By David Kligman
SAN FRANCISCO — PG&E today (Sept. 17) joined automakers and the mayor to kick off San Francisco’s first Electric Vehicle Week as part of a goal to make the city the leading city in EV adoption and infrastructure.
The setting was Justin Herman Plaza, across the street from San Francisco’s Ferry Building, where visitors could see dozens of EVs on display. Eddy Grant’s “Electric Avenue” reverberated in the plaza as tourists and office employees taking a break from their jobs viewed the latest models of electric cars, including the Honda Fit, Toyota Rav4 EV and Nissan Leaf.
PG&E was there to show off its VIA Motors eRev pickup, the first U.S. hybrid electric work vehicle that could save the utility as much as $10 million in fuel costs a year.
The event was organized as part of the city’s Charge Across Town, a public-private partnership between city government, local businesses and the electrical vehicle community to advance the adoption of electric vehicles, reduce carbon emissions and help create clean energy jobs.
While charging stations are becoming more common in the Bay Area, Maureen Blanc, who organized the event, said cities like Nashville and Dallas are actually more EV ready than San Francisco.
One of the goals of organizers was to allow the public to test drive an electric vehicle. The expo at Justin Herman Plaza runs through Tuesday.
“Don’t just make a quiet promise to yourself that you’ll get one of these cars one of these days,” said Mayor Ed Lee, himself an electric vehicle owner. “We can act now. We can contribute now to this effort, this modernization.
“And all these companies are coming out with their investments. And I want to promote this to the hilt because this really is the direction our city and many other cities across the country are going. In fact, our country has to go in the same direction to help get off of foreign oil.”
PG&E’s VIA Motors eRev (extended range electric vehicle) pickup runs the first 40 miles on electricity. It also offers exportable power that could be boosted to keep the lights on in a neighborhood while utility crews repair an outage.
“We’re proud to say that EV Week is consistent with our commitment to delivering to the city of San Francisco the greenest grid of any major city,” said Dave Meisel, PG&E’s director of transportation services.
Meisel said PG&E has the largest and the greenest utility fleet in the nation, with a mix of almost 3,100 alternate fuel vehicles—hybrid, electric and other clean fuel types. PG&E joined VIA to unveil the vehicles at this year’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit and recently displayed it at a meeting of the Golden Gate chapter of the Electric Vehicle Association.
For customers, the utility’s web site provides answers to frequently asked questions about electric vehicles, an electric vehicle rate calculator and an installation guide for upgrading their home electric service.
At the end of remarks from automakers and car sharing services, the mayor returned to say, “Ladies and gentlemen…start your engines.”
Of course, no roaring motors could be heard.
Said Lee, “Just a nice hum.”
Email David Kligman at David.Kligman@pge.com.