SAN FRANCISCO -- Gov. Jerry Brown joined forces with 40 leading corporations Monday to showcase the states's commitment to electric vehicles, as companies as diverse as Google (GOOG) and Coca-Cola promised to promote EVs with workplace incentives like free charging and car-sharing of plug-in vehicles.
The event, called "Drive the Dream," was held at the Exploratorium in San Francisco and organized by the California Plug-In Electric Vehicle Collaborative. Several plug-in hybrid and electric cars, from Tesla's Model S sedan to BMW's new i3, were on display outside the Exploratorium.
"I remember 35 years ago when solar energy was associated with bean sprouts," said Brown, who spoke while dozens of corporate executives stood behind him. "This is not alternative any more. BMW, Tesla, Honda, GM: This is impressive. Walgreens, Coke: This is mainstream America promoting electric vehicles."
Several corporations announced they are expanding charging stations. Walgreens plans to add 13 additional charging stations at locations throughout California. Coca-Cola, which owns Odwalla, is using electric trucks to deliver Odwalla juices in the state. Intuit (INTU) announced plans to expand electric vehicle chargers at campuses in Mountain View, Menlo Park and elsewhere. Bank of America announced a $3,000 incentive for its American employees to purchase a plug-in electric vehicle, in addition to a workplace charging program.
Google, which already has installed more than 700 charging stations at a dozen campuses, stressed its commitment to convert 5 percent of all existing and future parking spaces to electrical charging stations at the company's Mountain View headquarters. The company also has 56 plug-in vehicles from seven manufacturers as part of its "GFleet," a car-sharing program for Google employees.
"Plug-in vehicles are game-changers," said Rick Needham, Google's director of energy and sustainability. "Five hundred employees have their own EVs. At Google, we believe that plug-in vehicles are the future, and we are happy to support their adoption."
Brown said Monday that he would sign AB 8 and SB 359, a pair of bills that support electric vehicles. AB 8 provides more than $2 billion in funding and extends current rebates for consumers who buy electric vehicles through 2023. The funding comes from vehicle license fees; consumers can get up to a $2,500 rebate for purchasing an electric vehicle. SB 359 transfers another $30 million to various state programs aimed at promoting low-emission vehicles.
Contact Dana Hull at 408-920-2706. Follow her at Twitter.com/danahull.