In November of last year, the Renault-Nissan Alliance announced a partnership with Sonoma County to promote the adoption of electric vehicles and encourage the development of charging infrastructure. According to a report in the North Bay Business Journal today, Sonoma County means business. The county wants 1,000 EVs on the road by 2010 and preparations are underway to make it happen.
In May, Sonoma will find out whether they've been awarded $3 million in state and U.S. Department of Energy grants for building charging stations and converting gas-electric hybrids to plug-ins. In the meantime, Nissan is giving the local governments within the county ideas about where charging stations should be. Large shopping malls, workplaces and natural food stores are high on the list of ideal locations.
Recharging your car while shopping sounds great and Nissan believes that a new generation of batteries could be "refueled" to 80% of their capacity in 10 minutes. Unfortunately, the worst economic crisis in years and California's budget woes concern some analysts who wonder how much grant money will be available for EV initiatives. (Dare I ask when the lack of money has ever prevented government spending in the past?)