It’s On! Portland and San Francisco Battle For Electric Car Domination

The EV wars have begun.


[UPDATE: See latest post from Mayor Gavin Newsom, Mayor Sam Adams, and CEO Richard Lowenthal.] Just a few weeks ago San Francisco’s visionary Mayor, Gavin Newsom, wrote a post for us describing his plan to make the Bay Area the electric car capital of the world by aggressively developing the charging infrastructure to support full-scale EV deployment. At the time he proclaimed:

“Electric vehicles have the possibility to transform our economy, revive our car industry, and improve our environment. To make sure electric vehicles succeed this time around we need to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in battery technology and [charging] infrastructure.”

Well, San Francisco, you have a challenger.

While I was at a press event yesterday hearing more about the major collaboration between Oregon, Portland General Electric and Nissan to develop a widespread EV charging network throughout Oregon, Portland’s Mayor, Sam Adams, threw down the gauntlet:

“We’re often ranked the most sustainable city in the nation. Our goal is to become the most sustainable city in the world. Today is a very important initiative that builds on where we have been but also puts us on the road, pardon the pun, to being an even greener city.”

“Working with the Governors office, Portland General Electric, and others, we will be announcing the most aggressive in-garage and on-street wired up charging station strategy that I think any city in the United States has sought to achieve. And that even means you Gavin Newsom, who’s trying hard to make the Bay Area the EV capital of the world. Uh, uh, uh, uh, uh… That’s gonna be Portland.”

>> See also “San Francisco Mayor Takes Detroit to Task For Electric Car Failures.”

I knew I had to go all the way to the top to get some answers, so I asked Mayor Newsom’s office for a response to this brewing West Coast EV turf war. Having just gotten off the phone with Mayor Newsom himself, he defended the Bay Area’s fight for the title of “EV king” saying:

“It gets me that Portland is always edging us out to win this or that sustainability competition and I thought I’d finally gotten a leg up on them with our aggressive EV development plan. Portland is a worthy competitor and it’s a fair game. It’s an enlightened competition. I don’t know the details of Portland’s plan yet, but mark my words, once we hear the details you can be sure we’ll be on top of it.”

Mayor Newsom’s Communication Director, Nathan Ballard, also added, “We welcome the healthy competiton. The more the merrier.”

Being the self-styled gushing Oregonian that I am, Mayor Adams elicited no small amount of pride from me, but I gotta give San Fran props for their wholehearted rallying cry.

All mock warring aside, I’m just happy to see the change coming so fast and furious right now. I want an electric car that can take me 100 miles a day on the freeway so bad it hurts

Now that I’m thinking about it, perhaps other cities want to get in on the EV war too? It sure beats the hell out of unwinnable wars like the war on terror or the war on drugs. Any takers?

Nick Chambers

Not your traditional car guy.