San Francisco Goes Electric!

Date: 
Thursday, October 11, 2012

EV Week

What kind of event encourages The Giants’ Lou Seal to celebrate in the parking lot of AT&T Park, a group of people to dance the Electric Slide, and thousands of people to come out to Justin Herman Plaza?

Not just great weather – it was EV Week!

Monday, September 17 marked the first day of EV Week in San Francisco, an exposition of the most cutting-edge plug-in and electric vehicles and EV charging stations. The event gave San Franciscans the opportunity to celebrate San Francisco’s EV future and to learn about what their city is doing to become the most “EV Ready” city in the US.

Did you miss the event? You can still celebrate! Through City Car Share, Zipcar, DriveNow, and Scoot Networks, you can rent an electric vehicle to cruise around town.

Renting an EV, or already have one? Charge up at one of San Francisco’s public charging stations!

Kicking off with Lucille at AT&T Park

Melanie Nutter joins the Giants’ Lou Seal for an inaugural “plug-in” of electric vehicles in AT&T Park’s new chargers. Photo: Kevin Berne

EV Week kicked off Monday morning at AT&T Park, where the San Francisco Department of the Environment joined representatives from ABM Building Maintenance and Facility Services, the San Francisco Giants, Charge Point, and others to inaugurate four new EV charging stations at the Giants' home park. These new charging stations make it possible for fans to fully charge an EV during a game.

“Now, not only are OUR Giants the leaders of the National League’s Western Division, they have beefed up their environmental batting average by having the Division’s first, up-to-date EV-ready stadium!” stated Melanie Nutter, Director of San Francisco Department of the Environment.

EV Expo and Ride and Drives at Justin Herman Plaza

Festivities continued as the week officially launched at Justin Herman Plaza. The free event, open to the public and hosted by Charge Across Town, featured a speech from Mayor Lee, who inaugurated EV Week by announcing “It is EV Week in San Francisco!”

Mayor Lee inaugurates EV Week 

Monday and Tuesday continued with an EV expo and ride and drives featuring Toyota’s new RAV4 EV and Plug-in Prius, the Tesla Model S, the Nissan Leaf, BMW’s Active E, the Fisker Karma, the Ford Focus, the Mitsubishi MiEV, the Honda Fit EV and Coda Automotive.

The expose also featured representatives from San Francisco’s EV car sharing services, including City Car Share, Zipcar, and BMW’s DriveNow. Solar and EV charging partners were also present to display charging options for EV drivers.

Spirits were high in Justin Herman Plaza, with over 300 people participating in ride and drives, and a group that danced the Electric Slide to the Electric Boogie.

EV Week made it clear that San Francisco is well on its way to becoming the EV capital of America.

ABC 7 coverage on EV Week reported, “San Francisco is fast becoming the mecca of electric vehicles and automakers are beginning to take note.” Just one example is how the Nissan Leaf generated so much interest among residents in San Francisco that the manufacturer decided to open up a dealership in the city.

Nissan Leaf

While showing the plug-in Prius, Toyota’s Ed La Rocque said, “We really believe the market has spoken and we’ve seen mainstream acceptance of these technologies.”

Pat Reilly, Principal, PR and Company who helped organize the event, saw EV Week as a new way for San Franciscans to see how they can incorporate sustainability into their lives. “EV Week is happening and people around the city are going to get a chance to get in an EV vehicle and think about being green in a way that they possibly never thought of before,” she said.

So, how close is San Francisco to becoming the nation’s EV Capital?

Currently, the city has 110 public EV chargers, which is the highest per capita of any city, at 13.5 chargers per 100,000 people. About half of these chargers are on city property and are powered by 100% carbon-neutral energy from Hetch Hetchy. The other half are privately owned but publically available, much like those just inaugurated at AT&T Park.

While San Francisco first encourages people to get out of their cars and take public transportation, the City realizes that when this isn’t possible, electric vehicles are the best alternative. “Infrastructure is a key component to the adoption of EVs and we are committed to making SF one of the easiest places commute and live if you own an EV,” said Nutter.

Mayor Lee emphasized how becoming EV ready is about improving our lifestyles with modern technology. He shared his own personal decision to purchase an EV and how he wanted to avoid “range anxiety,” or the fear of having an insufficient charge to reach your destination. This fear was assuaged because new EV technologies are making it easier to go farther- EVs now average 100-200 miles on a single charge. And when EVs do need a charge, San Francisco has 110 chargers at 40 locations to charge up around the city. 

What a beautiful day to plug in!

National Plug-in Day

EV week ends on National Plug-in Day, Sunday, September 23rd, a nationwide celebration of the environmental, economic and other benefits of plug-in electric vehicles. San Franciscans can celebrate at Crissy Field Center for a gathering of plug-in electric vehicles of all types and opportunity to learn about the benefits of going electric.

What’s Next?

EV Week garnered momentum for the EV revolution in San Francisco, and the City is not done growing its EV infrastructure. The City has plans to install over 30 new electric vehicle charging stations across San Francisco by the end of the year.

San Francisco is already looking forward to next year’s EV Week.

“Our first inaugural here in San Francisco at Justin Herman Plaza has been a tremendous success,” said Blanc. “A big thank you to San Francisco- We’ll be back next year, we’ll be bigger and better than ever, and we are charging across the Bay!” she added.

In the words of Mayor Lee, “Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines!" because San Francisco is well on our way to becoming the EV Capital of America.

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