Obama landed in California yesterday and this morning made a field trip to California Edison's Electric Vehicle Technical Center, one of the largest research facilities looking into the viability of plug-in electric vehicles. Obama kept his focus on green jobs, announcing a $2.4 billion competitive grant for next generation plug-in vehicles and new batteries that will extend their range, safety and affordability.
As pointed out by the HybridCars blog, it is interesting that Obama chose southern California for his automotive pit stop, rather than Detroit. Detroit has been criticized for failing to innovate their fleet and has only a couple of car prototypes (like the Chevy Volt) to show for it, a sad result of Big Oil's involvement in the automotive industry.
Meanwhile, the electric utility SC Edison has been seeing electric vehicles as the biggest business opportunity of the century. In 1992 they set up the first test facility in partnership with the U.S. Dept. of Energy and have been quietly testing dozens of technologies from around the world, while investigating ways to provide for the increased energy demand that would result from a wide spread adoption of plug-in cars.
Here's the local television coverage of Obama's visit: