I know I want my next car to be electric, and while I'm waiting, I've noticed that the EV infrastructure is slowly-but-surely popping up all over. My favorite grocery store, the Whole Foods in Darien, CT, already has a plethora of spaces up front ready to charge EVs (they aren't hooked up yet, as the store is pretty new), and in newer parking lots around the tri-state area (New York, New Jersey and Connecticut), I've spotted charging locations or signs designating that they're coming soon.
Which is great, as it doesn't matter how much I WANT an electric car -- if the only place I can charge up is my garage, it's not going to be very practical. But as I've noticed in my drives around town in my (gas-only) vehicle, there is some serious behind-the-scenes infrastructure happening, and today, Ford Motor Company sent out a press release detailing the cities that are most EV-ready. I'm impressed with how quickly the American car company has come up with eco-friendly cars over the years (and without bailout money!) and maybe my next car will be a Ford -- after a driving lifetime of Japanese and European cars.
How did Ford put the list together? "The cities on our list are working with multiple partners including local utilities, auto manufacturers, technology companies and others to support a successful integration of electric vehicles."
Specifically, they looked at:
- advisory committee and utility partnerships
-complementing state and regional activities
-streamlined permitting processes
-utility rate structures that support nighttime charging
-regional/local incentives such as high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes
-preferred parking and tax incentives
Ford's 25 most EV-ready cities alphabetically are:
o Austin, Texas
o Charlotte, N.C.
o Hartford, Conn.
o Los Angeles
o New York
o Orlando, Fla.
o Portland, Ore.
o Raleigh, N.C.
o Richmond, Va.
o Sacramento, Calif.
o San Diego
o San Francisco Bay Area
o Washington, D.C.
Other programs being developed to support electric vehicles include:
· Austin: Alternative-fuel vehicles displaying the proper alternative-fuel license plate are allowed to use the HOV lanes, regardless of the number of passengers
· Honolulu: All public, private and government parking facilities with at least 100 parking spaces must designate at least 1 percent for electric vehicles by Dec. 31, 2011
· Los Angeles: A preferred parking program allows owners of battery electric vehicles to park in designated charging spots throughout California for a $17 application fee
· Orlando: Plan to create unified signage to identify electric vehicle charging stations, which can vary from state to state. Get Ready Central Florida would like to work with the Department of Transportation to develop a national sign to help drivers identify public charging stations
· Houston: A streamlined permit process is already in place, with the local permitting office giving electricians immediate online approval to install chargers as-is or perform necessary upgrades