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San Anselmo Town Council Approves Big Electric Vehicle Strategy

SAN ANSELMO (KPIX 5) -- People living in a small town in the Marin County have an ambitious plan to change the world, starting in their own driveways.

DMV records show that of the 13,000 cars registered in San Anselmo, 377 of them are electric vehicles (EV's). That may not seem like a lot, but at 3 percent of total cars, it is above the national average.

"Because we're in one of the few parts of the country that actually thinks climate change is real and that internal combustion cars are going to have to go away," said San Anselmo resident and EV owner Glenn Westreich.

Still, EV's remain a tiny part of the automobile market. But last week, the town council voted to adopt a strategy to change that. The new "EV Strategy" sets a goal of 3,000 electric cars in the town by the year 2030.

The plan is split into three parts: increase EV charger stations from 13 to 162, convert the entire city fleet to electric vehicles and create a public awareness effort to convince more people to purchase EV's.

"It's education," said resident and EV owner Walter Kopp. "The public needs to understand, this is the wave of the future and helps the environment at the same time."

Carleen Cullen founded an advocacy group called "Cool The Earth" with a new initiative called "Drive Clean Marin," where EV owners hold "Tupperware" type parties to let fossil-fuel drivers try out the new cars. It's the kind of small-town approach that often achieves meaningful change.

"Change happens here at the grassroots level, especially with things like this. This is an individual behavior change and individual choice. And the consumer has the power to make their decision," said Cullen.

Councilman John Wright bought his own EV and was proud to cast his vote to adopt the strategy and make San Anselmo such a cutting-edge "city of the future."

"I'm glad that we're able to take some steps at least to encourage others to go down this path," he said.

But not everything is voluntary. By year's end, the town hopes to draft new building codes that will require adequate wiring for EV charging in all new construction.

Councilman Wright says the toughest part of the strategy may be converting the city fleet to all-electric, since they don't make electric versions of some of the city's work trucks yet.

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