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Salinas Aims High: Green Vehicles

Triac on Main Street
Matt and Linda Greenlaw, Salinas cycling regulars, eye the Triac driven in Oldtown Salinas by Lee Colin, VP of Business Development for Green Vehicles.

7/19/11 update.   Green Vehicles  failed to raise the necessary $2.8 million in matching funds and has closed its doors.  As reported in the Salinas Californian,  “A noble experiment by Salinas municipal leaders to get the city into the high-tech car manufacturing business crashed head-on with the realities of California’s still-slumping economy. ”  SeeMonterey County Weekly news blog.

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Salinas Mayor Dennis Donohue and other municipal leaders are giving a shot to startup company Green Vehicles, putting out the welcome mat in our Monterey County seat.

As stated in “Sustainable Salad Bowl/Sustainable Salinas,” Mayor Donohue signed the US Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Agreement.  Although fulfilling that agreement takes far more work than a stroke of the pen, his committed leadership is a huge plus.

Having an electric vehicle assembly plant in Monterey County is a dream come true for many local residents.  After seeing my first Tesla at the Concours d’Elegance a few years back, I watched wistfully as New Mexico won Tesla’s heart for Tesla expansion—temporarily. Although Tesla pulled back from NM and decided to build in CA, they didn’t choose Monterey County.  Visiting  some Imagination Coast Initiative breakfast meetings in recent months, hearing ideas for a more economically and environmentally sustainable Monterey Bay region, I daydreamed again about having an electric vehicle plant here.

Now Mayor Donohue is trying to make this dream a reality.  Better still, the CEO of Green Vehicles, Ehab Yousseff, is a graduate of Salinas High School.  And unlike the current Teslas, these are electric vehicles meant to be Everyman’s car. Their price tag?  About $25,000.  While not everyone can buy a new $25,000 car today, that’s within reach for a lot more folks than a Tesla is.

Twenty-five thousand dollars for an EV? I can’t think of a comparable electric vehicle for under $50,000!  As far as really bringing EVs to more people, Green Vehicles is—in the words of industry experts —”where the rubber meets the road!”

Check out the Green Vehicles message.  If the zip and efficiency of the GV website meant the same was true of their cars, I would find them a very cool company.  But while the website shows their coolness quotient, it can’t impress me about how their cars operate.  What really impresses me then, is this: they are the only electric vehicle manufacturer in the U.S. today with advanced lithium technology capable of freeway speeds and up to a 100-mile travel range before recharging is necessary. Really?  And for $25,000?  According to Lee Colin, Vice President of Business Development for Green Vehicles, the answer is yes!

So that makes them “first in the market,” which can be one good predictor of marketplace success.  But can a little company like this succeed against the many bigger auto manufacturers who will be competing in the EV marketplace now?  As  quoted by Robin Urevich in “Salinas Scores,” in the 10/29 Monterey County Weekly, “Rocky Mountain Institute’s Matt Mattila says that the proliferation of government subsidies has recently given start-ups a chance to succeed. ‘You don’t have to be an established player to win.’ ”

For more on Green Vehicles in Salinas, see Mike Hornick’s story, “Salinas extends carrot to green vehicles,” in the 10/28 Salinas Californian.

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Let’s help keep the ball rolling in Salinas. Of course, many needs and pressures face Salinas leaders (i.e., gang violence), and it isn’t reasonable to expect that they can make optimal progress without support.   Please lend yours:

  • On Tuesday, 11/3/09, the City Council will address the city’s progress on meeting goals of the United Nations Environmental Accords.  If you have special expertise or other ways you can support the City’s efforts, please attend this afternoon meeting . Don’t know what those goals are? For an outline of some, and for other details on the mtg, please refer to “Sustainable Salad Bowl/Sustainable Salinas.”
  • If you can’t attend the 11/3 mtg, please send the Salinas City Council a letter of support for continuing efforts to meet environmental goals.  And please remember to also follow up with them if you have expertise to share.

This post was published on 29 October 2009. One or more changes last made to this post on 25 October 2013.

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