Indiana's Clay Terrace mall

Indianapolis-area plug-in vehicle owners looking to burn a bunch of dollars at the local mall can at least save a few by plugging into a solar-powered station at the Clay Terrace mall in Carmel, the New York Times reports.

The Simon Property Group-owned center last week deployed what it calls its "Plug-In Ecosystem," which includes a fast charger that pulls electricity from the grid as well as solar panels that can offset some of that power use. Simon Property, Duke Energy, Toshiba and Itochu Corp. are among the entities that partnered on the project, which lets folks charge for free.

While Indiana is home to the country's best-known fuel-powered car race, the state is also the US home of Think, the now defunct electric-vehicle maker. Additionally, Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard has been on a crusade to eventually convert all of the city's fleet vehicles to plug-ins.

For the curious, Indiana is home to about 60 publicly accessible EV-charging stations, enough for one for every 110,000 registered vehicles – whatever their powertrain. Overall, there are about 5,400 publicly accessible EV-charging stations in the US, or about one for every 50,000 registered vehicles.