Electric car services to be increased in the Bay Area

'Better Place', a venture-backed company designed to reduce demands on petroleum through infrastructure favoring electric cars, has proposed to increase the availability of electric car services and provide incentives for investment in the technology. Representatives of the cities of San Francisco, San Jose, and Oakland said they will partner with 'Better Place' (BP) in its venture.

According to an announcement by the Mayors in the San Francisco Bay Area, the series of initiatives are aimed at making the region the electric vehicle capital of the US by the year 2012. San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, and Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums, announced a nine-point plan to promote the adoption of electric cars.

The mayors will work to secure a suitable standard (110V) for electric outlets to be in every government building in 2009; and work on a roll-out plan for placement of 220V EV charging equipment throughout each city, including city parking lots and curbside parking.

The $1 billion cost of the initial network would be raised by BP, which, to get started, needs nearly $200 million, primarily from equity from pension funds. Network planning and permitting will begin in January 2009, and infrastructure deployment will start in 2010.

The Bay Area effort will be BP's first US project, though it has completed similar projects in Israel, Denmark and Australia.

In a statement, Shai Agassi, the founder and chief executive of BP, said: "We believe the successful solution includes a confluence of leadership involving California's strength in technology and innovation, coupled with Michigan's automotive manufacturing might, with the right policy and national project leadership from Washington."