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California aims to become nation's electric-car mecca

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California aims to become nation's electric-car mecca

06:03 AM

An alliance of automakers, utilities, regulators and clean-air advocates just released an ambitious plan to make California the national leader in accommodating electric vehicles.

The group aims to make charging terminals available in thousands of homes, office buildings, shopping malls and other sites within the next decade, the Associated Press reports. The announcement was made in a big ceremony that -- because it was about California, of course -- featured celebrities like Ed Begley Jr., seen at right.

Says the AP:

The California Plug-In Electric Vehicle Collaborative touted its plan after the first-ever Nissan Leaf, a mass-market, all-electric car, was delivered to a customer in Redwood City, Calif., over the weekend.

Meanwhile, the first 150 Chevrolet Volts left a Detroit auto plant on Monday and were expected to arrive in California showrooms in the coming days.

Work is under way in the state to upgrade existing charging terminals and install thousands more to accommodate electric vehicles. One company is even developing a network of "switching stations" where motorists can pull in and swap out their spent batteries.

"All eyes are on California. It will host without question the largest rollout, the greatest numbers of EVs in the country, and it will also have the charge and switch infrastructure," said Jonathan Read, president of Ecotality, which will soon begin installing 1,600 public charging stations in San Diego and Los Angeles that resemble a giant iPod with a cord and plug attached.

The plan, which supporters believe could serve as a model for other states, outlines steps to get charging stations easily installed at homes and then in high-traffic public areas and apartment buildings to encourage drivers to switch from gasoline-powered vehicles to plug-in electric vehicles.

The collaborative hopes to provide a positive experience for early owners of electric vehicles so they can spread the word. Its goal is to see a million plug-in hybrid and battery-powered cars in the state by 2020.

The plan recommends making installation of home charging stations affordable by offering rebates from the state and regional air quality districts. To further lower costs, the state could reduce registration fees for battery-powered cars, and utilities could offer cheaper charging rates during off-peak hours when there is less demand on the electric grid.

"We want the whole process from getting the charger, figuring out which one to get, getting it installed, having it operate, all of that to be a seamless, easy exercise because in a sense you're replacing the gas station with the charger in your house," said Ted Craver, chief executive of Edison International, the parent company of Southern California Edison.

link:

http://content.usatoday.com/communities/driveon/post/2010/12/california-aims-to-become-nations-electric-car-mecca/1

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