charge the City of San Diego’s electric vehicle fleet and renewed his commitment to accelerating the adoption of electric vehicles as part of the City’s fleet.

“This program allows the City to continue making progress on our Climate Action Plan while saving taxpayer dollars,” Mayor Todd Gloria said. “The EV ARC solar EV charging stations will allow the City to take advantage of San Diego’s most plentiful natural resource and reduce emissions from City operations that harm human health and contribute to the climate crisis. Technology like Beam’s can help the City more effectively adopt electric vehicles and protect our environment for the next generation.”

This announcement comes on the heels of Mayor Gloria rolling out his proposed Fiscal Year 2022 budget, which includes accelerating the adoption of electric vehicles in the City’s fleet, creating the City’s Mobility Action Plan, updating the Climate Action Plan and investing $5 million into the new Climate Equity Fund to help traditionally underserved communities build a greener future.

Through this pilot, the City is partnering with Sorrento Valley-based Beam Global, to evaluate its Electric Vehicle Autonomous Renewable Charger (EV ARC) for the next six months.

“This EV charging pilot program is a great first step to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles into our City’s fleet and make progress on our Climate Action Plan,” said City Councilmember Marni von Wilpert “As the Chair of the City Council’s Active Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, I am focused on expanding the availability of EV charging infrastructure throughout our City, so that we reduce greenhouse gas emissions. I applaud the Mayor in his commitment to lead this effort by setting an example with our City’s fleet for a cleaner San Diego for generations to come.”

The EV ARC is designed to fit inside a 9×8 parking space and can park on top of the ballast pad so no parking area is wasted, It can fuel up to five vehicles at a time.

“We are very proud to support our home city of San Diego’s sustainability commitments through our affordable, emissions-free charging infrastructure solutions,” said Desmond Wheatley, CEO of Beam Global. “By choosing EV ARC systems, San Diego is demonstrating that it’s possible to rapidly transition city fleets to EVs without disruptive and time-consuming construction or increased utility bills and with confidence that they can continue to charge during blackouts. Day or night, regardless of the conditions fleet operators can now charge and drive on sunshine.”

The pilot program contributes to one of the goals of the PDF icon Climate Action Plan (CAP) by reducing emissions from the City fleet. The CAP sets targets of increasing the share of Zero Emissions Vehicles in the municipal fleet to 90% by 2035. Currently, the City has 20 electric vehicles out of 4,000 in the fleet.

Mayor Gloria’s proposed budget includes funding from the federal American Rescue Plan, which allocated approximately $306 million in federal relief to the City of San Diego. Thanks to the leadership of San Diego’s congressional delegation, some of that funding will be used to close gaps in the City’s budget and keep San Diego on a path to achieving its climate action goals.

“In a place as emblematic of California sunshine as San Diego, there is no better place to launch a pilot program that uses solar power as a clean energy source to charge the city’s vehicle fleet. Initiatives like this one, especially ones that collaborate with local companies, solidify our role as worldwide leaders in innovation to take on climate change. I am confident that this pilot program will spur similar initiatives across the country to show Americans that new, clean and functional technology for a better future is here to stay,” said Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52)

The pilot is just one of several ways Mayor Gloria’s administration will accelerate progress on fleet electrification and the other strategies identified in the CAP.

Transportation continues to be the largest source of local emissions and the City has established several goals to  shift vehicle fuels from gasoline to electricity and other alternatives. It also sets goals to increase the use of public transportation, biking and walking as alternatives to driving.

The Mayor’s recently released proposed budget includes funding for the City’s first Mobility Plan –  a multi-year effort to develop a data-driven identification-and-prioritization process for transportation projects and programs. The plan will help the City identify the greatest efficiencies for implementation of the Climate Action Plan’s transportation-related goals.