Electric Cars Make Their Debut on the Circle

If you’ve recently spotted a few tiny green cars zipping around the Circle, then you’ve noticed IPL’s latest effort to promote the electric automobile. Earlier this year, IPL purchased three Think cars (manufactured in northern Indiana) and started parking them outside its headquarters in order to publicize IPL’s Time of Use program, which allows participants to charge electric cars at night for discounted rates. The company even takes people for rides on occasion.

“We really want people on the Circle to see these things,” says Don Hart, a senior administrator at IPL.

Wrapped in neon green and printed with text hailing the vehicle’s environmental benefits—100 percent electric, 0 percent emissions—each car is labeled with a different name. “Plug n’ Play,” “Power Up,” and “Charge n’ Go” are “like three sisters, each with their own personalities,” Hart says. Members of various IPL departments have access to Power Up and Charge n’ Go on different days, while Plug n’ Play is used each day to deliver the inter-company mail.

The Circle Citizen simply had to drive one. The first thing she noticed was the noise level—a Think makes almost no sound. And the lack of a combustion engine also creates a smoother ride. Shifting the car into “E” (“Economy,” the equivalent to “Drive” on a standard car), she took it for a spin. And if the average driver thinks these things are as cool as she does, IPL may be right in promoting the technology.

“These cars are definitely going to be part of the future,” says Hart. “They have great potential, especially as the technology gets better. With electric vehicles, you don’t need gas stations for anything other than buying yourself a Coke.”