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What Makes A Town Electric Car Friendly? We Find Out

 
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2012 Mitsubishi i

2012 Mitsubishi i

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It’s no secret that some parts of the U.S are more electric-car friendly than others, but what makes a certain town a better place to own an electric car than others?

According to the Electric Drive Transportation Association (EDTA), four places across the U.S. are much more electric car friendly than the rest of the nation. Each, it claims, have encouraged electric car ownership with a combination of generous incentives and positive legislation. 

Here’s more about each of EDTA's nominated electric car city in turn, along with tips for cities that want to encourage more electric car adoption.

Austin, Texas

Although Austin has had a strong electric car community for many years, it has been singled out by the EDTA for being an exemplary city for electric car adoption as a consequence of its electric car charging station network. 

Unlike most electric car charging networks, which are most likely fueled by a mix of electricity from renewable and non-renewable sources, Austin Energy offers electric car customers the chance to use 100 percent renewable energy to recharge their cars.

Sign indicating public electric-vehicle charging station

Sign indicating public electric-vehicle charging station

Available at home and at public charging stations, this means electric car drivers don’t have to worry about any pollution generated as a consequence of charging their car. 

Normal, Illinois

Home to Mitsubishi’s early i electric car test fleet, the town of Normal has been dubbed EVTown by both the local community and Mitsubishi. 

Thanks to a coalition of business officials, government representatives and other interested parties, Normal has one of the highest concentrations of electric cars in its area, not to mention a healthy electric car charging network. 

Mercer Island, Washington

Situated in the middle of Lake Washington, the city of Mercer Island and its 23,000 inhabitants are literally surrounded by the beauty of natural world.

It’s no surprise then that Mercer Island’s Green Ribbon Commission Carbon Challenge encourages residents to consider environmentally friendly practices to help protect the natural world around them. 

As part of this, the city actively promotes the use of electric cars and fuel efficient cars, and has streamlined the permit procedures required to obtain an electric car charging station at home. 

ECOtality's Washington EV Charging Network

ECOtality's Washington EV Charging Network

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As a consequence, more residents are considering the purchase of electric cars than ever before. 

Los Angeles

According to the EDTA, Antonio Villaraigosa -- Mayor of Los Angeles -- has made such a commitment to the development and adoption of alternative fuel and electric vehicles that the city deserves a mention. 

Highlighted by the EDTA are two incentives ran by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, which include rebates of up to $2,000 for home owners to install electric car charging stations in their homes, and cheaper time-of-use electricity pricing schemes to allow electric car owners to cheaply charge their cars at night time. 

A starting point

In highlighting these four cities as examples of how to encourage the adoption of plug-in vehicles, the EDTA makes its own suggestions as to how cities can make themselves more electric car friendly. 

Aside from recommending incentives such as tax credits or rebates towards the cost of buying a plug-in car, the EDTA recommends cities consider partnering with local utility companies to offer reduced rate electricity for people who charge their cars at home at night. 

2011 Chevrolet Volt 240V charging station

2011 Chevrolet Volt 240V charging station

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It also calls for other incentives, such as access to High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes, fast-track permit applications and reduced parking charges. 

But it doesn’t just recommend policies that will benefit existing or early-adopting electric car owners. 

It also suggests building regulations be changed to allow for easier installation of both public and private charging stations, as well as increased education surrounding the benefits of driving a plug-in vehicle. 

Do you have any other suggestions to make a city more electric car friendly? Do you know a city, district or state that is exemplary in promoting electric cars? 

Let us know in the Comments below. 

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Comments (6)
  1. How about Houston, Texas in relevance to this article's message?
     
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  2. Having Level 2 charging for on-the-go EV drivers and fleets in parking lots will largely not be conducive enough. A network of faster DC charging in central locations will really encourage adoption and create a more convenient and accommodating environment for the users. Building codes and condo units are the next big hurdles. City of Vancouver is making some progress here.
     
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  3. Granted most of the charging infrastructure is due to the various projects going on there but using sheer support numbers, its hard to ignore Portland OR especially when they top the nation in quick charge options
     
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  4. Honolulu has done all of the actions mentioned, and has the highest adoption rate of any of the initial markets for both the Leaf and the Mitsubishi i. Hawaii spent a significant portion of its energy stimulus for EV incentives. Where is the love?
     
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  5. Honolulu and San Diego are glaring omissions. San Diego has the largest fleet of electric Smart cars in their car2go service. No other city has that. San Diego has the largest number of EV's in the nation and is a leading roll out city for all/most of the OEMS.
     
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  6. my suggestion is that Handicapped parking spaces should be doubled in quantity but made available for EV parking as well
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