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Feds: More companies to add electric vehicle recharge stations

Washington — The Energy Department said Tuesday more private companies have agreed to add charging stations for plug-in vehicles. Companies include social media giant Facebook Inc. and media services company Bloomberg LP.

The effort is part of the Energy Department’s push to boost electric vehicles.

The government said 15 new firms and one city are joining the effort, including AVL, Bentley Systems, Biogen Idec, Coca-Cola Co., the City of Sacramento, Dell, Hartford Financial Services Group, Hertz Corp., National Grid, New York Power Authority, NRG Energy, Raytheon and Southern California Edison.

The firms agreed to sign a pledge to assess workforce demand for charging stations for electric vehicles, and then install a station for at least one major worksite.

Last month, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg called for making the city a national leader in electric vehicles.

He called for 10,000 parking spaces for electric vehicles in seven years.

“We’ll work with the City Council to amend the building code so that up to 20 percent of all new public parking spaces in private developments will be wired and ready for electric vehicles, creating up to 10,000 parking spots for electric vehicles over the next seven years,” said Bloomberg, who is majority owner of Bloomberg LP. “We’ll add 50 more electric vehicles to the city’s fleet of cars, and we’ll put the first six fully electric taxis on the road — with the goal of making one-third of our taxi fleet electric by 2020.”

The Workplace Charging Challenge aims to increase the number of U.S. employers offering workplace charging by tenfold in the next five years.

In January, the first 13 employers joined the effort: 3M, Chrysler Group, Duke Energy, Eli Lilly and Co., Ford Motor Co., General Electric, General Motors Co., Google, Nissan Motor Co, San Diego Gas & Electric, Siemens, Tesla Motors, and Verizon.

President Barack Obama has vowed to get 1 million plug-in vehicles on the roads by 2015. The administration made EVs a top priority early on, awarding $2.4 billion in stimulus grants to battery makers and automakers to speed development. Obama called for hiking tax credits for EVs to $10,000.

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