KANSAS CITY, MO –The future is now for electric vehicles and charging infrastructure in the Kansas City region, according to a comprehensive plan known as "Electrify Heartland," released Dec. 11 at a news conference in Kansas City.

Electrify Heartland is a planning project for electric vehicles and charging station infrastructure covering 14 counties in Missouri and Kansas, an area with a population of 2.7 million people. The project is led by a steering committee comprised of members from Metropolitan Energy Center, Black & Veatch, Polsinelli Shughart PC, IBEW Local 124, the Kansas City Joint Apprenticeship and Training Center, Kansas City Kansas Community College, and the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

The event, held at the Kansas City Electrical Joint Apprenticeship and Training Center — which offers one of the nation’s first Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Training Programs (EVITPs)— spotlights Kansas City’s status as a national center for electric vehicle and charging station manufacturing, distribution, and education.

“The last 12 months have shown us the Kansas City region is not only ready for electric vehicles, but is also ready to lead the nation in the development of electric vehicles and related technologies, as well as strategies to support these vehicles as they become more common on the roads,” said Kelly Gilbert, transportation director, Metropolitan Energy Center. “While many areas of the country embrace electric vehicles for their environmental benefits, Kansas City has quietly become a leading beneficiary of the economic opportunities these new technologies offer.”

Gilbert notes Kansas City is home to leading manufacturers such as Smith Electric Vehicles, Dow Kokam, Exergonix, and Milbank Manufacturing, EVSE distributor LilyPad EV, and EVITP and related education programs.

The Electrify Heartland plan, supported by a Department of Energy grant and managed by Kansas City, Mo.-based Metropolitan Energy Center, is comprised of ten sections created by a Steering Committee who examined long-term issues affecting electric vehicle and electric vehicle service equipment (EVSE, or charging station) deployment over time.

There are currently 78 public electric vehicle charging stations in the Electrify Heartland planning region (40 in Missouri and 38 in Kansas), according to the Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuel and Data Center, with additional stations opening nearly every week.