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New plan shows Kansas City area ready for electric vehicles

KANSAS CITY, MO, Dec. 11, 2012 — The future is now for electric vehicles and charging infrastructure in the Kansas City region, according to a comprehensive plan known as Electrify Heartland, released today at a news conference in Kansas City.

Electrify Heartland is a planning project for electric vehicles and charging station infrastructure covering 14 counties in Missouri and Kansas, an area with a population of 2.7 million people.

The event, held at the Kansas City Electrical Joint Apprenticeship and Training Center—which offers one of the nation’s first Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Training Programs (EVITPs)—spotlights Kansas City’s status as a national center for electric vehicle and charging station manufacturing, distribution and education.

“The last 12 months have shown us the Kansas City region is not only ready for electric vehicles, but is also ready to lead the nation in the development of electric vehicles and related technologies, as well as strategies to support these vehicles as they become more common on the roads,” said Kelly Gilbert, transportation director, Metropolitan Energy Center. “While many areas of the country embrace electric vehicles for their environmental benefits, Kansas City has quietly become a leading beneficiary of the economic opportunities these new technologies offer.”

Gilbert notes Kansas City is home to leading manufacturers such as Smith Electric Vehicles, Dow Kokam, Exergonix, and Milbank Manufacturing, EVSE distributor LilyPad EV, and EVITP and related education programs.

The Electrify Heartland plan, supported by a Department of Energy grant and managed by Kansas City, Mo.-based Metropolitan Energy Center, is comprised of ten sections created by a Steering Committee who examined long-term issues affecting electric vehicle and electric vehicle service equipment (EVSE, or charging station) deployment over time.

Key findings contained in the plan include:

· The President’s stated goal of placing one million electric vehicles on American roads by 2015 equates to a forecast of four-tenths of one percent (.4%) of all passenger vehicles.

· The public electric vehicle charging infrastructure is growing at a rate sufficient to serve the number of electric vehicles anticipated in the foreseeable future. There are currently 78 public electric vehicle charging stations in the Electrify Heartland planning region (40 in Missouri and 38 in Kansas) according to the Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuel and Data Center, with additional stations opening nearly every week.

· Many zoning, permitting and inspection issues have already been addressed by municipalities in other areas of the country and can easily be adapted for use in the Electrify Heartland planning region.

· Auto dealers have developed creative strategies to help mitigate the economic barriers to widespread electric vehicle adoption, including lease programs that enable consumers to drive electric at a competitive price.

· Electric vehicles pose no clear and present threat to existing electric utility infrastructure.

· “Range anxiety” has been replaced by “range confidence” for early adopters of electric vehicles, who find that vehicle range and charging times are more than adequate for their everyday driving needs.

· Most electric vehicle owners conduct the majority of their electric vehicle charging at home.

Electrify Heartland is an electric vehicle planning project funding by a U.S. Department of Energy Award and managed by the Metropolitan Energy Center to create a plan for electric vehicle and charging infrastructure preparedness inGreater Kansas City; Wichita, Salina, Topeka and Lawrence, Kan.; and Jefferson City, Mo. The planning area covers 14 counties and a population of 2.7 million people.

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