It takes a village to sell an electric car

It turns out that weaning the auto industry off gasoline isn’t as simple as turning out electric cars from a factory.

Auto industry executives say they will couple their first mass-market electric cars with a big dose of community outreach, with the hope of making the new generation of vehicles more desirable and convenient to consumers.

Car companies intend to target places where governments are willing to provide incentives to purchase plug-in electric cars and install charging stations. Utilities, too, need to be involved so that the grid doesn’t become stressed by a rush of cars.

General Motors is already coordinating with industry partners, community leaders, and utilities to ensure that the apparent strong demand for the Chevy Volt–due in November 2010–will have the infrastructure to back it up, said Tony Posawatz, vehicle line director of the Chevy Volt.

“We are looking at communities that exist that are willing to put all the pieces together,” Posawatz said at the Electric Drive Transportation Association’s Conference & Exposition earlier this month. “To me, the Volt is a remarkable product. But, if the other stuff–the communities, etc.–isn’t there, then we run the risk of failing.”

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