Yesterday the Rocky Mountain Institute announced something they are calling Project Get Ready. The goal of the initiative is “to help communities prepare for and welcome plug-in vehicles including full battery electric, plug-in hybrid electric, and converted hybrid or internal combustion vehicles.”
This involves facilitating the engagement of advocates, utility companies, local government and other stakeholders to increase and prepare for the adoption of plug-in cars like the Chevy Volt. They have collated a menu of strategic actions that city and regional leaders can enact to become plug-in pioneers that are available on an online database.
Project manager Laura Schewel says “With this project, we can help get the nation to President Obama’s goal of 1 million plug-ins by 2015…and maybe even beat it.”
GM’s Director of Infrastructure Britta Gross says “We know that many Volt drivers will never require a public charging infrastructure, instead depending on the Volt’s range-extender to carry them any distance beyond its electric vehicle range. But public infrastructure is very important for those who live in apartments or houses without garages where they can’t simply plug into a household outlet for a full charge.”
RMI has announced they are working on initiatives with Portland, Oregon; Indianapolis, Indiana; and Raleigh, North Carolina and plan to convene at least 20 cities in the near future to develop best practices.
The following are RMIs 15 “Must Have” Actions*
Suggested stretch target: 2% of registered vehicles by the end of 2015.
Barrier: Not enough cars in the pipeline, OEMs need proof of future consumer demand
1. Corporate/city/state fleets commit to buy a certain number of plug-ins (RFPs for major purchases or conversions).
2. Stakeholder group provides a place for interested consumers/fleets to register early, and put cash down to reserve plug-ins (cash used for readiness where possible).
Barrier: How can we manage this as a multi-sector, city-wide project?
3. Create collaborative stakeholder group within the community to help regulatory, commercial, and community interests align. Sign on to a clear regional plan (based on this menu!). Plan should give equal consideration to conversions.
4. Have one “champion” whose job it is to keep this group moving forward, who has authority
Barrier: How can we bring down upfront costs for consumers?
5. Work with banks and dealers to offer low-interest loans for plug-ins, based on projected lower operating costs from gas savings.
6. Bundle all key incentives at vehicle point of purchase (home charger vouchers, rebates, etc.)
Barrier: Consumer hesitation at diving into a new paradigm for mobility
7. Perks: access to HOV lanes, free tolls/downtown parking, reserved airport parking.
8. Create consumer, city government, local business and utility education plans including test drives and “quick lease” options to individual and fleet consumers as well as high profile drivers.
9. Reduced (or free) electricity rates for charging.
Barrier: Red tape around infrastructure installation
10. Fast-track permitting for charging stations.
11. Ensure new and reconstruction/renovation building codes support the operation of plug-ins.
Barrier: What if these cars exacerbate my peak load?
12. Tie provisions of free home and public charge spots, as well as free or cheaper electricity, to either utility override power or “no charge” times.
Barrier: Who will pay for infrastructure?
13. Local employers/retailers provide some charge stations at parking decks.
14. Install public charge spots in high-traffic zones and parking areas, either with public money (via utility or gov’t for the first 2% of vehicles) or private money that uses the stations to market.
15. Provide affordable and available—or free—Level 2 home-charger/driveway circuit installation.
Also should you be so motivated you can Tweet with Britta Gross on Twitter @GMblogs later today at 3:30 p.m. Eastern time.
And as a reminder we have a special Plug-in Readiness Forum right here on GM-Volt.com.