BLOOMINGTON, IL - The Bloomington-Normal Electric Vehicle Task Force recently joined with Mitsubishi Motors North America to announce the automaker's commitment to make its Mitsubishi i-MiEV a significant part of the local electric vehicle mix. The task force is actively reaching out to several EV manufacturers as part of the "EVTown" initiative aimed at promoting local EV sales.

Mitsubishi Motors North America President Shinichi Kurihara announced that the company has committed to supplying 1,000 of its all-electric Mitsubishi i vehicles to the Bloomington-Normal community by 2014. Local deployment of the Mitsubishi i-MiEV is slated to begin in late 2011, with at least 300 units of the electric vehicle supplied to the community per year.

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn joined with Kurihara to announce an agreement between the state of Illinois and Mitsubishi. Both parties have made a commitment to maintain a strong relationship as Mitsubishi continues its role as a player in the state's manufacturing base.

Bloomington-Normal Electric Vehicle Task Force Chairman Jeff Pritts, who also serves as general manager of the Bloomington-Normal Marriott, unveiled the new "EVTown" logo and Web site. Currently under construction, is expected to be fully operational next month.

"The EVTown Web site will serve as a one-stop shop for people interested in purchasing an EV," Pritts said. "In addition to providing information about EVs, the site will have links to participating EV manufacturers offering online ordering."

Pritts announced the formation of the Bloomington-Normal EV Task Force, consisting of various business, education, government and labor leaders, on Jan. 18. Goals of the task force include analyzing EV charging infrastructure needs, educating the public about EVs, and working with EV manufacturers to deploy at least 1,000 electric vehicles to Bloomington-Normal by the year 2014.

To that end, town officials are working with the task force and the Eaton Corp., whose core business is diversified power management. In addition to supplying the EV charging infrastructure for the initial-phase rollout in 2011, Eaton will also provide training for local residents, businesses and government officials.

"Through strong collaborations with communities like Bloomington-Normal, Eaton is developing electric charging infrastructures that will help electric vehicle drivers confidently go about their daily business and reduce 'range anxiety,'" said Tom Schafer, vice president of Eaton's commercial distribution products division. "This announcement demonstrates Eaton's long-term commitment to advancing EV infrastructure and follows other successful initiatives, such as the 'Plug In Carolina' project that included creation of a multi-city charging infrastructure across South Carolina."

For more than 20 years, Eaton has developed electrical and hybrid power systems for trucks and buses. The company is now developing solutions for hybrid power systems in commercial vehicles. Eaton offers a complete line of electric vehicle chargers for residential and industrial applications.