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The GOOD 100: The Great Electric Vehicle Race The GOOD 100: The Great Electric Vehicle Race

The GOOD 100: The Great Electric Vehicle Race

July 4, 2009

Portland vs. San Francisco

Portland, Oregon, and San Francisco seem locked in an ongoing battle to become the left coast's left-most city. To stoke the competition, the blog Gas2.0 has launched a website to track each city's progress toward building an infrastructure for electric cars. We asked the mayors of both cities to explain what they're doing to win:

Mayor Gavin Newsom on why the Bay Area will win:

Bay Area consumers have been the early adopters of green vehicles. We have the highest concentration of hybrid-car owners in the nation, and in San Francisco, we have committed to reducing CO² emissions 20 percent below 1990 levels by 2012.San Francisco has already reduced CO² emissions 5 percent below 1990 levels-a major accomplishment. But if we are serious about our goal for 2012, we must cut emissions from vehicles. The transportation sector accounts for roughly 50 percent of San Francisco's CO² emissions.In our efforts to address climate change, electric vehicles are the game-changer. Some believe that hybrid-electric vehicles are the answer-I believe fully electric battery-powered vehicles are the quantum leap we need to make. Imagine cars with no tailpipes and no direct carbon emissions, powered by an electrical energy system that gets cleaner every year through regulations that requires the switch to renewable energy sources.To accelerate our journey to an EV future, San Francisco has joined forces with the other Bay Area city and county governments to make our region a magnet market. We are organizing municipal fleet managers, permit and planning officials, and policy makers to guarantee that when electric vehicles start rolling off the assembly lines, we are ready.In San Francisco, the city has installed EV charging stations in front of City Hall, partnered with car-sharing organizations to encourage and facilitate their use of plug-in vehicles, and worked with car companies to test their plug-in vehicles. We are also aggressively pursuing federal dollars to build charging stations and convert our hybrid fleet to plug-ins.Since our electric-vehicle announcement in San Francisco less than a year ago, a lot has changed. Our neighbor to the north, Portland's mayor, Sam Adams, challenged us to an electric car race to see which city could build the world's first fully electric vehicle grid. President Obama has announced billions of dollars in federal grants to develop and mass-produce electric vehicles and batteries. Car companies have stopped trying to kill the electric car and have begun to embrace the technology. Every day, we hear of another EV that will hit the showrooms in the next two to three years, from the Chevy Volt to the Nissan LEAF. But if we are going to electrify and revive our auto industry, we are going to need continued federal support to build the infrastructure and make electric vehicles affordable. We need Cash for Clunkers 2.0.

Mayor Sam Adams on why Portland will win:

Long before green was cool, Portland was green. And, with all due respect to our progressive neighbors to the south, our clean-tech industries will lead the way in the coming years.Clean-and-green technology represents a unique opportunity to expand our economy and improve the quality of life in our city. And few industries reflect the unity of economic development and sustainability like the burgeoning electric-vehicle industry. That's why Portland is kicking gas and taking names. Names like Nissan LEAF,  Mitsubishi i MiEV, and Chevy Volt have rapidly entered Portland's vocabulary, joining the ever popular Prius. And we are ready.Light rail. Streetcars. A world-class bicycle infrastructure. Car-sharing. Portland led the nation on these smart transportation innovations. And electric cars-the vehicles, batteries, and charging stations-are another step in reducing our carbon footprint and increasing our sustainable prosperity.Portland is committed to reducing its greenhouse-gas emissions by 80 percent of 1990 levels by 2050 as set forth in our Climate Action Plan. The plan calls for the city to reduce petroleum use 50 percent by 2030. We know transportation options are the key to achieving our goals. Electric vehicles are a primary tool to reach our target. We will make our ambitions a reality, and we will get there by making Portland a hub for the electric-vehicle industry.The positive impact of the electric-vehicle industry is sure to reach beyond Portland and requires us to take a regional approach. Therefore, we are partnering with government entities, nonprofits, higher education, private businesses, and public utilities throughout our region to see the promotion and integration of electric vehicles in our transportation network.We're leading the region to a cleaner future by leveraging funds that promote the use of clean technologies and expand our transportation options. We are strategically and aggressively seeking federal incentives for the deployment of electric vehicles and charging infrastructure in our city, region, and state.In short, we're leading the nation and doing it the Portland way-creatively, collaboratively, and efficiently; and we're happy to let other cities follow our lead. We're at the head of the class on this one. Mayor Newsom, I'd be happy to share my notes with you.

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