Large Funding Round Will Support EV Charging, Novel CNG Tank Tech

The California Energy Commission has approved funding totaling more than $5 million to support the installation of 475 electric vehicle (EV) charging stations in towns and cities throughout the state, as well as OKed a $1.2 million investment to aid in the development of a new compressed natural gas (CNG) tank technology.

According to the commission, the EV chargers will be installed in San Francisco, Burbank, Torrance and San Diego, and in the counties of Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Orange, Riverside and Los Angeles. The $5 million in grants is funded by the state's Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program.

Capital has also been directed to a project being spearheaded by BlackPak Inc., which is developing an advanced CNG storage tank for light-duty vehicles. This storage system is based on carbon materials that will allow natural gas to be stored at a lower pressure. Also, the tanks will be able to be formed into a range of shapes, allowing designers to integrate the storage system into a vehicle's design without sacrificing passenger space.

BlackPak and partners ATMI Inc. and SRI International had already been the recipients of federal funding through the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy program.

Additionally, the commission approved grants – $900,000 each – to Transportation Power Inc., Efficient Drivetrains Inc. and the Gas Technology Institute to develop natural gas plug-in hybrid vehicles.

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