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Bring Plug-Ins to Your Community Soonest: Project Get Ready Tools
Feb 27, 2009 (From the CalCars-News archive)
This posting originally appeared at CalCars-News, our newsletter of breaking CalCars and plug-in hybrid news. View the original posting here.
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We've brought you progress reports on the Rocky Mountain Institute's "Smart Garage" program to accelerate adoption of plug-in cars. Now RMI describes the just-launched Project Get Ready as "an initiative aimed at preparing communities for plug-in vehicles, including full battery electric, plug-in hybrid electric, and converted hybrid or internal combustion vehicles." We've been involved all along -- and again it's as if we've just received massive reinforcements.

PGR's first partners (Portland, Indianapolis area and Raleigh/Triangle), the involvement of automakers (Ford, GM and Nissan) and consumer-focused companies (Procter & Gamble and Walmart), and its technical advisory group (see below), all confirm how broadly gathering around what RMI calls "xEVs" -- PHEVs and EVs. We encourage you to go to the website to learn more and to forward this message to active people around the country and the world.

"STRETCH GOAL:" 2% BY 2015: Recall that the Obama Administration aims for ONE MILLION PLUG-IN VEHCLES BY 2015. This program's optimistic upside would bring us about SIX MILLION. It aims to enlist 20 cities/regions in the near-term to start creating the breakthrough actions, partnerships and incentives that we've seen the San Francisco Bay Area pioneering. (There will be NO LOSERS if we get a 20-player race!)

BELOW YOU'LL FIND: brief description, list of advisors, launch press release, and Top 15 Actions for Community Leaders -- in business, government, civic groups, education and beyond.

TOOLS: includes an innovative interface to its information: a quick-answer database where you click on a "pain point" (problem/obstacle), primary actor, or general strategy or action and get a list of "readiness activities" people are working on -- "as well as some clever ideas that no one has yet implemented." You can also view or download the database of responses as a spreadsheet. IT'S ALL OPEN SOURCE.

ACTIONS: Those who visit the site are invited to get involved: 1. Send ideas 2. Become a technical adviser 3. Become a sponsor -- and, of course, 4.Recruit a team in your city.

ADVISOR LIST (RMI notes "Technical advisors have participated in the conversations that informed the Project Get Ready menu. They do not endorse RMI or the findings of the menu." Most of them attended the "design charrette" in Portland that we reported in on CalCars-News last October.

A123 Systems • AeroVironment Inc. • Austin Energy • Bonneville Power Administration • Bright Automotive • Calcars • Coulomb Technologies • Duke Energy • EDS (an HP company) • Electric Power Research Institute • Ford • General Motors* Google • Gridpoint • Hymotion • Johnson Controls • Nissan • National Renewable Energy Lab • Procter & Gamble • Pacific Gas & Electric • Portland Gas & Electric • Plug in America • Portland State University • Progress Energy • Project Better Place • San Diego Gas & Electric • University of California at Berkeley • Walmart

PRESS RELEASE: Rocky Mountain Institute’s Project Get Ready prepares the nation for the electric vehicle transition with 20 pioneering cities.­news/­project-get-ready-launch-press-release-february-24

Ready, Set, GO! RMI’s Mobility and Vehicle Efficiency Team (MOVE) to collaborate with cities and technical experts to create a prioritized menu of strategies that will encourage adoption of plug-in vehicles. Check out for our menu and more information.

Snowmass CO, February 24, 2009 -- Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) today announced the launch of Project Get Ready, an initiative that emerged from October’s Smart Garage Summit (see­smart-garage.html for more) and aims to help communities prepare for and welcome plug-in vehicles including full battery electric, plug-in hybrid electric, and converted hybrid or internal combustion vehicles. Today they launch the initiative, including the website and a “menu” listing the actions that communities must take to be truly ready for the plug-in transition.

Many communities are working to accelerate the adoption of plug-in vehicles. These pioneering communities do not yet have a way to share best practices and lessons learned. Moreover, automakers have no way to find all the places that are working to get ready for plug-in vehicles, and evaluate their progress and consumer interest. This missing connection has been cited by automakers as a critical barrier to committing to higher plug-in vehicle production.

Project Get Ready will collaborate with targeted communities that have started convening local players to develop and implement plug-in adoption plans, utilizing RMI’s universally recognized convening power, as well as detailed technical analysis.

Community members in Portland, Oregon; Indianapolis, Indiana; and Raleigh, North Carolina soon expanding to the Triangle region have already agreed to work with RMI’s Project Get Ready. Project manager and MOVE Consultant Laura Schewel says, “These pioneering communities represent widely different locations, demographics, economies and cultures, proving that plug-in vehicles will be an important transformation across the nation.”

Schewel continued, “plug-in vehicles are a revolution for the consumer and will transform the way we move from place to place, and the way we think about using energy. But each community is unique--they have different commuting patterns, parking concerns, demographics, local businesses, and cultures. Instead of battling this diversity, Project Get Ready welcomes it, allowing communities to get ready in their own way. I think this approach will lead to a faster and better arrival for plug-in vehicles and I am thrilled to have Portland, Indianapolis, and Raleigh in the conversation. With this project, we can help get the nation to President Obama’s goal of 1 million plug-ins by 2015…and maybe even beat it.”

Paul Mitchell, of the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership, highlighted the economic development opportunity xEV’s offer, saying, “We see the creation of an xEV ecosystem as an economic development opportunity. Not only can we deliver a more efficient transportation solution but our workforce can develop and manufacture the vehicle and smartgrid technologies needed to make the system work.”

Pete Barkey of General Motors highlighted the need for public-private partnership to introduce and promote plug-in vehicles, saying, “cars don’t necessarily sell themselves, especially with new, unfamiliar and often expensive technology. Our best chance of successfully making the transition from gasoline-powered vehicles to electrically-driven vehicles is to work with communities to help them become plug-in vehicle friendly. Organizations like Rocky Mountain Institute are helping to create a roadmap for regions around the country to become “plug-in ready.”

Mayor Charles Meeker of the City of Raleigh said that, “The Triangle area is proud to be the leader on the East Coast in preparing for the plug-in electric and hybrid-electric revolution. We are delighted to be partnering with Progress Energy, Advanced Energy and Rocky Mountain Institute to make Project Get Ready happen here. Project Get Ready is in harmony with the City of Raleigh’s mission statement. It focuses on 21st century environmental, cultural, and economic sustainability.”

We think widespread adoption of electric vehicles can strengthen our industry, address climate change, and reduce our dependence on foreign oil,” said Joe Barra, director of customer energy resources for Portland General Electric. “PGE is teaming up with business customers, the state of Oregon, auto manufacturers, and local governments to help develop industry standards and install and test charging stations, and we’re enthusiastic about the work the Rocky Mountain Institute is doing to help utilities and cities around the country coordinate their efforts and learn from one another’s experience.”

ACTIONS: For Project Get Ready, RMI is specifically:

  • TODAY, launching a dynamic “menu” of strategic actions that city and regional leaders can enact to be a plug-in pioneer, based on input from technical advisers and cities already engaged in implementing plug-ins. In this menu, RMI will analyze the “business case” for each action from the perspective of several key stakeholders (city gov’t, employers, consumers, etc.). The top 15 are listed at the end of this release.
  • TODAY, launching a web database of all national (and some international) plug-in readiness activities.
  • Work one-on-one with at least three cities on creating their readiness coalitions and charters. Portland, Indianapolis Area, and Raleigh/Triangle will be the first three.
  • Convene at least 20 cities as well as technical players regularly to discuss their lessons learned and best practices, and report these conversations on our website and materials. Some of our partner cities will have their own plans underway, others will be starting from the ground up.
  • Provide a benchmark that will allow cities/regions to “prove” that they are ready for mass adoption of PHEVs/EVs, and have taken meaningful steps to support this critical green technology (this may take the form of a seal of approval or certification like the LEED system that gauges readiness).
  • Document the progress made by participant cities in order to help quantify future demand and make it more transparent to industry (how much, where, and what type of support to expect) for PHEVs/EVs.

RMI’s MOVE team is currently in the process of selecting more participant cities that seek to lead the charge toward the electric revolution. The project will be entirely open to the public, and can be followed by the initiative’s website at

ABOUT RMI: Rocky Mountain Institute is an independent, nonpartisan, entrepreneurial, nonprofit “think-and-do tank.” It fosters the efficient and restorative use of resources to make the world secure, just, profitable, and life-sustaining. For more information, visit [(More about RMI: it's also known as the organization founded by visionary/physicist Amory Lovins. He and RMI originated and have broadly promulgated concepts like the soft energy path, elegant frugality, natural capitalism, the negawatt, tunneling through the cost barrier, abundance by design, and so many others.You may recall that RMI spinoff Hypercar co-sponsored the CalCars founding meeting in 2002 -- see photo at our "About" page).


15 “Must Have” Actions* Suggested stretch target: 2% of registered vehicles by the end of 2015.

Barrier: Not enough cars in the pipeline, OEMs need proof of future consumer demand

  1. Corporate/city/state fleets commit to buy a certain number of plug-ins (RFPs for major purchases or conversions).
  2. Stakeholder group provides a place for interested consumers/fleets to register early, and put cash down to reserve plug-ins (cash used for readiness where possible).

Barrier: How can we manage this as a multi-sector, city-wide project?

  1. Create collaborative stakeholder group within the community to help regulatory, commercial, and community interests align. Sign on to a clear regional plan (based on this menu!). Plan should give equal consideration to conversions.
  2. Have one “champion” whose job it is to keep this group moving forward, who has authority

Barrier: How can we bring down upfront costs for consumers?

  1. Work with banks and dealers to offer low-interest loans for plug-ins, based on projected lower operating costs from gas savings.
  2. Bundle all key incentives at vehicle point of purchase (home charger vouchers, rebates, etc.)

Barrier: Consumer hesitation at diving into a new paradigm for mobility

  1. Perks: access to High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes, free tolls/downtown parking, reserved airport parking.
  2. Create consumer, city government, local business and utility education plans including test drives and “quick lease” options to individual and fleet consumers as well as high profile drivers.
  3. Reduced (or free) electricity rates for charging.

Barrier: Red tape around infrastructure installation

  1. Fast-track permitting for charging stations.
  2. Ensure new and reconstruction/renovation building codes support the operation of plug-ins.

Barrier: What if these cars exacerbate my peak load?

  1. Tie provisions of free home and public charge spots, as well as free or cheaper electricity, to either utility override power or “no charge” times.

Barrier: Who will pay for infrastructure?

  1. Local employers/retailers provide some charge stations at parking decks.
  2. Install public charge spots in high-traffic zones and parking areas, either with public money (via utility or gov't for the first 2% of vehicles) or private money that uses the stations to market.
  3. Provide affordable and available--or free--Level 2 home-charger/driveway circuit installation.

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