Gallery: California To Become The Electric Vehicle Capital of the US


Recently the cities of San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland unveiled a massive concerted effort to become the electric vehicle capitol of the United States! This groundbreaking development heralds a nine-step plan that includes everything from buying fully electric vehicles for all government transportation to expediting the approval of charging outlets throughout the bay area, including those located on the street. The creation of this essential infrastructure marks a huge step towards the acceptance of electric vehicles as a viable alternative to those that run on fossil fuel.

The plan to create the infrastructure required for a fully functioning electric vehicle society was announced just last week by each of the three cities’ mayors. The policies will provide incentives to employers to install EV chargers in their buildings, expedite battery changing facilities, install electrical outlets in all government buildings, promote the purchase of EVs, and improve local regulations and standards. The total cost of the program is expected to amount to around one billion dollars, and California’s government will be teaming up with the electric transportation company Better Place to install the required infrastructure.

Will these features be enough to inspire a massive trend towards electric vehicles? It is hard to tell, but it is difficult not to get excited about the prospect of finally seeing large cities embrace the changes required for a greener future.

+ Better Place

Via SF Gov


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  1. thomasgill November 2, 2011 at 8:33 am

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  2. 5,000 EV Charging Stati... August 11, 2010 at 7:36 pm

    […] when the mayors of Oakland, San Francisco and San Jose agreed that they would make the area the nation’s electric vehicle capital. With half of all carbon emissions in the Bay Area coming from gas-powered transportation, […]

  3. maxwell November 27, 2008 at 2:36 pm

    bernice: I used to live near the hydroelectric dam that you’re touting as clean. Ask the indigenous people that were supplanted (and I don’t just mean a few native people who had housing there, I mean a honest-to-god living off the land indigenous people, the Kwadacha) and moved to make that dam (the WAC Bennett, which actually provides a lot of California’s energy as well, so that’s at least more green than some).

    And for the rest of you – you’re just moving the source of pollution. Until the whole US power grid is ‘green’ energy (which can be argued might never happen anyway) you’re just using an “out of sight, out of mind” attitude to assuage your guilt.

    Hydro electric dams are different than coal-burning in that most can modify the number of turbines being spun to produce electricity. When I visited the Bennett, it was spinning 2 out of its 10 turbines, but that was more than 10 years ago now. The limitation of their capacity is the level of the reservoir behind the dam.


  4. pburgess November 26, 2008 at 8:46 pm

    On the one hand…I’m all for giving electric car infrastructure a shot at going mainstream, especially if, as I previously mentioned, the bulk of the power is acquired off-peak (the net effect then being zero additional pollution).

    On the other hand…a BILLION DOLLARS? Might that money be better spent addressing underlying issues rather than simply perpetuating car culture using a different flavor of fuel? How about finishing the damn San Jose BART extension already and getting more cars off the road? Or improving the pathetic public transit in some cities. Or Yellow bike programs, better bike lanes and signage. Or…I dunno…a year’s supply of burritos for every man, woman and child in the state. ANYTHING but more cars!

  5. eighteyes November 26, 2008 at 12:17 pm

    $1 billion? That’s nothing! America throws $1.6 trillion at failing financial industries. Why invest in the future when we can patch up the past?

    No really. That’s awesome, I’m looking forward to driving an ev in my lifetime.

  6. mozart4701 November 26, 2008 at 11:43 am

    This is really putting the cart before the horse imo. Where does the additional electricity for all of these cars come from? Mostly, non-green sources. We need to concentrate on the source before we worry about the consumer, ie cars, homes, etc…
    Make the move to nuclear (re-processing plants to drastically reduce waste), solar (efficiency please) and others (tbd). Then we can convert the cars, homes and other end points to electricity.

  7. pritchet1 November 26, 2008 at 11:20 am

    Are these metered power outlets? Who pays for the power? Coin-operated? Card swipe?

  8. The Revolution Corporation November 26, 2008 at 2:05 am

    funny how when i was a kid, electricity was the inefficient dirty devil, and now it’s the superhero?
    so, we’re polluting where the coal burning plant is, but our electric car keeps our inner city clean.
    will we be worshiping electric baseboard heaters next?
    why don’t we here more about Bio-Propane (coming out of MIT)… ?
    it seems that ALL fuels have a down side, but isn’t the basic idea to use a clean burning fuel that’s sourced *locally* ?

  9. tchild November 25, 2008 at 9:42 pm

    For San Francisco, a better alternative would be to use the overhead trolley power lines with electric cars. I can see a fee based structure with the revenues used for eletric power, maintenance and extending the network of trolley lines. So where do I get a pantograph for a Prius?

  10. kd1s November 25, 2008 at 6:55 pm

    I’d love to see the same happen here in RI. Providence is the perfect city to test this in, since it’s relatively compact, has hills, and a preponderance of universities. They’ve recently gone to kiosk based parking, why not put the outlets on those and let people charge up as long as they pay for a ticket.

  11. pburgess November 25, 2008 at 6:39 pm

    Bernice: In *theory*, no. In practice, we’ll see. Because of the way most varieties of power plant work, a considerable amount of energy (I’ve heard a range of 20 to 50 percent) is essentially thrown away. There is no off switch or throttle for a coal plant, for instance – it must burn fuel 24 hours a day whether there is a demand for the electricity or not – all they can control is whether the resulting steam is directed to generator turbines or just recondensed without doing any useful work. If EVs (and the batteries at these swap stations) are charged during the off-peak nighttime hours, that lost energy is put to good use, and no additional generating capacity is needed.

  12. Christian Biggins November 25, 2008 at 4:03 pm

    I think that while this is a partially positive ‘step’, this money could be used to research auto’s that do not rely on both fossil fuels and batteries. Two age-old, non clean technologies. It seems that people will simply feel better if they can no longer see the pollutants coming out the exhaust… Now if California itself generated power using clean, sustainable techniques such as wind and solar, then this would be a much better idea and we’d only need to worry about the batteries.

  13. Fair Trade November 25, 2008 at 3:53 pm

    Now, all S Cal has to do to become as ‘green as green can be’ is start drying clothes outside rather than dryers (in the 80’s SDGE ensured all condo leases contained clauses that clothes cannot be dried outside) and build the largest infrastructure of photovoltaic solar power to power the cars…

  14. bernice paul November 25, 2008 at 1:58 pm

    This is encouraging news with respect to our oil dependence… but do we know what the demand for EV’s will do to the electricity grid? Will the state need to open up more power plants to meet the demand? Here in BC, we use hydro-generated electricity, and tout the “cleanest” electricity in the world. Friends who work for the utility believe that the EV demand won’t cause huge problems for the grid. What are your thoughts, or what have you heard?

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