Cities See Electric Vehicles as Critical to Future

Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) announced that its Project Get Ready initiative has partnered with New York and Seattle, exceeding its goal to build a network of 20 North American partner cities committed to fostering electric car deployment. It’s an indication that an increasing number of U.S. cities and regions view electric mobility as a critical aspect of their future.

“As more and more electric vehicles are released into the market and hit city streets, America’s major metropolitan areas are ideal test beds to develop best practices for EV infrastructure deployment,” said Ben Holland, manager of Project Get Ready. “The negative press that EVs have recently received neglects to mention the incredible progress that is being made across the country to welcome this technology. The PGR network reaches more than 26.4 million potential EV consumers and has already made great headway in breaking down barriers to getting local businesses, citizens, and municipalities ready to support these cars.”

Project Get Ready, which works with cities and industry leaders to develop and disseminate best practices for EV integration and adoption, has expanded its network of over 25 cities with the recent addition of:

St. Paul, Minn.: The City of St. Paul’s Project Get Ready efforts are led by Drive Electric Minnesota, which plans to install nearly 30 plug-in charging stations throughout the metro area on ramps, parking lots and on-street locations, many of which will be located in the Energy Innovation Corridor adjacent to the light rail line that will connect St. Paul and Minneapolis.

New York, N.Y.: In keeping with the city’s transportation and emissions-reduction goals, New York is making strides toward electrifying a portion of its 26,000-vehicle fleet. In addition, the city is launching a pilot to study the performance of electric taxis.

Seattle, Wash.: Seattle is well positioned to benefit from transitioning to EVs, with hydropower accounting for 66 percent of Washington’s electricity production. To encourage the transition to electric vehicles, the Washington Legislature passed House Bill 1481, to expedite the establishment of cost-effective recharging infrastructure.

Burlington, Vt.: Vermont’s Project Get Ready efforts are led by the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (VEIC). Through a statewide initiative, VEIC is making sure that planning for the electrification of the fleet is successful, and that policies and programs are in place so that mobility choices are available for all income levels and physical ability.

In order to make the roadmap to EV-readiness more clear, Project Get Ready regularly convenes city partners with more than 40 technical advisers—including local utilities, technology providers, automakers and academic institutions. Through regular dialogue, partners share best practices and lessons learned in overcoming the complex and interwoven challenges to creating a welcoming environment for EVs.

“In a state where transportation accounts for nearly half of our greenhouse gas emissions and one-third of our energy consumption, the electrification of motor vehicles is essential to achieving Vermont’s climate change and renewable energy goals,” Deb Markowitz, Vermont Climate Cabinet chair and natural resources secretary, said in a release announcing Vermont’s addition to the network. “Project Get Ready is a wonderful opportunity to work with stakeholders to make this transformation happen in a way that works for Vermonters.”

According to RMI, electric vehicles are critical to reducing U.S. reliance on oil for transportation. A key component of our electricity future, EVs will provide storage for renewable energy that can feed clean electricity back into a modern, more secure electrical grid, and offer a new point of connection and communication between consumers and electricity providers.

Holland will discuss the role of nonprofits in helping cities to assess EV strategies on panel at the World EV Cities and Ecosystems Conference in Los Angeles, hosted by the UCLA Luskin Center and UC Davis UC Davis Institute of Transportation, on Saturday, May 5, 2012 at the JW Marriott.

Rocky Mountain Institute is an independent, entrepreneurial, nonprofit think-and-do tank. RMI emphasizes integrative design, advanced technologies, and mindful markets in fulfilling its mission to drive the efficient and restorative use of resources. RMI’s strategic focus is to map and drive the U.S. transition from fossil fuels to efficiency and renewables by 2050.

Project Get Ready, an initiative founded by RMI, aims to accelerate the electric vehicle industry by fostering ecosystems in which the technology can most succeed. To accomplish this goal, Project Get Ready works with cities and industry leaders to develop and disseminate best practices for electric vehicle integration and adoption. By creating a network of over 25 cities and 40 strategic partners, this work seeks to identify challenges and opportunities for the seamless transition to vehicle electrification.