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Hundreds More Electric Car Charging Stations Coming to California

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More of these coming to California | Photo: Washington State Department of Transportation/Flickr/Creative Commons License

The California Energy Commission will be plowing millions of dollars into building almost 500 more electric car charging stations throughout the state, along with an assortment of other alternative energy programs, the agency announced Thursday.

On Wednesday, the CEC approved $5 million in 15 grants through the agency's program to install 475 electric vehicle chargers in communities throughout the state.

"The Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program continues to support California's goal of 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2025," said Commissioner Janea A. Scott. "These community investments assist in building the network of charging stations needed, and help accelerate growth in the electric vehicle market."

The grants will fund new charging stations in Burbank, Torrance, and elsewhere in Los Angeles County; San Francisco, and San Diego, and in Orange, Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, and Riverside counties.

The CEC also approved funding for research into carbon-based materials that will allow efficient storage of natural gas for use in vehicle fuel tanks. A $12 million grant to the firm BlackPak, Inc. will allow development of a prototype natural gas tank composed of nanoporous carbon, whose ultramicrosopic pores would store and release natural gas at lower pressures. Along with the grant to BlacPak, the CEC also approved three $900,000 grants to Transportation Power Inc., Efficient Drivetrains Inc., and Gas Technology Institute for the development of natural gas hybrid vehicles. The four grants will be administered by the CEC's Public Interest Energy Research natural gas program.

Among other grant decisions, the CEC also agreed to lend the city of El Monte $2.3 million to install solar panels at a number of city-owned properties. The CEC says the new panels will provide around a thousand megawatt-hours of power for the city, with cost savings of about $135,000 annually when electric bill paying time comes around.

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