With intentions of making the Golden State's Bay Area the “Electric Vehicle Capital of The U.S.,” California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, along with the mayors of San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland and several green community groups, announced a public-private partnership with Better Place to build a network of electric vehicle charging stations on Nov. 19. Better Place, a Palo Alto, Calif., “sustainability mobility operator” that builds electric vehicle charging networks, was launched in 2007 with $200 million in venture capital from Israel Corp., Morgan Stanley, Ofer Group, VantagePoint Venture Partners and private investors. The company is building its first Electric Recharge Grids (ERG) in Israel and Denmark and expects wide-scale deployment of electric cars in 2011. Better Place said in a press release that it's in active negotiations with approximately 25 countries, many of the major automakers and local partners in each target market.

According to the press release, network planning and permitting for the Bay Area system will begin in January 2009 with infrastructure deployment beginning in 2010. Mass market availability of electric cars is targeted for 2012. Better Place estimates the network investment in the Bay Area will total $1 billion when the system is fully deployed. The Better Place model is an open network model built on industry standards, allowing for fixed battery and battery exchange electric vehicles to operate on the network.

“California is already a world leader in fighting global warming and promoting renewable energy,” said Schwarzenegger. “This type of public-private partnership is exactly what I envisioned when we created the first-ever, low-carbon fuel standard and when the state enacted the zero-emissions vehicle program. This partnership is proof that by working together we can achieve our goals of creating a healthier planet while boosting our economy at the same time.”

“Creating an energy-independent economy is our generation's moon-shot,” said Robert F. Kennedy Jr., venture partner and senior advisor, VantagePoint Venture Partners. “For too long we've believed that economy and environment stood at odds with each other. By coming together in this time of turmoil to build a clean transportation infrastructure, this generation will fuel the economic and environmental prosperity of generations to come.”