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USA: Commentary: Indy mayor says electric vehicle program will change city

INDIANAPOLIS – Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard uses one phrase over and over again to describe how his city will become a showplace for plug-in and hybrid cars and trucks.

Commentary button in JPG – no shadow“It’s a game changer,” the second-term Republican mayor says of his decision to convert much of Indiana’s largest city’s fleet to non-oil-based vehicles.

By “game changer,” Ballard means that it will reduce this city’s and this country’s dependence on foreign energy sources. A former Marine who served in the first Gulf War, Ballard does not equivocate when it comes to the consequences of too much dependence on foreign oil.

He says flatly that we’ve sent American service people into combat to defend this country’s access to traditional energy sources. And he wants to reduce – and perhaps even eliminate – the necessity for us to do that.

We’re talking – along with Paul Mitchell of Energy Systems Network and Cole Willis of Indianapolis Power & Light – during the broadcast of my radio show.

Ballard, Mitchell and Willis all make it clear that the revolution in technology has made this change possible. The days when electric cars were underpowered and could drive just about around the block before they ran out of juice are over.

It was to dispel those notions that Ballard chose a Chevy Volt to drive as this year’s Indianapolis 500 Festival car and also took a plug-in hybrid down to Atlanta for the NCAA Final Four.
Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard announced this summer that Bollore Group will bring an electric car-sharing program with 500 vehicles and 1,200 charging stations to the city. Ballard is also converting the city’s fleet to electric vehicles. Photo courtesy of the city of Indianapolis.

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard announced this summer that Bollore Group will bring an electric car-sharing program with 500 vehicles and 1,200 charging stations to the city. Ballard is also converting the city’s fleet to electric vehicles. Photo courtesy of the city of Indianapolis.

“They (plug-ins) drive just like regular cars,” Ballard says. “In some ways, they’re even more powerful.”
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