San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom today announced that Nissan would be bringing its all-electric LEAF, to the Bay Area market in 2010. Speaking on behalf of the Bay Area Electric Vehicle (EV) Corridor program, Newsom said Nissan will work with San Francisco and the Bay Area to promote and build-out an EV charging infrastructure, including development of a streamlined process for customer installation of charging equipment in their homes.
“Nissan is committed to the San Francisco market and is looking forward to working with the city and others in the partnership to make zero emissions a reality throughout the Bay Area,” said Brian Carolin, senior vice president, sales and marketing for Nissan North America. Piquing the interest of anyone in the Bay Area who is a little EV-curious, Carolin added: “In one year, Nissan LEAF zero-emission vehicles will be driving on the streets of San Francisco.”
“This collaboration stems from Nissan’s recognition of the aggressive work we are doing to make the San Francisco Bay Area the nation’s EV capital,” said Mayor Newsom in a statement. “We are making every effort to have the infrastructure ready when the Nissan LEAF arrives, and we are extremely pleased to have Nissan as a collaborative partner in making that happen.”
In February, Newsom brought EV-charging stations to San Francisco City Hall as part of the Bay Area EV Corridor program, a public-private alliance that includes the nine Bay Area counties, Oakland, San Jose, electric utility PG&E and several corporate partners working towards developing an EV market and infrastructure.
Like Newsom, San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed has emphasized clean tech and transportation as a central element of his work as mayor. Reed welcomed today’s announcement, saying: “This effort to make the Bay Area EV-ready shows the innovation that can happen when the public and private sectors work together. Our work has great potential to both protect the environment and create clean tech jobs.”
San Francisco and the Bay Area will now be the ninth market region Nissan plans on launching the LEAF in the United States. Part of the strategy for the LEAF will be to sell the cars only where there is the EV charging infrastructure to support it. Other cities/regions currently planned for project launches are Los Angeles, Portland/Oregon, Seattle and Phoenix/Tucson in the west; Tennessee, Houston, Raleigh and Washington, D. C. in the east. The push to make the Bay Area EV-ready puts the west coast well on its way to developing an EV infrastructure that could one day support a Los Angeles to Seattle journey in an electric car.
However, one question is that while some utilities (and the state and federal regulations that guide them) are already planning for an EV future by bolstering their grids, incentivizing cost structures and researching smart meters and grids, other utilities are much further behind. And until those other utilities “catch up” there will be pockets of fast-charging stations in the regions that have the money and political will to bring them there.