Sep 2, 2007 (From the CalCars-News archive)
As the awareness and support for PHEVs in the US has grown, we're taking that message internationally. (Our foreign language translations of our Home, Carmakers and Vehicles" pages are getting attention -- you can get to them by clicking on the Japanese, German and Swedish, Spanish French flags on the home page.)
Below is a "leak" about a Toyota/Electricite de France announcement expected next week, and a description of our ambitious hope to get a PHEV converted in Australia to gain center stage at a key global warming event in Bali in December.
TOYOTA/ELECTRICITE DE FRANCE AND PHEVs
This early story arrived early this weekend. It's of great significance in Europe, and it confirms our sense that Toyota is looking at PHEVs as a global strategy. (In the US, we've seen estimates that up to 75% of drivers have access to a plug.)
Toyota and EDF unite for hybrid power plan
By John Reed in London and Peggy Hollinger in Paris
Financial Times Updated: 9:40 p.m. PT Aug 31, 2007
Toyota and EDF are teaming up to develop recharging points for plug-in hybrid electric cars in a key step forward for the emerging vehicle technology.
The Japanese carmaker and French utility are due next week to announce an agreement to develop electricity infrastructure to serve the plug-in cars Toyota plans to roll out in a few years' time. Only a few cities, London among them, have recharging points.
The step is important as the future commercial viability of plug-ins will depend in large part on wide availability of recharging points.
EDF's deal with Toyota is expected to cover France initially but could be extended to other countries. The group also owns utility companies in Germany, Italy and the UK. Having adequate electricity infrastructure for the cars is important in Europe, where more motorists park on city streets overnight than in the US.
We'll see the full announcement means next week. EDF is already a global leader in electric vehicles…you can comment at http://www.greencarcongress.com/2007/09/report-toyota-a.html
AN INTERNATIONAL PHEV CHALLENGE:
PUT PHEVS IN CENTER OF GLOBAL WARMING STRATEGIC DISCUSSIONS
We faced some skepticism when we announced we would fly a PHEV to Washington DC in May 2006 to show to Senators and Representatives. But with the help of Set America Free, with costs of under $25,000 (raised in large part from small contributions from CalCars-News subscribers), our quick trip significantly advanced our goals of putting PHEVs on government agendas. (See http://www.calcars.org/phevs-in-dc.html for the photos.)
We have a similar opportunity this December, when representatives of 180 nations plus many NGOs (non-governmental organizations) hold the ten-year followup event to the Kyoto Conference to charts future strategies for addressing the climate crisis. The official event is the "Conference of Parties COP-13 UN Framework on Climate Change Summit" Dec. 3-14 Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia. (The second week is the conference of ministers.) Here's the URL: http://unfccc.int/meetings/cop_13/items/4049.php For an indication of the media impact of the event: http://researchandmedia.ning.com/profiles/blog/show?id=701094:BlogPost:8935
We think the value of having a low-carbon (under 110 gram/kilometer) PHEV at the conference could be substantial: we could gain enormous interest from the media throngs, officials and NGOs. This could help to definitively establish the PHEV as a leading solution to CO2 reduction in transportation. (This awareness is currently not nearly as widespread as the understanding of its energy independence benefits, in the U.S. However, leading climate scientists like James Hansen are fans, the EPRI-NRDC study quantified the benefits, and climate activists and advocates are increasingly acknowledging the strategy.)
At a time when there are over 60 PHEV Priuses in North America and a scattering in Europe, we don't need to bring a car from the U.S. Since Priuses are scarce in Indonesia, our game-plan is to complete a high-visibility Prius conversion in Australia or perhaps New Zealand. (The growing awareness in both places about climate crisis provides an ideal environment to promote PHEVs.) If we can get this project going, we will decide closer to December if the conversion will be done by an after-market company or our EAA-PHEV Open Source project. We will then ship the car to Bali, displaying it at the conference. Then the car will return to AU/NZ to help promote PHEVs.
If you like the idea and live in AU/NZ, please don't write us to say you want it to be your car! Over time, we have received many emails from individuals there who want PHEVs -- finding an individual or institutional car owner will be easy.
The first step is to get local coordinators. We know we have many AU and NZ subscribers to CalCars-News and our website gets substantial traffic from these countries. If one or two people step forward to organize an effort, we can provide an umbrella for a working group of individuals, organizations, companies, foundations, government agencies, etc. to make this happen -- including raising about $50,000 from local or non-local sources -- to do the event right.