Here is a novel, albeit vague, idea. Project Get Ready is a community organizer, so to speak, helping reach President’s Obama’s goal of 1 million plug-in cars by 2015. Community members in Portland, Oregon; Indianapolis, Indiana (my state); and Raleigh, North Carolina have already agreed to work with Rocky Mountain Institute’s Project Get Ready. Basically, this project is creating community activism in selected areas that will help organize dealerships, charging stations, manufacturers, local government, and motorists for electric vehicles. Hopefully, through this program we can overcome the barriers (see below) that have slowed the proliferation of electric cars. So go to the Project Get Ready site and see what you can do. I know I will; because I am pleased to see my state as a major player in this endeavor.
Rocky Mountain Institute’s Project Get Ready prepares the nation for the electric vehicle transition with 20 pioneering cities.
Ready, Set, GO! RMI’s Mobility and Vehicle Efficiency Team (MOVE) to collaborate with cities and technical experts to create a prioritized menu of strategies that will encourage adoption of plug-in vehicles. Check out www.projectgetready.com for our menu and more information.
Snowmass CO, February 24, 2009 – Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) today announced the launch of Project Get Ready, an initiative that emerged from October’s Smart Garage Summit (see http://move.rmi.org/smart-garage.html for more) and aims to help communities prepare for and welcome plug-in vehicles including full battery electric, plug-in hybrid electric, and converted hybrid or internal combustion vehicles. Today they launch the initiative, including the website (www.projectgetready.com) and a “menu” listing the actions that communities must take to be truly ready for the plug-in transition.
Many communities are working to accelerate the adoption of plug-in vehicles. These pioneering communities do not yet have a way to share best practices and lessons learned. Moreover, automakers have no way to find all the places that are working to get ready for plug-in vehicles, and evaluate their progress and consumer interest. This missing connection has been cited by automakers as a critical barrier to committing to higher plug-in vehicle production.
Project Get Ready will collaborate with targeted communities that have started convening local players to develop and implement plug-in adoption plans, utilizing RMI’s universally recognized convening power, as well as detailed technical analysis.
Community members in Portland, Oregon; Indianapolis, Indiana; and Raleigh, North Carolina soon expanding to the Triangle region have already agreed to work with RMI’s Project Get Ready. Project manager and MOVE Consultant Laura Schewel says, “These pioneering communities represent widely different locations, demographics, economies and cultures, proving that plug-in vehicles will be an important transformation across the nation.”
Schewel continued, “plug-in vehicles are a revolution for the consumer and will transform the way we move from place to place, and the way we think about using energy. But each community is unique-they have different commuting patterns, parking concerns, demographics, local businesses, and cultures. Instead of battling this diversity, Project Get Ready welcomes it, allowing communities to get ready in their own way. I think this approach will lead to a faster and better arrival for plug-in vehicles and I am thrilled to have Portland, Indianapolis, and Raleigh in the conversation. With this project, we can help get the nation to President Obama’s goal of 1 million plug-ins by 2015…and maybe even beat it.”
Paul Mitchell, of the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership, highlighted the economic development opportunity xEV’s offer, saying, “We see the creation of an xEV ecosystem as an economic development opportunity. Not only can we deliver a more efficient transportation solution but our workforce can develop and manufacture the vehicle and smartgrid technologies needed to make the system work.”
Pete Barkey of General Motors highlighted the need for public-private partnership to introduce and promote plug-in vehicles, saying, “cars don’t necessarily sell themselves, especially with new, unfamiliar and often expensive technology. Our best chance of successfully making the transition from gasoline-powered vehicles to electrically-driven vehicles is to work with communities to help them become plug-in vehicle friendly. Organizations like Rocky Mountain Institute are helping to create a roadmap for regions around the country to become “plug-in ready.”
Mayor Charles Meeker of the City of Raleigh said that, “The Triangle area is proud to be the leader on the East Coast in preparing for the plug-in electric and hybrid-electric revolution. We are delighted to be partnering with Progress Energy, Advanced Energy and Rocky Mountain Institute to make Project Get Ready happen here. Project Get Ready is in harmony with the City of Raleigh’s mission statement. It focuses on 21st century environmental, cultural, and economic sustainability.”
We think widespread adoption of electric vehicles can strengthen our industry, address climate change, and reduce our dependence on foreign oil,” said Joe Barra, director of customer energy resources for Portland General Electric. “PGE is teaming up with business customers, the state of Oregon, auto manufacturers, and local governments to help develop industry standards and install and test charging stations, and we’re enthusiastic about the work the Rocky Mountain Institute is doing to help utilities and cities around the country coordinate their efforts and learn from one another’s experience.”
For Project Get Ready, RMI is specifically:
• TODAY, launching a dynamic “menu” of strategic actions that city and regional leaders can enact to be a plug-in pioneer, based on input from technical advisers and cities already engaged in implementing plug-ins. In this menu, RMI will analyze the “business case” for each action from the perspective of several key stakeholders (city gov’t, employers, consumers, etc.). The top 15 are listed at the end of this release.
• TODAY, launching a web database of all national (and some international) plug-in readiness activities.
• Work one-on-one with at least three cities on creating their readiness coalitions and charters. Portland, Indianapolis Area, and Raleigh/Triangle will be the first three.
• Convene at least 20 cities as well as technical players regularly to discuss their lessons learned and best practices, and report these conversations on our website and materials. Some of our partner cities will have their own plans underway, others will be starting from the ground up.
• Provide a benchmark that will allow cities/regions to “prove” that they are ready for mass adoption of PHEVs/EVs, and have taken meaningful steps to support this critical green technology (this may take the form of a seal of approval or certification like the LEED system that gauges readiness).
• Document the progress made by participant cities in order to help quantify future demand and make it more transparent to industry (how much, where, and what type of support to expect) for PHEVs/EVs.
RMI’s MOVE team is currently in the process of selecting more participant cities that seek to lead the charge toward the electric revolution. The project will be entirely open to the public, and can be followed by the initiative’s website at www.projectgetready.com
Rocky Mountain Institute is an independent, nonpartisan, entrepreneurial, nonprofit “think-and-do tank.” It fosters the efficient and restorative use of resources to make the world secure, just, profitable, and life-sustaining. For more information, visit www.move.rmi.org.
TOP 15 ACTIONS FOR COMMUNITY LEADERS-IN BUSINESS, GOVERNMENT, CIVIC GROUPS, EDUCATION, AND BEYOND-TO TAKE TO BE PLUG-IN READY
For more, visit projectgetready.com
15 “Must Have” Actions*
Suggested stretch target: 2% of registered vehicles by the end of 2015.
Barrier: Not enough cars in the pipeline, OEMs need proof of future consumer demand
1. Corporate/city/state fleets commit to buy a certain number of plug-ins (RFPs for major purchases or conversions).
2. Stakeholder group provides a place for interested consumers/fleets to register early, and put cash down to reserve plug-ins (cash used for readiness where possible).
Barrier: How can we manage this as a multi-sector, city-wide project?
3. Create collaborative stakeholder group within the community to help regulatory, commercial, and community interests align. Sign on to a clear regional plan (based on this menu!). Plan should give equal consideration to conversions.
4. Have one “champion” whose job it is to keep this group moving forward, who has authority
Barrier: How can we bring down upfront costs for consumers?
5. Work with banks and dealers to offer low-interest loans for plug-ins, based on projected lower operating costs from gas savings.
6. Bundle all key incentives at vehicle point of purchase (home charger vouchers, rebates, etc.)
Barrier: Consumer hesitation at diving into a new paradigm for mobility
7. Perks: access to HOV lanes, free tolls/downtown parking, reserved airport parking.
8. Create consumer, city government, local business and utility education plans including test drives and “quick lease” options to individual and fleet consumers as well as high profile drivers.
9. Reduced (or free) electricity rates for charging.
Barrier: Red tape around infrastructure installation
10. Fast-track permitting for charging stations.
11. Ensure new and reconstruction/renovation building codes support the operation of plug-ins.
Barrier: What if these cars exacerbate my peak load?
12. Tie provisions of free home and public charge spots, as well as free or cheaper electricity, to either utility override power or “no charge” times.
Barrier: Who will pay for infrastructure?
13. Local employers/retailers provide some charge stations at parking decks.
14. Install public charge spots in high-traffic zones and parking areas, either with public money (via utility or gov’t for the first 2% of vehicles) or private money that uses the stations to market.
15. Provide affordable and available-or free-Level 2 home-charger/driveway circuit installation.
A little over a month ago I wrote about Shai Agassi and his Better Place plan. And wow, does he work fast. Better place has added Oregon, Monaco, Australia, and California to its list of areas willing to build an Renault-Nissan electric vehicle charging infrastructure. This will include widely deployed charging spots, but will be centered around battery exchange stations, that will only take minutes to mechanically replace an electric car battery.
So much has happened in this past month for Better Place, I think it would be easier to give a bullet point rundown of the major events.
- California Bay area announces electric car charging infrastructure of Better Place battery exchange stations.
- Australia announces Plan to Build Better Place EV infrastructure.
- CEO of Nissan-Renault, announces plan to develop electric cars and an electric car charging network with the State of Oregon.
- Nissan-Renault announces plan to build EV charging infrastructure for Monaco (the country is less than a square mile).
In a possibly related note, Mitsubishi announced it will be partnering with Oregon and California to bring electric cars to those states, most notably the Mitsubishi iMiev. However, no announcement has been made on how or if this has anything to do with Better Place’s plan to build battery changing stations in those states. If the iMiev’s batteries can be changed at the stations like the Renault-Nissans, this would be beneficial to both parties. Here is the homepage for Better Place, its got a lot of neat stuff, including its own Better Place social network. I’ll have to join.
Better Place’s Latest Press Release:
Thursday, 20 Nov 2008
21st Century Initiative in California Defines Roadmap for Sustainable Transportation, Green Job Growth and Opportunity to Reinvigorate Region’s Competitive Advantage
Better Place Announces Support of California Governor’s and SF Bay Area Mayors’ Commitments to Build Sustainable Transportation Infrastructure
San Francisco, Calif. (Nov 20, 2008) — At a press conference held in San Francisco City Hall, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, along with the Mayors of San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland, joined together with the Bay Area Council, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, and Better Place of Palo Alto to announce a sweeping plan to reinvigorate the state and region’s competitive advantage in innovative technology through public-private investments in electric vehicles and other elements of “green” infrastructure. This new approach challenges conventional assumptions that economic and environmental recovery are at odds with each other, and aligns them, instead.
The group defined a vision for encouraging investment in green infrastructure as a means for boosting the state’s competitive advantage while reducing its dependence on oil for transportation and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The group believes that the move to a sustainable mobility model of electric vehicles fueled by renewable energy, beginning in the Bay area, will serve as an economic and environmental stimulus blueprint for the entire country, particularly the nation’s lagging automotive sector.
“California is already a world leader in fighting global warming and promoting renewable energy,” said Governor Schwarzenegger. “This type of public-private partnership is exactly what I envisioned when we created the first ever low carbon fuel standard and when the state enacted the zero emissions vehicle program. This partnership is proof that by working together, we can achieve our goals of creating a healthier planet while boosting our economy at the same time.”
“Creating an energy-independent economy is our generation’s moon-shot,” said Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Venture Partner and Senior Advisor, VantagePoint Venture Partners. “For too long we’ve believed that economy and environment stood at odds with each other. By coming together in this time of turmoil to build a clean transportation infrastructure, this generation will fuel the economic and environmental prosperity of generations to come.”
“Transportation accounts for about 40% of California’s greenhouse gas emissions, and is globally forecast to consume over half of all oil in the coming decades,” said Dan Kammen, Director, Transportation Sustainability Research Center, University of California, Berkeley. “This kind of public-private partnership is exactly what we need to create new jobs building a clean energy infrastructure, and contribute to economic and environmental recovery locally and globally. This initiative will help to put the Bay Area in the forefront of developing the science, engineering, and public policy innovations that simultaneously reduce greenhouse gas emissions and lead us to the next economic boom – the clean energy century. With the approach of the COP15 climate summit next year, this initiative can have truly global impact.”
The Bay Area will serve as the first region of California to make the switch from carbon-based transportation to sustainable mobility.
At today’s ceremony, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed and Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums announced a series of policy initiatives for transforming the Bay Area into the “EV Capital of the US.” Mayors Newsom, Reed and Dellums jointly announced today that they would begin in December to work with the region’s cities, municipalities, regional governmental organizations and private sector partners to help shape the region’s economic and environmental future around sustainable mobility. (See separate release, “Bay Area Mayors Announce Partnership to Make Region the Electric Vehicle Capital of the US” issued by the Offices of Mayor Newsom, Mayor Dellums and Mayor Reed for more information.)
In conjunction with the news, Better Place, the world’s leading sustainability mobility operator, announced that it would enter the US market with California as its first state, beginning in the Bay Area. Better Place will work a similar infrastructure investment model as it has in Israel, Denmark and Australia. Network planning and permitting will begin in January 2009 with infrastructure deployment beginning in 2010.
Mass market availability of electric cars is targeted for 2012, and Better Place estimates the network investment in the Bay Area will total $1 billion when the system is fully deployed. The Better Place model is an open network model built on industry standards, allowing for fixed battery and battery exchange electric vehicles to operate on the network.
“At Better Place, we believe that the systemic issues facing our country today – climate change, economic downturn and the ongoing geopolitical struggle between energy rich and energy poor nations – all tie back to our addiction to oil,” said Shai Agassi, Founder and CEO, Better Place. “We believe the successful solution includes a confluence of leadership involving California’s strength in technology and innovation coupled with Michigan’s automotive manufacturing might, with the right policy and national project leadership from Washington. We are grateful for the support from Governor Schwarzenegger, whose policies have enabled this ‘blue ocean’ opportunity. If we tackle these issues through an integrated approach among cities, states and nations, the world wins.”
Also today, the region’s two largest associations – the Bay Area Council and Silicon Valley Leadership Group – announced their commitment to accelerating the change from a carbon-based economy to a low carbon economy. Both groups committed to working with their memberships to accelerate action on climate change and view the move to sustainable transportation as a critical first step.
“The green technology industry is going to boom, and it is our job is to ensure it booms here, in the Bay Area and California,” said Jim Wunderman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Bay Area Council. “We have the venture capital, we have the research universities, we have management talent, and, perhaps most importantly, we have the visionary elected leaders gathered here today to clear the field for green tech companies, like Better Place, with progressive public policy.”
“As one of the region’s leading business associations, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group is strongly committed to accelerating action on climate change and we view the move to sustainable transportation as a critical step forward for the region. As part of our commitment, the Leadership Group will continue to help accelerate commercialization of EV technology and leading-edge member companies such as Akeena Solar will continue to develop affordable solar energy solutions to meet the growing demand for clean energy,” said Barry Cinnamon, Board Member, Silicon Valley Leadership Group. “Increasing the number of electric vehicles and the use of clean energy are two of the 10 action areas in our Bay Area Climate Change Compact, which we have developed in partnership with the 3 Mayors here today as well as the four regional agencies — ABAG, BAAQMD BCDC, and MTC. We look forward to continuing our work to develop solutions to the climate crisis with our many public and private sector partners across the Bay Area.”
“We must invest in the future — now. And Better Place and its role in establishing and building the EV infrastructure necessary to transform the automotive industry and embrace 21st century technology is the best kind of investment we can make,” said Alan Salzman, CEO and Managing Partner, VantagePoint Venture Partners. “As a global leader in CleanTech investing, VantagePoint Venture Partners is dedicated to working with innovative entrepreneurial companies like Better Place and has committed the resources of our Firm, our network, and our partners so that Californians and others can benefit from a re-energized, electric auto industry.”
“While we expect oil prices to remain low in the short term, we believe this environment creates an even more profitable window of opportunity over the long term to invest in green infrastructure projects like Better Place before oil returns to historic highs,” said Idan Ofer, Chairman of Better Place and Chairman of Israel Corp., which has a joint venture with Chinese automobile manufacturer, Chery Corp. “We fundamentally believe that the entire auto industry will switch to electric cars when the environmental cost of producing polluting gas cars has an even greater impact on their bottom line.”
California now joins Israel, Denmark and Australia as the world’s leaders in seeking to reduce their dependence on oil.
About Better Place:
Better Place is a mobility operator that aims to reduce oil dependence by delivering personal transportation as a sustainable service. Launched in 2007 with $200 million of venture funding, the company builds electric-vehicle networks powered by renewable energy to give consumers an affordable, sustainable alternative for personal mobility. Better Place is working with partners to build its first standards-based networks in Israel and Denmark. Better Place will activate networks on a country-by-country basis with initial deployments beginning in 2010.