Mar 192014
 

By: Rachel DiFranco, Sustainability Coordinator, City of Fremont

The City of Fremont has made a number of local headlines this month for reports on the high number of electric vehicle owners living within its boundaries. With a population of 221,986, Fremont holds 14.3 percent of Alameda County’s 1,554,720 residents.1 But with 3,870 electric vehicle rebates issued in Alameda County since 2010 under the California Clean Vehicle Rebate Program, Fremont, with its 1,143 rebates to date, represents 29.4 percent of all-electric vehicles owned within the County.2

Pie Chart

Fremont's EV Rebated By Month

The reason for the heightened media attention is that many people were surprised that this southern Alameda County suburb could be “the East Bay’s epicenter for electric vehicles,” questioning, “What makes it so special?” The news of increasing EV ownership in Fremont, however, is less of a surprise to those responsible for City development. As the City’s deputy director of Community Development, Dan Schoenholz, stated when pointing out that a slightly larger number of electric vehicle rebates had been issued in Fremont than in San Francisco, “San Francisco has the reputation for being a super-green city, but this shows that Fremont is quietly pushing the envelope.”

The story, in fact, fits nicely into the future vision that the City has created for itself. This is a future of sustainable urbanism, one in which Fremont has evolved beyond its early agricultural roots and post-war suburban sprawl into a center for clean technology, a mecca of cultural diversity, and the home of eco-conscious citizens. Beginning in 2011 with the City’s award-winning General Plan that strategically positioned “Sustainability” as the opening chapter for its 2030 vision, and gaining momentum with the adoption of its Climate Action Plan in 2012 to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 25 percent by the year 2020, the City of Fremont continues to challenge the conventional model of development with an alternative one that places the health and well-being of future generations at the forefront of policy-making.

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Dec 272013
 

Santa Clara County (in California) has mandated that new homes, and non-residential buildings be pre-wired to accommodate electric vehicle charging stations during their construction. This prevents owners from having to pay up to $2,000 to redo wiring in a building that has already been constructed. Pre-wiring only costs up to $200.

2014 Toyota RAV4 EV Interior. Image Credit: Toyota.

2014 Toyota RAV4 EV Interior.
Image Credit: Toyota.

The pre-wiring is for Level 2 EV charging stations, which operate at 220-240 volts, and can charge electric vehicles in four to seven hours.

“Despite their growing popularity and environmental benefits, lack of charging infrastructure remains a barrier for many wanting to purchase an electric vehicle,” said Supervisor Ken Yeager, President of County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors. “This ordinance makes it easier for residents to replace conventional cars with electric vehicles, reducing greenhouse gas emissions in this county.”

Sheldon Haynie, outgoing president of the Wineries of Santa Clara Valley Marketing Association, opposes this ordinance, citing that small wineries may not be able to afford the installation of EV charging stations, which can cost thousands of dollars.

Transportation will likely be electrified at some point, whether it is within the next decade, or century, as electric vehicles are the longest lasting option, as they can use any electricity source, including the inexhaustible solar and wind.

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h/t: Plugin Europe.

Image Credit: Toyota.