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Project Get Ready Sweeping the Nation

Providence and Orlando latest cities to join
By Rebecca Cole

Momentum around Project Get Ready, an offshoot of RMI’s Smart Garage, is steadily growing as more communities realize the power of becoming plug-in pioneers.

Last month, Rhode Island became the first Project Get Ready state and Providence the first community in the northeast to pioneer the adoption of efficient, low-carbon vehicles. Just two weeks later, Orlando, Fla., came on board. Orlando’s “Get Ready Central Florida” coalition has already established four subcommittees that are working toward vehicle electrification.

The new communities join several others across the country in Project Get Ready, which hopes to eventually have a total of 20 cities involved.

(Click for an interactive map of all active and partner PGR cities)

 

Rhode Island

With its high population density and small size, Rhode Island will become the New England proving ground for the electric vehicle. The state has set an ambitious target to get 10,000 plug-in electric cars on the road by 2015, which would represent 2 percent of the state’s registered vehicles.

“The key to this effort is the diverse partnership,” said Al Dahlberg, coordinator of Project Get Ready Rhode Island. “Let’s seize this opportunity to make Rhode Island a leader in green transportation, decrease transportation costs, and reduce emissions by getting 10,000 plug-in electric vehicles on the roads within five years.”

Orlando

The city of Orlando is working with Nissan North America to launch the Zero Emission Mobility Project, an initiative to promote the development of electric-vehicle infrastructure and the adoption of electric cars. Orlando is one of the first markets in the world where the Nissan LEAF will be available when it goes on sale later this year.

Two PGR Cities in Top Ten “EV-Ready Index”

In January, electric carmaker THINK released the EV-Ready Cities Index to measure which markets are most likely to begin and benefit from the transition to electric vehicles. Two PGR cities, Portland, Ore., and Denver, were in the top ten.

A total of 12 communities and more than two dozen governmental and private business partners have joined Denver in its efforts to get ready for electric vehicles. The City and County of Denver has selected nearly 100 sites around the city at which public charging units could be installed, and is budgeting electric vehicle charge points throughout the city.

In November, Portland hosted one of the first events to set the stage for the rollout and testing of citywide electric vehicle adoption. The city also announced a $100-million grant (from the U.S. Department of Energy) to be partly used for collecting and analyzing data recorded by the vehicles and charging stations. By next summer, the Portland coalition expects to begin installing up to 2,240 stations for recharging electric car batteries.

The Project Get Ready Jumpstart

PGR provides a benchmark for cities to prove that they are ready for mass adoption of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and electric vehicles. Here’s how:

  • Based on input from technical advisers and cities already engaged in implementing vehicle electrification, PGR offers a dynamic web-based “menu” of strategic actions that city and regional leaders can adopt to become a plug-in pioneers.
  • RMI regularly convenes PGR cities and technical players to discuss the lessons learned and best practices, and reports the details on projectgetready.com. Some partner cities have their own plans underway, while others are starting from scratch.
  • Documenting the progress made by participant cities helps quantify future demand and ensures that PHEV and EV demand is transparent to the industry.

How Can Your City Become a Plug-in Pioneer?

Being a pioneer in the green mobility revolution of plug-in vehicles requires change from a wide variety of interwoven players:

Get Ready - Form a coalition of leaders in your community, including (but not limited to) utilities, municipal government, citizen activists, auto dealers, transportation authorities, and local employers.

Get Set - Create a charter, or five-year plan, for your city readiness with clear goals and milestones. Get coalition members to sign on and commit the necessary time and funds to make it happen. Project Get Ready offers a foundation for this charter.

Go - Start executing!

 

Rebecca Cole is RMI’s Online Editor.

--Published February 2010