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USA: MG&E electric vehicles event draws attention of buyers from Middleton government

MIDDLETON — The most efficient midsize car on the market today is the Nissan Leaf, which gets 100 miles per 34 kilowatt hours and was parked next to a parking-meter-sized electrical outlet in the lot behind the library Wednesday afternoon.

The $38,000 Leaf joined a select pool of electric vehicles — the Chevy Volt, the Toyota Prius — herded by Madison Gas & Electric to the lot off Terrace Avenue where the utility celebrated the installation of its 26th car plug-in with a gathering of suppliers: for every car there Wednesday, a dealership representative.

That did not deter Abby Attoun, who came with $42,000 burning a hole in the city of Middleton’s pocket and was thus a point of attention for Dale Ingebrigtsen of Zimbrick.

Attoun is the assistant director of community development for Middleton, which has set aside that sum to buy an electric car. Attoun, Ingebrigtsen and a city engineering technician and skeptic, Shawn Ulsrud, seized the chance to do a little horsepower-trading.

Laura Williams, the market development manager for MG&E, was working the point, though not to the point of insisting that electric cars are a cultural movement, yet. She was all facts: The power company’s charging stations are mostly for “topping off” electric cars’ power units. EVs (as the vehicles are known) have a long way to go (surely, more than their 100-mile limit for recharging) before they become a familiar sight even in Madison.

For the utility’s stations, there are 90 “unique users,” said Williams. She was optimistic that the pool would deepen, however. In 2009 there were six stations; now there are 26, and those stations are assembling data on More madison.com

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