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Top 5 Friendly Cities in the USA for Electric Vehicles

Making a New Year’s resolution to go green in 2013? Choosing an electric or hybrid vehicle can take a huge bite out of your carbon footprint. Aside from issues of high price and longevity, there’s another issue for drivers to tackle when making decisions about their next vehicle: will their hometown make it impossible/painful to use?

Infrastructure, mainly in the form of conveniently-located charging stations, is paramount to EV adoption. We’ve got gas stations everywhere we look, but when’s the last time you passed an EV charging station? Exactly.

In 2011, Ford published a list of its picks for the most EV-friendly cities in America. Criteria for scoring well on the list included a utilities structure that allows off-peak charging, reduced red tape for getting EV permits and inspections, incentives for offsetting up-front customer costs, urban plans for charging infrastructure, and EV-friendly city advisory committees.

Most of the cities on the Ford list were major metropolitan areas with plenty of funds to sink into advanced vehicle programs, but it doesn’t take a huge city to be EV-friendly. In a continuation of this theme, the Electric Drive Transportation Association released its own list spotlighting towns doing everything they can to encourage EV adoption. Here’s a sampling of both lists.

Austin, Texas

Austin Energy has created the first charging station network to be powered completely by renewable energy through the GreenChoice program. This program is the first of its kind in the country, and makes good on the true zero-emissions promise of the EV industry.

Normal, Illinois

Mitsubishi Motors, manufacturer of the Mitsubishi battery electric vehicle, has partnered with this Illinois community to create EVTown, an effort driven by a coalition of business officials, government representatives and other interested stakeholders who firmly believe electric vehicles offer tremendous benefits to individual vehicle owners, businesses and the greater community. EVTown aims to provide members of the Normal community with all of the information needed to evaluate available electric vehicle technologies.

Mercer Island, Washington

Mercer Island is promoting the MI Green Ribbon Commission Carbon Challenge, which encourages community members to consider environmentally friendly practices. One component of the challenge encourages the use of electric vehicles and improving fuel efficiency. Additionally, Mercer Island has streamlined the permit process for home charging equipment installation, making it easier for single-family home owners to adopt electric vehicles.
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