Bay Area on way to becoming electric vehicle capital of the U.S.


Campbell, California-based electric vehicle charging infrastructure provider Coulomb Technologies has recently announced its third installation of charging stations in the San Francisco Bay Area.

These are installed in three public parking garages in the heart of downtown Walnut Creek, considered one of the Bay Area’s top destinations, with its outdoor festivals, performing arts scene and superb shopping and dining.

“Progressive Bay Area cities are leading by example when it comes to electric vehicle infrastructure,” commented Richard Lowenthal, CEO of Coulomb Technologies. “Nowhere else in the world can drivers of electric vehicles travel from city to city and find charging stations. Infrastructure for electric vehicles is taking shape in the Bay Area.”

Last November the three Bay Area mayors, Gavin Newsom of San Francisco, Chuck Reed of San Jose, and Ron Dellums of Oakland, launched a series of initiatives for transforming the Bay Area, and eventually California, into the “electric vehicle capital of the U.S.” Among these is the installation of a $1 billion network of charging stations dotting the highways and in homes, businesses, parking lots and government buildings in the Bay Area by 2012.

The mayors also committed to expediting local permitting and harmonizing regulations to hasten the installation of charging outlets, and to providing incentives for local businesses to install charging outlets for employees.

Besides Coulomb Technologies, which has also installed its ChargePoint technology in San Jose and San Francisco as well as in its home town, electric vehicle charging infrastructure is also being provided by the Palo Alto-based Better Place.

Better Place plans to start deploying its Bay Area infrastructure, which includes charging points as well as battery exchange stations, during 2010, after completing network planning and permitting during the current year.

The impact of electric vehicles in California is expected to be significant. The state has one of the highest ratios of car ownership (1.8 cars per household for 12 million households) and miles per vehicle in the world. Transportation currently accounts for about 40 percent of California’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Electric vehicles are expected to become widely commercially available in 2012.