Newport Beach and South Coast Plaza Go Green With Natural Gas and Electric Charging Stations

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Newport Beach got a little greener this week with the opening of its first natural gas fueling station and word that plans are set for a luxury electric automaker's takeover next month of a former Rolls Royce dealer's lot on Pacific Coast Highway.

A $1-million compressed natural gas (CNG) facility opened Wednesday at the General Services Corporation Yard at 592 Superior Ave. The station will serve the city's fleet of cleaner-burning vehicles but will also be open to the public and private firms that have CNG fleets, including AT&T, Yellow Cab, Athens Street Sweeping and various airport shuttles.

Newport Beach allowed Clean Energy, an alternative energy transportation company, to build the station on city land, rent free. In exchange, the city will receive a nickel for every gallon sold there, Mayor Keith Curry tells Orange County Local News Network.

The city, which kicked in no taxpayer funds for the project, previously received a grant from the South Coast Air Quality Management District to replace its old sanitation trucks with new CNG-fueled ones.

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Meanwhile, Silicon Valley's Tesla Motors, which will be taking orders its $100,000-plus electric Roadster and, eventually, a cheaper sedan, has signed a five-year lease to open its first local dealership on PCH near Newport Boulevard, a real estate broker tells the Orange County Register.

Well-heeled Tesla buyers can add at least one local stop, as South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa this week added high-tech electric-vehicle charging stations in the lower-level parking structure by the Crate & Barrel Home Store in the former Crystal Court. Actually, an Anaheim Hills Tesla driver already did, traveling to the charging station's opening and telling a Register reporter she will now shop at South Coast Plaza.

The upscale mall, which boasts of being the first shopping center in the nation to use the unique charging technology, already features drought-resistant plants and a waste-water disposal program.

It was enough to get actor and EV champion Ed Begley Jr. to drive his plug-in Toyota RAV4 to Costa Mesa for the ribbon cutting ceremony.

But, wouldn't you know it? His RAV4's plug was not compatible with the new chargers.
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