Metro

R.I. firms commit to installing car-charging stations

By
Contributing Writer
Thursday, February 10, 2011

Correction appended.

Project Get Ready Rhode Island, an initiative devoted to promoting plug-in electric vehicles, celebrated its one-year anniversary last week by announcing the pledges of 14 Rhode Island-based companies to install charging stations for electric cars.

Albert Dahlberg, professor of medical science, founded the Rhode Island branch of the Project Get Ready initiative of the Rocky Mountain Institute, a Colorado think tank, The Herald reported last February.

In the last year, Project Get Ready’s volunteers have devoted their efforts toward increasing the number of charging stations around Rhode Island. “Even though the vehicles won’t be available in Rhode Island until the end of this year, it’s important to start building up the infrastructure,” Dahlberg said.

The number of charging stations in Rhode Island has been rising since the first was unveiled in West Warwick last August.

Governor Lincoln Chafee ’75 P’14 attended the event and expressed an interest in “looking at how the electric vehicles could be integrated into the state fleet,” Dahlberg said.

Ryan McGee GS, who has coordinated significant research undertaken by students for Project Get Ready, emphasized the significance of Chafee’s statement. “The previous administration had been totally silent on electric vehicles,” McGee said. “We had already established relationships with City Hall but this is our first high-visibility relationship at the State House.”

Until now, Project Get Ready has depended on student research and corporate leadership rather than federal or state support, Dahlberg said. McGee said an aim of the initiative is to attract more members of the private sector, and he hoped the announcement would help “maintain their momentum.”

Since the project’s beginning, students have taken an active role in the research necessary for Project Get Ready to establish the needed infrastructure. This fall, one student researched the geographical distribution of Toyota Prius owners throughout the state. The project is now using this research “to figure out where early adopters for electric vehicles are likely to live,” McGee said.

According to McGee, some classes at Brown have also moved toward “active participation” in the project, including courses offered in commerce, organizations and entrepreneurship  and environmental studies. Kurt Teichert, a lecturer in environmental studies and manager of environmental stewardship initiatives, offered a seminar last fall in which students discussed different vehicle technologies, including plug-in electric cars.

“The intent is to have students provide some of the research for Project Get Ready to better understand how this market is going to develop,” Treichert said.

A previous version of this article incorrectly refers to Albert Dahlberg as professor of medical science. In fact, Dahlberg’s title is director of state and community relations. The Herald regrets the error.

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