This is a guest post by Rebecca Jones
New developments in technology have increased the opportunities for green pursuits and raised awareness of the significance of adapting green measures in a variety of business sectors.
Unfortunately, these individual measures are not enough. To tackle our environmental challenges, a larger and more detailed map is needed. Four interdependent components are imperative to the creation of sustainable cities: innovative technology, a well-structured business model, a careful market-adoption strategy and active government policy. The coordination of all four elements would deeply entrench the ideals of "going green" into our culture; encouraging people to make environment-friendly choices in all their purchases.
Chicago is recognized as one of the many cities spearheading a comprehensive and innovative plan to create a mass market for electric cars. The City recognizes that in urban areas, transportation is one of the biggest contributors to air pollution and GHG emissions. But executing this plan takes more than just getting people to buy electric cars.
First, owners want the assurance that comes with owning a gas-powered car; easy accessibility to fuel. To provide the same service for electric cars, several charging stations are expected to be built near shopping malls, Chicago’s two airports, and rest stops along the Illiois Tollway in the city. Further plans are being made to develop the electric car infrastructure as part of a smart grid demonstration project to prepare for a future influx of electric cars as the demand will balloon in the future.
Second, the city government has crafted a promising business model to bring Chicago to the forefront of the electric car industry. 280 charging stations will be built by the end of the year as a result of an $8.9 million Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Project. This project includes DC quick-chargers, which is capable of recharging a compatible electric car to 80 percent within 30 minutes. The completion of the project will mean Chicago will have the most DC quick-charging stations in the United States.
Third, Chicago’s market adoption strategy details the commercial viability of the new system by not only improving on its EV networks, reducing cost of electricity, but also convincing auto manufacturers to sell electric cars in the city. By the end of the year, many electric cars will be available for purchase. Well-known car manufacturers such as Nissan, Ford and Mitsubishi are in talks to make electric cars easily accessible to the Chicago public.
Finally, in keeping with the fourth element of the strategy plan, Chicagoans will have financial help if they choose to buy an electric car. New government policy will drive supply and demand. The electric car market will benefit greatly from lower taxes on electric vehicles and an increase in taxes on gas-powered cars. The Obama administration has proposed a plan wherein consumers buying specific plug-in vehicles are eligible for a tax credit in the range of $2,500 to $7,500, depending on the size of the vehicle’s battery pack.
As Cities place greater emphasis on clean energy and transportation, America will make a gradual shift toward environment-friendly and sustainable living. Consumption habits, distribution system, manufacturers, financial models, and regulatory bodies will undergo a change for the better. Chicago is prepared for this fact and is starting in earnest in the direction of renewable energy as the rewards appear to be immense.
Image Credit: Flickr - anapoly