By Jim Taylor, Editor MACS ACtion Magazine
We’ve been taking note of the various programs being offered – notably on the West coast – to encourage purchase and use of electric and rechargeable vehicles. It’s a natural tendency to regard news at a distance with a bit detachment, but now a new program has emerged in our backyard.
ECOtality, Inc. announced this week that it will offer its “Blink” smart charging stations free to residents and commercial host sites in the greater Philadelphia area as part of its expansion of The EV Project, a public-private partnership with the Department of Energy. It’s funded in part through a federal stimulus grant made possible by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
According to news reports, qualified residents in the Philadelphia region who have either a Nissan Leaf or a Chevrolet Volt, can register to receive a free residential wall mount charger (worth approx. $1500) as well as an installation credit of up to $400, subject to certain other conditions. The company said it will also collect data on vehicle use and charging and the offer is limited to the LEAF and Volt because those cars can transmit the data the company wants.
The EV Project is adding the Philly area to its roster of nine states and 21 metropolitan areas, and they are working in conjunction with PECO, the local electric provider. The utility company recently announced financial incentives for business and residential customers who either use electric vehicles or install Level 2 (240v) public charging stations. The ECOtality program is also in parts of neighboring New Jersey, with the electric utility PSE&G also providing owner incentives and cooperation.
So far, EVs haven’t become particularly hot in the MACS’ home area; you’ll see the occasional Leaf or Volt but it’s rare to see two in a week. Cost may an issue to potential buyers and the newly announced program further reduces some of them. But while that may overcome some buyer resistance and loosen up the market, we have to wonder if buyers of the pluggable Prius will raise a ruckus because they’re left out of the deal. We’ll keep an eye on this one.
Courtesy General Motors
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