The San Francisco bay area is moving forward with a multi-step plan to become the most EV friendly place in the United States. The plan calls for standardization of electric hookups, tax incentives for EV buyers, government programs for fleet buys and street side charging stations. Considering this is a classic case of a command economy at work, some company has to provide the electric cars the free market hasn't been able to on a large scale. Enter Better Place, a company offering the wholesale solution of a Nissan-Renault electric car, battery exchange stations, and charging stations. We're a bit uneasy with the idea of government mandated industry changes, but that's California for you. This could get very interesting. Full press release below.
Mayors Aim to Make San Francisco Bay Area the Electric Vehicle Capital of the U.S. Better Place to enter the US market via California, beginning in the Bay Area 11/20/08 - Today, Mayor Gavin Newsom, San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed and Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums announced a nine-step policy plan for transforming the Bay Area into the "Electric Vehicle (EV) Capital of the U.S." In conjunction with the news, Better Place, a global electric transportation company, announced that it would enter the U.S. market with California as its first state, beginning in the Bay Area. "Our aim is to make the Bay Area — and eventually California — the electric vehicle capital of the U.S.," said San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom. Commercial availability of electric cars is targeted to begin in 2012, and Better Place estimates its network investment in the Bay Area will total $1 billion when the system is fully deployed. The three Mayors said they welcomed Better Place’s announcement and anticipate many other EV companies will focus on the Bay Area as a top-priority market. "In these times, it is critical that we identify solutions to address both our economic and environmental challenges," said Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. "Promoting the use of electric vehicles will help forward our nation’s goals to achieve energy independence, to protect the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and to boost the economy by providing jobs in an emerging manufacturing sector." Joined by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s special advisor David Crane, the Mayors announced that they would take unprecedented action beginning in December to work with the region’s cities, counties, regional governmental organizations and private sector partners to position the region’s economic and environmental future around electric transportation. "California is already a world leader in fighting global warming and promoting renewable energy," said Governor Schwarzenegger. "This type of public-private partnership is exactly what I envisioned when we created the first ever low carbon fuel standard and when the state enacted the zero emissions vehicle program.This partnership is proof that by working together, we can achieve our goals of creating a healthier planet while boosting our economy at the same time." The Mayors announced policies that they will advance, beginning in December: * Expedited permitting and installation of electric vehicle charging outlets at homes, business, parking lots, and other buildings throughout the Bay Area; * Incentives for employers to install EV charging systems in their workplace and provide similar incentives to parking facilities and other locations where EV charging stations can be installed; * Harmonize local regulations and standards across the region that govern EV infrastructure to achieve regulatory consistency for EV companies as well as expanded range for EV consumers; * Establish common government programs that promote the purchase of EVs; * Link EV programs and infrastructure to regional transit and air quality programs; * Establish programs for aggressive pooled-purchase orders for EVs in municipal, state government and private sector fleets and future commitment of purchasing preference for EV vehicles; * Expedited permitting and approval for facilities that provide extended-range driving capability for EVs in the region through battery exchange locations or fast-charging; * Identify and secure suitable standard (110V) electric outlets for charging low voltage EVs in every government building in 2009; and * Identify roll-out plan for placement of 220V EV charging equipment throughout each city including city parking lots and curbside parking. The Mayors said they will work with other cities throughout the region, regional government organizations such as the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and Association of Bay Area Governments, as well as many private sector partners, including the members of the Bay Area Council and Silicon Valley Leadership Group.[SFGov, Better Place via Inabitat]