Are electric cars the next Red/Blue divide?

Ford — which is about to release an all-electric version of the Focus — just put out the above map of the United States with the cities it feels are best suited to electric car ownership.

And with a few exceptions, it looks like the flyover states aren't making preparations for the messianic arrival of the electric car. What do you want to bet that in the next presidential election, we'll add "electric-car" to the litany of liberal-associative words like arugula, lattes, and sushi.

Mike Tinskey, manager of vehicle electrification and infrastructure at Ford, says the main thing that ties the cities together is that they have formed EV advisory panels (made up of including city and utility officials as well as manufacturers like Ford). And cities that are doing that seem to sit squarely in the blue states, and the cities that are the exceptions are the blue dots in otherwise red states.

Tinskey says that cities that ranked high on their list did so by making it easier to obtain permits for home charging stations, working with utility companies to set up cheaper rates during the night (when people will charge), and using an "urban planning approach to public charge station locations—meaning that they look at traffic flows and where people spend their parked time to determine charging locations." All of which means that the government needs to interfere in our lives a little more to make electric cars a feasible reality.

If the innovations that Ford has pinpointed in these cities actually result in widespread adoption in these cities, expect to hear Michele Bachmann talking soon about how she drives a good, old-fashioned gas burning car.


Are electric cars the next Red/Blue divide?

This story was written by Morgan Clendaniel. It originally appeared in Fast Company on April 14, 2011, and was republished with permission.[attribute]

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