PLUG OK license plate
ARB last September: transcript of board responses
Jun 13, 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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We've had a paragraph since last September at­about.html.

Here's CalCars' testimony at the hearing, September 23, 2004 in Los Angeles on Implementation of AB1493 (the Pavley bill to reduce greenhouse gas emissions). Following its enactment, the California Air Resource Boards (CARB) was directed to consider ways to implement the law. (The staff's "Initial Statement of Reasons for Proposed Rulemaking" (long and based on complex assumptions), shows plug-in hybrids as one of the most effective solutions; we describe PHEVs as "the elephant in the room" that can accomplish far more than other steps.) [Links on that page include the full testimony and the Staff's report, etc.]

It just came to our attention that the full transcript of the two day hearing is online at:­board/­mt/­mt092304.txt

It's important because it includes what observers told me was the "unusually extended" questioning (given the stringent time limits at that point in the day) from Board Members after I presented a brief summary of my two pages of testimony.

The exchange concluded, in response to my suggesting that a review of PHEVs should happen much sooner than "in a few years," with Board Member Mark DeSaulnier saying, "Maybe we should revisit this at another Board hearing," then-ARB Chairman Lloyd concurring, and other Board Members nodding in agreement.

Below is the informative list of those in attendance (Board, Staff and those who registered to testify), plus the transcript of the testimony. (I admit I couldn't stop myself from correcting the court reporter's spelling PHEVs with an apostrophe.)

9:00 A.M.



Dr. Alan Lloyd, Chairperson
Ms. Sandra Berg
Ms. Dorene D'Adamo
Supervisor Mark DeSaulnier
Dr. Henry Gong
Ms. Barbara Patrick
Ms. Patricia Salas Pineda
Mrs. Barbara Riordan
Supervisor Ron Roberts

Ms. Catherine Witherspoon, Executive Officer
Mr. Tom Cackette, Chief Deputy Executive Officer
Mr. Michael Scheible, Deputy Executive Officer
Ms. Lynn Terry, Deputy Executive Officer
Ms. Diane Johnston, General Counsel
Ms. Kathleen Tschogl, Ombudsman
Mr. Steve Albu, Mobile Source Control Division
Mr. Richard Corey, Chief, Research and Economic Studies Branch, Research Division
Mr. Bart Croes, Chief, Research Division
Mr. Fereidun Feizollahi, Air Resources Supervisor I
Mr. Paul Hughes, Manager, Low Emission Vehicle Implementation Section, Mobile Source Control Division
Mr. Aron Livingston, Staff Counsel
Mr. Nic Lutsey, Graduate Student Assistant, Mobile Source Control Division
Mr. Chuck Shulock, Vehicle Program Specialist
Dr. Barbara Weller, Manager, Population Studies Section, Research Division

Mr. Larry Allen, CAPCOA
Mr. Tom Austin, Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers
Mr. James Boyd, Commissioner, California Energy Commission
Mr. John Cabaniss, AIAM
Mr. Tim Carmichael, Coalition for Clean Air
Mr. Dan Cayan, Scripps Institution
Dr. Henry Clark, West County Toxics Coalition
Ms. Coralie Cooper, NESCCAF/Nescaum
Mr. John DeCicco, Environmental Defense
Mr. David Doniger, Natural Resources Defense Council
Mr. Bob Epstein, Environmental Entrepreneurs
Mr. Michel Gelobter, Redefining Progress
Ms. Sujatha Jahagirdar, Environment California
Mr. Felix Kramer, California Cars Initiative
Mr. Russel Long, Bluewater Network
Mr. Bob Lucas, CCEEB
Mr. David Modisette, California Electric Trans Coalition
Ms. Fran Pavley, Assembly Member
Mr. Matt Peak, CalSTART
Ms. Cynthia Rojas, Bus Riders Union
Dr. Trisha Roth, American Academy of Pediatrics CA District IX and Health Network for Clean Air
Mr. Michael Prather, UC Irvine
Mr. Bob Roberts, California Ski Industry Association
Ms. Dorothy Rothrock, California Manufacturers and Technology Association
Dr. Benjamin Santer
Mr. David Shaw, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
Mr. Fred Webber, Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers
Mr. Paul Wuebben, South Coast Air Quality Management District

MR. KRAMER: Thank you, Chairman Lloyd, board members. I think I'll come under three minutes.

My name is Felix Kramer. I'm a former entrepreneur. And I'm the founder of the California Cars Initiative. We're a nonprofit startup formed by a group of entrepreneurs, engineers, environmentalists, and consumers to bring to market the cars we need for the next 10 years or more. We're focused on California, which can pioneer in the necessary market transformation.

I'll be brief.

I support the proposed regulations and urge their adoption. Your staff has evaluated a number of excellent approaches that can reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of vehicles. Most of them are not controversial, have been proven to work, don't cost much to implement, and aren't mutually exclusive. I hope you'll recommend incentives for a great package of interim steps.

But there's an elephant in the room, which keeps coming up, only to get put off as unrealistic. It's plug-in hybrids or grid-connected hybrids.

As Dave Modisette's slide showed, the Board staff's report ably shows that PHEVs reduce carbon dioxide more than any other vehicle type except all-electrics.

And last year's California Energy Commission report on reducing oil dependence, which of course tracks reducing CO2 closely, also put PHEVs right on top of the list.

On top of this documented advantage is the reality that from a technical standpoint PHEVs could be on our roads in a year or two as modifications of existing hybrid lines. They need no new technology, no new infrastructure, and no promise that all will somehow fall into place in a decade or two.

Proof of their feasibility. This week Cal Cars finished building and is now debugging our first prototype conversion, which we call Prius Plus.

Cal ETC and the Bluewater Network and others testifying today emphasized the importance of removing regulatory disincentives to PHEVs and the potential of positive incentives to speed their commercialization.

I'm concerned that PHEVs may continue to be overlooked. My written testimony explores why and explains how that can be addressed. My three main points:

1) Over a car's lifetime PHEVs save money.

2) If we can agree that they're a highly effective solution, we'll find ways to deal with a larger initial cost. And I would say that they may be the only way to go beyond reduction to mitigation to that A1-F1 or B1 scenario, which I don't see any reason why we shouldn't really make a worldwide effort to get there with reducing emissions and planting a lot of vegetable matter around the world.

3) We can prove to auto makers that people will buy these much better cars. That's what Cal Cars is all about.

That concludes my verbal statement.

You can get copies of the whole haul statement from me or outside or at or at

Thank you.

CHAIRPERSON LLOYD: Thank you very much. I think you heard from the previous response to Dave Modisette that the plug-in hybrids will not be forgotten and we'll make sure they're included.

What is your Prius Plus? Is that a modification of a Prius or --

MR. KRAMER: Yes, it is. It's a Prius Plus, with additional batteries under the deck in the back and grid connectibility. And we're working on three generations of it.

The first is just to develop our battery configuration. We're using lead acid batteries. We expect to get a maybe 5 to 10 mile range.

Then we're moving to nickel metal in about month or two.

And then to lithium ion. Lithium ion, over a 20 mile range. And that's a neighborhood plug-in hybrid vehicle. Because of the limitations of the Prius, it won't give you all-electric at low speeds, but it will contribute electric capability at higher speeds.

CHAIRPERSON LLOYD: So have you convinced Toyota that this is a good way to go?

MR. KRAMER: Well, we would really like Toyota to build them. We're not interested in building them ourselves. And we would like them to do it on their Lexus RX400 and their Highlander. And we'd like Ford to do it on the Escape. And we think the -- it's about -- it's going to cost -- we may do it may.0 2 or $3,000 more than an existing hybrid. And I think there are resources in this society to pay for that and make a huge difference. And then you add photovoltaics. Thin film photovoltaics are about two years away from being commercialized. And you've got a whole different model for powering cars. Thank you.

CHAIRPERSON LLOYD: Thank you very much.

BOARD MEMBER D'ADAMO: Just a quick question.


BOARD MEMBER D'ADAMO: How long do you expect it's going to take to recharge the battery on your --

MR. KRAMER: How long will it take --

BOARD MEMBER D'ADAMO: -- to recharge.

MR. KRAMER: To recharge. This is 115 volts in your garage, no special circuit, overnight, like any plug-in hybrid. As Toyota says, you don't have to plug it in. As we say, you get to plug it in. And if you get to plug it in and you have a 20-mile range, that means you may go to a gas station once a month or just when you want to go to Tahoe. So you get all the benefits of an electric vehicle, but you're not tethered.

The reason people didn't want to plug in -- they didn't care about the inconvenience of plugging in. They didn't want to worry about plugging in and worry about losing their juice somewhere along the way. That's the advantage of plug-in hybrids. You can drive them either way. They're technically a mixed fuel vehicle, as you described them.

But I just would say one other thing. It's not simply the incentives. I'm concerned that -- in a couple of places in the report, in one place in particular, it talks about how a full evaluation of hybrids will happen in a few years. The Board will do that. And with the exploding popularity of hybrids and with if becoming clear now that a two propulsion system is not necessarily either more complex or more expensive than a one propulsion system, then these vehicles are now much more feasible.


BOARD MEMBER DeSAULNIER: Maybe we should revisit this at another Board hearing.




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