SF Bay Area Mayors Announce Coordinated Policies to Accelerate Establishment of EV Infrastructure; Better Place to Enter US Market in California
|Better Place introduced a second EV prototype to work with its infrastructure: the Better Place Rogue, based on the Nissan Rogue crossover SUV. Click to enlarge.|
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed and Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums announced a nine-point policy plan to establish a pervasive infrastructure to transform the SF Bay Area into the “Electric Vehicle (EV) Capital of the US”. In conjunction with the news, Better Place announced that it would enter the US market with California as its first state, beginning in the Bay Area.
Commercial availability of electric cars is targeted to begin in 2012, and Better Place estimates its network investment in the Bay Area will total $1 billion when the system is fully deployed. The three Mayors said they welcomed Better Place’s announcement and anticipate many other EV companies will focus on the Bay Area as a top-priority market.
Our aim is to make the Bay Area—and eventually California—the electric vehicle capital of the US.—San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom
Joined by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s special advisor David Crane, the Mayors said that they would take action beginning in December to work with the region’s cities, counties, regional governmental organizations and private sector partners to position the region’s economic and environmental future around electric transportation.
The Mayors’ nine-step program includes:
Expedited permitting and installation of electric vehicle charging outlets at homes, business, parking lots, and other buildings throughout the Bay Area;
Incentives for employers to install EV charging systems in their workplace and provide similar incentives to parking facilities and other locations where EV charging stations can be installed;
Harmonize local regulations and standards across the region that govern EV infrastructure to achieve regulatory consistency for EV companies as well as expanded range for EV consumers;
Establish common government programs that promote the purchase of EVs;
Link EV programs and infrastructure to regional transit and air quality programs;
Establish programs for aggressive pooled-purchase orders for EVs in municipal, state government and private sector fleets and future commitment of purchasing preference for EV vehicles;
Expedited permitting and approval for facilities that provide extended-range driving capability for EVs in the region through battery exchange locations or fast-charging;
Identify and secure suitable standard (110V) electric outlets for charging low voltage EVs in every government building in 2009; and
Identify roll-out plan for placement of 220V EV charging equipment throughout each city including city parking lots and curbside parking.
The Mayors said they will work with other cities throughout the region, regional government organizations such as the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and Association of Bay Area Governments, as well as many private sector partners, including the members of the Bay Area Council and Silicon Valley Leadership Group.
Britta Gross, GM Manager of Hydrogen and Electrical Infrastructure Coordination, who has been leading the automaker’s efforts with utilities and municipalities to promote those types of policies to support the growth of a market for plug-ins, and who was in attendance at the San Francisco announcement, welcomed the Mayors’ initiative.
GM currently has efforts underway with 40 utilities in the US and Canada, in cooperation with EPRI, and municipalities to encourage the development of elements such as offpeak rates, residential infrastructure upgrades, smooth permitting for charging infrastructure, incentives for EV purchases and consumer education as necessary components of plug-in readiness to grow the market for electric vehicles. “A public charging infrastructure alone isn’t enough,” she said.Better Place Comes to California
|The Better Place map for California. The shaded circles indicate the coverage by charge spots; the blue battery switching stations are for longer trips. Click to enlarge.|
Better Place said that it will work a similar infrastructure investment model in California as it has in Israel, Denmark and Australia. Network planning and permitting will begin in January 2009 with infrastructure deployment beginning in 2010. The Better Place model is an open network model built on industry standards, allowing for both fixed battery and battery-exchange electric vehicles to operate on the network. (Earlier post.)
While we expect oil prices to remain low in the short term, we believe this environment creates an even more profitable window of opportunity over the long term to invest in green infrastructure projects like Better Place before oil returns to historic highs. We fundamentally believe that the entire auto industry will switch to electric cars when the environmental cost of producing polluting gas cars has an even greater impact on their bottom line.—Idan Ofer, Chairman of Better Place and Chairman of Israel Corp.
(Israel Corp. has a joint venture with Chinese automobile manufacturer Chery Corp., and a stake in lithium-ion battery maker A123Systems. Earlier post.)
The Better Place network infrastructure consists of three primary components:
Charge spots. These are to keep the batteries topped off with power so that they always have 100 miles of driving capacity, according to the company. Better Place is planning a 2.5:1 ratio of charge spots to cars.
Battery exchange stations. For trips longer than 100 miles (161 km), Better Place plans to build roadside battery exchange stations. Stations are to be completely automated, and the driver’s subscription takes care of everything. The driver pulls in, and the depleted battery is replaced with a fresh one, without anyone having to leave the vehicle. The process is supposed to take less time than it does to fill a tank of liquid fuel, according to the plan.
Software to automate the charging and exchange process.
Better Place also introduced a second prototype electric vehicle based on the Nissan Rogue crossover SUV: the Better Place Rogue. This joins the Renault Megane as prototypes working with the Better Place infrastructure. The Renault-Nissan Alliance is partnering with Better Place in its ventures. (Earlier post.)
The San Francisco Bay Area population totals more than seven million people with five million cars. It has a three-city anchor layout (San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose), with suburbs spread out 30 to 40 miles, linked via a limited set off main highways. Bay Area greenhouse gas emissions total 85.4 million tons per year of CO2 equivalent gases; transportation accounts for 51% of annual greenhouse gas emissions in the Bay Area.
Coulomb Technologies Targeting Smart Charging Infrastructure Base for Service Stations in California
Separately, Coulomb Technologies announced that it will provide the first smart charging infrastructure installation base for new and existing alterative fueling stations within California for extended range electric vehicles (EREV), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) and all battery electric vehicles (BEVs).
Largely powered by solar electric panels, these new and existing alternative fueling stations will sell several types of alternative fuel including ethanol and biodiesel in addition to gasoline. These stations will now include Coulomb Smartlet Networked Charging Stations that address the need for fuel in electric vehicles. (Earlier post.)
With dozens of charging station installations and activations scheduled within Q1 2009, the service stations will be located in key metropolitan areas and along the corridors of highways 99 and 101, and Interstate 5 in California with plans to install and activate hundreds more throughout California in 2009.
Coulomb Technologies offers the ChargePoint Network, a family of products and services that provide a smart charging infrastructure for plug-in vehicles. At the edge of the ChargePoint Network are Smartlet Networked Charging Stations that will be located in each service station. Each Smartlet Charging Station is individually controlled through the wireless Smartlet Communications Network and the ChargePoint Network Operating System to provide authentication, usage monitoring and real-time control. Consumers subscribe to the ChargePoint Network and receive an RFID access key that allows them to charge their car at any Smartlet Charging Station.