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Report Assesses EV Readiness of Major U.S. Cities

November 16, 2010

DETROIT - Roland Berger Strategy Consultants and the Rocky Mountain Institute have released a new report evaluating the readiness of major American cities for plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs). The 50-city study, Electric Vehicles in America, is based on several months of collaborative research, interviews and analysis by Rocky Mountain Institute and Roland Berger.

The study sheds light on where the impending waves of electric vehicles will hit and how follower cities can quickly "get ready" and catch up. Its findings are intended to guide national and private stakeholders during the rollout of electric vehicles while inspiring cities to take additional steps to prepare, the authors said. The report contains key findings and highlights, while city-specific assessments from the study are available upon request.

Among the study's authors are Antonio Benecchi, partner at Roland Berger Strategy Consultants, and Matt Mattila, manager of RMI's "Project Get Ready," an initiative to prepare cities throughout North America for electric vehicles.

"Some pioneer cities have been planning for years and are aware of the key issues, but within a few years, PEVs will be available nationwide, so it is critical for all cities to start preparing," said Benecchi. "Each city is in a different place, so to determine the current readiness of a city for PEVs, we considered local regulations, available infrastructure, consumer readiness, and the operating environment."

The study determines the cities with the highest current readiness for PEVs to be:
1. San Jose
2. Los Angeles
3. San Francisco
4. Sacramento
5. Portland

Other cities the report identifies as "leaders" include: Austin, Denver, New York, Orlando, Phoenix, Raleigh, Riverside, San Diego and Seattle.

The study determines momentum toward e-mobility based on a city's attitude, planning, infrastructure funding and education programs. The report identifies expected "first wave" cities to be: Austin, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, New York, Orlando, Phoenix, Portland, Raleigh, Riverside, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle and Tampa.

"We want to emphasize that, while some areas are leading and others are following, in the end, all cities will 'win' with the EV transition," said Mattila. "When we re-evaluate cities in a year or two, many of today's followers will have become leaders, building off of years of preparation and lessons learned from other cities. In the meantime, all cities would benefit from proper planning."

"Our study not only assesses city readiness, but it also highlights different ways stakeholders can enhance preparations," added Benecchi. "For example, cities should engage a variety of parties, from automakers, utilities and regulators, to local fleet operators, commercial real estate owners and electrician unions. Without the contribution and participation of all, PEVs will fall short in achieving their full potential."

"The path forward will be much clearer this time next year. Until then, PEV advocates should focus on known enablers," recommended Mattila. "For example, over the course of Project Get Ready, we have found that cities can improve the permitting process for home chargers. Also, collaboration and outreach from utilities, automakers and cities help ensure drivers know the benefits and challenges of PEVs, especially those unique to their region. This report helps clarify the differences drivers will face depending on where they live."

The report is now accessible at and

Roland Berger Strategy Consultants, founded in 1967, is a leading strategy consultancy. The company has 37 offices in 25 countries.

Founded in 1982, Rocky Mountain Institute is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to drive the efficient and restorative use of resources. RMI is an international leader in identifying and developing breakthroughs in energy efficiency and renewable energy.

Project Get Ready, an initiative led by RMI, aims to help communities throughout North America prepare for and welcome electric vehicles. For more information, visit

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