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How well did CalCars Predict 2005?
Dec 29, 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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In year-end wrap-ups, most pundits congratulate themselves if they're right half the time. Just for fun, we thought we'd see our batting average. We scored 73.5% on our "CalCars/PRIUS+ Progress and Predictions for 2005" (the full text of which you can find at­news-2004.html). Here's the run-down.

VEHICLES: 7 of 8

  • With your help, we believe PHEVs could become an established platform for future transportation options and the first custom PHEVs could be in owners' driveways in '06 -- maybe even in '05. HALF POINT (We're expecting cars from EDrive in the first half of next year.)
  • Our first PRIUS+ will work and its performance will start lots of people talking. YES: FULL POINT
  • We hope to be able to promote PRIUS+ as a 100+ mile per gallon solution! YES: FULL POINT (This message has caught on well.)
  • Already, with a vehicle in development, and the prospect of building cars that we can take on the road and distribute to high-profile drivers, we're finding it easier to get attention. YES: FULL POINT
  • We're hoping that our coming-out party for the PRIUS+ sometime in the next few months will provide the kickoff for much more media attention. YES: FULL POINT
  • ... inquiries from private companies interested in offering "niche market" services and conversion kits. YES: FULL POINT
  • the first prototypes of the DaimlerChrysler Sprinter PHEV should be demonstrated this year. YES: FULL POINT (Southern California Edison received delivery of the first two vehicles in December.)
  • In the scramble among automakers to offer hybrids, their need to differentiate "full" and "strong" hybrids from those that are hybrid in name only helps those who are working behind the scenes to interest car companies in building PHEVs. HALF POINT (As the category of "muscle hybrids" came into use, Ford and Toyota began highlighting their cars' ability to drive only on electric power, which is a step toward PHEVs.)
  • POLICY & FLEETS 4.5 of 6

  • Policy makers and fleet purchasers are starting to listen when PHEVs' advocates say they require no new infrastructure or technology, and that their lifetime total cost of ownership is better than conventional cars or hybrids. YES: FULL POINT (In December, the Electric Power Research Institute and Southern California Edison presented new calculations of lifetime cost of ownership; we hope this information will soon be distributed broadly.)
  • And they are beginning to see a path to a compelling business model for buyers and manufacturers by combining public and private rebates and other funding for the first volume production of PHEVs. Then they can start talking about the enormous societal benefits. HALF POINT (Policy makers: yes, fleet buyers: too soon to tell.)
  • We've established new lines of communication with staff and principals at many levels of government, which could lead to allocations of substantial funds to support development of PHEVs. YES: FULL POINT (We hope the Energy Act program is the first step.)
  • Perhaps our efforts, in concert with others, could even attract an OEM to start designing and assembling PHEVs in California. NOT YET (That's a tall order.)
  • We're getting indications that California's Hydrogen Highway initiatives may start to evolve to make room for PHEVs (with range extension fuel coming not only from gasoline, but also from biofuels like bio-diesel and cellulose ethanol) YES: FULL POINT (The state's Blueprint document opened these topics to discussion, and it looks like the case is becoming more compelling to policy makers.)
  • *...seeing PHEVs as a keystone component of a strategy to address global warming both nationally and internationally. YES: FULL POINT (This point of view has been gaining support.)

    CALCARS 1.0 of 3

  • In addition to our first foundation grant, we've been encouraged by several potential funders to apply for short- and medium-term support, largely for advocacy and educational efforts. HALF POINT (We received a second grant, but we've lacked the volunteers able to devote themselves to this time-consuming process, and had no budget to hire a grants-person.)
  • We continue discussions with several California and national nonprofit groups about their "adopting" CalCars as their PHEV project. We don't benefit significantly from being free-standing, and we could use institutional support beyond our current fiscal agent for accepting tax-deductible contributions. So if you have a possible partner in mind, tell them to check us out. We offer a no-risk strategy to an "acquisition partner:" We'll keep doing what we're doing and we'll raise all the money we need to support our efforts. NOT YET.
  • We hope one or more individuals who sees the strategic importance and urgency to commercialize PHEVs will step forward as a major patron (together with foundations) to enable us to ramp up CalCars. HALF POINT (While we have received a few sizeable contributions, the effort to raise money continues to preoccupy us and prevent us from spending more time on our programmatic goals.)

  • SCORECARD: 12.5 out of 17 or 73.5%. With your help and support, we hope to meet or beat this already high record in 2006 -- see our goals (and a request for your financial support), at­group/­calcars-news/­message/­232 as part of the downloadable/printable 4-page PDF found at­calcars-05report-06goals.pdf and soon at­news.html

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