How local communities can benefit from EV growth

If we really want people to buy plug-in vehicles, there's a lot communities can do to make it much more attractive. 

A tool from U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Lab is designed to help local and regional leaders prepare for widespread use of PEVs.

"The nationwide deployment of electric vehicles is a revolution in transportation," says NREL engineer Mike Simpson, who led the tool's development. "There's a significant amount of thought and effort involved in shepherding these new technologies into our communities, and the Energy Department saw a real need to provide local and regional leaders with some interactive blueprints."

California is expected to dominate the market through 2020 because it's home to four of the biggest metropolitan areas that are supportive of plug-ins. 

San Francisco is a prime example. Since 2011 a CEO-level "EV Strategic Council" has been working to make it the "EV Capital of the U.S." Its target is to have 100,000 electric vehicles in the Bay Area by 2015.

The Plug-In Electric Vehicle Readiness Scorecard walks users through a variety of issues including permitting and inspection processes for charging stations, incentives and promotions, education and outreach, coordination with utilities, likely PEV adoption rates and long-range infrastructure planning.

Next page: Help for communities ready to plug cars in