Electric-car charging stations at Target in Fremont, CA [photo by Jack Brown]Enlarge Photo
California loves electric cars. its residents have embraced plug-in cars them like no one anywhere else in the United States.
While better-known Bay Area cities like San Francisco have a reputation for being green, there's another California municipality that's giving them a run for their money: Fremont.
Located in the East Bay and known as a breeding ground for Silicon Valley startups, Fremont is becoming the area's epicenter for electric cars, according to the San Jose Mercury News.
Fremont residents have received 1,039 electric-car purchase rebates from the California Center for Sustainable Energy since the program began in 2010.
That puts this nondescript burg ahead of other California cities like Berkeley, Oakland, and San Francisco. Only far larger San Jose--with 3,158 rebates collected--currently surpasses it.
2012 Tesla Model S beta vehicle, Fremont, CA, October 2011Enlarge Photo
So what makes it so special?
Like other electric-car friendly cities, Fremont has instituted policies to encourage adoption, including the installation of public charging stations and the appointment of a city sustainability coordinator.
However, Fremont is far from the only city to offer electric-car owners perks, nor does it have the most aggressive policies.
Rather, city officials believe the popularity of plug-in cars is related to Fremont's role as a center for green technology. Residents, they say, are more willing to try new things when they're made in their backyard.
Soraa--a manufacturer of energy-efficient LED lighting--and solar-panel maker Solaria are among the companies that call Fremont home.
Fremont is also the location of the former Solyndra factory, a reminder that for every Silicon Valley success, there are many failures.
After the solar-energy went bankrupt and became a talking point in the 2012 Presidential Election, the Solyndra plant was bought by disk-drive manufacturer Seagate Technology.
Of course, there's one other notable re-purposed factory in Fremont: Tesla Motors builds its Model S electric car at the former New United Motor Manufacturing Incorporated (NUMMI) plant, which was originally a joint venture of General Motors and Toyota.
So Fremont doesn't just consume electric cars. It produces them as well.