Better Place, the California start-up which has gained tremendous attention for its plans to build electric vehicle charging networks in Israel, Denmark and Australia, announced that it will bring its visionary model to the San Francisco Bay area as well.
The initiative announced yesterday with San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums and San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed will create the first electric car network in the United States for an estimated investment of $1 billion.
In addition to charging stations at homes and businesses, the plan includes automated battery replacement stations that will allow drivers to travel longer distances before recharging. The company hopes to have the network in place by 2012, and reportedly has plans to spread state-wide.
"We put in the infrastructure, and the big carmakers make the electric cars for us," said Joe Paluska, the company's head of policy and communications.
"This is an opportunity for California to apply its strength in technology and innovation to Michigan's manufacturing might," he said. "We now need a strong national policy set by the new administration to help the U.S. revive its auto industry and it's economy."
The plan also has the support of California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and environmental advocate Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who attended the announcement and said: "If you do it in California, it's easier for me to go to Mayor Bloomberg in New York ... (or leaders) in Washington, D.C., and say this is something we've got to do nationally."
More Better Place coverage.