PLUG OK license plate
New CalCars Video + Media on Volt & Leaf & Celebration
Feb 24, 2011 (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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Here's a short video with great content and professional production values. It was filmed at the celebration when we got our Chevy Volts. The video and transcript feature Andy Frank, Ron Gremban, Felix Kramer, Dave Barthmuss of GM, Terry McCarter of Novato Chevrolet, Plug In America co-founder Marc Geller as Master of Ceremonies, Richard Schorske of the EV Communities Alliance, and local officials from Marin County. We also throw in a full transcript of the hour-long remarks at the celebration. And after Felix Kramer's family on January 24 became the world's first household with both a Chevy Volt and a Nissan Leaf, we have a two-paragraph summary about life with two plug-ins. Finally, links to coverage of the Volt/Leaf household.

CALCARS CELEBRATES ARRIVAL OF PLUG-IN VEHICLES: On December 22, 2010, a year after declaring "victory" on CalCars' first goal (putting plug-in hybrids on the map and getting carmakers to mass-produce them), CalCars Founder Felix Kramer, Technology Lead Ron Gremban, and Andy Frank, inventor of the modern PHEV all celebrated the arrival of their cars at Novato Chevrolet. Find the superb 7:13 video by Chris Baldwin at the blog of Sustainability Media, " Drives a Victory Lap in the new Chevy Volt"­blog/­02011/­feb/­23/­calcarsorg-drives-victory-lap-their-new-chevy-volt. Or see it at an iPhone/iPad compatible link at Vimeo "CalCars ChevyVolt 2011"­20320282.

We owe a huge thank you (and congratulations) to Chris Baldwin, who has produced, filmed and edited many videos for CalCars since 2006 when his video of our conversion at the Maker Faire went out over Treehugger. See links at the Sustainability Media blog URL above and at­audio-video.html. Chris shoehorned this project in between his corporate work at and the "distraction" of approaching new parenthood!

In addition to the full transcript of the event below, find other links and photos at New Plug-Ins Arrive­photos-plugins-arrive.html.

Silicon Valley husband and wife Felix Kramer (founder of and Rochelle Lefkowitz (President of bicoastal Pro-Media Communications) are the first household to have both a Leaf and a Volt. Felix says, "Having both cars is a double dream come true after a decade's advocacy for plug-in vehicles." Rochelle says, "They're an ideal pair for a two-car family. We use the slightly more efficient, spacious five-seater Leaf for most local driving. When we head out of town or expect exceed the Leaf's 80+ mile range -- or when we both need to drive -- we use the Volt." Adds Felix, "If we were a one-car family, we'd own just the luxurious Volt. Whenever we need a larger or four-wheel drive vehicle, we have friends pleading with us to swap."

Rochelle says, "It's great that they're both regular cars with great handling and pep. After we showed first-timers the start button, they just drove off and had fun." Felix says, "When we got around to reading the manuals and trying out every control, we realized that both were astonishingly advanced vehicles, reflecting the best the auto industry has come up with in design, safety, entertainment, and options." Rochelle says "We're asked all the time which we prefer -- but we like different features in each." Felix says, "The real competition is between the electric mile and the gasoline mile. And with automakers glimpsing all they can do with plugins, we expect that Volt and Leaf Version 2 plus new models from Ford, Toyota, Honda and others will lead many more drivers to switch."

COVERAGE OF THE FIRST VOLT/LEAF HOUSEHOLD included several news stories with others to come:

and two interviews/photos for the Solar Home and Business Journal:

LONG BUT WORTH READING: TRANSCRIPT OF DECEMBER 22 CALCARS CELEBRATION AT NOVATO CHEVY: Thanks for this to Bill Mac Iver in Los Angeles and Michael Bender, CalCars webmaster.

MARC GELLER: Howdy, howdy, welcome. Very exciting day -- Felix is getting his Volt; Ron is getting his Volt [APPLAUSE]. This is really -- a day we probably didn't expect to come so soon. Let's just get right into it. We've got some elected officials here who I think would like to say a couple of words. We've got Judy Arnold, a Marin County supervisor; Susan Adams, a Marin County supervisor; and Madeline Kellner, the mayor of Novato. If you could come up and bless us [LAUGHTER].

JUDY ARNOLD: Hi, I am so happy to be here today. Susan, raise your hand. This is my colleague, Susan Adams, on the Marin County board [APPLAUSE]. She's going to be president of the board next year when I hand the gavel over January 4th.

I am so excited that Novato gets to be one of the places where the Volt is debuted. It is such an amazing upgrade as far as environmentally-friendly goes. Because you can go a hundred miles; you can go 40 miles on electricity. But you will not have range agitation or range anxiety, because the engine kicks in and you can just keep going. So -- my husband knows all about this and told me this this morning [LAUGHTER].

Anyway, thank you so much, and I look forward to all of us seeing a lot of Volts running around Novato. So, delighted to be here, and thank you for the good work you've done, and so quickly. Thanks [APPLAUSE].

MADELINE KELLNER: Good morning, I'm Madeline Kellner, I'm the mayor of this fair city of Novato [APPLAUSE], and we are very excited to be one of the few places around the Bay Area that has received these Volts. And I understand that they're already spoken-for -- twelve of them in, twelve of them out, and I'm sure there's a lot more people on waiting lists to be part of this exciting future. So we want to welcome you all today and we look forward to having many more of these blessing our streets of Novato. Thank you. [APPLAUSE]

MARC GELLER: Thank you very much. Are there any elected officials I haven't recognized who haven't told me they're here? I think we mentioned Susan, right? Yes? Okay. Well, we're very excited to have here Dave Barthmuss, from GM, with whom we have a long and interesting relationship. You may have seen him in a movie [LAUGHTER]. Uh, there are going to be many more. Dave, welcome.

DAVE BARTHMUSS: Thanks, Marc. Yes, that was an interesting movie, wasn't it? And really, no one is happier to be here today than me, okay? Because of all the things the EV-1 has taught us, and the fact that when I got up at 3:30 this morning to make my 6:30 flight, I could have sworn I was flying out of Burbank. So I get to the Burbank security gate, right? And the guard says "We need to see your boarding pass". I guess I thought I was flying out of LAX. So then I had to hightail it all the way over to LAX, but I made it, right? So that tells you how much I wanted to be here [LAUGHTER]. You know, in the pouring rain, the wrong darn airport, and I'm here. But -- and the other lesson of that is -- I couldn't have done that in my EV-1. Or, I could have done it with my EV-1, but I wouldn't have been able to get home because of this range-anxiety issue that we've all come to know and love.

The beauty of the Volt is that it got me there; it got me there with 40 to 50 miles of all-electric range, and then the range extender kicked in, and generated more electricity to get that motor going, and I'm parked at LAX and I know I can get home. I wouldn't have been able to do that with other kinds of technologies that we have been producing, or that others are producing today. So the beauty of the Volt is that it combines the best of both worlds.

And I'm just personally very happy that these vehicles are going to Felix, and Ron, and I think Andy Frank picked his vehicle up in Sacramento yesterday, so . . . there he is back there [APPLAUSE], Davis, you picked it up in Davis, right? All right. And Marc, I don't know if you're on the waiting list or not -- I sure hope you are [LAUGHTER]. If not, I'm sure there are some folks here that I'm sure would be happy to take your name and sign on the dotted line.

But you know what? I think the bottom line for General Motors is that this is a halo for us. It's going to really help our image and reputation. And frankly, everybody in this room owns a part of this Volt and all of the other 12 that are coming to this great dealership, and all the others that we're building. Anybody that says they're representing GM today is very happy to be able to say that. Because a year ago, none of us would have known if we were going to be here or not. So we went through some really gut-wrenching times, a lot of shared sacrifices by everybody, the American and Canadian taxpayers for sure, you know, giving us this second chance. We realize we're not going to get a third chance.

I think the good news is that the proof is going to be in the products, and when you take a look at the Volt, and you see all the great third-party accolades it's getting, whether it's Motor Trend Car of the Year, Automobile Car of the Year, Car & Driver's Ten Best, I'm sure it's going to be Green Car of the Year, Green Car Journal, and I bet it's going to have a pretty good shot at North American Car of the Year, too. I mean, this car is quality, as is the Chevrolet Cruze that you can get here, too [LAUGHTER], 42 miles to the gallon highway.

So I'm just telling you we very much appreciate your support, and your tax dollars to help get us to where we are. We hope to be here -- we plan to be here -- for another hundred years. And we're all going to do that by repaying your trust in spades with great products -- fuel-efficient products, clean products. This is the first, and it's the poster child for where we're heading. So, Felix, I'm very glad this is yours, I'm glad you got Diamond White -- beautiful color [LAUGHTER]. Yours is great, Ron [LAUGHTER], great color, too [INAUDIBLE], and I love your color as well [LAUGHTER]. Okay. Thank you all [APPLAUSE].

MARC GELLER: Well, that's, this is much better than back in the day. This is really fantastic. Yes. Anyway, I'm from Plug In America, cofounder of Plug In America, and we've been working for, well, a long time to bring forward this day when plug-in cars come back to market. And there is obviously the Volt. There are other car makers who have electric and plug-in cars coming into the market. Plug In America is active every day doing lobbying, working with automakers, working with consumers to help them understand why plug-in cars will help bring a day when we are not using petroleum, or using certainly a lot less petroleum, all the national-security and environmental benefits that everyone in this room understands quite well. I'm sure I don't need to enumerate them all again. We know why we're here.

Plug In America, CalCars, the Electric Auto Association, are organizations that have been working on this stuff for the last decade; they certainly could use your support. We hope the drivers of these cars become members if they aren't already in these organizations. Check out our websites if you haven't already:,, Learn more if you need to know more, and help spread the word. So thank you.

And thank you, Felix, for offering us the opportunity [APPLAUSE]. Andy Frank is here. Andy is sort of the Big Kahuna here. Andy's been trying to tell the automakers for the past 25 years that this is the direction we need to go in. They've taken a few turns in different directions in the last 25 years, but it all eventually came back to what Andy was telling them all those many years ago. Professor at UC Davis for many years, take it away, Andy. [APPLAUSE]

ANDY FRANK: Okay, thank you very much. Actually, thank you Felix, for organizing this. You know, all of this business -- there's a technology part, and technology doesn't mean anything unless it's properly promoted to the general public. The general public doesn't know what a plug-in hybrid is. Even today, they have very small knowledge. But without Felix, this couldn't have happened. So I have to give credit to Felix for bringing this kind of technology to the general public in the United States. He was the first guy to bring this concept to Congress. He's the first guy to get it in front of the US Department of Energy. I mean, he was the first guy to really make the big promotion.

Me? I just work on the technology [LAUGHTER]. So, I've been doing this for . . . let's see, the first plug-in hybrid I built was in 1972 [LAUGHTER]. A lot of you weren't even born. So I've been working on it a long time. And to me, this is the only way the United States and the world, for that matter, can get out of the oil crisis that we're in. I was just listening to Bloomberg News on my new XM radio in my Volt [LAUGHTER], and it was saying that the price of oil is headed back up over a hundred dollars a gallon -- I mean, a hundred dollars a barrel. Right. And you know, that's going to translate down to the pump, and that says nothing but gasoline going up. In the meantime, these cars will drive on electricity at essentially two cents a gallon -- I mean, two cents a mile -- or, you can buy gasoline and go at 15 or 20 cents a mile. So, get that in on the price of gasoline.

So it's very important that we as a country adopt this kind of technology, because what does two cents a mile really translate into? It translates into lifestyle. We want to preserve our lifestyle. And this country was originally built on low-cost energy. Now, the price of energy is going up, specifically gasoline, but we have plenty of low-cost electricity in this country. We've got enough electricity to electrify, according to the US Department of Energy, 80% of the fleet of cars that are out there today. So, why aren't we doing it? Well, I have to commend General Motors for bringing this first car that somehow or another I somehow envisioned what -- 40 or 35 years ago -- DAVE BARTHMUSS: We have thick skulls, but we eventually get it straight [LAUGHTER}

ANDY FRANK: Well, I really appreciate General Motors being the first, but don't forget -- the competition's out there. Ford's not far behind, Toyota's coming out next year, Ford with the Escape coming out not too far, and other companies around the world are beginning to adopt this technology. So, I think what it really says, to me, as, you know, some people have called me the "father" of this because I've been working on it so long, it says to me that the world is finally realizing that this is about the only solution that we really have.

I just drove my car from Davis, about 100 miles from here -- the first 35 miles was because I didn't have it fully charged, sorry. Well, I picked it up last night, and didn't get the paperwork signed until about nine o'clock, and I don't have my plug installed in my garage yet, but that's coming. That's coming today -- tomorrow, actually. So once I get all my plugs installed at home and at work, I anticipate that with my car, I will use less than about 50 gallons of gasoline in a year, compared to the current car that I have, which is over 400 gallons of gasoline. So, I don't care how you talk about mileage, or whatever.

What we're really talking about is gasoline displacement. And this is what this car does. It displaces gasoline with electricity. And that's why Plug In America is so important, and that's why we're all here. So how inconvenient is it to put a plug into the socket to displace oil? I think the motivation is really cost -- because at two cents a mile instead of 15 cents or 18 cents a mile using gasoline, that's the economic driver. So I'm going to look forward on spending a lot less money on energy.

By the way, Motor Trend's Car of the Year, this is the December issue -- unfortunately, it's no longer on the shelf because the January issue just came out. But if you can find a December issue, there are two nice articles on the Volt. It describes the technology, and most importantly, the quotes -- I have a quote in here [LAUGHTER]. DAVE BARTHMUSS: Then it's credible, right?

ANDY FRANK: Must be credible! [LAUGHTER] AUDIENCE MEMBER: I'm sure the magazine's online.

ANDY FRANK: Oh, yes! It is online. Okay, so I think that's, those are my comments. I think Ron, you're up next?

MARC GELLER: I'll give him a little introduction. Thank you, Andy, thanks so much [APPLAUSE]. Andy Frank! Well, next we have Ron Gremban. I gotta just say a couple of things. This brings me back to -- I don't know how many years ago it was. Six years ago, seven years ago, when Felix arrived at an Electric Auto Association meeting down in Palo Alto and said he needed some help, Ron and he were going to put together the first plug-in Prius, and a photo went around with world with a few of us who were working on it, and Ron is kind of the guy who made it happen all that time ago. So Ron, please [APPLAUSE].

RON GREMBAN: Thank you, Marc. Like Andy, I'm a techie. I was going to start like a novelist: "It was a dark and stormy night . . .", when 42 years ago, a group of us arrived exhausted and everything at MIT after driving eight and three-quarters days and nights across the continent in an electric car -- the first of many clean-air races set up by a friend of mine, Wally Rippel. And since then, we've been working to get the auto companies to start building plug-in vehicles, and never had any idea it would take 42 years.

But it has arrived, and at that time the big issue was smog. Los Angeles was just suffocating, and oftentimes you couldn't see half a block. We had a golf class one time, and the coach sent us back because we couldn't walk across the field slowly without hacking and coughing. So it has slowly gotten a lot better with a lot of pressure and pain and everything else. It could have been so much easier with electric vehicles that even at that time could have been commuter cars. So Felix, I'm sure, will tell some of the story of CalCars starting up.

I ran into him shortly after the Prius came out in '04, and was wondering, "Gee, I wonder how electric this could become?" And we ended up turning mine into a plug-in hybrid in my garage with the help of all sorts of people, including Marc. And the idea wasn't to have an electric vehicle or a plug-in vehicle so much as to prove that existing volume production technology was SO CLOSE! And at the time all the auto manufacturers were saying "Nobody will ever want to plug in their car, and the batteries aren't ready, they won't be ready anyway," and on and on and on. And Felix had the idea, let's go get grass-roots support, and grass-roots effort to get the companies and everybody to get going. And so, we did. When my car first ran as a plug-in hybrid, in November of '04 -- six years ago and one month. And we got press all over the country and the world -- I'm sure Felix will talk about that -- and we took these things to Washington D.C. the next year and had Congresspeople and their staffs drive them, even as Congress was calling auto companies on the carpet.

So when GM came out with the concept Volt, which they were working on just about that time, it hit the Detroit Auto Show and just had huge response. So much so that they go "Wow. We have go to turn this into a production vehicle." Hopefully we were behind some of that huge response.

They have done an excellent job of engineering this vehicle. I am so impressed. I got to drive mine in a customer orientation a couple of days ago, and it's clear it's sophistication that's gone way beyond the 535 Beemer that I used to have that was once my very favorite car -- that I put 242,000 miles on. Now that feels like it was very good, but it was done by brute force. And now we have something much more subtle, as well as effective.

At the same time, it's very clear that our jobs have just started, not ended. Because the lack of knowledge about the crisis that we're coming upon with climate change, and even the impending peak oil, is just amazing. It's going to take a major shift in awareness and consciousness to get beyond this crisis. This will be the beginning. The Leaf has come out, it's a pure electric, it's not a fully general-purpose vehicle, yet wonderful for commuting. Felix and I both have one of each on order. The companies are kind of dissing each other, but really, they're not competing with each other nearly as much as with the internal-combustion engine in two very different ways that will someday converge.

Thanks very much. Lynne is my girlfriend and partner, and she's happy, too -- she's going to get my plug-in Prius [LAUGHTER]. Do you have any words to say, Lynne? LYNNE MCALLISTER: No, thank you [LAUGHTER].


MARC GELLER: Thank you so much, Ron. I just want to quickly point out we've got a few other people here who have been very significant in the movement towards plug-in cars, and have been working on this doing plug-in hybrid conversions in the Bay Area, and then bringing the knowledge of this technology really all around the world. And that's Pat and Nick who are here from Pat's Garage in San Francisco. There he is -- wave your hand [APPLAUSE].

And also, I just want to point out Terry McCarter -- he's here somewhere -- who's here with this dealership. He's the tech guy. When you buy your Volt, you'll get to ride with Terry who's going to point out all the fancy buttons and what they do [APPLAUSE].

Also, Tom Driscoll is here, who was in Ron's garage with me and my partner, and a few others banging out that first car. Thank you for coming, Tom [APPLAUSE].

Is that Danielle? Danielle! Oh, my Lord, I didn't expect you. Danielle Fugere, who was from Friends of the Earth, gave us a lot of good support along the way, and now is at -- DANIELLE FUGERE: Environmental Law Foundation.

MARC GELLER: Environmental Law Foundation, still doing good work! Thank you very much for coming, Danielle [APPLAUSE].

And now, Felix Kramer. It's fantastic that Felix is getting this, I guess, first car out of this dealer, and no one is more deserving. I'm really not going to pour on the words, he deserves all of them; you've heard them before. But Felix, please come up and tell us about your excitement -- how we got here [APPLAUSE].

FELIX KRAMER: Thank you. Thanks everybody for coming. Thanks to Plug In America, and the Electric Car Association; we're co-sponsored by them today. We're also co-sponsored by the Silicon Valley Electric Auto Association chapter, the San Francisco chapter, and the North Bay chapter. If you live around here, join one of those groups. And thank you to the dealers: to Mark, Terry, to Dave Barthmuss and to the entire GM team. You've built a great car, and now we're actually getting it -- it's wonderful.

I also want to thank Wendy Frank, who's back there [APPLAUSE]. Thank you, Wendy. We've got my wife, Rochelle Lefkowitz, who stood behind me and beside me, who supported me all these years in every way. And Wendy Frank, for so many years, it's incredible [APPLAUSE]. So, you both get so much thanks.

And I also want to point out my son Josh, right next to the car there. We extracted Josh from Europe yesterday. He was going to be stranded, and he's so happy to be here now. Josh has lived with this campaign for almost half of his life, and he was the first contributor to CalCars. When he was 12 or 13, he gave our first dollar as a contribution. Josh has been my editor, proofreader, sounding board for all these years., And I knew, really, how important this was to him when we took a ride in a Tesla Roadster, and right after that, guess what picture was on Josh's Facebook page? That picture -- it was a total thrill. So thanks to all of you for coming here and for everything you've been doing in this campaign.

It is an amazing time, and I started to tell the whole story in writing some notes. It ended up a long, 3,000-word article, and it's at this morning. They said it's the longest posting ever [LAUGHTER], and I encourage you to read it. [­2010/­12/­22/­calcars-plug-in-campaign-victory-after-8-years/] It tells the whole story of this campaign. And it doesn't thank a lot of people, because we're going to do an Academy Awards-style thank-you post for CalCars News about all the people who've helped make this happen over the years. So take a look at that. The stories I want to tell today are part of the story; another part is in this book -- Sherry Boschert's book, which goes up to about 2006, and tells the story. And I actually have some copies here, if some people want them. And you can probably get a chance to get Ron and me and Marc and Andy to sign that, and at that point you'll have about half of the main characters in this book that are right there [LAUGHTER].

So, for me, this has been absolutely the best thing I've ever done in my life. It's the most satisfying thing I've ever done. It brings together everything I've cared about in my life, and taken the best of everything I could do. I really feel like I, for the first time, really accomplished something -- that I had an impact on the world. And I think that is really important. It's great to be able to have an impact, and everyone in this room facing the kind of very grim and challenging times now we have. I really think that the message of this campaign is that for everyone in this room and in this world, we have our work cut out for us. And whether it's an avocation, a part-time volunteer activity, or a full-time job, I think everybody needs to jump in in some way, either in advocacy, or in clean tech, or in some kind of efforts to really change, because we are headed in dire directions. If we don't change, we're in big trouble. This campaign points the way to how we can get there.

So many things about the campaign -- it brings together people of all different kinds of backgrounds, political views, beliefs, motivations. And I'll talk a little about that.

CalCars really began as Ron talked about. Two years after it was founded, it began in Corte Madera, in his garage. And we put plug-in hybrids on the map. We took what Andy had been talking about and what people in laboratories and universities had been talking about for decades now, and we said, "This is ready to go. Let's do this." We did Ron's conversion -- and that's the world's first plug-in hybrid, the Prius conversion that's outside there -- and we brought that up to the state of Washington and all over the place, and we took my car, which is right there, it has 98,000 miles on it at this point, since 2004. It also has about 6,000 air miles on it, because we flew into Washington D.C. in 2006. That started the ball rolling in so many ways.

So basically since then, people have come to understand that plug-in hybrids are a core solution to many of the problems that we have. The main slogan that we talk about is "Cleaner, cheaper, domestic". When you look at every one of those words, there's a benefit for each one.

The cleaner? There's half as much CO2 on the national grid as a gasoline car. And the grid is getting cleaner all the time. My favorite thing that EV people have been saying for years is that electric vehicles get cleaner as they get older, because the grid is getting cleaner. So that brings the environmentalists in. And people have understood that if we plug our cars in and we clean the grid, we've solved 30, 40 percent of the greenhouse gas problem in the world. That's a huge challenge to do. And if we make the liquid fuels renewable, then we're further on the way there.

The cheaper part, as Andy talked about -- the cost -- it's also about reviving the auto industry. We've said for years that this is the path forward, and we have GM, and we have Ford, and many other companies now saying that electrification is the future of the automobile industry. So that's the "cheaper": the individual driver's cost, and better economy for the auto industry.

Domestic? We don't use imported fuel to power our cars, so it improves our energy security.

So we had a bunch of slogans, and we plastered on our cars "100+ miles per gallon, plus a penny a mile electricity", and that got a lot of people's attention. We took this thing here, which is what my conversion uses to plug into a regular 120 outlet on one side and the car on the other side, and we took this around to Washington D.C. and we gave it to legislators, and they started passing it around, and like, talking into it [LAUGHTER] like a sacred object, passing it around as they talked. Now, I get to replace that with this -- so here we have the onboard cable for my new Chevy Volt. One side, 120 volt; this side here is what's called a J-1772 connector. You'll be happy to know that every plug-in car will use the same connector -- no incompatible systems [CHEERS]. They got it right! [APPLAUSE]. And so this can plug into any outlet, wherever I am in the world -- I mean, in the country.

And on the other side, this connector, at our house, we have a connector like this. We don't need it, but if we have it, it means we can use the 220 volt connector -- like in a dryer outlet, we can charge our car much faster. And this same plug will work for every plug-in vehicle. So, this one was really a powerful message that we don't need new technology, new infrastructure to power our cars -- and this is even more so, because this thing can go anywhere. What's that? DAVE BARTHMUSS [OFF-CAMERA]: It even lights up.

FELIX KRAMER: It even lights up. It's got a light, so if you're in the garage, in the dark, you can light it up. And that does mention this other point, that when people were originally saying, "Oh, it's too much trouble to plug in." After I got my car, I timed it. It takes a whole nine seconds out of my life to plug it in [LAUGHTER] when I leave it in the garage, and another nine seconds to unplug it in the morning. And now, with the new technologies, I can get a text message saying, "Oh, by the way, you forgot to plug it in." And that'll be handy, too.

And in terms of the last point on slogans, my favorite slogan of all about the breadth of this coalition is from the former CIA director Jim Woolsey. He said that what we put together is a coalition of "treehuggers, do-gooders, sodbusters, cheap hawks, evangelicals, and Willie Nelson." [LAUGHTER] And that kind of encapsulates it all. In going forward now in the next Congressional session, a lot of people are saying that electrification is one of the things that a lot of people can agree on, and we can get a lot more legislation to accelerate this whole process.

So, now I want to talk a little about GM here. When they announced this car, they were clearly doing something very different. They said, 'We are going to be open about this entire process.' Their first teleconference, I called in, they recognized me, I asked tough questions, other people asked tough questions; they responded. They opened up in a whole different way than you've ever seen before. They took the curtain off. The brought people to the factory. They said how difficult all this was, and what they were succeeding in doing. All the way through they said "We are engaged in a tremendously challenging job." To take a car announced in January, 2007, and to get it to market. And they said, "We're going to have this car on sale in November, 2010."

And I will note that every other car maker has had a delay. Every other one has not met their deadlines. GM delivered the first cars in November, 2010, and they're delivering to a group of people in December, and many more: 10,000 this first model year, 30,000 to 40,000 the next model year, the first year is sold out. Get on line for its 2012 model year -- Mark [Ianniccheri from Novato Chevrolet] will be happy to talk to you, and other people will be happy to talk to you about that.

So, GM is doing it right. And they're migrating this to other parts of GM, to Cadillac and to many other vehicles. I can't wait until they have a plug-in SUV; people at Earth Day at Squaw Valley said "I want a plug-in car, and it's got to be a 4-wheel drive vehicle." I understand that. I can't wait until we have a whole range of plug-in vehicles we can have from GM and from other makers.

And one of the most memorable moments happened 28 months ago. When Tony Posawatz was the vehicle line director, the chief engineer for the Volt, he came to San Francisco and met with Marc and Ron and me, and a total of 12 people, all EV drivers. And we spent the whole afternoon looking at the Prius conversions and talking to them about this car and what it could mean -- what the experience of the drivers told them. And the ideas. And we're seeing some of those ideas incorporated into the car. So GM from the start has understood that this time, all the advocates -- all the people who've been saying we need this car -- are their friends and allies. And they have embraced that. And that has been very smart. And it is to their benefit, and all our benefit, to get this car out on the road.

So I am really happy. This is the culmination of nine and a half years for me in getting this car. I never really thought it would take that long, but in retrospect it's logical that it would take so long to start changing one of the largest industries we have -- an industry that affects everything in the world [APPLAUSE]. So CalCars -- thank you! -- we declared victory in October, 2009, because we knew that production plug-in hybrids were coming to market. And some people said, you know, it's too soon to declare victory. And we said 'We're declaring victory on phase one." And we need victories. We need to know that we can win things. It really helps to say that a small group of dedicated people can organize a larger group of people, and can move mountains. And that's what we started doing, and that's why we declared victory -- we said we want to celebrate that. And today we want to celebrate that they're actually showing up here. So we declared victory a year ago.

What have we done since then? We have a lot to do now, to make sure that this is successful. There's a lot of uncertainty, misunderstandings, misinformation out there. All of us drivers have to start telling everybody we know what we love about this product. And we have to start telling the public, and GM and the other car makers what they could do better. We could do all of that. We could be advocates for the car, and we could be tough advocates for the car as well.

We have all that to do, and CalCars has something else to do. Because we are delighted that we're getting somewhere around a million plug-in vehicles by around 2015 [APPLAUSE]. And we're delighted that by 2020 or so, maybe we'll have 10 or 15 percent of new-car sales be plug-in cars of all kinds.

But it took ten years for hybrids to get to two percent of the market. And so, we need the displacement that Andy talked about -- the displacement of petroleum by electricity as soon as possible -- in the next 10 to 15 years for climate change and energy security. We're not going to get it fast enough from the new vehicles, so we're now starting all over again, greeted by the same skepticism and doubt that people had met us with in 2004, when we say we need to FIX tens of millions of cars that are already on the road. Most people don't realize there are technical solutions and business solutions for doing that. And we're saying that is a tremendous goal for the new CalCars, and we want other advocates to jump in on that campaign -- because if we can't do that, there are 250 million cars in the US, and 900 million in the world that will keep on guzzling gas and spewing out emissions for decades. They don't last five or ten years, like they think. They're like buildings; they stay around a long time. And we need to fix them, just like we fix buildings. So that's what we're doing.

And then one final thing on that side of things: I went to Houston two months ago, and I talked to leaders in the oil industry. And I said it is time for the people in the oil industry to start to evolve their businesses, and to start realizing there are business opportunities that involve low CO2 activities. We want you to take some of that petroleum you make, and sequester it in plastic and fabrics, and in building materials. We want you to take those drills and use them to find geothermal resources. We want you to invest in algae biodiesel and other kinds of fuels. And we're saying that, and we know it's really hard because this is one of the most powerful industries in the world. More than half of the top-ten companies in the world are oil companies. They're making money hand over fist from selling a product that is going to ruin our world.

And so, it is a real challenge. But if we don't succeed in finding a way through a combination of regulations, incentives, and offers they can't refuse, if we don't succeed in finding a way for them to make that transition, we won't get where we need to go. That is a real big challenge. They can't simply be the enemy; they have to somehow become the partner. Just like people will remember, five or ten years ago, people loved to hate the auto industry. Now they understand that there are many people in the auto industry who want to make change, and they are our allies. We need to find those same allies in the oil industry. It happened in the cigarette industry when Liggett and Myers broke off from the other tobacco companies and signed a deal with the government. And maybe the first car maker will agree to cooperate in converting their vehicles.

That is one thing we have to do. We need to find all those giant industries and find a way. The only exception, probably, is coal. I don't think there's any way we're going to get good, clean coal. So we have to find a way to shut every coal plant in the world as soon as possible [APPLAUSE] without blackouts. There's probably nothing more important than that in the world.

So this campaign, which is about cars on the one hand, goes well beyond it. It can inspire all of us. We hope that you will take the energy you get from seeing the growth and the success of this campaign back to your own lives, and that you will work with us, with all the sponsoring organizations, with the organizations in your communities. Some of them are going to talk now about what's going on in Novato and in Marin. We hope you'll take that energy and put it to good use, and I thank you all for coming today. [APPLAUSE]

MARC GELLER: Thanks so much Felix! I bet you just want to get in the car and drive [LAUGHTER]. But we've got a few more people here, too -- one thing I want to say. The cars are one part of the equation. The other part of the equation is getting our homes and the streets ready for these cars. Which means installing charge stations in our homes, and making some public infrastructure available so that we can drive these cars and the all-electric cars even further than perhaps we usually do. We may wake up in the day with 40 miles, and that might be enough, or in an all-electric car you may wake up with 100 miles, and that might be enough. But there are those days when you might want to go a little bit further. And with public infrastructure, we can make this happen. The governments, Marin -- UNIDENTIFIED VOICE: Or a range extender.

MARC GELLER: Or a range extender! But even if you've got the range extender, I assume you'd like them to plug in the car at the movie theater so they can . . . Yes. Exactly.

So! Counties are going to have to get involved in smart infrastructure development, making it easy for people to put plugs in their houses, and to make it easy to find plug-in plugs available in public, in places you want to use them. One of the people involved in this is Richard Schorske, from the EV Communities Alliance. Richard? [APPLAUSE]

RICHARD SCHORSKE: Thank you so much. I'm going to be brief, but I just want to acknowledge Felix, and Marc, and everybody here who's really been the drivers in getting an amazing vehicle like this into the community. As Marc was saying, EV infrastructure is absolutely key.

I also brought with me a very interesting diagram that appeared in the Marin Independent-Journal. "About two years ago now," it says, "about one meter sea level rise," and this is where we are, right here -- we're in the blue. We're in the blue at this very location in Novato with a one-meter sea level rise. And three years ago, they were saying this is what could happen by 2100. Now they are saying this is what will happen by 2050, and seven feet by 2100 if we don't change our act. This three-foot rise is baked-in, folks. Okay? So this parking lot is underwater in 2050 and beyond. This is how dire our climate crisis is.

And right here in Marin, 62 percent of our greenhouse gases come from the other vehicles in this world here -- all the vehicles that aren't electric. And the electric vehicle, right now, is 78 percent cleaner, even with the grid that we have now, the PG&E grid, than a regular vehicle. So this is a huge part of the solution right here in Marin. And significantly, our grid is getting greener faster than the PG&E grid. For those of you who are on Marin Clean Energy, most of the towns in Marin except in Novato, unfortunately, you can get 100 percent green power today and drive virtually carbon-free -- a massive, significant change. You pretty much zero out your carbon emissions for transportation. If you live in Marin, go green with Marin Clean Energy [APPLAUSE].

I'm just gonna say -- one other thing about the community benefit in addition to the GHG reduction, and that was touched on by a couple of folks about economic benefit. But right now in Marin, at three dollars a gallon, we are spending, collectively, $435 million a year on gasoline. At four dollars a gallon, which is probably coming in six to 12 months, we'll be spending $580 million a year on gasoline. That's an enormous part of our gross product in this county. If we switch to EV -- if 70 percent of our fleet goes EV, in the next, say, 20 years -- we will have $300 to $400 million a year that goes into our pocket, and $150 million a year that goes into our renewable energy grid to build out a 100 percent renewable-energy grid right here in Marin County. That's amazing [APPLAUSE]. That's recirculating a huge chunk of cash in our county to build solar, wind, geothermal sources of energy that can power our vehicles. Amazing!

Okay. I'm just going to acknowledge a couple of people in the audience. We have Torri Estrada from Marin Community Foundation who was instrumental in the start up of the EV Communities Alliance. Torri, where are you? Raise your hand [APPLAUSE]. Thank you.

Diane Steinhauser, executive director of the Transportation Authority of Marin, a tremendous leader in clean-vehicle transition [APPLAUSE]. They, and the voters of Marin, by the way, thanks to Diane and others, the voters of Marin had the opportunity to vote "yes" on a vehicle registration fee that is going to fund EV charging infrastructure right here in the county [APPLAUSE]. Thank you, voters!

And we now have funding to install about eight or nine charging stations, which is a tiny number, in the public, that will grow to many dozens over the next couple of years. We'll be having a fast-charging station which will -- unfortunately, the Volt doesn't have a connector for that, but some of the other vehicles do, and they will soon, I'm sure -- that will power up your electric vehicle in 20 minutes. We're going to have one of those installed in Corte Madera at the Safeway in the next six months or so. And so we are on the way towards a very robust electric vehicle-charging infrastructure, and I'm very excited about that.

And folks, this energy security situation is dire. I was at a PG&E meeting at the Public Utilities Commission and they presented this graph, which shows that we're about here, 2012, and this little thing says "unidentified project". This is all of over the next ten years -- we don't know where we're going to get the liquid fuels to power all these other vehicles, and the range-extended Volt. We're about to go over the peak of oil, according to international agencies and other entities are basically saying, the US Government, the military, we're about there -- 2012. And then we're going to be on the other side of the peak, two percent decline, at least, a year, in the available fuel supply, to meet our current needs. This is a smart car to buy if you're concerned about having transportation five to 10 years from now.

And I'll just say one more thing, and then I'm done. When I first heard about Felix's [gas-guzzler] conversion program, I thought, "Oh, come on. That's going to be incredibly difficult and expensive, and people just aren't going to go for that." And then I read more about it, and read more posts by Felix, and I thought, "You know what? This is a man who is exactly as he said." He was greeted with "Oh, come on -- plug-in hybrids? Years away'", all these reasons why it can't happen. I am now a convert to conversions , and Felix has made me a convert to conversions. Don't ever doubt anything Felix says about what can and should happen [APPLAUSE].

One last item. There's a key element to this: Who's gonna do all this? Who's gonna take care of the Volt, who's going to do the conversions? And I'd like to acknowledge my wife, Nanda Schorske, the dean of workforce development and college community partnerships at the College of Marin right here in Novato [APPLAUSE]. She has the first conversion classes in this region for EVs, and you can take a course right now in learning how to convert your car to EV today. You don't need to buy a new car. We'd love it if you can, but if you want to convert your old car, sign up for a class at College of Marin, find out how you can do it inexpensively, and you're down the road with a plug-in hybrid of your own based on a car that you have now. Very exciting program. I'm done! Thank you very much [APPLAUSE].

MARC GELLER: Thank you, Richard. And I can say that Plug In America and the Electric Auto Association look forward to working with you and all the people in Marin County who are going to be placing infrastructure out there, so that we can help you place them in the right places that are the most useful.

I think we have some folks here from the Transport Authority of Marin? Do you want to say a few words? On deck I think we have Sustainable Marin and Sustainable Novato.

DIANE STEINHAUSER: Thank you. You know, it's really an honor and a privilege to be here with you today, who have worked so hard and for so many years to try and make this happen. I'm with the Transportation Authority of Marin. About two, two and a half years ago, Marin Clean Energy was looking into the potential for electric vehicle charging stations and electric vehicles being supported in Marin County. They were struggling with all they had on their plate, and so the Transportation Authority, my agency, stepped in to help coordinate efforts. And let me just briefly tell you, and put an exclamation point behind some of the things you just said about the work we're doing.

We have several levels of activity. As an agency, we get funding from various sources to do transportation improvements: federal funding, state, regional toll funding, local funds. One of the local fund sources that we're trying to develop, and thanks to you, thank you very much -- we've got a steady source now -- is funds for electric vehicles, and we're doing this through the recently-approved registration fee.

In the meantime, we're seeing a lot of funds trickle down from the federal Department of Energy, from the California Energy Commission, EV Communities Alliance, in concert with the Air District, ABAG, and MTC, kinda went together to try to attract California Energy Commission funding to the Bay Area for electric vehicles. We have a smattering of money from a grant program there.

We also have a number of electric vehicle manufacturers, as well as charging station manufacturers who are giving programs together and offering support. So we're looking for money to do charging facilities. Most of these are going to be either on publicly-accessible lots -- we're a public agency, and have to make sure these things are available to the public -- or in partnership with commercial lots, such as what Richard mentioned on the Safeway lot in Corte Madera. But the good news is that we have a planning grant from the Marin Community Foundation. We're planning right now, we have a small team that gets together every quarter to look over this planning activity: Where should we put charging stations? How should we help residences? What are impediments to residences proceeding. And what we want to be able to do is kind of tackle this on several levels: public lots, when you go shopping in the malls, commercial lots, private lots, and also residential implementation. So we're working on all three of those.

We predict we're going to have up to $100,000 a year now as a steady stream of funding that is Marin-specific through the VRF. So thank you to those of you who voted for that Vehicle Registration Fee increase [APPLAUSE]. It's two and a half lattes, it's 10 dollars a year on your vehicle registration, but it does things like this. And that's good news; it helps us meet our goals of reducing pollution.

The other thing I just want to mention in closing is that we have a lot of responsibility associated with trying to address climate change. We're doing a lot at TAM through funding things like the Cal Park Tunnel which recently opened, we just last Friday opened a big bike path over Lincoln Hill, called the Lincoln Hill Bike Path; we're working now to try and fund a lot of pathway projects. We found $3 million for pathway projects around schools -- we did that in October. We're also managing our Safe Routes to School program, school pooling, greenways to school, all of that falls under our rubric of trying to address climate change and reduce pollution.

So stay tuned, we're going to start having our quarterly meetings advertised on our website, Come join us. We're trying to bring together the EV Communities Alliance, the San Francisco Electric Vehicle Association, the Sustainable Marin, Novato, San Rafael, to sit along with the Marin Community Foundation, and look at this planning: Are we doing everything that we can do to try and make these vehicles successful?

Lastly, I had a very fortuitous visit from who, of all people, but Hertz! We're exploring how to do car sharing in Marin. The problem with car-sharing organizations that I've experienced is that there's not density enough in Marin for them to see the business model being successful, so they want some funds to help them get started. We can do that now, because we have a little of our local VRF money to help get things like transportation demand management employer programs going. They actually came in two weeks ago and said they would be willing to provide all-electric vehicles, that's car-sharing vehicles, in Marin County [APPLAUSE].

So that is great news. We probably have a little coordination work to do there, and maybe even throw a little money at the problem, but that's the kind of stuff that we're trying to promote, so again, we're coming into this as an agency that's trying to do chargers. We're doing fleet conversions, we just found funds for the Marin Municipal Water District to convert four of their service vehicles over to hybrid vans, so yay there. And we're going to keep up that activity. Check out our website; come to one of our quarterly meetings, Thank you [APPLAUSE].

MARC GELLER: Let's talk about the location of those chargers. I've got ten years' experience using them, and I think we can probably help you with the process.

So before we close, I think, is there anyone who would like to say a few words that I didn't recognize? If not, let's let Felix close us out. With a prayer [LAUGHTER].

FELIX KRAMER: There were one or two things I wanted to mention that I didn't say. First, I was very serious but I also wanted to also say that especially with Ron, and Marc, and Andy, I've had a lot of fun. And they have been really great to work with just as people. And it has been really gratifying. And I didn't want to lose that.

I also wanted to say I don't see Steve here-- UNIDENTIFIED VOICE: He's outside somewhere.

FELIX KRAMER: I guess I lost him. Okay, well, I just wanted to say my brother is here, and when we were kids, we shared electric vehicles when we crashed bumper cars in amusement parks [LAUGHTER]. And he showed me an EV he built in the 1970s when he lived in Oakland. So he's got the EV tradition in the family over me.

Lastly I want to say, subscribe to CalCars-News off the website, read Marc's blog -- look online, search for 'Marc Geller, plugs-in cars', or go to CalCars' partners page, and there's a link to it right there. [] There are links to a lot of resources at CalCars' partners page. And ask me if you want one of those yellow dongles today. So thank you very much everybody for coming.

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