President Barack Obama used his State of the Union address to lay down a series of clean energy goals, including a proposal to get consumers to drive electric vehicles: “We can break our dependence on oil with biofuels, and become the first country to have 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2015.”
Achieving this goal will require that communities have in place the infrastructure for the next generation of clean cars, including adaptations in existing parking garages and electric charging stations in both public and private on- and off-street parking.
“The parking industry will be ready to answer the charge,” assured Shawn Conrad, executive director of the International Parking Institute (IPI), the largest trade association of the parking industry. “Readily available charging locations will be critical, especially in the early years as consumers begin to drive electric vehicles. The parking industry is ready to step up and take on a major facilitating role in electric vehicle roll-out.”
Like gasoline-powered vehicles, electric cars spend 90 percent of their time parked, but they need to be charged during that time. Easy access to recharging spots — both fixed and mobile — effectively serve as vehicle range extenders, since the average range of an electric car is between 100 and 200 miles.
A 2010 study by Pike Research found that by 2015, access to vehicle charging will be available at nearly one million charge points in the United States. Real estate and parking managers will respond to market changes and sale volumes of electric vehicles, retrofitting existing parking structures with charging stations and building new ones integrating the technology.
Conrad noted that in an IPI survey of parking professionals conducted earlier this month, respondent ranked accomodating electric cars among the top emerging parking trends for 2011.
“Developing accommodations for electric vehicles is just part of the innovative thinking and advanced technology that parking professionals are bringing to the sustainability movement,? explained Conrad. When parking expertise is part of the early planning process, a great deal can be accomplished. Proper placement and shared-use of parking can be designed to support density, mass transit, walkability, and ultimately, a reduction in vehicle miles traveled and the accompanying carbon emissions.”
About the International Parking Institute
Founded in 1962, the International Parking Institute is the largest and leading trade association representing the parking industry. Members include professionals from cities, transit and transportation agencies, academic institutions, hospitals, airports, theme parks, corporate complexes, race tracks, convention and sports centers, port authorities, civic centers, architects, engineers, financial consultants, urban planners and suppliers of equipment, products and services to the parking and transportation industry. www.parking.org.