PLUG OK license plate
Al Gore's First Ride in a Plug-In Hybrid
Oct 24, 2006 (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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Capping our recent meetings with Bill Clinton, senior Dept of Energy team and others, this week our car became a "green-tuned" limo for Al Gore for a round-trip between Oakland Airport and downtown Berkeley. (I was not in the car.) Gore came to give a public endorsement of Proposition 87. The audience was inspired and very enthusiastic.You can see almost 10 minutes of his speech at­topstories/­local_story_296194424.html -- and links to news stories at the Prop 87 website

On his way back to our car, as he greeted people, he stopped to talk with me and Calcars Tech Lead Ron Gremban. He was especially interested in how much more a PHEV would cost. (I told him that in production quantities, auto-makers could charge $3-5,000 more than today's hybrids, and that conversions were over $10,000.) And he wanted to know what was available. I gave him a "dongle" and explained that it was the car's infrastructure. Photos at­photos-people.html. From the back seat of the car, he thanked me for the ride and gave a "thumbs up" while holding our packet of background material. (Most of it is available at­downloads.html.) As with Bill Clinton a week ago, we'll follow up as well as we can!

We hope Gore's experience will lead to him highlighting PHEVs. In his Sept 18 speech at NYU Law School,­calcars-news/­524.html, addressing the questions he gets as people increasingly ask what they can do, he included PHEVs in his roundup of "particularly promising" global warming solutions. Focusing on electrification of transportation is a great way to slow the increase in greenhouse gas emissions. It's the one we can do quickest, from increasingly renewable sources, with the lowest efficiency losses. Since it also happens to be distributed, redundant, secure, domestic and low-cost, we think it will makes sense as the primary fuel for transportation, with renewable liquid fuels providing range extension until batteries improve further. That's why experts like NASA's James Hansen, CalTech's Nate Lewis, Earth Policy Institute's Lester Brown, UC Berkeley's Daniel Kammen, the Center for Energy and Climate Solutions' Joe Romm and the National Commission on Energy Policy all see PHEVs as a leading short- and long-term solution. (See­endorsements.html.)

(You can comment on this post and the one about last week's events at our blog, Power, Plugs and People, at the revamped website:­blogs/­power/­yesonprop87.html.)

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