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Charge Baby Charge

Smart Garage, Project Get Ready and Consumer Demand
By Cam Burns

Strange sounding, perhaps, but these are the names of three concrete and very important initiatives that were spawned at RMI’s Smart Garage Charrette, held October 8–10, 2008, in Portland, Oregon. The problem, our Charrette participants found, is of the "chicken-and-egg" variety—the question being which will come first: the electric car or the charging infrastructure and consumer demand?

Charrette attendees decided to enlist a few willing accomplices to break the chicken-and-egg stymie. Thus, Project Get Ready, Charge, Baby, Charge, and Consumer Demand were born. Their goal: to make sure the first million plug-ins are a smashing success, and accelerate the arrival of the next million. The progress electrified vehicles make in the next five years will dictate long-term success. For this reason, the team is raising money for 2009 to focus on how to increase the number of electrified vehicles on the road by 2015.

"We have great momentum, starting with Project Get Ready, which aims to accelerate the adoption of electrified vehicles in leading communities by providing leaders with the key research and information they need to become plug-in ready," notes Consultant Matt Matilla of RMI's MOVE Team. "Project Get Ready also provides an online presence where partner communities can interact to share solutions to challenges they face. We've already got four communities on board, and will expand to 20 by June."

On the Web site www.projectgetready.com these communities can track their progress against MOVE's recommendations for preparing for plug-in vehicles. Charge, Baby, Charge analyzes the business case for installing charging stations at offices and retailers. Project Consumer Demand seeks to close the knowledge gap surrounding new technologies by designing and launching an educational campaign.

"What proved most surprising was the concept of the Smart Garage is a lot closer to realization than we previously thought," said Laura Schewel, MOVE Team Consultant and manager of the project. "We found there were many misconceptions—including that technology to make all this possible was not available—when in fact the opposite is true."

Cam Burns is RMI's Senior Editor

--Published April 2009

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