San Francisco aims for electric vehicle leadership
San Francisco Giants mascot Lou Seal prepares to plug in an electric car in the parking area next to AT&T Park.
In late September, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee stood on a stage in Justin Herman Plaza in front of a hundred or so electric vehicle enthusiasts and predicted that the San Francisco Giants would make the Major League baseball playoffs and that the Bay Area would become the electric vehicle capital of the world.
So far so good.
While national sales figures for all-electric vehicles have lagged behind some expectations, the Bay Area ranks third behind the Los Angeles and New York metro regions in electric vehicle purchases in the country, according to Pike Research, and fourth in the number of public electric vehicle chargers. New chargers are popping up all over town, including two new ones Lee helped dedicate at AT&T park.
A high ranking in electric car purchasing and charging spots is important to Lee, who is banking on not just the environmental benefits of having lots of Hetch Hetchy dam-powered electric vehicles driving around San Francisco, but also on attracting cleantech businesses to the city.
“We want to lead the way” in electric vehicle adoption, Lee said.
The region was one of the earliest adopters of the hybrid Toyota Prius when it debuted in the United States in 2000. That’s held true with electric and plug-in electric cars. Pike Research predicts electric vehicle purchases will triple in the region by 2017, to more than 15,000 that year from about 4,900 this year. Moreover, there’s evidence that consumer interest in electric vehicles will attract businesses to the region.
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