Talking to Lyle Dennis stimulates your mind. For one thing, he's Dr. Lyle Dennis, a medical neurologist. He promised me a free consultation, honest.
Dr. Dennis talks about the Volt.
And the other thing is that he's a passionate environmentalist who really cares about doing something about global warming and saving our planet. He is the founder of GM-Volt.com, a website devoted to General Motors' forthcoming hybrid electric vehicle. And he's trying to plug in New York City, not just with Volts but with an infrastructure for electric vehicles.
Inspired by groups like Better Place and Project Get Ready, Dr. Dennis is trying to bring together New York politicians and utility Consolidated Edison to get moving on creating a network of electric charging stations, so when the EVs are ready, the city will be too. "I really want to help the city be a leader in this area," he says.
Better Place is a California-based company that has already signed up Israel, Denmark, Australia, Hawaii and San Francisco in far-reaching partnerships to not only install stations, but also battery swapping and the EVs themselves (from the Renault-Nissan Alliance).
Project Get Ready, an offshoot of the Rocky Mountain Institute, also puts together coalitions to get EVs up and running (though it's not involved in the hardware side). So far, its partners are Raleigh, North Carolina, Indianapolis, Indiana and Portland, Oregon (already the hybrid capital of the world).
Laura Schewel of Project Get Ready says the initiative grew out of the Smart Garage Summit in Portland last October. "It's a direct child of that effort," she said. "The project was suggested by people at Portland State University, and the auto industry people loved it."
Project Get Ready will work intensely with the communities it signs up to get all relevant agencies and "stakeholders" (I hate that word) involved in the process so it can move forward quickly. "We're looking for 20 communities," she said. "By June, we want to have all the towns and cities on board, and have evolved a statement of how they want to move forward."
Dr. Dennis, who actually lives in New Jersey, wants New York City to be one of Project Get Ready's sign-ups, so he's moving fast. Schewel says the municipalities that will win out usually have a single spark plug, one person who really pushes the plan forward. Mayor Charles Meeker of Raleigh gets it, and so does Paul Mitchell of Central Indiana Corporate Partnerships -- he sees EV infrastructure (and possible manufacturing jobs) as a way of jump-starting Indianapolis' recovery.
So maybe your community is ready for Project Get Ready. And maybe you're one of the spark plugs. Like Dr. Dennis.
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