Thursday, November 30, 2006

Traction Action

This week's meeting of the Electric Drive Transportation Association in Washington was accompanied by some significant announcements.

Plug-In Hybrids Gain Traction

WASHINGTON—November 28, 2006—“If the momentum for plug-in hybrid vehicles continues to accelerate, Americans are likely to see more and more of these vehicles on American roads in the next few years,” said Roger Duncan, deputy general manager of Austin Energy and the head of the Plug-in Partners national grassroots campaign.

Launched earlier this year, Plug-in Partners already has attracted 485 entities such as cities and other government bodies, environmental and other nonprofit organizations and businesses calling for automakers to manufacture plug-in hybrid vehicles.

Additionally, the campaign has gained more than 8,000 “soft” fleet orders for these vehicles when they are available.

Plug-in vehicles would combine today’s new electric-flex fuel (gas and/or biofuels such as ethanol) hybrid technology with a larger battery that could be recharged by plugging it into a standard wall sockets.

Since these batteries would offer a range of 25 to 35 miles before requiring recharging or the use of gasoline Americans could significantly reduce their annual gasoline consumption. The U.S. imports about 60 percent of its oil—most of which is used in the transportation sector.

Speaking at the Electric Drive Transportation Association annual meeting here, Duncan noted a number of key developments in the drive for plug-in vehicles:

More than 95 cities, counties and state and federal agencies have joined Plug-in Partners, including Los Angeles, Dallas, Chicago, Boston, Phoenix and Philadelphia

AutoNation, the country’s largest auto retailer, is urging automakers to produce plug-in hybrids

In New York State, Governor George Pataki and Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno announced a new $10 million State program to convert 600 vehicles in the State fleet to plug-in hybrids

In September, Riverside California Mayor Ronald Loveridge, a member of the California Air Resources Board (CARB), called for a Plug-in California campaign and recommended that the State commit to purchase plug-ins, offer incentives for manufacturers and provide $5 million for plug-in vehicle research and development.

IC Corporation, the nation’s largest school bus manufacturer, will build 19 plug-in hybrid school buses to be used in 11 states as part of a consortium organized by Advanced Energy, a Raleigh, N.C.-based nonprofit corporation. The Austin Independent School District has agreed to purchase one of the buses.

Additional information about the campaign is available at

Plug-in Partners
Lisa Braithwaite, (512)322-6511

Join Plug In Partners today.

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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

GM to Launch?

GM Concept Car
There has been a rumor that General Motors might have a plug-in to show at the North American International Car Show in Detroit this coming January.

Here is the first confirmation that it is no longer a rumor.

GM likely to launch new plug-in hybrid
Nov 10, 2006

DETROIT (Reuters) - General Motors Corp. will likely unveil a prototype plug-in hybrid at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January, a local paper reported on Friday.

The advanced technology vehicle would have an extended driving range on battery power and would also have a diesel or gasoline engine that could power the car when the battery was low, the Detroit News said, citing unnamed GM officials.

Plug-in hybrids are gas-electric vehicles that can recharge their batteries with an extension cord and a normal wall outlet.

GM, which is trying to recover from a $10.6 billion loss in 2005 and stop a slide in U.S. market share, has been criticized for relying heavily on gas-guzzling sport utility vehicles. This year, it has also drawn sharp criticism for its decision to kill its EV1 electric car program.


In an interview with Motor Trend published in July, GM Chief Executive Rick Wagoner said killing the $1 billion EV1 program was his worst decision. He said it did not affect the automaker's profitability, but did hurt its image.

The Detroit News said Wagoner will talk about GM's emphasis on advanced technologies in a speech he plans to deliver at the Los Angeles Auto Show later this month.

Other automakers are also researching plug-in technology, including Toyota Motor Corp the world's leading producer of hybrid vehicles.

Honda Motor Co. Ltd. has also called for exploring plug-ins and is conducting advanced research on hydrogen.

Ford Motor Co. has a fleet of hybrid hydrogen fuel cell vehicles as part of "real world testing of fuel cell technology."

We will look forward to an unveiling in Janurary.

Join Plug In Partners today.

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