What does it take to make a community friendly to electric vehicles (EV)? The Electric Drive Transportation Association has a pretty good idea, and is currently highlighting communities across the country that are employing effective strategies to encourage EV adoption.
Consider Mercer Island, Wash., which is promoting its MI Green Ribbon Commission Carbon Challenge. This initiative encourages community members to consider environmentally friendly transportation strategies (among other green practices), one component of which encourages the use of electric vehicles. Additionally, the island has streamlined the permitting process for home charging equipment installation, making it easier for single-family home owners to adopt electric vehicles.
Another example is Normal, Ill., where Mitsubishi Motors (which, of course, has a vested interest in EVs, being the manufacturer of the Mitsubishi MiEV) has partnered with the community to create EV Town, an effort driven by a coalition of business officials, government representatives and other stakeholders. EVTown aims to provide members of the community with the information they need to effectively evaluate available electric vehicle technologies.
Then there’s Austin, Tex., where Austin Energy has created the first charging station network to be powered completely by renewable energy through Austin Energy’s GreenChoice program, the first of its kind in the nation.
But the biggest player in creating an EV-friendly community appears to be Los Angeles, where Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has committed the city to furthering the development and adoption of alternative fuel technology through a wide range of initiatives–among them, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power‘s rebate of up to $2,000 for electric car customers who choose to install home charging systems, and its time-of-use electricity pricing specifically developed for charging electric cars during off-peak hours.
Will initiatives and policies such as these help to overcome the concerns that 87 percent of Americans recently surveyed seem to have with electric vehicles? That, of course, remains to be seen.