Charged up for electric vehicles

Michael Ammann, new boss at the San Joaquin Partnership, sounds excited about the potential for more electric vehicle manufacturing around here.

California businesses collected $467 million in electric vehicle venture capital investment in the first half of 2011 — 69 percent of the global total, he said.

California also tied with Michigan (think: Detroit) for the number of new electric vehicle patents (about 300).

And yet, all we hear about is the Detroit auto show.

“Why couldn’t it be the California Alternative Power Auto Show?” Ammann, who came from Solano County, asked members of the Green Team San Joaquin during a presentation at last week’s meeting. “You should all think 20 years ahead. You’re in the ‘green’ industry.”

Stockton’s location makes sense for manufacturers because of its proximity to researchers at Davis and Livermore, he said. And it makes sense for buyers because of its proximity to San Francisco and Sacramento — both within range for a 100-mile electric vehicle battery (as demonstrated by one local family).

“Start to envision this happening here,” Ammann told the Green Team. “You’re in the epicenter of a lot of innovation.”

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