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Indianapolis US Largest Electric Car Share | The Energy Collective

Far from high-tech Silicon Valley or hipster Austin, Texas, the largest all-electric car-sharing service is being built.

If your second guess is Portland or Brooklyn, keep guessing…and moving inland. Indianapolis, the nation’s twelfth largest city, will install 1,200 charging stations at about 200 locations to support 500 electric vehicles. The project is expected to be up and running within a year.

Indianapolis is hardly a hotbed of alternative transportation. It does have a bus system, but “we have one of the worst ranked bus services in the country for a city our size,” said Paul Mitchell, president and CEO of Energy Systems Network (ESN), a nonprofit clean technology initiative that is working on the EV project in Indianapolis. It was not one of the twenty-one metro areas chosen by the Department of Energy as part of the EV Project.

The city does have other ties to the burgeoning electric vehicle industry, dating back to General Motor’s EV1. The powertrain for that car was built in Indianapolis. Allison Transmission, which makes electric buses, is based in the city. Mayor Greg Ballard signed an order in December for the entire municipal fleet (except police cruisers) to be electric or plug-in hybrid by 2025.The city’s heavy-duty vehicles will have to convert to CNG, and the city is partnering with automakers to develop a hybrid police car. But Ballard wanted to do more.

The car-sharing service is being envisioned as a type of mass transit for the city of more than 800,000. It suits a Midwestern city that is less dense and less visited than many of its coastal counterparts. Car ownership rates are generally high, but about 10 percent of the population does not own a vehicle, according to Mitchell. More importantly, the city wants to appeal to a generation of young professionals that is less likely to own a car than their parents.



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