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Published on February 18th, 2009 | by Gavin Newsom

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San Francisco Plugs In To the Future with Electric Vehicle Recharging Stations

Editors Note: This is a guest post by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom on the city’s important first step toward creating the electric vehicle infrastructure of the future.

Imagine cars with no tailpipes and no direct carbon emissions into our atmosphere — powered by an electrical energy system getting cleaner by the year through Renewable Portfolio Standards in effect in California and across the nation — creating hundreds of thousands of new green jobs.

More than a decade ago, I was one of the original owners of the EV1, an electric vehicle produced by General Motors (GM). When GM discontinued the series and reclaimed all of the EV1s, it was a major setback for the American car industry. Instead of leading the charge to create a new generation of vehicles — America fell behind.

Last year we woke up. Four dollar a gallon gas was the catalyst. The price has gone down since the spike, but I think most Americans understand we need to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and one of the keys is more fuel-efficient vehicles.

Today, San Francisco took an important first step toward creating the electric vehicle infrastructure of the future. This morning I unveiled the installation of electric vehicle charging stations in front of San Francisco City Hall. These stations — called Smartlets — are on loan to the city from Coulomb Technologies.

Car-sharing companies Zipcar and City CarShare will use two of the charging stations — giving the public the opportunity to drive plug-in vehicles before they are mass produced. The third charging station will be used by a plug-in car in the City of San Francisco municipal fleet.

Our proactive residents are the country’s earliest adopters of green vehicles. We have the highest number of hybrid cars owners in the United States. Many believe that hybrid vehicles are the future — I believe that full battery electric vehicles are the quantum leap we need to make.

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About the Author

was the youngest San Francisco mayor in over a century when he was elected at the age of 41. Newsom, the son of William and Tessa Newsom, grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. He attended Santa Clara University on a partial baseball scholarship, graduating in 1989 with a B.A. in political science. After only 36 days as mayor, Newsom gained worldwide attention when he granted marriage licenses to same-sex couples. This bold move set the tone for Newsom’s first term. Under his energetic leadership, the economy grew and jobs were created. The city became a center for biotech and clean tech. He initiated a plan to bring universal health care to all of the city’s uninsured residents. And Newsom aggressively pursued local solutions to global climate change. In 2007, Newsom was re-elected with over 73% of the vote. Since then he has built upon the successes of his first term, launching new environmental initiatives and a comprehensive strategy to transform one of the city’s most troubled neighborhoods into a life sciences, digital media, and clean tech center.



  • http://www.roystarman.com roystarman

    Again the people who sell this fail to declare where all the extra electrcity is to come from. Power plants burn coal and other Hydrocarbons or create nuclear waste. Plug in Hybrids are not the solution!

  • http://www.roystarman.com roystarman

    Again the people who sell this fail to declare where all the extra electrcity is to come from. Power plants burn coal and other Hydrocarbons or create nuclear waste. Plug in Hybrids are not the solution!

  • Mark

    Where did all the extra electricity come from to support plasma TVs? How about electric outdoor lighting at Christmas?

    Power plants, even coal plants, are a single point of pollution control that is manageable. All Internal Combustion Engine vehicles with Catalytic converter run great on the day you walk off the showroom floor…but the older they get, the less efficient the cat system and pollution goes up significantly during the life of the vehicle.

    It’s not like 1,000,000 electric cars show up on March 1, 2010 in San Francisco. Solar Power on the housetop is likely to outstrip electric vehicle implementation for the next 10 years.

  • Mark

    Where did all the extra electricity come from to support plasma TVs? How about electric outdoor lighting at Christmas?

    Power plants, even coal plants, are a single point of pollution control that is manageable. All Internal Combustion Engine vehicles with Catalytic converter run great on the day you walk off the showroom floor…but the older they get, the less efficient the cat system and pollution goes up significantly during the life of the vehicle.

    It’s not like 1,000,000 electric cars show up on March 1, 2010 in San Francisco. Solar Power on the housetop is likely to outstrip electric vehicle implementation for the next 10 years.

  • Mark

    Where did all the extra electricity come from to support plasma TVs? How about electric outdoor lighting at Christmas?

    Power plants, even coal plants, are a single point of pollution control that is manageable. All Internal Combustion Engine vehicles with Catalytic converter run great on the day you walk off the showroom floor…but the older they get, the less efficient the cat system and pollution goes up significantly during the life of the vehicle.

    It’s not like 1,000,000 electric cars show up on March 1, 2010 in San Francisco. Solar Power on the housetop is likely to outstrip electric vehicle implementation for the next 10 years.

  • David

    Complaining about where energy comes from misses the forest for the trees. The first priority has to be decoupling our economy from oil. Once it runs on home-grown energy, we can tackle sourcing issues.

    This is especially true because distributed, clean energy is easy to overlay on the current system, creating a clean grid, family by family. It may only be a plug-in hybrid now, but soon, it will be a plug-in hybrid which is recharged every day or night by solar panels at home or work.

    Progress is progress. Don’t bash it just because it’s not a revolution.

  • David

    Complaining about where energy comes from misses the forest for the trees. The first priority has to be decoupling our economy from oil. Once it runs on home-grown energy, we can tackle sourcing issues.

    This is especially true because distributed, clean energy is easy to overlay on the current system, creating a clean grid, family by family. It may only be a plug-in hybrid now, but soon, it will be a plug-in hybrid which is recharged every day or night by solar panels at home or work.

    Progress is progress. Don’t bash it just because it’s not a revolution.

  • Resident

    As Always if Newsom was so concerned about Green, and transportation,

    why is MUNI still a wretched mess. Basically from his elitist ego view, transportation for the domestic help and homeless to sleep.

    It’s an embarrassment to watch the poor tourists ride in this stench.

    So for being Green, what about doing something for and about public transportation? Muni makes the Manhattan 6 (lex local) seem like a car service. Maybe thats because New York Is actually a real functioning city. San Francisco is just a hamlet,with an elitist ego that thinks it’s a city.

  • Resident

    As Always if Newsom was so concerned about Green, and transportation,

    why is MUNI still a wretched mess. Basically from his elitist ego view, transportation for the domestic help and homeless to sleep.

    It’s an embarrassment to watch the poor tourists ride in this stench.

    So for being Green, what about doing something for and about public transportation? Muni makes the Manhattan 6 (lex local) seem like a car service. Maybe thats because New York Is actually a real functioning city. San Francisco is just a hamlet,with an elitist ego that thinks it’s a city.

  • zalman

    Better Place specifically contracts to buy all its electric energy from renewable.

    Take Denmark for example. It’s the second country to take up the Better Place module. It has more wind energy at times (especially at night) than it consume. There are times at night they have to PAY to send their excess to Germany.

    When Better Place offered to buy their renewable energy at discount rates utility companies were more than happy to accept them because electric cars can charge at night and can easily use their otherwise wasted energy.

    So batteries are the vital missing link to shore up the inevitable erratic renewable energy. Combined with Smart Grid technology electric cars are the perfect way to maximize the efficient use of excess energy.

  • zalman

    Better Place specifically contracts to buy all its electric energy from renewable.

    Take Denmark for example. It’s the second country to take up the Better Place module. It has more wind energy at times (especially at night) than it consume. There are times at night they have to PAY to send their excess to Germany.

    When Better Place offered to buy their renewable energy at discount rates utility companies were more than happy to accept them because electric cars can charge at night and can easily use their otherwise wasted energy.

    So batteries are the vital missing link to shore up the inevitable erratic renewable energy. Combined with Smart Grid technology electric cars are the perfect way to maximize the efficient use of excess energy.

  • zalman

    Better Place specifically contracts to buy all its electric energy from renewable.

    Take Denmark for example. It’s the second country to take up the Better Place module. It has more wind energy at times (especially at night) than it consume. There are times at night they have to PAY to send their excess to Germany.

    When Better Place offered to buy their renewable energy at discount rates utility companies were more than happy to accept them because electric cars can charge at night and can easily use their otherwise wasted energy.

    So batteries are the vital missing link to shore up the inevitable erratic renewable energy. Combined with Smart Grid technology electric cars are the perfect way to maximize the efficient use of excess energy.

  • http://www.dasolar,com Douglas Arrison

    I think this is fantastic. Good to see industry commit to delivering vehicles and technology to support the vision. The people of the Bay Area will be very receptive to this project – ensuring it’s success and eventual rollout to other cities. Kudos!

  • http://www.theenergyroadmap.com Garry G

    I wish we’d focus ‘plug in’ on fleets, and not waste money on first generation battery powered vehicles. I’ve yet to see the ratio of sockets to cars? Or length of cords needed.

    It seems that we’re just extending assumptions forward, instead of stepping back and looking at the long term evolution of electric vehicles that will integrate fuel cells, batteries and capacitors. It seems strange that we’re acting as if batteries have ‘won’ – and ignoring advantages that remain in the long term favor of fuel cells/capacitors.

    But, I guess we need to take baby steps. I just wish we’d keep public out of it– and focus on fleets. Plugging in just seems to be a band aid… when compared to longer term options like ‘swap out exchange’ and rapid refueling (via chemical storage, not electrons)

    Garry Golden

    Editor

    The Energy Roadmap.com

    http://wwww.theenergyroadmap.com

  • http://www.theenergyroadmap.com Garry G

    I wish we’d focus ‘plug in’ on fleets, and not waste money on first generation battery powered vehicles. I’ve yet to see the ratio of sockets to cars? Or length of cords needed.

    It seems that we’re just extending assumptions forward, instead of stepping back and looking at the long term evolution of electric vehicles that will integrate fuel cells, batteries and capacitors. It seems strange that we’re acting as if batteries have ‘won’ – and ignoring advantages that remain in the long term favor of fuel cells/capacitors.

    But, I guess we need to take baby steps. I just wish we’d keep public out of it– and focus on fleets. Plugging in just seems to be a band aid… when compared to longer term options like ‘swap out exchange’ and rapid refueling (via chemical storage, not electrons)

    Garry Golden

    Editor

    The Energy Roadmap.com

    http://wwww.theenergyroadmap.com

  • ChuckL

    Damn, I still can NOT believe that people are so dumb that they think these “horseless carriages” can ever replace a horse. You can’t run them on hay. You have to use that stinky black goo that comes from the ground and messes up the fishing.

  • ChuckL

    Damn, I still can NOT believe that people are so dumb that they think these “horseless carriages” can ever replace a horse. You can’t run them on hay. You have to use that stinky black goo that comes from the ground and messes up the fishing.

  • ChuckL

    Mark, If you don’t mess with them, the catalytic converters and other pollution controls work very well. The ’86 Mustang that I had at each and every California retest delivered very low readings. One anomaly though. The high RPM test was always better, but I couldn’t run there because California seems to think that 105 MPH is too fast. That is the speed to which the test RPM equates.

  • ChuckL

    Mark, If you don’t mess with them, the catalytic converters and other pollution controls work very well. The ’86 Mustang that I had at each and every California retest delivered very low readings. One anomaly though. The high RPM test was always better, but I couldn’t run there because California seems to think that 105 MPH is too fast. That is the speed to which the test RPM equates.

  • ChuckL

    Mark, If you don’t mess with them, the catalytic converters and other pollution controls work very well. The ’86 Mustang that I had at each and every California retest delivered very low readings. One anomaly though. The high RPM test was always better, but I couldn’t run there because California seems to think that 105 MPH is too fast. That is the speed to which the test RPM equates.

  • http://www.mygreenscene.com Greenguy 25

    San Francisco bay area leads this country in solar power activity. Does nobody see the connection of solar generated power with regards to the advancement of eletric vehicles?

    Even though our solar business has grown over 800% in the last two years, it is amazing just how many people still don’t get it.

    http://www.mygreenscene.com/thesolarmaidcompany/index.html

  • http://www.mygreenscene.com Greenguy 25

    San Francisco bay area leads this country in solar power activity. Does nobody see the connection of solar generated power with regards to the advancement of eletric vehicles?

    Even though our solar business has grown over 800% in the last two years, it is amazing just how many people still don’t get it.

    http://www.mygreenscene.com/thesolarmaidcompany/index.html

  • http://www.mygreenscene.com Greenguy 25

    San Francisco bay area leads this country in solar power activity. Does nobody see the connection of solar generated power with regards to the advancement of eletric vehicles?

    Even though our solar business has grown over 800% in the last two years, it is amazing just how many people still don’t get it.

    http://www.mygreenscene.com/thesolarmaidcompany/index.html

  • Matt

    Garry,

    Your site is not working.

  • Matt

    Garry,

    Your site is not working.

  • Matt

    Garry,

    Your site is not working.

  • http://www,bhappybags.com Marianne

    I recently visited San Francisco and I am thrilled to hear that the city is making strides for change. Most Americans are all about convenience and if making the charging stations more readily available encourages the use of EV’s than thats great! Kudos to San Francisco for being leaders in change for the better.

  • http://serengreenity.wordpress.com Serengreenity

    Great site! Thanks for all your research and relevant articles. Anything we can do to advance green in all its shades and encourage conversations is what we should do. Check our blog, we posted the EV capital comment. I’m off the Farmer’s Market. Ciao

    http://www.serengreenity.wordpress.com

  • http://serengreenity.wordpress.com Serengreenity

    Great site! Thanks for all your research and relevant articles. Anything we can do to advance green in all its shades and encourage conversations is what we should do. Check our blog, we posted the EV capital comment. I’m off the Farmer’s Market. Ciao

    http://www.serengreenity.wordpress.com

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  • Edwin

    Free electricity? Nice. Plug up your car during the day and take it home and use it to power the electronics at home.

  • Edwin

    Free electricity? Nice. Plug up your car during the day and take it home and use it to power the electronics at home.

  • Edwin

    Free electricity? Nice. Plug up your car during the day and take it home and use it to power the electronics at home.

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  • http://barin9osborn.wordpress.com John2Ericson

    A solar panel rebate is certainly an initiative from your which enables you to pay the disbursal of putting in panels on your roof. This makes it more cost-effective for homes, sector and extent groups. The indicates that in solar force is a a lot author cost-effective and a useful acquire.

  • http://Web Paul Felix Schott

    GE Will Purchase 25000 Electric Vehicles By 2013

    Mr. Please print for all to read
    Electric cars are coming and will take over the major part of the automotive market of Autos Sold World Wide and very soon my car SOLAR DO WORK (SDW) solar driven wheels, are all electric sports car and sedan that is 4 wheel electric drive will be on the market then and will do overly well to say the least. Our SDW car owners will have homes and car ports covered with Solar Panels, as will many of their work place parking spots that will be by SCHOTT SOLAR PANELS. The day is coming soon when Hybrid Vehicles that use two or more sources of energy will dominate the road ways, and all auto showroom floors. The All Electric Drive will be the front runner by a long run and the smart way to go. Most all High Schools Grads will soon have a SDW. i will help see to that.

    i grew up with a auto shop at our home that they could have filmed the Jetsons Space Age TV Show in. My main car was a trickout 429 Boss 1970 Lin/Mer 10 sec car . i never lost a race back then. Thank you for the keeping of the Spirit of the America auto alive.

    The Lord’s Little Helper
    Paul Felix Schott
    SOLAR DO WORK / SCHOTT
    solardowork@yahoo.com

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  • http://Web Paul Felix Schott

    The Fastest Growing Industry on Earth as Archimedes would say the least, EUREKA it is exceedingly colossal.

    The day is coming that most all on Earth will use Solar Energy.
    Most will have PV Solar Panels on their roofs. The Free Energy from the Sun will be used to Make Electric.
    The surplus of Electric not used will then be used to split water into Hydrogen. The Hydrogen will be put
    into a tank like most farmer and people living out of town already have. This Hydrogen will power their
    stove to cook, car to drive and power generator to use as electric at night.

    Very soon the need for the Power Grid will be gone for most. As the great need for Oil will no longer be needed.
    There were 200 electric taxi cabs in New York City way before 200 gas Taxi cabs came into being there.
    Thomas Edison’s Interest in Renewable Energy is no big surprise, for it was his friend Albert Einstein
    that dreamed this dream that the day will come that All On Earth Would Use Solar Energy for the GOOD OF ALL.

    Albert Einstein won the Nobel Prize for the 1921 year. For his work and time and efforts to freely show
    Governments and Universities around the world they could get Electric from the Sun Solar Energy
    Photovoltaics The Discovery of the Law of Physics call The PHOTOELECTRIC EFFECT. To this day we do not
    teach this to our young in schools. Have no worry Albert Einstein’s Dream is becoming real 100 years later.

    Archimedes another genius had this same dream 2,250 years ago. Very little is said in schools about these
    two and the work they did to show the world. The Free Energy all could get from the Sun in the Heavens above.
    These two Brilliant Mathematician and Scientist were always glad to teach all that had ears to hear.
    Archimedes and Albert Einstein two of the smartest men to ever live on Earth.

    The day will soon be when Hybrid and Electric cars will out number the one that need Oil and gas.

    God Bless
    All that Spotlighting Solar and Renewable Energy
    The Lord’s Little Helper
    Paul Felix Schott

    PS
    to know more about Hydrogen, get The Freedom Element Living with Hydrogen by Dr. Addison Bain another Great Scientist That has worked to help others all of his life.

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