I’ll start with, our accolades:
- In 2009, Raleigh was one of the first three cities to join “Project Get Ready,” a Plug-In Electric Vehicle (PEV) Readiness Initiative from the Rocky Mountain Institute.
- In 2011, North Carolina received one of only sixteen grants from the US Department of Energy for PEV Readiness Planning.
- In 2012, the Research Triangle Region was one of four cities in the US and one of sixteen world-wide to be used as a case study in the “EV City Casebook,” a report created by the International Energy Agency.
- In 2013, the Research Triangle Region was included as one of the pilot cities in the World EV Cities and Eco-systems web portal hosted by the University of California-Davis.
If you’ve been to any of our events—or if we’ve been to any of yours—then you know that cars and trucks are our number one source of ground-level ozone pollution in North Carolina. While our air quality, both in our region and state-wide, has improved, we’ve experienced high enough levels of ozone over the past two years to put us close to going over the limits allowed by the US Environmental Protection Agency. If our ozone levels were to get too high, we’d be designated as non-attainment, again, which costs us in the economic development and healthcare sectors.
So how do we stay within the limits of the ozone standard? Or, as I put it to about 150 students at The Franciscan School’s Justice Fair, what can we do to keep our air clean? I was surprised that one of the first answers in each class was, “Drive electric cars.” All-electric cars have zero tailpipe emissions.
“But,” observed one student, “you still have to make electricity to run the cars.” That’s true, but we’re fortunate to be moving toward cleaner energy sources. As long as we continue that trend, and as long as we stay a leader in building the infrastructure necessary to keep PEVs moving throughout our region and state, we’ll stay on the road to cleaner air.
Thanks to Katie Drye of Advanced Energy for compiling the above list of accolades.