Indianapolis to demonstate plug-in electric vehicles

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A plug-in electric-vehicle demonstration program in the Indianapolis area could begin as early as this spring, an official for clean-energy consortium Energy Systems Network said Thursday morning.

Paul Mitchell, CEO of ESN, said officials are working to use plug-in hybrids made by several manufacturers, including Norwegian car maker Think Global, which plans to manufacture U.S. models in the northern Indiana city of Elkhart.

Another is the Leaf, Nissan’s first electric-only vehicle, and an electric version of the diminutive Smart car.

“Indianapolis will be the first launch market for all of North America for them,” Mitchell said of Smart.

Mitchell spoke about the demonstration program following his participation in a Going Green panel discussion hosted by IBJ at the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown hotel. (See video below.)

About 50 to 100 plug-in vehicles likely will be placed into city, state government and some corporate fleets.

The public would also be given the opportunity to drive the vehicles at various events. ESN will put up a Web site where customers can learn more about the vehicles prior to their sale.

Indianapolis would be among the first U.S. cities to demonstrate the new technology prior to auto manufacturers bringing the cars to market as early as next year.

The demonstration will also seek to expose and overcome practical challenges of electric cars, such as deploying electric charging stations at the workplace. Software to conduct billing also must be developed, as some drivers may live in the service territory of one utility but work in a territory served by a different utility.

Some of the charging stations could be placed at Indianapolis International Airport, at Simon Property retail locations and at Dennison Parking garages.

The demonstration also will test ways to encourage motorists to charge vehicles at home during off-peak hours. Duke Energy and Indianapolis Power & Light have been key participants in the project.

ESN is an initiative under the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership.

Indiana has a lot at stake in the success of both plug-in electric and gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles. Besides the Think factory in Elkhart, a number of hybrid components are being designed and manufactured in central Indiana, including lithium-ion batteries by EnerDel, with facilities on the northeast side of Indianapolis and in Noblesville.

EnerDel supplies batteries to Think and its parent company, New York-based Ener1, is a large investor in Think.


  • Electrics VS. Gas
    I drove an electric at 4cents a mile and that price included replacing the battery pack once in the life of the car at todays prices. If I compare the average of 24 cents per mile for a fossil fuel car, I'll take the electeric. The fossil footprint on the battery and the coal to run the power plants vs. fossil fuel? I'll take the electric for daily commuting any day. I hope to have one within a month.
  • Electrics and power Plants
    The power to charge the cars will be done on off peak hours. The cost to travel 100 miles for me, when I had a Think for three days was about $2.00 per charge. That was for around 80 miles per charge. The battery wasn't dead. Add the cost of a new battery pack to the equation and thats about 4 cents a mile. Add the no oil changes and no tail pipe and you can't even begin to tell me that fossil fuel such as gas or diesel begins to erase the electric for commuting at an average of 24 cents a mile. You must be an oil investor.
    • Battery Electric Vehicle Charger
      Greetings! I have been contacting several organizations...including the White House in regards to the BEV. We have an invention that should allow for the BEV to constantly run without having to stop and charge after 40 miles per hour! We met with Purdue Calumet Tech Dept in regards to this and they say that it seems very plausible! We are waiting to meet with the Dean of the school in regards to this. They did show us a prototype but it did not have what we have suggested. Their prototype was only able to go 35 MPH. Currently, we are seeking funds to build the prototype or a company to take hold of this project to create this prototype. This is of utmost importance and we feel that help accelerating this process would be beneficial to us all. Please help!
    • Electric cars
      Electric cars were infact first developed even before the fuel consuming engines were made, since the 1800's...So we have the technology, but we are in dire need of efficient technology that will enable easy recharging of the electric batteries..The electric auto makers have to sort this issue at hand for affordable electric battery recharging..
    • Change!!
      Why it might be true Indiana currently gets most of its power from coal, millions are being invested in wind power across northern Indiana. We also are getting a solar panels plant, and I know of several homes around Bloomington, IN with solar panels on them.
    • Where can I buy an electric car?
      I live in Indiana and would like to purchase an electric car. Where can I buy one?
    • battery tech
      These will more than likely be lithium based batteries, they will not die in the cold, though performance is slightly affected, much like a normal car, you tend to get less mpg in the winter. I live in Indiana and use a purely battery powered vehicle year round. I have had no problems with my lithium based battery in over 2 years. Plug in cars are the best solution imo. I wont buy another car unless its a plug in vehicle(I wouldn't mind a backup gas engine like the Chevy Volt is using) Regarding heating, electric motors still generate heat, not nearly as much as an ICE, but a resistive load type heater could be employed very easily.
      • Economy of Scale
        Electric cars are NOT the worst carbon offenders. This is one of the most commonly perpetuated myths. You need to understand economy of scale and the fact that most power plants are FAR more efficient than a single internal combustion car located in an individual vehicle. Also, there is potential to utilize electric sources NOT related to coal or natural gas with electric cars, though obviously not all electric sources in the US will iimmediately use such. Plus, the local at the site effects of particulate and noise on health, especially in an urban environment, are eliminated. Taken in whole, electric cars are simply and plainly the best transportation source for the environment and the best way to get the US free from its dangerous dependence on foreign energy.
      • Mike
        BUT, which one is worse for the environment? Plugging a car into "a coal fired electric plant" OR burning thousands of gallons of gas per day? How about we use clean coal technologies instead as a source of providing electricity to power these electric cars?

        And yes, there will need to be recharge stations, which is already in the plans.
      • Electric Cars
        I'm all for alternative energy solutions but electric cars are getting a pass by the media. An electric car can be one of the worst carbon offenders on the road and nobody is talking about it. When you plug in an electric vehicle you are basically plugging into the smoke stack of a coal fired electric plant. This is in addition to the negative carbon footprint of battery production and shipping. Why don't we hear about this? The ethanol industry has been getting beaten up by the media for the last couple of years for causing everything from a rise in the price of popcorn to the reason the plane had to land in the Hudson river!! How about a little investigative journalism on electric vehicles????
        • Defrost?
          Love to see how they heat these babies. My guess is it will be like sitting in a 1968 VW Bug, unless there is a propane tank driving the heater. Also, batteries tend to die in cold weather, like to see how this is different. Me? I live in Indiana---give me a natural gas car so I can thumb my nose at the Arabs!
          • Recharging Stations
            Electric cars will be great once there are recharge units at every gas station.

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