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1097Gas-Guzzler Conversions Offer a Way Out of Deep Water Drilling

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  • Felix Kramer
    May 6, 2010
      Today we offer some encouraging news: significant
      progress from the companies that are working on
      practical solutions to convert millions of
      gas-guzzlers to run partly or entirely on
      electricity. The new plug-in cars that will begin
      to arrive later this year, while long-awaited and
      much-welcomed, won't make much of a dent in our
      fuel consumption for over 15 years. If we want to
      do something sooner, we need to fix" tens of
      millions of the 250 million internal combustion
      vehicles on U.S. roads, and even more of the 900
      million vehicles in the world. Read on for the
      latest developments that set the stage for a
      commitment to this strategy -- first by
      advocates, then by legislators and elected
      officials. In contrast to CalCars' seven-year
      campaign for PHEVs, this time, we expect that the
      needed incentives and other commitments will come
      mainly because companies' new announcements of
      products, partnerships and customers are making this a reality.

      (Shortly after it goes out on email, this posting
      will also be viewable at
      http://www.calcars.org/news-archive.html -- there
      you can add CalCars-News to your RSS feed.)

      Of the retrofit companies profiled at our page,
      "Join the Campaign to Electrify World's 900+
      Million Vehicles (as many as possible, to plug-in
      hybrid or all-electric)"
      http://www.calcars.org/ice-conversions.html , we
      have good news from two: a first shipment from
      REV; a new facility and a significant meeting in
      Washington from ALTe -- we can expect to hear
      much more from them in the coming months.

      TO FIRST FLEET CUSTOMER: Green Car Congress
      reports the SUV has a 160-kilometer range
      (99-mile), a top speed of 144 km/h (89 mph), and
      charge time is 3.8 to 5 hours at 240V.

      See Burlington Hydro's press release at
      . "The REV 300 ACX is not a hybrid nor is it a
      concept vehicle -- it is a fully electric vehicle
      that will be in daily use in the Burlington Hydro
      and GridSmartCityTM fleet," said Jay Giraud,
      REV’s CEO and president See REV's press release
      and a video at http://www.rapidelectricvehicles.com/media-coverage.html .

      ALTe OPENS NEW FACILITY: We described this
      emerging company http://www.altellc.com at length
      in March at
      http://www.calcars.org/calcars-news/1095.html .
      Now it's moving ahead rapidly, opening a 185,000
      square foot headquarters in April. Here are
      excerpts from the report, "Electric vehicle
      converter has connections to go far," by Brent
      Snavely in the Detroit Free Press at

      "ALTe aims to turn existing commercial fleet
      vehicles already on the road into plug-in
      hybrid-electric vehicles. [CEO John] Thomas said
      ALTe is targeting used commercial vehicles that
      are two to four years old and whose mileage has
      exceeded the warranty….ALTe's plug-in hybrid
      electric powertrain is expected to power a
      vehicle for about 40 miles on a single charge
      before a gasoline engine kicks in to recharge the
      battery. Vehicles should be able to travel about
      400 miles without refueling. ALTe's system can
      improve fuel efficiency by 80% to 200%. ALTe
      already has a $240-million [four-year] purchase
      order for about 12,000 powertrain kits with a
      company called Gulfstream Coach for airport shuttle buses.

      "In February, ALTe secured $8.4 million in state
      tax credits from the Michigan Economic
      Development Corp. The company also is seeking a
      $101-million loan from the U.S. Department of
      Energy and is in the middle of a review process.
      What's more, former Chrysler President Thomas
      LaSorda and former Chrysler sales executive
      Steven Landry are both on ALTe's board of
      directors and their consulting firm, LaSorda
      Group, is an investor. Landry said LaSorda Group
      invested in ALTe because they liked the company's
      business model as well as the background of ALTe's founders."

      FOUR-MINUTE CNN interview by Al Velshi with ALTe
      Chief Technology Officer Jeff DeFrank at
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_U4uIFYttI .

      MR. THOMAS GOES TO WASHINGTON: Here's a report by
      ALTe CEO John Thomas on a key meeting in DC May 5
      that brought together CEOs from multiple
      cleantech companies and shows how the company is
      delivering its message that it's heading into a giant business opportunity:

      "The Senate Clean Energy Jobs Bill Steering
      Committee includes roughly 15 Senators. Sen.
      Bingaman and others were supportive of John
      Doer's initiative to place a carbon tax to
      accelerate adoption and fund these programs with
      up-front cash. Sen. Boxer was excited about what
      we were doing. I met other staffers and CEOs. We
      started the meeting with roughly 15-20
      CEO/Chairmen of for-profit companies mixed with
      industry associations. Sen. Reid opened, asking
      for help to get a bill passed so we don't
      continue to have oil spills and other unnecessary
      costs to the budget and society.

      "Sen. Stabenow called on Mary Ann Wright from
      Johnson Controls and myself and gave a little
      Intro on our behalf. Afterwards, I gave a very
      brief explanation of our technology and business
      model. The room of CEO/Chairman and approx 10
      Senators heard that we are ready now to annually
      convert 90,000 vehicles of the existing 108
      million PSVs (pickups, SUVs and vans) on the road
      today starting with fleets where it makes
      financial sense, and that ALTe will be the
      catalyst for massive job growth in the EV and
      hybrid industry and the larger V2G ecosystem.

      "At a subsequent meeting, we explored ways to
      develop a big and sustained push for ALTe and the
      industry over a period of six months to encourage
      legislators to support these initiatives and the
      public in the US to finally 'get it.'"

      you to read ALTe's new four-panel brochure that
      describes its vision, its technology, and
      provides an illuminating cost-benefit analysis.
      It shows paybacks in two-to three years for
      multiple vehicle types that are driven 50,000
      miles a year (frequent for fleets), and shows
      scenarios based on gas prices at different
      levels. The projections assume these vehicles
      will be eligible for federal tax credits
      equivalent to those provided to large-battery EVs
      and PHEVs. Far smaller conversion credits are now
      in the law, making this a central goal for ALTe
      and CalCars. Download it at
      --I t's easy to read on-screen but when printed
      on a letter-sized sheet the type is small.

      -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
      Felix Kramer fkramer@...
      Founder California Cars Initiative
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