The head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency toured an electric vehicle technology company in San Francisco today as part of a nationwide tour to promote green jobs to boost the nation’s economy.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson visited Mission Motors, a company located on Harrison Street in the city’s South of Market neighborhood that specializes in building battery packs and other technology for electric and hybrid vehicles.

The company had just four employees in 2008 but has grown to more than 40 currently and plans to double in size by the end of the year, chief financial officer Chris Moe said.

Jackson said, “I believe that green businesses like Mission Motors are what will be the very foundation of an America built to last,” echoing the title of President Obama’s recent State of the Union address.

She said federal clean car and fuel efficiency standards instituted during Obama’s administration have created opportunities for businesses like Mission Motors.

“That’s some of the need that this company is filling … from manufacturers looking for ways not to sacrifice performance but use less fuel,” Jackson said.

The company specializes in electric motorcycles and set the land speed record for that type of vehicle at a race at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah in 2009 and has also matched the performance of gas-powered motorcycles at a recent race at Laguna Seca in Salinas.

“That turned a lot of heads … it was one of the first times there was parity between gas and electric,” said Jon Wagner, the company’s chief technology officer.

A lone protester stood outside the company before the tour, handing out a flier by the organization Greenaction that criticized the EPA’s handling of toxic contamination at San Francisco’s Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, which is currently being redeveloped as a residential area, among other complaints against the agency.

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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