Local Governments Get Ready for an Electric Vehicle Future With Workshop

With consumer interest in new electric vehicles running high, local governments are gearing up to prepare their communities for the new generation of zero-emission vehicles.

To help local governments and other organizations plan for electric vehicles and charging stations, the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD), the Western Riverside Council of Governments, the San Bernardino Associated Governments and the Clean Cities Coachella Valley Region hosted the EV 101 Workshop for Local Governments.

More than 100 attendees participated in the day-long workshop at the Riverside Convention Center in Riverside, Calif.

"The coming wave of electric vehicles is great news for the Inland Empire," said Ron Loveridge, AQMD Governing Board Member and Riverside Mayor.  "These zero and near-zero emission vehicles will be important in helping us achieve our clean air goals in the Southland."

In a ceremony held before the EV 101 workshop, a Toyota representative gave AQMD the keys to three Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid vehicles.  Toyota is lending the vehicles to AQMD for one year as part of a worldwide demonstration program. 

A fully charged Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid vehicle is capable of running on electricity for approximately 13 miles at speeds of up to 62 mph. For longer distances, the Plug-In Hybrid vehicle reverts to conventional hybrid mode, operating as a regular Prius. The Prius Plug-In Hybrid vehicle can be fully charged in approximately three hours from a standard 110-volt electrical outlet, or in 90 minutes with a 220-volt connection.

"With a shared goal of reducing emissions, Toyota looks forward to working with AQMD during the Prius Plug-in Hybrid vehicle demonstration program," said Mary Nickerson, national manager, Advance Technology Vehicles, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.  "AQMD will play a valuable role as a program partner by collecting real-world driving data that we will utilize in preparation for bringing this advanced technology to customers in 2012."

During the workshop, attendees heard from electric vehicle manufacturers, utilities and others on needed infrastructure, available government incentives and green jobs.  Information on resources available to help communities plan and build an electric vehicle program also was available.

"It's expected that most vehicle charging will take place at residences and many EV drivers will get where they are going by charging only at home," said Loveridge.  "However public charging stations will also play a vital role in encouraging consumers to use electric vehicles.  Local governments need to begin planning today for that future."