Ready, Set, Go! Paving the Way for Plug-In Vehicles

plug in vehicle photo

Image credit:RMI

President Obama has set the goal of adding one million plug-in vehicles to the country's fleet by 2015. And while the recently passed stimulus bill, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, contained some very generous incentives for plug-in vehicles, much work remains to be done.

One million is one half of a percent of the fleet—a good start, but a small start. How do we make sure the first million are a screaming success, and that we accelerate to 10 million, and 100 million soon?Rocky Mountain Institute believes the solution lies with preparing our cities and communities, and we recently launched Project Get Ready to speed up the transition.

Getting ready for plug-ins isn't going to be a massive overhaul, but it does require some planning, and targeted shifts in several important sectors. Examples include changing electrical code to allow for charging spots, creating special electricity pricing for plug-ins, and teaching citizens what to expect from a plugged-in lifestyle.

Specifically, Project Get Ready will:

1. Create a dynamic "menu" of strategic actions that city and regional leaders can take to be a plug-in pioneer.
We are launching that menu this week at

We're calling it a "menu" because each community will be different. The menu allows you to pick your favorite items and order-without-any-mayonnaise (metaphorically speaking) if that's what suits your community best.

2. Provide a web database of all national (and some international) plug-in readiness activities.

This is also available at the website, and it's also dynamic. We're hoping people send us their success stories to build on our base of examples as the plug-in transformation gets underway over the coming months and years.

3. Work one-on-one with at least 3 cities on creating their coalitions and charters. We're starting with Raleigh and the Triangle in North Carolina, Indianapolis region in Indiana, and Portland, Oregon.

4. Quickly expand to at least 20 communities in our network. We will convene these communities, as well as technical players regularly to discuss their lessons learned and best practices, and report these conversations on our website.

5. Document the progress made by participant cities in order to help quantify future demand.
We will give automakers and other technology providers a portal that shows them where people are passionate and committed for early vehicles, how many vehicles they want to buy, and who to contact in each community.

We are seeking partner cities, technical advisers, and (of course) funding to endow the project for years to come. Please get in touch by visiting and leaving a comment, or e-mailing

From our partner cities, we're asking three things (visit our site to learn more): convene a meeting of the many affected stakeholders in your area, create a local readiness charter--your five-year plan, share this plan on our website, and participate in discussions with other cities about successes and failures.

Communities and cities have taken the lead again and again in regards to climate change and the green economy in America, and the plug-in transformation will be no exception.

By: Rocky Mountain Institute, Laura Schewel

More TreeHugger posts on getting ready for the plug-in revolution.
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