Photo credit: BAY AREA NEWS GROUP, RAY CHAVEZ — AP Photo
By: Christian Okolski
The San Francisco Bay Area is a well-known hotbed for sustainable energy efforts and new technology as well as home base for several companies who embrace those characteristics, such as Solar City, Tesla Motors, and City Car Share. Considering California’s enticing electric vehicle incentives (including a $2,500 tax rebate on new electric vehicle purchases and unrestricted HOV lane access to electric vehicle drivers) and the fact that the Bay Area is the fifth largest metropolitan region in the U.S., it is no surprise that the region boasts one of the Country’s largest electric vehicle markets. To further advance the Bay Area’s strong presence in the market, local municipalities have recently made the largest government fleet electric vehicle deployment in the U.S. to date.
The Bay Area Climate Collaborative (BACC), a public-private organization that works to advance the region’s climate goals, announced this electric vehicle deployment last Tuesday. In total, 90 all-electric vehicles were simultaneously deployed by Alameda County, Sonoma County, San Francisco, Concord, Santa Rosa, San Jose, Oakland, Fremont, the Marin Municipal Water District, and the Sonoma County Water Agency. The 90 electric vehicles include 64 Ford Focus Electrics, 23 Nissan LEAFs, and three all-electric vans built by Zenith Motors, which were all purchased with $2.8 million in funding assistance from California’s Metropolitan Transportation Commission. The BACC, which helped organize and facilitate the deployment, notes that the 90 new electric vehicles are only one step among a series of efforts to incorporate more electric vehicles into public fleets. It also notes that the new electric vehicles are expected to save more than $500,000 in operational costs and avoid the release of 2 million pounds of carbon dioxide through their first five years of use.
Unfortunately, 90 new electric vehicles is not a jaw-dropping number and will likely not make up a large percentage of this month’s electric vehicle sales. As reported by this blog, 11,493 electric cars were sold this past June. Regardless, it is an encouraging sign that local governments, not just in the Bay Area, are making an effort to support the market and set an example to other government agencies and consumers. According to the New York City Department of Transportation, for example, New York’s city agencies have added 55 Nissan LEAFs and 8 Chevrolet Volt’s to their fleets this past year, with a total of more than 300 electric vehicles in current operation. Hopefully, local government fleets in the Bay Area, New York City, and across the U.S., can continue to replace conventional vehicles with electric ones, delivering higher market gains, better cost savings, and greater reductions in greenhouse gas emission