Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Summer Update

Roger Duncan gives Campaign Update

The Plug-In Partners National Campaign has now been underway for six months. We would like to take this opportunity to report on our efforts to demonstrate to automakers that a market for plug-in hybrid vehicles exists in the United States today.

We thank our partners for your wide range of support in this important endeavor and are grateful for everyone’s efforts and dedication in making this campaign an overwhelming success to this point.

Hear is an update of some of the accomplishments the Plug-in Partners campaign has achieved over the past six months.

The Plug-In Partners campaign has now surpassed 6,000 fleet orders. “Soft” fleet orders are a critical component of the Plug-In Partners goal of demonstrating to automakers that a market exists for flexible fuel plug-in hybrids.

Fleet Orders

· Minnesota Department of Natural Resources – 1,800
· City of Chicago - 850 vehicles
· Shohomish County, WA - 300
· City of Seattle - 410
· Kansas City, MO - 120
· Capital Metro (Transit agency in Austin) - 165
· ABC Lawn and Pest Control (Austin) - 150


Cities continue to join the Plug-In Partners coalition. As fleet orders increase, city governments around the country also continue to join the coalition. New partners in recent months include: Denton, TX., Keene, N.H., Madison, Phoenix, Sacramento, Santa Ana, CA., Santa Barbara, CA., Corpus Christi, Edmond, OK., Fayetteville, AR., Irvine, CA., Kansas City, MO., Oakland, Sacramento, and Salt Lake City.

They join Founding Members from these cities:
Arlington, TX, Baltimore, Boulder, Dallas, Denver, Fort Worth, Irvine, CA, Los Angeles, Memphis, Philadelphia, Seattle, San Francisco, and Wenatchee, WA.

Additionally, other local governments and state agencies are joining the coalition.

These include: Minnesota Department of Natural Resources; California State Controller; Oklahoma Department of Commerce; Oklahoma Secretary of the Environment; Oklahoma County (which includes Oklahoma City); Miami-Dade County, Florida; Indian Nations Council of Governments (covering Tulsa and a surrounding five county area; Texas General Land Office; the Port of Chelan County; Sarasota County, Florida; Travis County, Texas; and Wenatchee Valley (Washington) Transportation Council.


The campaign initially began by focusing on the 50 largest cities in the U.S., but it has grown far beyond this point. A large coalition has formed around the issues of national security, combating climate change, saving on fuel costs and increasing business for American agriculture.

As former CIA director James Woolsey said at the January Plug-In Partners kickoff: “We’ve got a coalition of tree huggers, do-gooders, sodbusters, hawks and evangelicals.”

The vast range of support now includes partners from these key areas:

National security groups like Set America Free, Institute for Analysis of Global Security and the Center for American Progress;

Renewable energy and clean air groups throughout the country;

Agricultural institutions such as the American Corn Growers Association and the Soybean Producers of America; and

Electric Utilities

More than 125 public power utilities, largely signed on through the American Public Power Association;

For a complete list of partners, please visit our web site at www.pluginpartners.org, and click on “list of supporters”.

The list of supporters/partners now includes links to the members’ web sites along with a contact person. It would be very helpful to the campaign if you could also link to the Plug-In Partners website on your site.

We also encourage you to watch the Bettah video produced by CalCars. This site also links directly to the Plug-In Partners petition.

Investor-owned utilities are starting to sign on as partners. These include Pacific Gas and Electric, Kansas City Power and Light and Edison Electric Institute, the trade association for IOUs (see quote below).

In calling on Congress to support funds for plug-in research and development, Rick Tempchin, EEI director of retail distribution policy said: "With support from the federal government, and continued collaboration between the electricity and transportation sectors and state and local government, consumers one day soon will be able to recharge their cars as easily as they recharge their cell phones and portable music players. The energy, economic and air quality gains could be dramatic, benefiting individual consumers and the entire U.S. economy."


On May 16, the Energy Subcommittee of the House Science Committee held a public hearing on Congressman Lamar Smith's proposed legislation. This would play a key role in advancing research, development and demonstration of plug-in hybrid vehicles. Along with other national leaders in the PHEV movement, including Dr. Andy Frank and Mark Duvall of EPRI, I spoke to the need to fund battery research and demonstration vehicles. Afterward several members of Congress went outside for test drives in a plug-in hybrid brought to Washington by Cal-Cars.

On the state level, Minnesota became the first state in the Union to pass plug-in hybrid legislation. The bill, sponsored by Representative Frank Hornstein of Minneapolis, would require that the State of Minnesota begin buying PHEVs once they are commercially available and when the price is no more than 10% higher than similarly equipped vehicles.

It would also:

Provide funds to Minnesota State University – Mankato to convert two conventional hybrids to plug-ins,

Establish a task force to assess barriers to plug-in hybrids and to consider possible financial incentives to encourage Ford Motor Company to produce flexible-fuel plug-in hybrid vehicles at its St. Paul plant,

and direct the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to study the environmental impacts of purchasing PHEVs for the state-owned vehicle fleet and various other levels of penetration among the public.


In Austin, Mayor Will Wynn and the City Council, along with Austin Energy, are holding a press conference and speaking event with James Woolsey and Chelsea Sexton, formerly with GM and featured in the feature film, Who Killed the Electric Car?

Mr. Woolsey and Ms. Sexton will address national security, environmental issues, and the importance of plug-in hybrid vehicles. Mayor Wynn will introduce the two speakers and give an update on the status of the campaign.

The event is Thursday, June 29th at 7:00pm at Town Lake Center, 721 Barton Springs Road. The press conference will be at 3:00 pm at Austin City Hall.

For further information about the items featured in this update or for questions, please contact us at contact@pluginpartners.org

Thank you,

Roger Duncan
Deputy General Manger, Austin Energy
Coordinator, Plug-In Partners Campaign

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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Toyota "Looking"

Here is big announcement for Plug-In fans

Toyota looking at Plug-in Hybrids
Los Angeles Times
June 20, 2006

Toyota Motor Corp. says it intends to increase research into the plug-in hybrid technology it once derided and to double the number of conventional hybrid models it sells globally by early next decade.

The Japanese automaker, poised to overtake General Motors Corp. as the world's largest automaker by sales volume, recently presented a far-reaching look at its fuel-efficiency and environmental goals.

In addition to increasing to 14 the gasoline-electric hybrid models it offers, Toyota said, it plans to offer more fuel-efficient gasoline engines and to offer its first engines that can burn mixtures of ethanol and gas.

The moves come as Toyota, like other automakers, gears up to compete in a world facing soaring gasoline prices, diminishing supplies of easily obtainable crude oil and increased political and social pressure to reduce oil consumption and auto emissions.


Hybrids, which combine conventional internal-combustion engines with electric motors for improved fuel efficiency, have won favor with environmentalists. But many hope to persuade automakers to develop plug-in versions, which use larger battery packs that the owner can recharge by connecting an onboard charger to a common wall socket.

Such vehicles - championed by southern California engineers who have retrofitted Toyota's bestselling Prius on their own - could travel 40 or more miles at highway speeds solely on electric power before the gasoline engine would cut in and they would revert to operating as conventional hybrids.

Because the urban driver commutes fewer than 40 miles a day, on average, much of a plug-in hybrid's life cycle would be spent in all-electric mode, reducing gasoline consumption and harmful emissions.

Watanabe's promise to increase research into the technology "was a little surprising, and pretty fabulous," said Greg Hanssen, vice president of Energy CS, a Monrovia, Calif., company that builds prototype plug-in models of the Prius.


Although company President Katsuaki Watanabe stopped short of promising to bring a plug-in hybrid to market, he did say Toyota "is getting close" to achieving a 50 percent reduction in the development and production costs of conventional hybrid systems for its coming models. "

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Monday, June 12, 2006

Minnesota Plug-in Law

Representative Frank Hornstein reports that House File 3718 has passed, and that Minnesota is the first state to join the push for plug-in hybrids.

Here is the story from the Brownfield Network

Plug-in hybrid flexible-fueled cars on the way
Thursday, June 8, 2006, 2:01 PM
by Bob Meyer

Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty has signed a law promoting plug-in hybrid flexible-fueled vehicles. The car runs primarily on electricity and renewable fuels like ethanol power the engine.

The new law instructs the state to buy plug-in hybrids on a preferred basis when they become available and also it encourages Minnesota State University at Mankato to develop a flex-fueled hybrid.

A task force has been created from business, government and utility representatives to develop a plan to build the cars in Minnesota. Specifically, they are targeting the Ford plant set for closure in St. Paul.

Coincidentally, the electricity at the Ford plant comes from its own hydroelectric generator on the Mississippi.

Frank Hornstein was chief author of the bill in the Minnesota House, he sees this as a great opportunity, “We have the research at Minnesota State, we have the corn and ethanol industry and we have the Ford plant.”

The bill states:

"All solicitation documents for the purchase of a passenger automobile, pickup truck, or van, issued under the jurisdiction of the Department of Administration after June 30, 2006, must contain the following language:

"It is the intention of the state of Minnesota to begin purchasing plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and neighborhood electric vehicles as soon as they become commercially available, meet the state's performance specifications, and are priced no more than ten percent above the price for comparable gasoline-powered vehicles.

It is the intention of the state to purchase plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and neighborhood electric vehicles whenever practicable after these conditions have been met and as fleet needs dictate for at least five years after these conditions have been met."

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Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Mayors Join Drive

U.S. Conference of Mayors Join Drive
for Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles

LAS VEGAS—June 5, 2006—The U.S. Conference of Mayors today unanimously endorsed a resolution encouraging the use of plug-in hybrid vehicles as an important step in reducing this country’s reliance on foreign oil and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles.

Plug-in hybrid vehicles would combine today’s new gas-electric hybrid technology with larger batteries that could provide an all-electric operating range of 25 miles to 35 miles or more. The result is an 80+ mile-per-gallon vehicle—with even greater fuel economy possible using biofuels.

With gas prices now near $3 per-gallon, plug-in hybrids offer the potential for a consumer to save on their fuel charges as an ‘electric’ gallon of gas is less than $1.

The resolution endorses the national Plug-in Partners initiative, which is leading an effort to urge automakers to manufacture flexible fuel plug-in hybrid vehicles, pushing for government funding for incentives and demonstration vehicles, gathering soft fleet orders, and promoting a consumer petition campaign in support of the effort.

The resolution was submitted by 13 mayors:

Mayor Will Wynn of Austin,
Mayor Thomas Menino of Boston,
Mayor Dr. Robert Cluck of Arlington, VA,
Mayor Patrick H. Hays of North Little Rock, AK,
Mayor Rocky Anderson of Salt Lake City,
Mayor Henry Garret of Corpus Christi, TX,
Mayor John Hickenlooper of Denver,
Mayor Greg Nickels of Seattle,
Mayor Ardell Brede of Rochester, NY,
Mayor Martin J. Chavez of Albuquerque,
Mayor David Berger of Lima, OH,
Mayor Kitty Piercy of Eugene, OR, and
Mayor Miguel Pulido of Santa Ana, CA.

“This vote shows the increasing interest in plug-in hybrids,” said Austin Mayor Will Wynn, who has been leading the national Plug-in Partners campaign.

Plug-in hybrids reduce dependency on foreign oil, lower fuel costs for cities and their citizens, reduce air pollution in our cities, and increase the use of renewable energy.”

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