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The Los Angeles Auto Show is here, and the theme this year is shaping up to be: its all about the electric vehicle infrastructure. There are three announcements out already about initiatives to build out charging infrastructure in cities and states on the West Coast from […]

The Los Angeles Auto Show is here, and the theme this year is shaping up to be: its all about the electric vehicle infrastructure. There are three announcements out already about initiatives to build out charging infrastructure in cities and states on the West Coast from the Renault-Nissan Alliance automakers, Better Place and startup Couloumb Technologies.

First up, to kick off the LA Auto Show, Carlos Ghosn, President and CEO of Nissan and Renault, told attendees that Nissan will collaborate with the state of Oregon and utility Portland General Electric on an electric vehicle charging network. Nissan says it will make a supply of electric vehicles available to the state (no number named) and will help promote the charging network. The Oregon Department of Transportation will work on the specifications for the network and will find the suppliers to build the network. PGE is also working on the technology and has developed model charging station infrastructure that it has deployed in Portland and Salem.

Renault-Nissan is developing similar electric vehicle charging projects in Israel, Denmark, Portugal, Japan’s Kanagawa Prefecture and with French electric utility company EDF. Some of those deals include working with Silicon Valley’s startup Better Place and some do not.

But Better Place has its own announcement that it’s planning to make later on this afternoon. San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom is holding a press conference at City Hall Thursday afternoon which will discuss “the latest news” from electric vehicle infrastructure startup Better Place. We’re not sure on the details yet, but sources tell us the news will be really big.

Then there’s some smaller news out from electric vehicle charging startup Coulomb Technologies, which says it plans to build “dozens” of charging stations in the first quarter of 2009. Those stations will be powered by solar electric panels and will sell electricity for EVs as well as ethanol, biodiesel and gasoline. Coulomb says it will build these stations at new and existing service stations in Northern California cities and down Hwy. 99 and Hwy. 101, and Interstate 5 in California. The company says it has bigger plans to install “hundreds more” throughout California in 2009.

If Better Place is planning on building its electric vehicle network first in California — and also in Northern California cities and down the highways — then Coulomb’s stations could get overshadowed. Or perhaps the companies can team up somehow. We have to say, it’s exciting to see competition, as well as so much interest in building out the underlying infrastructure to get electric vehicle to work. As Google’s Eric Schmidt said this week, infrastructure is the platform upon which industries and wealth are created.

  1. it seems like electric cars are gaining serious momentum! its about time! I suppose doug korthof’s persistence and advocacy has finally started to gain steam for EVs..Who needs the “big three” when we got so many oppertunties and innovation going on in the automobile industry today. Imagine the oppertunties this will bring!

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  2. While the big three in Detroit clung to gas guzzlers, the industry and technology moved on. Like all companies they eventually got big enough that they thought they could prescribe what the buyer would get rather than ask what the customer wanted. Instead of learning from Toyota, they kept to the “old ways.”

    Now they’re in D.C. begging for cash while history passes them by.

    Of course Oregon and California are open-minded enough to accept the new industry, and eventually Detroit will be a memory, which is too bad for the average workers who are on the ship that these automakers are piloting to obsolescence.

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  3. Electric cars only go around 150 miles before conking out. Better Place is putting stations in Israel where it makes sense. You can’t go 150 miles without hitting the ocean or enemy territory. The system might work in Australia too, where most people live in coastal cities. But in California? Are consumers really going to buy a car in the $30,000 to $40,000 range that isn’t as functional as their cheaper gas car? It’s going to take work.

    you can read more at: http://greenlight.greentechmedia.com/2008/11/20/project-better-place-putting-stations-in-sf-735/ to learn more

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  4. [...] other networks. Perhaps that was just an oversight (we’ll update with more on this), but Nissan-Renault made its own electric vehicle charging announcement about Oregon [...]

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  5. We are very excited to bring the electric car infrastructure network to the United States and happy to announce California as our first state to do so! Follow us on Twitter @bpcommunity to get to conversation started. We want to chat with you!

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  6. [...] have other obligations this week, but in Los Angeles, the auto show must go on. In addition to electric-vehicle infrastructure initiatives, hybrid and all-electric vehicles figure large among more than 30 North American and [...]

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  7. [...] recently, Nissan announced they will develop an electric vehicle charging network in partnership with the state of Oregon and [...]

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  8. The EV network experiment in Israel and Denmark and Australia will be very interesting to witness, these will be models for the rest of the world, because people all over the world are willing and eager to embrace electric vehicles.

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  9. Holy blunders! What you seek is a Wholly Electric Vehicle Charging Network, as in ‘entirely’ or ‘exclusively’.

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  10. [...]  But electricity infrastructure was really the buzz phrase at the Los Angeles Auto Show this year as Nissan and Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn announced his company’s plan to partner with a Portland, Oregon, utility to help build out infrastructure for that city’s own electric car agenda. [...]

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