Mar 17, 2008 (From the CalCars-News archive)
First is a useful summary by the Detroit Free Press of the three presidential candidates' positions on plug-in cars. (We're working to get each of them to arrive at a campaign event in a PHEV -- who will be first?)
Second, in a high-profile development that follows the February announcement of a new North Carolina Advanced Transportation Energy Center focused on PHEVs (see http://www.calcars.org/calcars-news/914.html ), now Fortune 500 utility Duke Energy and Coca-Cola Bottling Co. (not Coca-Cola Corp, but rather the second-largest Coke bottler in the US), are joining together in a project to start replacing some of their cars with PHEVs. We include the press release from Duke Energy
Political leaders offer support in push to make electric cars reality
BY JUSTIN HYDE, FREE PRESS WASHINGTON STAFF
March 7, 2008
Battery technology may still be struggling to reach its goals, but it can count on some high-profile support -- namely, the current and future residents of the White House.
Political leaders of all stripes have embraced battery-powered electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids as an essential tool for reducing U.S. oil demand and fighting global warming, despite the technical challenges such vehicles face. And the battery industry has lobbied hard for government funding to bolster itself.
What has been proposed so far:
# Congress approved -- but has yet to fund -- $295 million in annual research on vehicle batteries, as well as a loan program to bolster U.S. production, as part of last year's energy bill. The House recently passed a bill to grant tax credits of $4,000-$6,000 on plug-in hybrids, but the bill is unlikely to pass the Senate this year.
# Plug-in hybrids have been a pet cause of President George W. Bush, who invited A123 Systems and other companies to the White House last year. He has requested $50.9 million in the 2009 budget for vehicle battery research. Last year, the Department of Energy contributed $14 million to a $28-million research fund from the U.S. Advanced Battery Consortium, run by General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Corp. and Chrysler LLC, which later gave grants to four companies.
# John McCain pledged to work with automakers and utilities to boost plug-in hybrids, but has not offered specifics.
# Hillary Clinton pledged to spend $2 billion on battery research, offer consumers tax credits of up to $10,000 for purchasing a plug-in hybrid and add 100,000 plug-in hybrids to the federal fleet by 2015.
# Barack Obama has said plug-in hybrid promotion would be part of a 10-year, $150-billion plan toward energy independence. And he introduced a Senate bill that would let electric utilities give customers incentives for plug-in hybrids.
Coca-Cola Bottling Company Joins with Duke Energy to Test Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle Technology http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=ind_focus.story&STORY=/
CHARLOTTE, N.C., March 13 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK) and Coca-Cola Bottling Company Consolidated have launched a joint research initiative to promote plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHEV) technology.
"Through this collaboration, we hope to increase the awareness of plug-in hybrids, demonstrate the viability of the technology, and evaluate performance parameters," said Mike Rowand, director of advanced customer technology for Duke Energy.
As part of this initiative, both companies will convert some of the hybrid vehicles in their transportation fleets to plug-in hybrids by using aftermarket kits.
A PHEV kit extends the efficiency of a standard hybrid vehicle by increasing the size of its battery, which can be charged through a normal 120- volt electric outlet. PHEV technology has enabled vehicles to travel 100 miles or more on a gallon of gas.
"We believe plug-in hybrid technology could play an important role in further reducing our fleet costs while addressing environmental concerns," said Lauren C.
Steele, vice president of corporate affairs for Coca-Cola Consolidated. "We are excited about participating in this pilot program."
Charlotte-based Coca-Cola Consolidated currently operates more than 400 hybrid vehicles, one of the nation's largest corporate hybrid fleets, and plans to convert three Toyota Prius hybrids into PHEVs.
"Plug-in hybrid technology offers real advantages in a number of areas," Rowand said. "In addition to higher mileage in the face of rising gasoline prices, plug-in hybrids produce much lower emissions and can help our nation achieve greater energy security while providing the overall performance drivers expect.
"This is really just the start for what we hope will be the broader use of plug-in hybrids," he added. "Through this collaboration with Coca-Cola and other Duke Energy initiatives, there will be more than a dozen plug-in hybrids operating in the Charlotte region in early 2008.
"As more people begin to see the advantages of plug-in hybrids, we believe market demand will increase, which will encourage automakers to move forward with their plans to produce plug-in hybrids commercially," added Rowand.
Duke Energy, one of the largest electric power companies in the United States, supplies and delivers energy to approximately 4 million U.S. customers. The company has approximately 36,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity in the Midwest and the Carolinas, and natural gas distribution services in Ohio and Kentucky. In addition, Duke Energy has more than 4,000 megawatts of electric generation in Latin America, and is a joint- venture partner in a U.S. real estate company. Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy is a Fortune 500 company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available on the Internet at: http://www.duke-energy.com.
Coke Consolidated (NASDAQ:COKE), founded in 1902, is the second-largest Coca-Cola bottler in the United States.