Earlier this fall, the Great Plains Institute hosted our third annual Energy Innovation Celebration with a focus on “Solutions from the Ground Up.” Ahead of the big event, the Metro Clean Energy Resource Team, in collaboration with Drive Electric Minnesota, hosted a pre-workshop focused on electric vehicles (EVs). More importantly, the workshop invited conversations centered around collaboration among utilities, local governments, and corporations on how to increase EV adoption in Minnesota. While the workshop helped to confirm some things we already knew, it also brought forth new context from additional voices in the room.

Here were our big takeaways:

  • Cities can be a powerful influencer in their communities by adopting EVs into their fleets, helping to demonstrate that EVs are mainstream. This year, the Minnesota Department of Administration coordinated a bulk purchase of 22 Chevy Bolt EVs for state and local government fleets.
  • Utilities and cities can work together to install charging infrastructure in their communities. Elk River is living proof that this is a viable solution.
  • Utilities, local governments, and corporations can all work together on promoting awareness, communication, and education about EVs. EV Working Groups, like that which exists within the Sustainable Growth Coalition, are spaces where these groups can come together and work on shared communication strategies.
  • Utilities, local governments, and corporations all play a part in reducing range anxiety among prospective drivers. By installing more DC Fast Chargers along high trafficked corridors and in greater Minnesota, we can move the needle.
  • Utilities and local governments can shape the way we think about EVs by helping to implement electrified heavy duty use vehicles like line trucks, school buses, and transit buses. Great River Energy was a major sponsor behind the electrified school bus serving Lakeville, MN this school year.

You can view presentations from the discussion by

Brendan Jordan, Vice President, Great Plains Institute

Annie Perkins, Sustainability Analyst, Andersen Windows

David Ranallo, Marketing Communications Specialist, Great River Energy

John Stine, Commissioner, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency

Metro CERT serves the 11-county Twin Cities metropolitan area by empowering communities and their members to adopt energy conservation, energy efficiency, and renewable energy technologies and practices for their homes, businesses, and local institutions.

Drive Electric Minnesota, staffed by the Great Plains Institute, is a partnership of Minnesota’s electric vehicle (EV) champions, dedicated to encouraging the deployment of EVs and the establishment of EV charging infrastructure through public-private partnerships, financial incentives, education, technical support and public policy.

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