Sep 2, 2005 (From the CalCars-News archive)
The successful effort by DontCrush.com has grown and evolved into a new organization, Plug In America. Below is the press release, a link to the Associated Press story on the campaign, and an announcement of an opportunity to drive a RAV4 EV and PRIUS+ in San Francisco, Sept 10-11.
DontCrush.com Announces Toyota Victory, Launches Plug In America
Former CIA Director joins auto engineers and advocates to encourage automakers to produce petroleum-free, pollution-free cars
Los Angeles, September 1 - In an international telephone press conference today, DontCrush.com lauded Toyota's recent decision to keep its zero-emission, battery-electric RAV 4 SUVs on the road. Joined by a former CIA-director, an ex-GM employee, an EV engineer, and the Southern California Edison Electric Transportation director, DontCrush.com is declaring a victory in its efforts to save America's last remaining petroleum-free, pollution-free vehicles.
DontCrush.com's success in saving Toyota's RAV4 EV, the Ford Th!nk City EV and Ford Ranger EV from the crusher while bringing national attention to General Motors' decision to destroy its popular EV1s, have inspired the group to help America move towards an oil-independent future with Plug In America, a new advocacy organization launched today. The organization will work with industry, environmental and national security organizations, and concerned citizens to revive plug-in auto production and give Americans the freedom to choose cars, trucks, and SUVs that are powered by cleaner, cheaper, domestic sources of energy.
Following a three-month campaign, Toyota agreed to stop crushing its RAV4 EV, and allow satisfied customers to lease or buy their zero-emission SUVs. Electric vehicle advocates, long dismissed as "fanatics" or "hobbyists" by automakers, are in fact speaking for the majority of Americans concerned about national security, public health, rising gas prices, and global warming. A recent Reuters survey found that most Americans believe it is patriotic to buy a fuel-efficient vehicle to help reduce American dependency on foreign oil. Nearly no oil is used for making electricity in the U.S; over 70% of our oil is consumed for transportation. Plug in America wants the government and automakers to prioritize building and marketing plug-in vehicles now.
Plug In America
Pulling away from the pump and plugging into our nation's extensive electric infrastructure would mean that Americans could immediately make the switch to cheaper, cleaner, domestic energy sources to power cars, trucks and SUVs. The cost of plugging in to the grid and charging up at home is the equivalent of pennies per gallon on the average electric bill as compared to $3.00-plus a gallon at the pump today. The widespread use of renewable energy like solar and wind power is on the rise across America and offers drivers the opportunity to plug-in to fossil-fuel free energy. With a plug-in hybrid, which uses a battery-powered electric motor for the first 30 to 50 miles, most American commuters would rarely if ever need to fill up or even top off with gasoline unless making a long trip. Since 50 percent of Americans do not drive more than 20 miles per day, the electric range of a plug-in hybrid would power nearly all of our daily driving.
A Brief History of EVs and The People Who Tried to Destroy Them DontCrush.com started in 2004 in response to auto companies' ongoing destruction of their electric cars after successfully eviscerating California's Zero Emission Vehicle Mandate. Despite enormous popularity including waiting lists to lease the all-electric, zero-emission vehicles, the auto industry spent millions lobbying Sacramento and suing in federal court to take the cars off the road and replace them with gasoline cars as the only readily available option. Successful grassroots interventions including demonstrations at dealerships, car-sit vigils, and public education rallies helped save from the crusher hundreds of Ford and Toyota electric cars.
DontCrush.com's efforts have received public support from the American Lung Association, CalCars.org, California Assembly Member Fran Pavley, California Assembly Member Mark Leno, California Environmental Protection Agency Secretary Alan Lloyd, California State Senator Sheila Kuehl, Electric Auto Association, Environment Now, Global Exchange, Greenpeace, Jumpstart Ford Coalition, Natural Resources Defense Council, Orange County Interfaith Coalition for the Environment, Rainforest Action Network, Set America Free, Sierra Club, City of Santa Monica, South Coast Air Quality Management District and the Union of Concerned Scientists.
James Woolsey, former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency and member of Plug In America coalition and Set America Free, is a well-known advocate of plug-in hybrid technology. "We must encourage the commercialization of technologies that are compatible with existing infrastructure. What makes plug-in hybrids promising is that they are; we don't need a Manhattan Project to make this happen."
"Southern California Edison is proud to operate one of the nation's largest and most successful EV fleets," says Ed Kjaer, Director of the Electric Transportation Department of Southern California Edison. "Since its inception, SCE's EV fleet has traveled almost 12 million trouble-free miles delivering significant petroleum, emissions and green house gas reductions as well as lower maintenance and operating costs. Thanks to the continuing support of Toyota and as a testament to the quality, durability and reliability of their world class EV, SCE is committed to maintaining its almost 180 Toyota RAV4 EVs indefinitely."
"The waiting lists and public campaigns for plug-in vehicles only prove that the demand for these cars has always gone unfulfilled by the automakers," says Chelsea Sexton, Plug In America organizer and former GM EV1 specialist. "There was compelling demand a decade ago when large EV programs started and were killed. That demand has only increased exponentially as the nation has come to realize the devastating consequences of depending on foreign oil."
"Four years and over 30,000 miles driving electric cars have proven to me that the best way for us individually and as a nation to use less oil is to have the choice to use none," says Marc Geller, Plug In America organizer. "Automakers need to offer plug- in electric alternatives, because electricity from the American grid, or in my case my solar PV panels, is cleaner, cheaper and domestic. We shouldn't have to pay off oil companies or undemocratic regimes just to get to work. Disruptions in oil supply - in Iraq, in Louisiana - compel us to move quickly. We need choices. Now. Unlike the ever-more distant panacea of hydrogen fuel cells, plug in technology works today, and the infrastructure is ubiquitous. The automakers have already proven they can make great plug in cars. I drive one past gas stations every day."
"Before I leased my RAV4 EV, I never knew how much I'd love it. After I had it, I had no idea how hard I'd have to fight to keep it," explains Linda Nichols, Toyota RAV4 EV owner. "Toyota's turnaround is a courageous decision to respond to consumer demand and revise a policy created years ago for the benefit of their customers as well as the environment."
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An AP story on the Toyota RAV4 EVs is widely available, including at:
EVENT: Sept.10-11 At the Sierra (Club) Summit at Moscone Center in San Francisco, we're joining one or two Toyota RAV4 EVs at an unofficial Ride-and Drive event from 10 AM-noon and 2-5 PM sponsored by the San Francisco Electric Vehicle Association, alongside the automakers' official Ride-And-Drive. Our PRIUS+ will be there from 2-5 PM Saturday and 10-12 and 2-3 Sunday, and we'll be distributing information at SFEVA's booth #710. Come hear informal presentations by CalCars Founder Felix Kramer Saturday at 10:30 AM and 3:15 PM.