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CalCars Will Engage with Designer/Architect William McDonough
Sep 23, 2005 (From the CalCars-News archive)
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CalCars Will Engage with Designer/Architect William McDonough

Palo Alto, September 22, 2005 The California Cars Initiative ( has announced that it will be working with William McDonough to integrate Cradle to Cradle approaches in its future technology development work. William McDonough is a world-renowned architect and designer and winner of three U.S. presidential awards: the Presidential Award for Sustainable Development (1996), the National Design Award (2004); and the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award (2003). Time magazine recognized him as a "Hero for the Planet" in 1999.

Mr. McDonough has been a leader in the sustainable development movement since its inception. His widely acclaimed Cradle to Cradle strategy, developed with German chemist Michael Braungart, now being applied in locations that range from the Ford River Rouge Plant to seven new cities in China, first came to broad public attention in their acclaimed book, "Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things."

This announcement means that CalCars' efforts to motivate auto makers to build plug-in hybrid vehicles that substitute cleaner, cheaper, domestic electricity for local travel -- then evolve further to use fuel alternatives to gasoline for extended trips -- will expand to incorporate a broader Cradle to Cradle approach where, as McDonough puts it,"materials are designed for continuous re-use as biological and/or technical nutrients." founder Felix Kramer said, "Bill McDonough is our leading visionary designer in many fields. He was involved in the development of the 2003 Ford Model U concept car­article_display.cfm?article_id=14047, bringing the Cradle to Cradle vision to automobile design and manufacturing. CalCars is happy to be part of the next evolution."

William McDonough said, "Plug-in hybrid vehicles are important as a path to a renewably powered future. I welcome CalCars' work on the technical and the advocacy sides in bringing these vehicles to market."

Felix Kramer made the announcement September 22 at the Palo Alto Research Center, at his talk entitled " How Plug-In Hybrids Tackle National Security, Jobs and Global Warming"­cms/­get_article.php?id=483. He noted that Dr. Braungart had spoken to a Silicon Valley audience at the long-established PARC forums about Cradle to Cradle strategies earlier this year:­cms/­get_article.php?id=411

The California Cars Initiative is a Palo Alto-based nonprofit startup. It's a group of entrepreneurs, engineers and other citizens promoting high-efficiency, low-emission cars and harnessing buyer demand to help commercialize advanced technologies. Somewhat uniquely, focuses both on public policy and technology development. Formed in 2002,'s efforts for "100+MPG hybrids" began to be noticed in early 2005 with coverage in The New York Times, Business Week, TIME, Newsweek National Public Radio and other venues. (See­kudos.html for print, audio and video clips.) Since then, support for PHEVs has grown among many constituencies. CalCars is investigating strategies, including sponsoring a for-profit company to partner with one or more auto makers to meet the fleet demand for PHEVs.

Mr McDonough is founder and principal of two design firms. William McDonough + Partners, Architecture and Community Design, has created numerous landmarks of the sustainability movement since 1981, designing homes, offices, corporate campuses, academic buildings, communities, and cities. McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry (MBDC) employs a comprehensive Cradle to Cradle design protocol to chemical benchmarking, supply-chain integration, energy and materials assessment, clean-production qualification, and sustainability issue management and optimization. Mr. McDonough and his firms have received numerous national and international architectural, environmental, industrial and design awards for their work.

Mr. McDonough is Consulting Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Stanford University, U.S. Chair of the Board of Councilors of the China-U.S. Center for Sustainable Development, and Chair of the Board of Overseers for the Center for Eco-Intelligent Management at the Instituto de Empresa in Madrid. He is a venture partner with VantagePoint Venture Partners, a $3.5 billion global technology venture capital firm with a dedicated CleanTech practice group. He lives in Charlottesville, Virginia.

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