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Could Sacramento State turn the region into a zero-emission innovation hub?

Sacramento State to make big bet on electric vehicle revolution
Sacramento State to make big bet on electric vehicle revolution 02:11

SACRAMENTO — Sacramento State is making a big bet on the electric vehicle revolution with the goal of turning the region into an innovation hub.

Barry Broome, the president and CEO of the Greater Sacramento Economic Council (GSEC), has one thought: "What if Sacramento State University was the Stanford of zero-emission vehicles?"

It doesn't look like much now, but Sacramento State is making a big bet that it can be exactly that.

"We're a scrappy institution," university President J. Luke Wood said. "We're trying to improve lives, upward socioeconomic mobility that you're not going to see in the UC system."

So what does this do for students? President Wood said it could be a game changer.

"We got a lot of things going on but it's all going in one direction," he said. "Creating better futures for our students and ensuring that not only do our students graduate but when they're done graduating, they have jobs and jobs that pay well."

That would help keep talent at home and bring companies into Sacramento.

"We have leaders from utilities all across the country that have come out of Sac State," said Orville Thomas, the CEO of the California Mobility Center (CMC). "The talent is already here. What we need is government funding for an innovation that allows companies to move to where those students are.

Thomas and the CMC are leading the effort to turn the region into an innovation hub, according to the GSEC.

"We can really change the equality in our economy," Broome said. "What I love about zero-emission vehicles is how you can address climate change and address economic equity all at the same time."

The final part of this mission is getting funding for the $300 million project. The CMC and GSEC hope it will be a combination of public and private funding.

"We need to see locals invest in it, and that sends a clear signal to the industry that this is going to happen and allows them to come in last with those technologies that help us do what we need to do," Thomas said.

The group has applied for state and federal grants and says that the hub will be partially on campus at the proposed engineering building and at the California Mobility Center on Ramona Avenue.

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