Source: Ford Motor Company
While Ford is gearing up to launch the all-new Focus Electric later this year and C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid in 2012, cities around the country also are preparing for the arrival of new electric vehicles. Which cities are doing the most to get local infrastructure ready? Ford has compiled a list of the 25 most electric vehicle-ready cities, based on the company’s latest research and information available on community-generated actions.
“As more and more electric vehicles come to market, it’s incredibly important cities develop action plans including infrastructure development and permitting solutions to ensure these vehicles are a viable solution for citizens,” said Mike Tinskey, manager of Vehicle Electrification and Infrastructure. “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.”
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.
The categories used to determine the cities include advisory committee and utility partnerships, complementing state and regional activities, streamlined permitting processes, utility rate structures that support nighttime charging, and regional/local incentives such as high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes, preferred parking and tax incentives.
“Our electric grid has plenty of capacity to support electric transportation. The key for local utilities is to offer incentives so that EV customers are encouraged to charge during the nighttime hours when plenty of capacity is available,” said Tinskey. “Additionally, at a local level, we are encouraged that many cities are taking an urban planning approach to public charge station locations – which will result in locations that are used more often and an efficient use of investment dollars.”
Ford also took into consideration the specialized approaches some cities are taking to support electric vehicles. For example, Boston, New York City and Philadelphia are looking into opportunities to promote travel between the cities by electric vehicle. Additionally, each city is hiring an electric vehicle policy coordinator to help improve efficiency of the permitting processes.
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
- 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
- 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
“This is a fluid list with many cities ramping up their efforts to prepare for electric vehicles,” said Tinskey. “The best cities are learning from others and taking a best practices approach.”