Project Get Ready is a new initiative seeking to help the nation (and Canada!) make the shift away from fossil fuels. Under the project, coalitions in six cities are working with the Colorado-based Rocky Mountain Institute to develop plug-in vehicle infrastructure. What does that mean? It means government, industry, and citizen activists have teamed up to plan for charging stations, increase the availability and affordability of plug-in vehicles, and figure out the less-obvious details, like permits, necessary for the cars to be operable and practical in each city.
Indianapolis, Raleigh, and Portland were the first to sign on to the project, which has expanded to three other cities that came to RMI ready and willing to work. The idea is to expand beyond communities already concerned with the environment, and to make alternative fuel vehicles more practical for and accessible to the general population. As RMI's Matt Mattila said, "We don't want to be educating treehuggers." Ok, fine, so Portland's on the list. Predictable. But take heart: so is Indianapolis, Raleigh, Toronto, DenverProject Get Ready in Your City?
RMI wants to expand the program to other cities, and will help out any municipality ready to put in the effort. The first step is to form a coalition, and then to design a five-year plan that maps out a city's goals and how to achieve them. One member of the team should be willing to dedicate a full day once a week, and to take part in monthly strategy phone calls with RMI. Together, the coalition members and RMI figure out how the city can best address the major elements of Project Get Ready (PGR): vehicle acquisition, infrastructure planning, project structure and consumer adoption.
The project is not proprietary; all cities taking part agree to share their plans
The PGR teams have been working with all the big auto manufacturers, but also, excitingly, with new car companies as well, such as Bright Automotive and Tesla Motors, to improve the availability of cars on the market?that are practical and use electricity efficiently, and that are also affordable. (To learn more about how a hybrid plug-in works, watch John Lithgow explain them here.)
Visit the PGR website to learn more about planting the seeds for your city to enable and encourage the use of hybrid plug-in cars; there's even tips for how to find funding. What city will be next? Get ready, get working, and it could be yours.