Project Better Place Might Charge Up SF

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom is in talks with electric vehicle startup Project Better Place about building the infrastructure for a fleet of plug-in cars in the city, including parking meter charging stations and battery replacement stations.

Newsom traveled to Israel last week to meet with representatives of the company. The mayor’s office tells us that during a luncheon with Moshe Kaplinsky, CEO of Project Better Place Israel (pictured after the jump with the mayor), and Aliza Peleg, a rep from the startup’s U.S. offices, Newsom offered to work with Project Better Place if it would consider doing a test project in San Francisco. Newsom also met with the company’s chairman, Idan Offer, at a reception earlier.

The city is already in early talks with private companies that could potentially work with Project Better Place to build an electric vehicle infrastructure, according to the mayor’s office. Newsom was also said to be “very impressed” with the Project Better Place’s team in Israel.

If San Francisco does do a deal with Project Better Place, it would be the first city in the U.S. to get on board with Shai Agassi’s electric vehicle infrastructure plan (with three cars, San Francisco currently has one of the largest plug-in hybrid fleets in the country). This is the first we’ve heard of Project Better Place being in serious discussions stateside; we’ve tried to contact them for comment and when we hear back, will update the post.

Project Better Place also showed off a prototype of its electric vehicle in Israel over the weekend. But by then, Newsom had already jetted back to the States to speak at the New Yorker’s “Stories from the Near Future,” conference. In his talk, he described Project Better Place’s plans in Israel, saying that San Francisco wants “to be the first city [in the country] to adopt that strategy.”

Video courtesy of Israel21c. Golden Gate Bridge photo courtesy of http2007.

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