Gavin Newsom

Gavin Newsom
San Francisco, California, USA
October 10
Mayor of San Francisco
Gavin Newsom, 41, is the youngest San Francisco mayor in over a century. After only 36 days as mayor, Newsom gained worldwide attention when he directed city officials to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. This bold move set the tone for Newsom's first term. Under his energetic leadership, the economy grew and jobs were created. He brought universal health care to all of the city’s uninsured residents. The city became a center for biotech and clean tech. And Newsom aggressively pursued local solutions to global climate change. In 2007, Newsom was re-elected with over 73% of the vote. Since then he has built upon the success of his first term, launching new environmental initiatives and a comprehensive strategy to transform the city’s most troubled neighborhood into a life sciences, digital media, and clean tech center.


Editor’s Pick
NOVEMBER 21, 2008 7:23PM

Recharge America with Electric Cars

Rate: 11 Flag

Today, our country is facing a set of seemingly insurmountable problems:

• an economic meltdown of historic proportions
• a car industry crashing, because of a lack of innovation and growth
• oil dependence transferring our wealth abroad
• an extended military presence in the Middle East
• and climate change, which threatens the health of our planet

We are hearing daily of various proposed solutions -- industry bailouts and massive infrastructure projects -- geared primarily to avoid job losses and rising unemployment. These solutions promise to take us through this rough period, but take us where? What is the long term change?

When it comes to changes to the car industry itself we see only small steps after decades of resistance. Improving car mileage slightly over the next 4 years is not the transformative change that is needed. Converting the industry to hybrid cars 10 years after the Toyota Prius was delivered to market looks to the past, not the future.

Yesterday, joined by San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed and Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums I announced a nine step policy plan for transforming the Bay Area into the "Electric Vehicle (EV) Capital of the U.S." In support of this initiative Better Place, a global electric transportation company announced that it would enter the U.S. market with California as its first state, beginning in the Bay Area.

Commercial availability of electric cars is targeted to begin in 2012, and Better Place estimates its network investment in the Bay Area will total $1 billion when the system is fully deployed. I welcomed Better Place's announcement and anticipate many other EV companies will focus on the Bay Area as a top-priority market.

Electric vehicles represent an overarching, game-changing solution that allows us to transform, and recharge the American transportation sector for the 21st century. By accelerating the conversion of the car industry from its oil dependent past, to a new electric century, we can jump start the car industry, eliminate our dependence on oil, reduce our required presence in the middle east, create millions of jobs, and eliminate a significant portion of our CO2 emissions.

This plan ties together a triangle of influence that can get our nation back on track: Detroit car makers who know how to scale production, working in concert with San Francisco's culture of innovation, aided by Sacramento and Washington DC policy-making. The goal is to create a sustainable strategic advantage for the US instead of a series of bailouts.

As California prepares to launch this electric recharge infrastructure project, it can also serve as a blueprint for a more widely integrated solution.

California can generate upwards of $2.5B in new investment in jobs and the economy for the infrastructure effort, with billions more in cars and battery sales to consumers. The nation as a whole can trigger tens of billions in infrastructure, manufacturing and innovation investment. At the same time, this conversion reduces the cost to the consumer and nation per mile we drive. California, followed by the western US states of Oregon and Washington are ready to drive this effort.

Listen to the Gavin Newsom Show this Saturday at 11AM PST on Green 960 AM. My guest this week is the director of "Milk" Gus Van Sant. Harvey Milk was the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in California. The movie opens nationwide on November 26th.


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I think it is reaonsable for you to believe that electric cars are the future. What might make this more admirable would be to invest your own money in the belief as a private entrepeneur rather than use taxpayer money as your investment seed. Suppose the LA mayor believes that hydrogen fuel cells are the way to go and deploys those tax dollars that way. Somebody will end up being wrong but the pain will be borne by the taxpapers who were forced to make a bad investment.
I think it's an excellent idea to try to get us off foreign oil and help jumpstart at least a part of the economy. We need to get to a point where we have Affordable electric cars, and we need to get there fast. Innovative ideas like this are what we need to restore optimism and get the country moving again.
We already have the technology to produce electric cars. Tesla Motors has a car that will go 200 miles on a charge and can accelerate faster than most gasoline powered cars. There are also 14 America start-up companies with plug-ins. Why pay somebody to develop what we already have, and why wait to 2012? We already have the plants, and there are companies ready to provide the infrastructure. Let's re-tool and get going.
Ten years ago GM completed production design and market testing on the EV. Then, they ended the EV project $1 billion into it. They have sat idle with the patent ever since.
Superior to fossil fuel models in most ways, the EV could have captured the world market.
Unless newer technology is developed for the recharging of electic cars than what is presently offered, the plug-in electric is a sham solution. It only kicks the can down the road.

What is the benefit of a plug-in if the power plant which produces the electricity used to recharge the car is burning fossil fuel, producing greenhouse gases, poluting the atmosphere, and contributing to global climate change? Plus, if the plant is oil-fired, it probably increases our dependence on foreign oil.

Is "out of sight, out of mind" really a solution? You really must learn to think beyond the obvious.
Why not compressed air cars?!
Most automobiles spend the better part of the day in a parking lot. If that lot was roofed with solar panels the plugins could be charged while the driver works. In addition, all of those cars could be connected to the electric grid and used to supplement the power supply during the hotest part of the day, resulting in a substantial reduction of carbondioxide.
I love Johnbow's idea of solar panels in parking lots to recharge electric cars. Electric cars are a good city solution. For those who live in the country like I do, I could use a plug-in hybrid. I think I could get much better gas mileage out of my hybrid if that were available. And, with states requiring more renewable energy for electricity, this would be a good solution.
Why do you wait?

Got ten grand plus or minus? Put your money to work.

Zenn of Canada. (Zero Emissions No Noise, Zenn)

Available today! A plug in 100% electric. Buy it drive it.

The technology exists today to produce 100% of our electricity from solar alone. Solar parabola technology even works at night. We can augment this with wind and solar panels on roofs and buildings. We have no need of coal, or nuclear. They are too expensive, too dangerous, and much too inefficient. When we will demand that we discontinue taxpayer subsidies of these outdated, dangerous, filthy technologies? For automobiles we need flex fuel, plug in hybrids. No more need for imported oil. We need to stop the 54 cent import fees on ethanol. Plenty of places can produce ethanol efficiently from sugar cane. Corn ethanol is a total bust.
This is all plainly obvious and can be accomplished within a decade. It likely will not because of the stranglehold that certain interests have on our government.
This is definitely a better way to go than the bailout. Tell GM, Ford and Chrysler to go electric. There was a documentary a few years ago about Saturn producing a successful electric car but the industry squashed it. These corporations have the technology. They need to use it. Great post.
... decades of resistance
Nonsense. The only resistance has been from consumers who think it's a lousy investment.
Electric cars do nothing to reduce pollution, since the electricity itself is primarily produced by petro-run power generators. The cost-per-mile for a plug-in (if you take into account the cost of the car and the expense of disposing of deteriorated batteries) is 3-20 times the cost of simple gasoline vehicles.
You can get very high fuel economy with a small vehicle running on gas, but you can't repeal the laws of nature. If you want high capacity, good visibility, and safety, the price of gas is a minor consideration.
As for your concerns about human CO2 causing global warming, the scientific evidence is quickly reaching the conclusion that it is totally irrelevant. You may want to believe it's true, for other reasons, but nature and the facts say it's false.
Do what you think is right, but don't attempt to use government coercion to force others to conform with your wishes.
We used to think of EV's as science fiction. Now it is real. I hope that the whole industry can create compatible technology to allow charging of every makers' vehicle at the same place. Other new fuel forms should also be pursued. With these new technologies, we will be educating new mechanics. These are important ways to put this country to work again.
This all has a back to the future feel to me. I remember reading about California's zero pollution vehicle mandate years ago. I was under the impression that a charging infrastructure had already been installed during that program, and worked surprisingly well. Has the infrastructure been removed? Here in MA we had a few modest pilot programs, including solar powered recharging stations at public transit parking facilities. The charging stations are still there, over a decade later... wrapped in plastic like some atrophied appendage.
I came away from those early electric car programs with the impression that they were greenlighted as long as they were a way to get government money for PR programs that paid lip service to alt energy vehicles but were really no threat to the status quo. CA's earlier experience seemed to show Detroit - much to their surprise - that it was a viable system that threatened their existing, anachronistic business model, so they fought hard to shut it down.
After all the effort and money wasted on the earlier attempt, why are taxpayers to believe that this time will be different? Why should we be expected to bankroll another pie in the sky scheme to rebuild an infrastructure that was only recently dismantled?
Don't get me wrong. I believe in electric cars. They are best suited to take advantage of the progress in electronics and manufacturing technologies that gave us the tech industry, and find a significant niche in our transportation mix. I have utterly no faith that American auto manufacturers won't do everything in their power to sabotage this effort, and I have little faith in the government's resolve to see this through, given their track record.
Just step away from the football Lucy. We're not falling for that again.
When viewing plug-in electrics, you have to consider what they're plugging into. Currently, the majority of electricity in the USA is generated using coal. We wouldn't consider a car that directly used coal as a fuel to be environmentally responsible. We also shouldn't consider a plug-in electric or hybrid to be environmentally responsible if it plugs into an electric generation system fueled by coal.
For the other side of clean electrical cars see the links to photos of coal fired electrical generator plants and the coal industry's mountain top mining. "I'm sorry my son but you're to late in asking, Mr. Peabody's coal train has hauled it away." John Prine

When the true cost of electrical power is revealed we will be looking at the price of a barrel of wind. Politicians could help us out here. Hillary's love of coal didn't hurt her in the WV primary.
To William Westmiller, Wayne Gallant, et al.:

There is less of a carbon foot print from an electric car than from gasoline even if the plant providing the electricity uses coal. Additionally, the U.S. only generates about 1.1 % of its electricity from petroleum products.
I don't really appreciate "you" being here, as your two posts so far indicate that, one, YOU aren't here at all, that this is just some platform for your campaign to spread its message with words ghostwritten by someone else and, two, because both of these ghostwritten posts have been picked up by the editors for front page coverage, simply because of their sympathy to the presented ideas.

If I am wrong, please disabuse me of my misconception by abusing me with a response. A response from YOU, Gavin Newsom.

If I am right, I would appreciate it if you would just submit your work directly to the editors of, like all of the other big shot politicos do.