So, you saw a Volt, Leaf, or Focus Electric and were convinced to go green, but are unsure whether your local municipality is as eco-friendly as you are. Well, Ford has done your homework for you (without even demanding your lunch money in return), and identified the "25 Most Electric Vehicle-Ready Cities" in the US. What makes a metropolis worthy of such status in the eyes of the Blue Oval boys? A utilities structure that allows off-peak charging, for starters, plus reduced red tape for getting your EV permits and inspections, incentives for offsetting up-front customer costs, urban plans for charging infrastructure, and EV-friendly city advisory committees. If your town's lacking in those areas, perhaps it's time to give your city council a ring -- part of being an eco-warrior is political activism, right? PR's after the break.
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Charged up: Ford Pushes for Electric Vehicle-Readiness across the U.S.

Ford is working with cities and utility partners to identify key infrastructure building blocks that will enable metropolitan areas to be EV ready.

Cities across the United States are and can take a variety of steps now to enhance the readiness of their communities for electric vehicle use and customer installation

Ford considers infrastructure development an essential part of making EVs a viable option for consumers as more automotive companies release plug-in vehicles

DEARBORN, Mich., April 13, 2011 – While Ford is gearing up to launch the all-new Focus Electric later this year and C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid in 2012, cities around the country also are preparing for the arrival of new electric vehicles. Some of the key actions Ford has identified in working with cities and utility partners include:

Utility rate structure that encourages "off-peak" or nighttime EV charging to minimize demand on the existing electric grid

Streamlined permitting and inspection process to support customer and commercial EV infrastructure installation

Integrated advisory committees that include participation from electric utilities, vehicle manufacturers and dealers, municipalities, EV customers and local coalitions

Urban planning approach to optimize public/commercial EV charge locations

Infrastructure incentives to offset a portion of customer costs for hardware/installation

"As more and more electric vehicles come to market, it's incredibly important that cities develop action plans including infrastructure development and permitting solutions to ensure these vehicles are a viable solution for citizens," said Mike Tinskey, Ford's manager of Vehicle Electrification and Infrastructure. "Ford continues outreach with cities across the country to spread best practices and work with multiple partners including local utilities, auto manufacturers, technology companies and others to support a successful integration of electric vehicles."

Ford is working with a growing list of metropolitan areas that are stepping up their EV preparations and infrastructure, including:

Atlanta
Hartford, Conn
Raleigh, N.C

Austin, Texas
Honolulu
Richmond, Va.

Baltimore
Houston
Sacramento, Calif.

Boston
Indianapolis
San Diego

Charlotte, N.C.
Los Angeles
San Francisco Bay Area

Chicago
New York
Seattle

Dallas
Orlando, Fla.
Washington, D.C.

Denver
Phoenix

Detroit
Portland, Ore.

"Our electric grid has plenty of capacity to support electric transportation. The key for local utilities is to offer incentives so EV customers are encouraged to charge during the nighttime hours when plenty of capacity is available," said Tinskey. "Additionally, at a local level, we are encouraged many cities are taking an urban planning approach to public charge station locations – which will result in locations that are used more often and an efficient use of investment dollars. The best cities are learning from others and taking a best practices approach."

Ford is also encouraged by specialized approaches some cities are taking to support electric vehicles. For example, Boston, New York City and Philadelphia are looking into opportunities to promote travel between the cities by electric vehicle. Additionally, each city is hiring an electric vehicle policy coordinator to help improve efficiency of the permitting processes.

The power of choice

Electrification is an important piece of Ford's overall product sustainability strategy. Ford's aggressive strategy includes the launch of five electrified vehicles in North America by 2012 and Europe by 2013. Ford launched the Transit Connect Electric small commercial van in 2010, will launch Focus Electric later this year and will introduce C-MAX Hybrid, a second next-generation lithium-ion battery hybrid and C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid in 2012. The range of electrified vehicles allows Ford to meet a variety of consumer driving needs.

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