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GM, OnStar team with developer for community of the future

Friday - 8/3/2012, 12:55pm  ET

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General Motors and OnStar have partnered with Pecan Street Incorporated to build a 700-acre smart-grid community to provide more sustainable living. (General Motors)

Meghin Moore, special to wtop.com

WASHINGTON - A new planned community outside of downtown Austin, Texas wants its residents to be the guinea pigs for a clean energy smart grid test both in the home -- and on the road.

General Motors and OnStar announced on Tuesday that they would partner up with Pecan Street Incorporated to build a 700-acre smart-grid community, to provide more sustainable living.

As part of the partnership, Chevrolet has provided 60 electric cars and plug-in hybrids so far for the 600-home community. Of those 60 cars, 55 are Chevy Volts.

Residents who wish to purchase or lease the cars can receive a $7,500 tax credit, as well as a rebate of up to $7,500, the New York Times reports.

"The partnership provides us with a unique opportunity to observe charging details with many real customers in a concentrated setting," OnStar executive Nick Pudar tells the Times. "We're gathering information from families' vehicles throughout this community to find out the direct impact the Volt has on the grid and how to get drivers the lowest-possible charging rate."

In addition to smart, "green" cars, the homes in the development will feature smart appliances used alongside more sustainable home-management systems and smart electric meters, green building construction, clean energy distribution and energy storage used with solar power.

The community is also funded by a $10.4 million grant from the Department of Energy as well as $14 million in matched funds from the project's partners.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)