San Francisco As Electric Car Heaven?

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom wants his city to be the first in the US to adopt electric cars wholesale.

Published: 21-May-2008

On a trip to Israel two weeks ago San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom heard more about the plan to switch the country from petrol vehicles to electric, and was so impressed he bought the project. Now Newsom wants his city to be the first in the US to adopt electric cars wholesale, and claims that with the will, "you can be off oil in 10-15 years, 100 per cent."
Which is pretty much what Project Better Place founder Shai Agassi has in mind for Israel - the whole country driving electric by 2020. But can it work for San Francisco?

Ironically, although Newsom professes to be an old friend of Shai Agassi, whose start-up is based in Palo Alto, Project Better Place's first ventures have been overseas - country-sized, with Denmark following on from Israel. Speaking to The Register immediately after the Danish launch Agassi seemed unenthusiastic about prospects in the company's home state, where the electric car has so far been the poster child that never really made it off the poster.

But there are reasons for that, and related reasons why it seems likely that it's San Francisco's sloganeering mayor, not Agassi, who's the suitor in any talks. Agassi would certainly like to add a showcase city-sized implementation to Project Better Place's portfolio, but the city itself is just the venue, and there's a whole bunch of game-changing economic components that will have to go into place before Newsom's wishes can come true.

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