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USA: March e-News from Plug In America

My wife and I own a Toyota RAV4-EV. Like so many others, we owe a great debt to Doug Korthof who was critical in convincing Toyota to stop crushing them just a few years ago. Doug’s passing is noted below.

It is exciting to see how much has changed; in 2012 automakers have plans to release a dozen new plug-in models. As gas prices rise and the industry grows, we are growing with it; Plug In America is searching for an Executive Director, and we have already heard from several extremely qualified candidates.

With all the new cars on the way, charging infrastructure is growing with it. This month’s newsletter highlights a couple of organizations that Plug In America has worked with as they bring new financial models to EVSEs. We want to continue to ensure that EVSEs are installed in a cost-effective manner; you can help us by participating in our infrastructure survey.

As always, thank you for supporting the work of Plug In America.

Chad Schwitters
Board President

Plug In America is growing!
We are looking for an experienced Executive Director. If you know a qualified candidate, please send our job listing to them. It is currently posted on craigslist.

Welcome to Allison’s EV Revolution

Ten-year-old Allison Ringold first heard about electric cars from her Volt-driving Aunt Amy and Uncle Mark Swain. After going to a Plug In America electric vehicle rally, Allison decided to do some research on the history of electric vehicles. Fascinated by the fact that electric cars have actually been around for over a century, she created a webpage for her school’s National History Day 2012 Project entitled “What Was Old is New Again”.

In the process of researching EV history, she visited the Henry Ford Museum as well as the Benson Ford Research Library in Dearborn, Michigan. Says Allison, “Henry Ford made electric cars in the early 1900’s. His wife Clara liked them because they were quiet and had a nice speed for that time. I thought it would be cool to investigate how long electric cars had been around. EV technology is so interesting because it’s old and yet new.”

I asked Allison what was the most rewarding thing about creating her webpage, and she replied, “Most people are not familiar with electric cars and don’t think about them. But the whole world needs to know about EVs, and I wanted to help.”

Allison’s parents have already installed solar panels on the roof of their Ann Arbor, Michigan home in anticipation of the day the family can plug an electric car into rooftop power. Allison declares, “That solar on the roof of our house makes us different, and I like that!” Adds her Mom, Vicki Ellingrod, “We compost and have also set up garden plots to grow some of our food. An electric car would complete the picture.”

Alison adds, “When I think about electric cars, I remember a kid at school had an asthma attack. It hurt me to see her struggling. Maybe if more people drove electric cars, that wouldn’t happen. I’d like my future car to plug in.”

Allison’s advice: “Spread the word so people know about this. One person can make a difference.”

Hawaii’s Drive to be Electric Vehicle Paradise
Peter Rosegg, Hawaiian Electric Company

On a warm Hawaiian morning in mid-February, a group gathered in the lot of a suburban shopping center to untie a maile lei, the local version of a ribbon cutting. They celebrated the unveiling of a free, fully accessible public EV charge spot, the first in a shopping center.

The charge spot was a triumph for Volta Charging, a local start-up by two recent college grads with the unique plan of financing the installation and free charging by selling space on the charge spot to green-leaning sponsors.

Less than two weeks later, another maile lei untying was different. Better Place – the high-profile international company – dedicated an EV network that will reach 120 charge spots on four islands linked on-line and open to the public with free charging through 2012.

The Better Place network is being installed with support in part from the Hawaii Renewable Energy Development Venture (HREDV), U.S. Department of Energy and an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grant through the Energy Office of the Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism.

These separate but connected events are just the latest, as Hawaii strives to be the model for Electric Vehicle readiness and adoption.

Hawaii‘s special motivation is 90% dependence – some say addiction — on imported oil, almost all from distant, foreign sources, for transportation AND electricity. The State mandates that 40% of electricity sales come from renewables by 2030, along with a 30% efficiency reduction in energy use. This aggressive goal may not be possible without significant adoption of electric vehicles.

An unusual conglomeration is supporting EVs in Hawaii. At the core are Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric and Hawaii Electric Light Company serving Oahu, Maui and Hawaii Island; the state Energy Office and the forward-looking Hawaii Automobile Dealers Association. Other key players are:
•Better Place, which has had a presence in Hawaii since 2008; AeroVironment; Volta and other charge spot promoters;
•Plug-in America with an ARRA grant for EV education and development of guidelines for the installation of public charging infrastructure;
•The nascent Electric Vehicle Association and Maui Electric Vehicle Alliance;
•International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers with its EVSE installation training program;
•Hawaii Energy Policy Forum with its transportation working group; and
•EV developers like Nissan, Mitsubishi, Volt, Tesla, Wheego, and Coda which now (or will soon) have EVs on the ground in Hawaii.

Hawaii has a high level of public interest in EVs (more hand-raisers per capita than any other state, according to Nissan); a growing suite of legislation to promote EV adoption (HOV-lane privileges and free municipal parking, for example); and discount EV charging rates offered by the Hawaiian Electric companies to encourage EV adoption and overnight (off-peak) charging.

Hawaii’s distinct advantages as an EV laboratory include short driving distances and no “out of state” road travel. Over six million visitors a year come to Hawaii and many will rent an EV to try it for a day or a week. Many may return home as early adopters.

Today’s EV revival has challenges. With many multi-family high-rises, installation of private chargers is still a case-by-case trudge for would-be EV buyers. And as a small, remote market (one million-plus residents), Hawaii is struggling to convince manufacturers to commit EV stock to dealers here.

But these hurdles will be no more than speed bumps on the road to EV glory. Hawaii will not be denied its desired role as an electric vehicle paradise.

Hear more from Peter Rosegg in his recent Plug In America podcast.

A Force to be Reckoned With

Plug In America continues to mourn the death of electric vehicle/environmental activist Doug Korthof on February 6th of mesothelioma, a type of deadly lung cancer acquired from asbestos exposure. Though Doug still had wetlands to save, oceans to protect, solar systems to install and electric cars to promote, he leaves behind an enduring legacy of cleaner water, protected wetlands and less-polluted air. His unrelenting work to save electric cars from crushing while promoting their production in the service of fresher air stands as its own monument to a monumental activist.

His death from a deadly air pollutant is all the more ironic given his tireless efforts to ensure less toxic air through electric transportation. According to his wife, Lisa Rosen, Doug understood that the Clean Air Act remains directly tied to the ZEV mandate. And though far from perfect, it is, in fact, still driving automaker production of electric cars.

Adopt a Charger has set up the Doug Korthof Memorial Fund. Please visit if you would like to contribute to the installation and maintenance of public charging stations in Doug’s honor.

Source Plug In America


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