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San Francisco to Detroit: Go electric - Green Wombat - 0 views

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    It was a day when the shift from the past to the future was almost palpable. It started Thursday morning in Berkeley where Green Wombat was moderating a panel of tech luminaries gathered at the University of California's Global Technology Leaders Conference. As Shai Agassi, founder of electric car infrastructure company Better Place, makes the case for harnessing Silicon Valley's technological innovation to Detroit's manufacturing might to create a sustainable car industry, dispatches from the automotive apocalypse roll down my BlackBerry: Ford (F) shares sink to $1.01…GM's (GM) stock falls to its lowest level since World War II…U.S. automakers beg for a bailout…California Congressman Henry Waxman ousts Michigan's John Dingell - the Duke of Detroit - from his 28-year chairmanship of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee. Agassi slips out of the conference and an hour later I catch up with him across the Bay at San Francisco City Hall where he and representatives of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and the mayors of San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland announce a $1 billion project to build a regional network of electric car charging stations. Better Place has signed similar deals with governments in Israel, Denmark and Australia, but California is the company's first foray into the U.S. market. Planning for the Bay Area network begins in 2009 with construction scheduled to start in 2010 and commercial rollout set for 2012.
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