Feb 6, 2007 (From the CalCars-News archive)
The California Energy Commission announced the establishment of this Center in December http://www.calcars.org/calcars-news/614.html. Below we reprint from the monthly newsletter of the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies its announcement, which provides more details about who at ITS will be involved in the project.
We're pleased to see this new "player" in the world of PHEVs. Its auspices (ITS is a recognized international leader in transportation policy), its ability to connect on campus with Prof. Andy Frank's Hybrid Vehicle Driveline Research and Design Center, its proximity to Sacramento, and the involvement of hybrid and PHEV experts, all bode well for its potential impact. We and other PHEV advocates expect to work closely with the new Center and its staff. Here's how Director Tom Turrentine has informally summarized the Center's objectives: 1. Enhance the commercial viability of PHEVs 2. Inform policymakers, industry leaders, consumers, and others about PHEV technology 3. Support PHEV demonstrations and related efforts
We think you'll be impressed at the thoughtfulness of those involved with the new center, if you read the "The Meaning of Hybrids" http://www.hybridcars.com/hybrid-drivers/the-meaning-of-hybrids.html at HybridCars.com. This interview explores the issues raised when we say, "people want hybrids and PHEVs because they want the environmental feature." For more about Turrentine (whose first work on PHEVs was in 1997) see http://www.its.ucdavis.edu/people/faculty/turrentine/.
PLUGGING IN TO FUTURE VEHICLES: State Funded Plug-in Hybrid Research Center at UC Davis http://www.its.ucdavis.edu/news/enews/issue30/index.html#12#12
CAPTION: The Institute's Emily Winston joined PHEV advocate Felix Kramer of CalCars at an alternative fuel vehicle exhibit at the Capitol in January.
UC Davis will serve as the hub of research on plug-in hybrid vehicles, thanks to a three-year, $3 million grant from the California Energy Commission (CEC). ITS-Davis will administer the Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) Research Center, Researcher Tom Turrentine will direct the program, and the Center will coordinate with Mechanical Engineering Professor Andy Frank, who is widely known as the father of PHEVs.
"Our mission is to develop and implement a strategic research agenda for the State of California, and to provide technology and policy guidance to the state as it moves forward with this technology," says Turrentine. "The CEC knew that UC Davis was an independent expert they could trust, and I intend to do everything possible to live up to their expectations."
In a press release announcing the contract, CEC Vice Chairman James Boyd said, "The center will serve as a magnet for innovative research by advancing and demonstrating technology which will greatly reduce our dependence on petroleum."
Turrentine says his first priorities are to develop an Advisory Council and a research roadmap to steer the Center's strategic goals and vision. The Advisory Council will be comprised of academics, government and non-governmental organizations, PHEV advocates and industry representatives from the electric utility, fuel provider and automotive manufacturing sectors.
Among the research topics that likely will be woven into a comprehensive program are consumer response, which is Turrentine's expertise, with ITS-Davis Researcher Ken Kurani; vehicle systems analysis, led by Professor Frank and Researcher Andrew Burke; and lifecycle emissions modeling, directed by Researcher Mark Delucchi. Additionally the Center will reach out and engage other stakeholders with interest and expertise in PHEVs.
Bob Graham, electric transportation program manager at the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and a longtime advocate of PHEV research, says he looks forward to working with the CEC and ITS-Davis in the coming years. "It's good that the state has initiated a program to focus on R&D that hopefully will enable California to provide products and systems support for the electric drive revolution."
Graham, and EPRI colleague Mark Duvall, a UC Davis graduate and former manager of Professor Frank's PHEV lab on campus, will bring to the Center the benefit of several years of PHEV research. The EPRI-led research, funded collaboratively by utilities, government, and industry, will help inform the follow-on research directions of the new PHEV Center at UC Davis.
The Center's funding comes from the CEC Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) program, which supports energy research, development and demonstration projects that improve the quality of life in California.
The future looks promising for PHEVs. Indeed, only weeks after CEC awarded the contract, General Motors showed its PHEV concept, the Chevy Volt at the Detroit Auto Show and Ford introduced a PHEV concept vehicle that uses a fuel cell and batteries.