Illinois town aims to make electric cars & Normal Midwest Energy News

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Mitsubishi Electric Cars

Illinois town aims to electric cars Normal

officials in Normal, Illinois, to put 1,000 Mitsubishi i-MiEV cars on the road.

November 8,

By Kari Lydersen

Normal, is home to Mitsubishi’s only manufacturing plant, and residents of the 130 miles southwest of Chicago are for embracing sustainability and renewable Many families have two and two cars, and “are very and early adopters of technology,” in the of Mayor Chris Koos.

So a year ago, Koos and civic leaders decided to dub and its adjacent “sister city,” “EVTown” and ask Mitsubishi to make it the early destinations for its new all-electric the i-MiEV .

As typically happens electric and hybrid cars, will roll out the i-MiEV in coastal markets first. in smaller towns, especially in the will have to wait months longer than to buy an electric vehicle or hybrid their local dealer. town planner Mercy said locals were in how long they had to wait for the Leaf.

So Mitsubishi agreed to dedicate up to i-MiEVs for Bloomington-Normal drivers. a combined population of about that would mean a high proportion of families new i-MiEVs.

“It’s a big goal, but we it’s doable,” said

Since January, Normal has leasing two i-MiEVs made for the market, which differ from the U.S. version to be in 2012. Davison and other began driving the cars – with the EVTown logo in and taking them to public to stoke enthusiasm “and people it’s a real not a golf cart,” as Davison On a recent evening she was headed to a of the renewable energy club at State University, where were eager to test the car.

She’s also the i-MiEV off at antique car clubs, and civic federations.


“It’s been all over the she said, noting that the campaign promotes electric and vehicles in general, not solely the

Mitsubishi officials decided to EVTown in their national advertising campaign, with TV airing around the country October featuring local

One of them is Gregory Rackauskas, a who had been admiring the city’s i-MiEV from his office to city hall.

“They me the keys for a few days and said, a good time,’” said who expects his pearl i-MiEV “all the amenities” to arrive in

“I’ll never have to at a gas station in the middle of winter my feet in the snow again,” he “Or getting an oil change, sitting looking at the dirty coffee pot and the chairs – guess what, never have to do that

So far about 50 residents have the i-MiEV, according to Mitsubishi Dan Irvin, and the town is getting six or for its fleet, including a mayoral car for and vehicles for parking enforcement and departments. The town vehicles are to arrive in January and the private in the spring.

Mitsubishi Electric Cars

Though Mitsubishi has not exactly where and when will be released nationwide, said the EVTown program locals will be able to get the about three to six months than residents of similar-sized towns.

Electric vehicles are to become popular anywhere accessible charging stations, so to a federal grant Normal is 33 charging stations, which, at 240 can fill a battery in about to six hours. With city approval the town may add 16 more stations including at least one voltage quick-charge station, can nearly charge a battery in 20 minutes. The EVTown website offers information for people to install home charging which for slower overnight can run out of a standard outlet.

The city has already installed charging stations – two at city and three on a public parking The headquarters of a local bank has installed a station, and Davison to see more businesses follow Mitsubishi is not involved in locating stations in Bloomington-Normal, though said they plan to one at the manufacturing plant.

The public stations will be free for the future, with a fee possible on. The EVTown website notes even when people pay for compared to gasoline, one could to save $5,400 over years driving a total of miles. Koos also the city to save money to lower maintenance costs on its

The list price for a 2012 is $29,125, but the car is eligible for a $7,500 tax credit.

Along with meeting sustainability goals and demand local residents, Davison civic leaders ultimately Mitsubishi will eventually electric cars in Bloomington-Normal, the existing plant employs 1,200 local residents. said demand for i-MiEVs can be met by the Japanese operations, and they have any plans for making the car in the

Despite its name, Normal is not a typical “Anytown.” Due in part to the plant along with two universities and hospitals, its residents more education and higher than those in many cities and towns. But Koos the enthusiasm over electric in Bloomington-Normal shows people the country – “not just in or Boulder or Austin” are likely to electric vehicles.

“As much as we to think we’re very into sustainability in this and we probably are compared to a lot of Midwestern it’s not like Berkeley people will buy a car purely it’s good for the planet,” said. “People love the it’s cool, it’s a ride, and you’re not blowing a ton of on gas.  You show the numbers – that’s why they buy it.”

Kari Lydersen is a Chicago-based and author whose work in The Washington Post . The New York and other outlets.

Mitsubishi Electric Cars
Mitsubishi Electric Cars
Mitsubishi Electric Cars

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