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USA: Cost savings, environmental benefits drive growth of electric vehicles in San Diego

The innovative Solar-to-EV Project at the San Diego Zoo. Reed Kaestner

Imagine if you never had to pay for gasoline again, or that your morning commute was promoting the common good and helping the environment. Those benefits are now possible for the growing number of people choosing to drive all electric plug-in vehicles.

San Diego has positioned itself as a green transportation leader in this burgeoning new field. The region has the highest per capita electric vehicle (EV) ownership in the country, with more than 6,000 EVs currently driving on San Diego’s roads. San Diego residents are driving this transition to electric vehicles, having realized that owning an EV means no more worrying about the price of gas, doing their part for the sustainability of the planet and promoting energy independence for America.

With San Diego’s innovative population ready to jump into this fast growing market, public and private sector organizations have come together to provide the infrastructure to support the growth of clean transportation. Smart City San Diego consists of five partner organizations: San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), The City of San Diego, UC San Diego, General Electric and CleanTECH San Diego. This group helped support the growth of one of the most comprehensive deployments in the nation for public EV charging infrastructure in San Diego, which now has more than 500 publicly-accessible charging stations as a result. While most EV drivers charge at home, public chargers give San Diegans even more confidence that they will always have a place to charge their cars. EV drivers can locate chargers by viewing a dedicated website, www.plugshare.com.

“San Diego is fast becoming the nation’s electric vehicle capital,” said Jim Waring, executive chair and co-founder of CleanTECH San Diego. “These clean, emissions-free vehicles promote innovation and new economic opportunities for the area, help preserve the local environment and demonstrate San Diego’s leadership as a sustainable city.”

This partnership helped convince Daimler, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz, to launch the nation’s first all-electric Car2Go car share program throughout the region. The program has been a big success and recently expanded to 380 vehicles and 50 square miles of service territory, providing easy access to EVs for the wider populace.
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