SF Bay Area Governments Receive Fleet of Plug-in Cars

A gov­ern­ment fleet of 90 elec­tric vehi­cles is rolling onto Bay Area streets from San Jose to San­ta Rosa, com­plet­ing a $5 mil­lion region­al ini­tia­tive that took four years to get off the ground.

The plug-in sedans and vans will car­ry build­ing inspec­tors, health work­ers, park main­te­nance crews and oth­er munic­i­pal employ­ees work­ing for 10 local agen­cies.

Alame­da Coun­ty is lead­ing the way with 26 new vehi­cles, dou­bling its elec­tric fleet. An addi­tion­al 27 bat­tery-pow­ered vehi­cles are being deliv­ered to Sono­ma Coun­ty and its water agency, 14 to San Fran­cis­co and 10 to the city of Con­cord.

Oak­land and San Jose are each acquir­ing three new vehi­cles, and Fre­mont two, in what pro­po­nents call the largest gov­ern­ment deploy­ment of elec­tric vehi­cles in the Unit­ed States.

The cars will bring “imme­di­ate fuel sav­ings for the agen­cies,” reduce emis­sions and require low main­te­nance, said Rafael Reyes, direc­tor of the Bay Area Cli­mate Col­lab­o­ra­tive, a non­prof­it ini­tia­tive of the Sil­i­con Val­ley Lead­er­ship Group estab­lished in 2009 by the may­ors of San Jose, San Fran­cis­co and Oak­land to accel­er­ate clean ener­gy ini­tia­tives around the bay.

The fleet of sedans (Ford Focus and Nis­san Leaf) and vans (Zenith Motors) is part of a broad­er $33 mil­lion envi­ron­men­tal project autho­rized by the nine-coun­ty Met­ro­pol­i­tan Trans­porta­tion Com­mis­sion in 2010. The com­mis­sion award­ed local gov­ern­ments $2.8 mil­lion in fed­er­al mon­ey for the cars, and the local agen­cies that acquired the vehi­cles paid the bal­ance.

With a range of less than 100 miles before they need to be recharged, “the vehi­cles real­ly are ide­al for small or mid­sized cities” where gov­ern­ment work­ers make short but fre­quent trips, Reyes said.

Oak­land May­or Jean Quan and oth­er offi­cials from around the Bay Area showed off the vehi­cles at Alame­da County’s park­ing garage in down­town Oak­land.

The Bay Area already has the high­est per-capi­ta con­cen­tra­tion of elec­tric vehi­cles in the coun­try, but clean ener­gy pro­po­nents hope to get 100,000 on the region’s roads by 2020 — up from just under 25,000 today.

“It also is a demon­stra­tion project to show what can be done,” Reyes said of the 90 new gov­ern­ment vehi­cles. “It’s build­ing the exper­tise, doc­u­ment­ing the ben­e­fits, and real­ly serv­ing as a nation­al mod­el.”

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