Southern California environment news and trends

Gov. Jerry Brown drives electric highway development

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California Gov. Jerry Brown.

The $120 settlement Governor Jerry Brown and the California Public Utilities Commission reached with NRG Energy late last month will pave the way for sweeping upgrades to the state’s infrastructure aimed squarely at drivers of EVs.   

According to Triple Pundit, The plan is to install 200 new public fast charging stations and an additional 10,000 plug-in units at 1,000 locales throughout California.

This follows Gov. Brown’s recent executive order that set goals to have at least 1.5 million zero emission vehicles on California roadways by the year 2025.

“This executive order strengthens California’s position as a national leader in zero-emission vehicles,” Gov. Brown said in a statement cited by The Bottom Line. “The settlement will dramatically expand California’s electric vehicle infrastructure, helping to clean our air and reduce our dependence on foreign oil.”


Electric vehicle sharing service finds success in San Diego

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Rising gas prices continue to reap dividends for electric and hybrid industries. As we reported recently, Toyota reported a massive jump in Prius sales over the month of February, attributed in part to consumers fighting back against the cost of gasoline.

Now a report out of San Diego says that car2go, North America’s first all-electric car sharing service, has registered more than 6,000 users who have taken over 25,000 trips in the company’s 300 vehicles in just the first 100 days of availability.

"At a time when the cost of fuel is reaching record-high prices, San Diegans are looking for ways to reduce their dependence on fuel and for more cost-efficient modes of transportation; and car2go is a very logical choice for them," said Nicholas Cole, president and CEO of car2go in a company press release.


9% of new Los Angeles vehicle sales to be electric by 2015, 11.7% by 2020, says UCLA study

nissanleaf 9% of new Los Angeles vehicle sales will be electric by 2015, 11.7% by 2020

Priuses may be a common sight in Southern California, but electric vehicles are still rare enough to turn heads — especially if they’re one of the new Chevy Volts or the sporty Tesla. But all-electric cars could become the norm in Los Angeles — faster than we think. According to a new report, 9 percent of new Los Angeles vehicle sales are expected to be electric cars by 2015. By 2020, that number could jump to 11.7 percent.

Those numbers come from a report by the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation, which tackles environmental sustainability issues in L.A. If the numbers seem high to you, you’re not alone. Juan Matute, project director at the Luskin Center, says he too was surprised by the high figures. “Going in, I wouldn’t have expected electric cars to make up such a large share of the vehicle market,” says Matute. Paul Scott, a founding board member of pro-electric car nonprofit Plug-In America, agrees. “It’s an aggressive number,” Scott says.