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Seattle City Hall Press Conference + Washington news coverage
Dec 6, 2005 (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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It's the companion posting to our report on our November trip to Oregon and

Here's the Seattle City Hall Press Conference (thanks to Bill Robbins for transcription; we also have audio version), followed by the KUOW report on the event, and links to two Wenatchee radio clips and one news story.

City Councilmember Jean Godden I'd like to thank members of the Green Ribbon Commission, which took a break from their efforts today to join this event, which shows the kind of innovative spirit that we've got, and environmental leadership that makes Seattle such a great place. At this point I'd like to introduce the Deputy Mayor Tim Ceis. Tim, take it away! (applause)

Seattle Deputy Mayor Tim Ceis Thank you council member, I appreciate it. Thanks everybody for being here today. Felix Kramer from CalCars, where are you, I just want to acknowledge you over here. This is your vehicle, and thank you for bringing it up to Seattle for us to take a look at.

CalCars Fouunder Felix Kramer And that is Ron Gremban, he's our technology guy, back there.

Ceis: Alright Ron, good to see you! So we all get to take this for a little spin later on, we'll see how she does. You know, the city of Seattle is no stranger to hybrids. We've got the largest fleet of Priuses in the state. I think we've got 142 of them now, and we're doing really well, getting better gas mileage and reducing our emissions. Part of the Mayor's goal of reducing all of Seattle's greenhouse gas emissions, is part of his Kyoto Accord agreement with other mayors of other cities, these are the kinds of actions we need to take. We need to start promoting different technologies, new ideas, ways to reduce our reliance on petroleum products. So ideas like this are going to get us there. You know, 100 miles per gallon is a pretty astounding achievement, if we can start moving that technology forward. And that's a role government can play. We can be a leader in investing in these kinds of technologies to start helping to create a market for them.

So, with the City of Austin, which has started an initiative to see if we can stimulate a private market for these kinds of cars, we're hopeful that through these kinds of entrepreneurial efforts and through investments by governments like Seattle, we might one day see this kind of car marketed for general use. One day people will be more excited about miles per gallon than horse power again, and we can have these kinds of cars on the road.

So I'm glad you're here! I want you all to take a little peek under the trunk, you can see the batteries under there that power this car. I think it's just a great opportunity to see what we can do next in getting off of fossil fuels and off of petroleum, so thanks! (applause)

Godden: At this point I'd like to introduce you to Jorge Carrasco, Superintendent of City Light. (applause)

Superintendent of Seattle's City Light Jorge Carrasco Thank you! City Light is pleased to be able to participate in this program. A week or so ago there was an announcement that we had achieved greenhouse gas neutrality at City Light. That relates to all of the activities the utility is involved in, and we're proud of that achievement. One of the things we had to do in order to achieve that goal was to look for projects outside the local area. This is an opportunity of us to maybe support initiatives that advance greenhouse gas emission neutrality, but perhaps looks at an application that could have local impact.

This particular vehicle not only is much more energy efficient, it obviously reduces the amount of greenhouse gas emitted. But it also means that people that use the vehicle are going to plug in to the City Light grid during the low-load hours, and that is a time when the utility usually is able to accept more load without adding a significant amount of cost. So it's a very nice marriage between a utility application and a transportation application. As we all know, when you look at greenhouse gas emissions, the large majority of them are coming from transportation uses, so this is a way to maybe combine the two efforts and hopefully generate benefits for the entire community. We're very pleased to be a part of this, and looking forward to additional work on the applicability of this technology. Thank you! (applause) I need to introduce Rich Feldman with the Apollo Alliance, and also member of our Green Ribbon Commission. I'd like to introduce Rich to say a few words.

Richard Feldman, Washington State Coordinator for the Apollo Alliance and member of the Seattle Mayor's Green Ribbon Commission on Climate Protection It's a real pleasure to be here. You know, in 1961 President John F. Kennedy inspired Americans to pursue a goal that seemed beyond our reach: to land a man on the moon in a decade. Eight years later, that happened. Apollo 11 landed on the moon, and it was proof that we can succeed when we apply our expertise, innovation, and can-do spirit to a single national endeavor. Now we have a new Apollo effort for the 21st century. Our challenge is to achieve sustainable energy independence in one generation. The Apollo Alliance, which I'm a part of and represent in Washington state, is a broad coalition of labor, environmental, community, and business organizations dedicated to moving this vision at the national, state, and local level.

Every 20 minutes outside my home, a vehicle quietly swishes by, using not one drop of foreign oil or emitting any greenhouse gases. What is this vehicle? It is King County's electric trolley bus powered by electric fuel from City Light. Which now, as was already mentioned, is the first utility in the US to achieve zero net emissions of greenhouse gases. If we are serious about energy independence, then we need to have City Light providing electric fuel not just for buses, but for vehicles like this.

Now, can you imagine a future when we have plug-in hybrids, like this vehicle, that are using clean City Light power for around-town travel, but also can burn ethanol, or biodiesel, made from Washington state crops for longer distances? Now you're looking at the sheik's nightmare: a vehicle that can go 200 to 400 miles per gallon of petroleum. This is a viable future, building off of the existing infrastructure and systems, combined with American and Japanese ingenuity, to guarantee our energy security. It's a vision shared by a wide spectrum of individuals, from former CIA director James Woolsey to environmentalist Lester Brown.

Car makers right now are making flex-fuel vehicles, cars that can use ethanol, and Felix and Ron have proven plug-in hybrid electric vehicle concepts. It's a solution that can be applied to all classes of vehicles, from small cars like the Prius to full size SUVs, dropping their fuel consumption from 60% to 80%.

The Apollo Alliance in Washington is calling for two measures to move this vision forward. First is to build Washington's bio-fuel economy by passing state legislation for renewable fuels to be part of the state's fuel mix. This will create a stable investment for bio-fuel plants and technology. Second, we invite the City of Seattle to join the national movement that's being led by the city of Austin, to build a groundswell of demand, sufficient to entice car makers to mass produce flexible-fuel plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. It's our hope that the city of Seattle will sign on the city of Austin's plug-in hybrid national campaign, and really demonstrate that there is quite a market for these type of vehicles. Thank you! (applause)­DefaultProgram.asp?ID=9754
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Local News Highlights
Hybrid Electric Plug-In Cars Come to Seattle

The City of Seattle is hoping one day to add a new experimental car to its fleet. It's a hybrid that can get up to 100 miles per gallon of gas. The car made its debut in Seattle Monday. KUOW's Deborah Wang reports.

They parked the prototype plug-in car right on city hall plaza, to give city officials a closer look.

Sound: "this is a Toyota Prius, outside it looks the same... "

Engineers have added about 200 pounds of batteries to this Toyota Prius, in the space where the spare tire usually sits. The converted car can run entirely on electricity for about 40 miles, and when the batteries are depleted, it then switches to gasoline and runs just like any other hybrid.

Felix Kramer is the founder of the CaliforniaCars Initiative, which built the prototype.

Kramer: "every day you go home and plug in your garage, regular 120 outlet just like you plug in your cell phone, and the next day you are leaving with a second full tank. And you use that every day. And if you are just doing local driving, you might not have to go to a gas station for a month or longer."

The benefits of the car: it uses half the gasoline of a regular hybrid, and with its reliance on electricity, it dramatically reduces emissions.

That makes it interesting to the City of Seattle, which operates the largest pool of PRIUS' in the state. Tim ceis is the deputy mayor.

Ceis: "you know 100 mpg is pretty astounding achievement if we can start moving that technology forward. And that's a role that government can play. We can be a leader in investing in these technologies, to start helping to create a market for it."

The big drawback is the price. It currently costs about $10,000 to convert a prius to plug-in technology.

The cars promoters say that the cost will go down if big car companies like Toyota start developing it commercially.

The mayor's Green Ribbon Commission On Climate Protection is looking at whether plug-in hybrids make sense for the city. Their report is due out at the beginning of next year.

-- Deborah Wang, KUOW news.

Wenatchee KOHO-FM radio clips by News Manager Chris Rader, both about 2 minutes, one about the Advanced Vehicles Initiative, one about CalCars­koho-fm-adv-veh-init-14nov05.mp3­koho-fm-calcars-14nov05.mp3

Wenatchee Business Journal October 05 story­wenatchee-bus-journal-oct05.pdf

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