Our teams of engineering students have designed and built plug-in hybrid retrofits of a Ford Taurus (1997), Mercury Sable (1999), Chevy Suburban (2001) and Ford Explorer (2002). We hope CalCars will help create the conditions so that these advanced hybrids can be built in the factories of major automobile manufacturers.
-- Andy Frank, Director, advanced hybrid vehicle research center; Professor, Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering, University of California at Davis; see interview in EVWorld, part 1 and part 2
CalCars is helping to demonstrate new ways to move towards a clean, renewable, petroleum-free transportation economy. Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles are a near-term solution to help improve the efficiency and emissions associated with virtually any transportation fuel, including hydrogen and biofuels. And PHEVs are an economical and sustainable bridging strategy to help bring fuel cell cars to market even more quickly.
-- Daniel Emmett, Executive Director, Energy Indepence Now
CalCars is a great example of citizens acting strategically and directing their own resources to change markets and society.
-- Joan Blades, Co-Founder, MoveOn
PHEVs are inspired. They're a cost-effective way to combine existing technologies bringing the benefits of battery electric technology to market. ... EAA members have been key participants in meetings, online discussions and garage-level engineering, design, and construction of the first PRIUS+ prototype. At EAA EVents all over North America, we always get queries from the public asking about when and how they can purchase an EV or PHEV. So we wanted to step forward to publicly and financially support this excellent project.
-- Electric Auto Association 30 chapters in 18 states and provinces) Dec. 2004 announcement
Plug-in hybrids may enable the transition to fuel cell vehicles -- or they may be the end game in itself. Either way, they deserve a lot more funding and policy focus than they have been getting. CalCars deserves a great deal of credit for focusing attention on this critical technology..
WestStart-CALSTART has been centrally involved in the development and commercialization of advanced propulsion systems and vehicles for over 10 years. We should be pursuing multiple paths to improve air quality, reduce global warming and lessen dependence on foreign oil. Plug-in hybrids are one of the strategies that should definitely be explored.
-- John Boesel, CalStart President
Plug-in hybrid vehicles provide the bridge between hybrid vehicles and fuel cell vehicles. They enable the return of battery electric vehicles to the mass market.
-- Bob Graham, Manager of Electric Transportation, Electric Power Research Institute
We built a Volkswagen Jetta-based plug-in hybrid. For most people on most days it can run on batteries only, but the low-emission gasoline engine is always standing by. It can charge from the grid and send power back to the grid. This vehicle-to-grid (V2G) function is unique and it's one of the reasons CARB and South Coast Air Quality Management District co-funded this project. We see grid-connected vehicles, including hybrids, as a key business opportunity and applaud CalCars' efforts to promote them.
-- Tom Gage, President, AC Propulsion, Inc.
PHEVs greatly amplify the benefits of hybridization. They consume 50-90% less of any kind of liquid or gaseous fuel -- conventional or alternative, including renewables and hydrogen. They typically require less than one-half to one-sixth the battery pack (in cost, weight and volume) of a typical full electric vehicle. They can be the totally flexible primary vehicles that all 16.6 million Americans who bought new cars last year could use for all their automotive requirements, all the time. I wish CalCars success in helping to make the PHEV our new personal transportation paradigm.
-- Ben Ovshinsky, West Coast Representative, Energy Conversion Devices-Ovonics, Inc.
CalCars' effort to commercialize plug-in hybrids is essential. With the withdrawal from the consumer market of all highway-capable electric vehicles, these cars can be cleaner than any other vehicle on the road, and for local travel, they are 100% electric vehicles. Based on current experience with sales of gasoline-powered hybrids, they will be welcomed by the public, who will see their gasoline usage drop significantly. These cars will educate the public about their driving habits, clean the air and reduce our dependence on oil.
-- Will Beckett, President, Electric Auto Association, Silicon Valley Chapter and President, Beckett PC Solutions
I've seen the CalCars idea evolve to the point where it now provides an achievable strategy to bring a new kind of car into existence. Any future optimized vehicle, whether it's powered by internal combustion or fuel cell, needs electric batteries for load-balancing, which makes plug-in hybrids the best transitional solution for vehicles for the next years.
-- David Taggart, former Lockheed Skunkworks Project Manager, Co-Founder and former Chief Technical Officer, HyperCar (the spinoff from the Rocky Mountain Institute, which then became Fiberforge), chaired by Amory Lovins
"Commercializing" (bringing to market) PHEVs
Plug-In Austin Local and National Fleet Campaign launched Aug.22, 2005
Austin Energy plans include approaching other cities ... placing one very large bulk order -- "We could almost single-handedly create an immediate market for the plug-in hybrids, speeding up production," said Austin Energy VP Roger Duncan.
-- Austin Chronicle, Oct. 22, 2004, "Can Austin Kick-Start the Hybrid Car Future?"
Austin Energy's report recommends an incentive package for gas optional vehicles (GOVs) to the largest 50 cities in the US.
Plug-In Hybrid Vehicle Development Consortium announced Aug 30, 2005
Several leading component manufacturers launched a new research and development consortium to speed the adoption of the technology by auto makers. Senator Orrin Hutach (R-Utah) said, "This consortium will help American automakers become more competitive by accelerating the development of new technologies necessary for the next generation of hybrid vehicles."
Hyperion launched a first-of-its-kind initiative to reimburse employees US $5,000 for vehicles that achieve 45 miles per gallon or the equivalent of gasoline. "Companies and individuals have extraordinary power to make a difference," said Godfrey Sullivan, president and chief executive officer.
-- Hyperion (Nasdaq: HYSL), Santa Clara, CA, press release Nov. 29, 2004. (In the first month,35 employees signed up. And Timberland is now offering its 6,000 employees $3,000/hybrid. Hyperion's Drive Clean to Drive Change program and its Companies for Clean Air Consortium points out one way to underwrite PHEVs' incremental costs. See media coverage of their campaign.)
Top Policy Statements About PHEVs
The attractiveness to the consumer of being able to use electricity from overnight charging for a substantial share of the day's driving is stunning. The average residential price of electricity in the US is about 8.5 cents/kwh, and many utilities sell off-peak power for 2-4 cents/kwh. ...the cost of powering a plug-in hybrid with average-cost residential electricity would be about 40 per cent of the cost of powering the same vehicle with today's approximately $2.50/gallon gasoline, or, said another way, for the consumer to be able to buy fuel in the form of electricity at the equivalent of $1/gallon gasoline. Using off-peak power would then equate to being able to buy 25-to-50 cent/gallon gasoline....the possibility of powering one's family vehicle with fuel that can cost as little as one-tenth of today's gasoline (in the U.S. market) should solve rapidly the question whether there would be public interest in and acceptability of plug-in hybrids. ...If even one of these technologies is moved promptly into the market, the reduction in oil dependence could be substantial. If several begin to be successfully introduced into large-scale use, the reduction could be stunning. For example, a 50-mpg hybrid gasoline/electric vehicle, on the road today, if constructed from carbon composites would achieve around 100 mpg. If it were to operate on 85 percent cellulosic ethanol or a similar proportion of biodiesel fuel, it would be achieving hundreds of miles per gallon of petroleum-derived fuel. If it were a plug-in version operating on upgraded lithium batteries so that 20-30 mile trips could be undertaken on its overnight charge before it began utilizing liquid fuel at all, it could be obtaining in the range of 1000 mpg (of petroleum).
-- Oil & Security (13-page PDF) or Text Version by former Sec. of State George P. Shultz and former CIA Director James R. Woolsey, Committee on the Present Danger, revised Aug 2005
Ending the Energy Stalemate: historic report by bipartisan experts from industry, government, labor, academia, and environmental and consumer groups breaks ground in endorsing plug-in hybrids: grid of options points to PHEVs fueled by cellulosic ethanol or bio-diesel as an optimal solution: see extraordinarily clear Summary Matrix outlining options (view or download 78KB PDF from CalCars) or read pages 70-78 in entire report (2.3MB PDF from NCEP).
-- National Commission on Energy Policy, Dec. 8, 2004
If by 2025, all cars on the road are hybrids and half are plug-in hybrids, US oil imports would drop by 8 million barrels per day (mbd). Today, the US imports 10 mbd.
-- Set America Free, Initiative and policy report by security-focused organizations including IAGS, National Defense Council Foundation, Hudson Institute, Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, Center for Security Policy, former CIA Director Admiral James Woolsey of Committee on Present Danger, joined by American Council on Renewable Energy, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Apollo Alliance.
There's an elephant in the room, which keeps coming up, only to get put off as unrealistic. It's plug-in hybrids. The California Air Resource Board's staff 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 also put PHEVs right on top of the list....We can prove to automakers that people will buy these much better cars.
-- Felix Kramer, CalCars Founder, testimony at CARB hearing, Sept. 2004
We support "all reasonable programs designed to promote the development of an create markets for plug-in hybrids."
-- American Public Power Association resolution at annual meeting, June 21, 2005
Just as tax credits for hybrid owners provide incentives to drivers to purchase hybrids, we would support siimilar incentives to automakers to manufacture plug-in hybrids.
-- American Jewish Committee letter to Senators, June 24, 2005.
With shorter trips powered purely by electrical batteries, the amount of gasoline conserved in America would increase significantly...Already a hybrid plug-in car has been demonstrated at over 100 miles per gallon, nearly 4 times our current national fuel economy.
-- Speech on Senate floor by Sen. Ken Salazar, (Dem-Colorado), June 16, 2005 (pages S6707-6709, pages 37-39 of pdf file)
We ask that you launch a major new initiative to curtail US consumption through improved efficiency and the rapid development and deployment of advanced biomass, alcohol and other available petroleum fuel alternatives.
-- Energy Future Coalition, Letter to Pres. Bush by 31 former national security advisors; report did not address PHEVs, but newly-aware speakers at press conference supported "plug power" PHEVs and a government commitment to spend $1B on lighter, fuel-efficient vehicles.
Plug-in Hybrid vehicles allow us to use made-in-the-USA energy for most of our driving, breaking the yoke of our dependence on oil.
-- Institute for Analysis of Global Security, Washington, DC
America needs to go much further toward energy diversity and efficiency by investing dramatically in renewable technology like a new generation of bio-fuels and embrace the industries of the future like American made advanced pluggable hybrid cars.
-- Apollo Alliance, Washington, DC (quote from their email "alert")
Why It's a Winner: Hybrid cars are poised for steady growth, and plug-ins improve upon ordinary hybrids because they can cruise in a pure-electric mode.... In the grand scenarios of transportation analysts, plug-in hybrids occupy a box of indefinite length straddling those of conventional hybrids in the very near future and, farther out, fuel-cell cars, which experts predict will begin to dominate in 20, 30, or 40 years...
-- Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) International 2004 Technology Forecast, chose the DaimlerChrysler Sprinter PHEV (now in development) as Category Winner in Electric Power.
Hybrids now reduce gasoline consumption by 30% to 50% by using electric motors as well as an engine to power the car.... Hybrids can be modified so that their batteries can be charged by plugging them into the electricity grid as well as the car's engine. That makes electricity the car's primary fuel, reducing gasoline consumption by about 85%.
-- David Morris, Institute for Local Self-Reliance, in Cruising the Ethanol Highway, Los Angeles Times, Feb. 15, 2004
Moving to the highly efficient gas-electric hybrids with a plug-in capacity, combined with the construction of thousands of wind farms across the country, feeding electricity into a national grid, will give us the energy security that has eluded us for decades.
-- Lester Brown, founder, WorldWatch, The Short Path to Energy Independence, Earth Policy Institute; see also his new book "Plan B 2.0: Rescuing a Planet Under Stress and a Civilization in Trouble"
Since scarcely any electricity in this country is generated from oil, utilizing the grid to power the transportation sector can begin to be accomplished at once -- without increasing demand for imported energy. In fact, thanks to the existing grid's excess capacity at night, it should be possible to support up to 30 percent of the nation's vehicles equipped with plug-in batteries of 20-mile range and not have to expand electricity-generation.
-- Frank Gaffney, president, Center for National Security Policy, A Naked Energy Gap, National Review, March 29, 2005
PHEVs fueled by bioethanol could run free of global warming emissions...The PHEV is arguably the most promising "cleaner car" bridge to tomorrow's full clean cars and trucks.
-- Carrying the Energy Future, Institute for Lifecycle Environmental Assessment