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CalCars '08 Successes Can Bring Cars in '09
Dec 20, 2008 (From the CalCars-News archive)
This posting originally appeared at CalCars-News, our newsletter of breaking CalCars and plug-in hybrid news. View the original posting here.
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Dear Friends, Fans, and Colleagues

As we enter into the holiday season, I am grateful for all that the support of community members like you has made possible. Your efforts in spreading the word, and the cooperation of many partners, have given uncounted numbers of citizens hope that an energetic, creative, grassroots campaign can succeed and make a difference.

Thanks to your support, we've had a lot to be grateful for over the past seven years. I would especially like to thank you for the accomplishments you've helped us to achieve in 2008:

  • Your commitment helped CalCars address the challenges of climate change and energy security by FINALLY CONVINCING KEY DECISIONMAKERS to support using 100+MPG PHEVs to replace gasoline with cleaner, cheaper, domestic electricity.
  • You helped us DEMONSTRATE WORKABLE SOLUTIONS to encourage public policies and consumer demand that have led to automaker announcements they'll put plug-ins on the road.
  • Your generosity enabled us to BROADLY SPREAD NEW CONCEPTS such as using vehicle batteries to open up new ways to store renewable energy and help us attain low-carbon electricity.
  • Finally, you've helped us broadcast the message that plug-in vehicles can SAVE THE DOMESTIC AUTO INDUSTRY AND RETAIN AND CREATE MANY GREEN JOBS in auto manufacturing facilities and other places within the transportation sector.

I see the coming year as one of enormous opportunity. Your continued support will have an even more significant impact on the economy and our environment.

I understand these are lean and uncertain times. Great challenges lie ahead. Yet we cannot delay actions on important issues. We can seize the wealth of opportunities that exist, and leverage the transition in Washington along with new ways of thinking about the future of the auto industry.

For CalCars, this is an exceptionally exciting time. As you know, the entire U.S. auto industry is at a critical crossroads. This moment rivals other turning points: the replacement of electric vehicles with gasoline cars in the 1900s, Ford's introduction of mass production, the lightning-fast switch from manufacturing cars and trucks to planes and tanks after the attack on Pearl Harbor, and, in recent decades, the decline of Detroit as it lost half of its market to imports.

In the coming months, Detroit has the chance to end "business as usual" by working together with the U.S. government and with strong voices like CalCars to chart a new green path.

Persisting since 2001, CalCars is uniquely positioned for what we do best: demonstrate workable technology and business solutions to rally grassroots, industry, and government support. Effective policy solutions and actions can preserve and create new jobs, offer a clear path for automakers, and make our world cleaner, safer and economically stronger.

I urge you to please send a special year-end gift of $60, $100 or more to help CalCars seize these historic opportunities in the year ahead.

I'd like to take this opportunity to share with you the innovative and potentially transformational messages and campaigns we'll focus on this next year:

  • Work strategically to encourage the NEW OBAMA TEAM TO POSITION PLUG-INS CENTRALLY in its Clean Energy and Economic Turnaround programs.
  • Establish PHEVs and EVs as the MOST AVAILABLE, PRACTICAL AND BENEFICIAL SOLUTION for transportation.
  • Motivate the auto industry to START TO BUILD MILLIONS OF PHEVs in a few years -- not the few thousands they're currently planning to deliver within five years.
  • EXPAND FEDERAL COMMITMENTS to fleet orders, to extend current $7,500 tax credits for 250,000 vehicles to cover millions more, and to make safe, affordable retrofits eligible for credits.
  • Work at STATE AND LOCAL LEVELS AND WITH CORPORATIONS to create incentives and other programs to accelerate the arrival of plug-in cars.
  • Prove the viability of retrofits to PARTIALLY ELECTRIFY MILLIONS OF LARGE INTERNAL COMBUSTION VEHICLES that will otherwise guzzle gas for decades, educate about the advantage of converting not crushing, and HELP ESTABLISH LOCAL BUSINESSES across the U.S. to install them.
  • Work with advocacy organizations to promote a grassroots strategy, "Prepay For Plug-Ins to Save & Transform the Auto Industry," to GIVE VOICE TO MILLIONS OF AMERICANS WHO WANT THEIR NEXT CAR TO PLUG IN. We will use CalCars' proposal as the starting point: a customer who commits $1,000 now would get a 10X match from the federal government to ensure that carmakers build these cars.

We need your help to make move these programs forward. That's why I'm writing to you this December with this important request.

As President-Elect Obama has said, "Change doesn't come FROM Washington, it comes TO Washington." Please help us to realize the great promise of the 2008 election.

You may appreciate these additional three quotes, among many others in recent months that have lauded our efforts as worthwhile:

  • "I personally believe that the U.S. auto fleet should make a transition as quickly as possible toward plug-in hybrid electric vehicles." Al Gore, Newsweek, December 5, 2008
  • "Chevy Volt's value is as dawn of era… the first step toward a new kind of car for everyone." Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press columnist, Sept. 28. 2008.
  • "Felix Kramer has made plug-in electric cars not only his passion but an imminent American reality." NYTimes columnist Thomas Friedman, in #1 bestseller "Hot, Flat & Crowded, published Sept 2008.

To help CalCars continue to lead this campaign, please play an active role by spreading the word and supporting our organization with whatever you can afford. Please take a moment to visit­sponsor.html to make a credit card or PayPal donation today, or simply mail a check payable to IHC/CalCars to: International Humanities Center, 860 Via de la Pas, Suite B-1, Pacific Palisades CA 90272.

We remain grateful for your continued belief in our vision. Warmest wishes for the holidays.

Felix Kramer, Ron Gremban, Carol DiBenedetto and the CalCars Team

P.S. We will keep you informed about our exciting plans for 2009, and all the ways that you can become involved in the New Year! Your dedication is a key to our success, and I hope I can count on your continued commitment in 2009. Please help CalCars seize the historic opportunities ahead by sending your most generous possible year-end gift today at­sponsor.html . Thank you!

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