Mayors Calls for Regional Commitment to Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles

(February 21, 2008)

San Francisco will become one of the most "plugged-in" municipal fleets in the country with new cars

San Francisco, CA--Today, Mayor Gavin Newsom announced three new plug-in hybrid vehicles have been added to the municipal fleet. The Department of the Environment secured funding, in part from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD), to convert three hybrid Toyota Prius cars into plug-in hybrids.

"Plug-in hybrids could potentially give millions of American commuters a 'gasoline-free' daily commute, slashing the amount of greenhouse gases and other pollutants being released into the environment," said Mayor Newsom. "With this adoption of the latest in clean technology San Francisco is once again leading the way toward a cleaner, more sustainable future."

A plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) is a hybrid vehicle with batteries that can be recharged by connecting a plug to an electric power source. It shares the characteristics of both conventional hybrid electric vehicles and battery electric vehicles, having an internal combustion engine and batteries for power. PHEVs use the same technology as the popular hybrids on the road today, but have a larger battery that can be recharged by plugging into a standard home outlet.

To support the regional expansion of the use of this near clean technology, the City and County of San Francisco is submitting a "soft" fleet order, committing that if plug-in hybrids were available commercially from major vehicle manufacturers, the City anticipates the municipal fleet would purchase up to 200 plug-in hybrid sedans, light trucks and vans, and up to 50 plug-in hybrid heavy trucks

This week, Mayor Newsom also will send a letter to cities and counties throughout the nine-county Bay Area to form a joint "soft" order for plug-in hybrids. By consolidating the order numbers from each of the individual municipal fleets, a large Bay Area regional "purchase order" would be assembled to garner the attention of the auto companies and lobby for the expansion of plug-in technology.

Pat's Garage, located in the Bayview neighborhood, performed the conversion of the three city vehicles from regular hybrids to plug-in hybrids. Pat's Garage will start focusing its business on plug-in conversions for individuals, and will be changing its name to Green Gears as part of the new green collar job economy in San Francisco.

The plug-ins will be put into daily use by the Public Library (Chief of Branches and staff, servicing the 27 branches throughout the City), the Department of Public Health in the Hazardous Materials Program, and by the Mayor's office, the Department of Environment and BAAQMD for public outreach events.