Friday, December 22, 2006

Winter Update

Dear Partners:

As you probably read in the press, GM announced in late November that they will manufacture a plug-in hybrid vehicle.

A day earlier, Toyota North America president Jim Press said that “The next frontier will be the plug-in hybrid.” Press was speaking to the Electric Drive Transportation Association (EDTA) conference in Washington D.C. where plug-in hybrids were a prime topic of conversation. EDTA brings together representatives of the automotive industry, electric utilities, battery makers, and hydrogen fuel cell advocates into one group.

Nissan, who was also represented at the conference, announced earlier in the year that they are working on a plug-in hybrid.

Andy Karsner, Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at the Department of Energy (DOE), said of plug-in hybrids, “This isn’t just something that we want to happen. It’s something that is going to happen.”

So obviously there is a lot of activity on plug-in hybrids and the automakers have changed their position since issuing almost universally negative remarks after we launched the Plug-In Partners campaign in January.

None of the automakers, however, has announced a date. Also, automakers say that batteries need further development before plug-ins can hit car lots. Along those lines, a breakfast meeting of battery makers was held at the EDTA conference about the state of battery technology.

Battery makers in attendance urged more demonstration projects and pointed out that the federal government spends considerably more on fuel cell research than on advanced batteries. They also suggested that auto manufacturers leave space in hybrids for additional battery capacity so the vehicles can be converted to plug-ins as batteries develop. Also noted was that the price of batteries would drop dramatically with volume.

On the issue of battery reuse/recycling, battery makers said that advanced automotive batteries could be used by electric utilities for stationary storage for 10 to 15 years after their life as an automotive battery.

On the legislative front, we are working on plug-in hybrid legislation with members of the House and Senate, their staffs and a coalition of people from around the country. The focus is on demonstration projects, battery research and development, and incentives for consumers, businesses and manufacturers.

There will be plug-in hybrid bills introduced in the new Congress next year and we will contact you about help in supporting such legislation.

Both Karsner and Tom Kuhn of the Edison Electric Institute said that President Bush repeatedly asks about progress on plug-in hybrids and the state of lithium ion batteries, opening hopes that plug-ins may be one issue on which bipartisanship could form and legislation pass and be signed.

So while much progress has been made since the launch of Plug-In Partners in January there is still much work to be done before this technology is active and effective in decreasing greenhouse gas emissions and reducing dependence on imported oil.

We will keep you updated on progress and proposed legislation, and we encourage you to recruit other members to become Plug-In Partners.

Below is a summary of current partners and fleet orders. A complete list of partners can be seen at at the “Supporters, Cities, and Organizations” link.

Thanks to all of you for supporting this important effort and please keep us apprised of activities and events.


Roger Duncan
Deputy General Manager
Austin Energy

If you have any questions or comments please contact me at 322-6157, or Daryl Slusher at 322-6210, or Lisa Braithwaite at 322-6511.

Join Plug In Partners today.

News Summary I

Sign the On Line Petition

more news


Partner Update

Below is a summary of our partners and fleet orders. A more complete list can be found at the campaign website

Partners Update – There are currently 497 entities signed on as Partners. The breakdown is as follows:

Ø Cities = 49
Ø Counties/Local Governments = 28
Ø Colleges/Universities = 4
Ø Public Utilities = 161
Ø National Utility Associations = 9
Ø Businesses = 123
Ø Non-Profit Groups = 36
Ø National/Local Environmental Groups = 39
Ø Investor-Owned Utilities = 5
Ø State/Federal Agencies = 20
Ø Other Groups = 23

Soft” Fleet Orders – There are a total of 8238 fleet orders.

Ø 1,526 Heavy Truck
Ø 1,169 Light Truck
Ø 454 Medium Truck
Ø 1,641 SUV
Ø 40 School Bus
Ø 2,393 Sedan
Ø 15 Tractor
Ø 1000 Van

For a complete list of partners please visit the campaign website at and click on “list of supporters.”

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Megawatt Mileage


A new report from researchers at DOE's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory indicates that there is substantial idle capacity for use in a "switch from oil to electrons"

Although the full report is not yet available, here is the press release from PNNL.

Mileage from Megawatts:
Study finds enough electric capacity to "fill up" plug-in vehicles across much of the nation

RICHLAND, Wash. – If all the cars and light trucks in the nation switched from oil to electrons, idle capacity in the existing electric power system could generate most of the electricity consumed by plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. A new study for the Department of Energy finds that "off-peak" electricity production and transmission capacity could fuel 84 percent of the country's 220 million vehicles if they were plug-in hybrid electrics.

Researchers at DOE's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory also evaluated the impact of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, or PHEVs, on foreign oil imports, the environment, electric utilities and the consumer.

"This is the first review of what the impacts would be of very high market penetrations of PHEVs, said Eric Lightner, of DOE's Office of Electric Delivery and Energy Reliability. "It's important to have this baseline knowledge as consumers are looking for more efficient vehicles, automakers are evaluating the market for PHEVs and battery manufacturers are working to improve battery life and performance."

Current batteries for these cars can easily store the energy for driving the national average commute - about 33 miles round trip a day, so the study presumes that drivers would charge up overnight when demand for electricity is much lower.


"Since gasoline consumption accounts for 73 percent of imported oil, it is intriguing to think of the trade and national security benefits if our vehicles switched from oil to electrons," added PNNL energy researcher Rob Pratt. "Plus, since the utilities would be selling more electricity without having to build more plants or power lines, electricity prices could go down for everyone."

Lightner noted that "the study suggests the idle capacity of the electric power grid is an underutilized national asset that could be tapped to vastly reduce our dependence on foreign oil."

The study also looked at the impact on the environment of an all-out move to PHEVs. The added electricity would come from a combination of coal-fired and natural gas-fired plants. Even with today's power plants emitting greenhouse gases, the overall levels would be reduced because the entire process of moving a car one mile is more efficient using electricity than producing gasoline and burning it in a car's engine." more

PNNL is a DOE Office of Science laboratory that solves complex problems in energy, national security, the environment and life sciences by advancing the understanding of physics, chemistry, biology and computation.

Join Plug In Partners today.

News Summary I

Sign the On Line Petition

more news