"The electric vehicle capital of the U.S." That's is what San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom said he wants the Bay Area to become, as he unveiled the newest electric car-charging technology in the city Wednesday.
The chargers were part of a “Green Vehicle Showcase” outside City Hall.
Newsom's office said in a statement that the displays highlighted green transportation options, including natural gas vehicles, car-sharing systems, and electric cars.
“Electric vehicles are the future of transportation and the Bay Area is the testing ground for the technology,” said Newsom. “We began using plug-in hybrids in the city’s fleet last year. Now, for the first time the public can plug-in to the next generation of cars through car sharing organizations and take them for a drive in San Francisco.”
The three EV charging stations at City Hall are being provided by Coulomb Technologies for a two-year public demonstration of “smart” EV charging technology.
“Today’s announcement further demonstrates that the Bay Area is the epicenter of the electric vehicle movement,” said Richard Lowenthal, CEO of Coulomb Technologies. “A smart, networked infrastructure is an essential enabler of this movement and the City of San Francisco is leading by example.”
For the first time, San Franciscans will have the opportunity to drive the newest fuel-efficient cars through the City’s partnership with City CarShare and Zipcar.
“With the introduction of Zipcar’s first-ever plug-in hybrid, members of the public now have a cost effective and convenient way to experience the newest, cleanest car on the road,” said Scott Griffith, Chairman and CEO of Zipcar.
The increasingly popular car-sharing programs present an opportunity to test drive plug-in cars before they are mass-produced, Newsom's office said.
“The combination of responsible car sharing and low emission vehicles such as this one will improve the environment as well as the quality of life for all San Franciscans,” said Rick Hutchison, CEO of City CarShare.
Last November, Mayor Newsom was joined by Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums and San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed to announce a nine-step policy plan for transforming the Bay Area into the “EV Capital of the U.S.”
The ambitious regional plan has been recognized by Coulomb Technologies, Better Place, General Motors (GM), and other companies who have made the Bay Area a high priority in their EV investment programs, Newsom's office said.
In November, Better Place said it would invest $1 billion for networked electric mobility systems in the Bay Area.
Last month, GM announced it would roll out its plug-in Chevy Volt in San Francisco, and Nissan named the Bay Area a prime location for launching its battery-powered car.
For information about membership in the car-share organizations and using their plug-in vehicles – visit www.zipcar.com or www.citycarshare.org.