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USA: The great electric car experiment: Texas town is a research project

Residents of a planned Texas community that runs off of a clean energy power smart grid are receiving incentives to purchase electric and hybrid plug-in cars from General Motors. Most resident will receive a Chevy Volt.
A small Texas town located on the site of an abandoned airport made headlines in the New York Times today. Mueller is a master-planned community located just outside of Austin, Texas. It is also very likely the only town in the U.S. that runs on a clean energy smart grid.

General Motors, in partnership with the Federal government, university researchers, and some NGOs is equipping 60 out of 600 homes with electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles. The project is funded by a US$10.4 million Department of Energy grant, and is meant to measure the impact of an influx of electric cars on grid.

Utilities throughout the country are preparing for greater numbers of electric vehicles, and are guaranteed to be very keenly interested in the project’s findings. Federal funds have already been distributed to New York’s ConEdison to study how to support them; although, residents are contributing to the cost too.

There are likely to be critics who will criticize the pilot simply because it is associated with the Obama administration; others might see Mueller as a modern day Potemkin village. The Potemkin village is an historical myth about towns that were allegedly created to impress Russian monarch Empress Catherine II, which supposedly were no more real than a Hollywood movie set.


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