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The CA City You've Never Heard Of That's An Electric-Car Epicenter


Electric-car charging stations at Target in Fremont, CA [photo by Jack Brown]

Electric-car charging stations at Target in Fremont, CA [photo by Jack Brown]

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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.

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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 2011

2012 Tesla Model S beta vehicle, Fremont, CA, October 2011

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Fremont contains 14 percent of the population of Alameda County, but 30 percent of its electric cars.

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.

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