OVERLAND PARK, Kan., April 20, 2012 — U.S. Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II and local business leaders today joined the Metropolitan Energy Center (MEC) at Johnson County Community College’s Regnier Center to officially launch Electrify Heartland, an electric vehicle planning project managed by MEC to create a plan for electric vehicle and charging infrastructure preparedness in Greater Kansas City; Wichita, Salina, Topeka and Lawrence, Kan.; and Jefferson City, Mo.
The public open house event featured information booths hosted by area companies involved in the electric vehicle (EV) and electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) industries, as well as an opportunity to drive a Chevy Volt, Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi MiEV, or ride in a Smith Electric Vehicles truck.
Thanks in large part to the efforts of the Kansas City Area Development Council’s Advanced Energy initiative, Greater Kansas City is one of the nation’s leading centers for the development of EV and EVSE, and is the home of Smith Electric Vehicles, Dow Kokam, Exergonix, Milbank Manufacturing, LilyPad EV, Mark One Electric and Heartland Electric, as well as one of the nation’s first Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Training Programs (EVITP) at the Electrical Joint Apprenticeship and Training Center operated by IBEW Local 124 and the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA).
“Our region is quickly becoming the center for research and development, manufacturing and deployment of electric vehicles and related technologies in the United States,” said Congressman Cleaver. “It’s great to see so many area companies coming together to promote electric vehicles, as well as the renewable energy technologies that are creating jobs in our community and providing a cleaner environment for all.”
The Electrify Heartland plan brings together all aspects of electric vehicle readiness, including municipal planning, zoning, construction, permitting, and fleet policies. “We are enabling communities in our region to manage the growing number of electric vehicles on our roadways well into the future,” said Bob Housh, executive director of MEC.
Electrify Heartland is funded by U.S. Department of Energy Award EE-0005551, “Kansas – Missouri Community Readiness for EV and EVSE” and is a product of the Greater Kansas City Plug-In Readiness Initiative, which was co-led by Kansas City Regional Clean Cities Coalition and Mid-America Regional Council and completed its work in summer 2011.
Electrify Heartland is led by a Steering Committee comprised of members from MEC, Black & Veatch, Polsinelli Shughart PC, IBEW Local 124, the Kansas City Joint Apprenticeship and Training Center, Kansas City Kansas Community College, Johnson County Community College and the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
MEC is a Missouri not-for-profit organization. Founded in 1980, its mission is to help create resource efficiency, environmental health and economic vitality in the Kansas City Metro. MEC is a catalyst for community partnerships focused on energy conservation. It works through a variety of educational and training programs, including Kansas City Regional Clean Cities Coalition, Home Performance, Project Living Proof and EnergyWorks KC. Every energy dollar conserved through MEC’s work remains available for investment in the local economy.
MEC was awarded more than $17 million in federal grants in recent years and is a partner in other multi-million-dollar projects in Kansas and Missouri. MEC has been the recipient of many awards recognizing its contribution to energy conservation and was host of the national Affordable Comfort Conference in 2003 and 2009. For more information, please visit www.kcenergy.org.
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