1141Plug-In Roundup #3: Policy Issues / ICE Conversions
- May 17, 2011In our third extended post, we cover issues about government funding,
benefits, tax policy, and materials shortages, and then we switch
gears to bring you the latest developments about prospects for
companies working to convert internal combustion engine vehicles
(ICEs) to PHEVs and EVs.
(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.)
GERMANY AND CHINA COMMIT TO BILLIONS OF DOLLARS FOR PLUG-IN CARS.
Germany wants a million by 2020; China sees five million by then. See
TOO EARLY TO PUT ROAD TAXES ON PLUG-IN CARS: Ignoring every existing
subsidy to ICE vehicles and failing to recognize we have a bigger
problem in fixing our infrastructure, legislators in Washington State
and elsewhere want taxes that will discourage nascent plug-ins. Op-ed
by plug-in advocates Steve Marshall and Dan Davids:
. News report:
LITHIUM & RARE EARTH METALS: Materials scarcity is a growing concern.
"Lithium: The Lightweight Champion" says there's plenty of that
mineral. The video comes from the TREM Center (Technology and Rare
Earth Minerals), part of the Institute for the Analysis of Global
Security, which earlier spun off Set America Free and in 2006 helped
CalCars bring PHEVs to Congress. We consider ourselves knowledgeable
about this topic; still, we learned a lot in eight minutes.
http://www.youtube.com/user/TREMCenter#p/a/u/1/ZyJW3Zp6_qw And read
about a new electric motor from Remy (you may know the company as
Remy Delco) that uses no rare earth metals.
BEST STRATEGY FOR ETHANOL: A comprehensive study in Science Magazine
shows that burning biomass in power plants to power plug-ins yields
80% more distance per unit of crop land (and half the CO2) than using
it as an engine fuel.
NEW STUDY ON PLUG-IN VEHICLES AND GRID BALANCING: "Bucks for
balancing: can plug-in vehicles of the future extract cash--and
carbon--from the power grid?" Report discusses vehicle-to-grid, its
forerunner, vehicle-to-building, and related topics in this major
analysis by Ricardo and British-based international electrical
distributor National Grid.
HYBRIDS, SERVICE JOBS & RESALE VALUES: Closer to home, San
Francisco's Luscious Garage tells the story of the company's expanded
night shift to service hundreds of hybrid taxis in San Francisco
http://lusciousgarage.com/blog/hybrid_taxi_repair/. Not that
non-taxi-hybrids need all that much service: in the wake of rising
gas prices and the post-Tsunami production interruption, both new and
used Priuses are now commanding a premium, which bodes well for
future plug-in car resale values:
FUEL CELL CARS RECEDE FURTHER: NPR reports frustration among
remaining hydrogen advocates as the market (and the US government)
respond to the reality that "battery cars are getting cheaper
CALSTART'S E-TRUCK TASK FORCE: The highly-regarded Calstart expands
its focus on medium-and-heavy duty truck electrification. We hope it
will increase its attention to retrofit strategies.
ALTE'S NEW FLYER: In CalCars-News on April 7, we described ALTe's
partnership with industry leader Manheim to convert pickup trucks.
Shortly thereafter, the company brought its F-150 pickup to
Sacramento, where it introduced the opportunities of gas-guzzler
conversions. ALTe reports that "Nine state elected officials,
including Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom and Senate Pres. Pro Tempore
Darrell Steinberg dropped by. More than a dozen Department officials,
including Cal EPA Acting Secretary Linda Adams, dozens of
environmental lobbyists, EV entrepreneurs, legislative Chiefs of
Staff, and potential fleet customers" also showed up. The next day,
ALTe brought its show to Silicon Valley. See a team photo at
http://www.calcars.org/photos-groups.html and download ALTe's
brochure (including financial projections for fleet owners) at
http://www.calcars.org/altellc-brochure-april2011.pdf or from the
link at http://www.calcars.org/ice-conversions.html#ae
QUANTUM'S FORD F-150 PHEV: Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies has
jumped into the emerging gas-guzzler conversions world with a design
to convert the popular pickup truck to a 35-mile range plug-in
hybrid. The conversion is focused on fleet customers. Quantum is a
long-time systems integrator; the Irvine, CA company built PHEV
versions of the Ford Escape SUV in 2007.
AMP DELIVERS FIRST CONVERTED SUV TO ICELAND COMPANY: AMP Electric
Vehicles of Ohio delivered an electric Mercedes-Benz ML 350 to
Northern Lights Energy, and says it's the first of 1,000 vehicles to
be converted, including Chevy Equinoxes and others, that could result
from a new contract.
MOTIV EXPLORES TRUCK/BUS RETROFITS: This Bay Area startup focused on
vehicle energy management has a $1.3M state grant to turn a luxury
Bauer shuttle bus into a 100-mile EV. Motiv plans to follow up with a
12-vehicle test fleet.
US AGENCY MAKING CONVERSIONS EASIER: The Environmental Protection
Agency has updated its rules to encourage converting vehicles to
cleaner fuels. The new regulations that take vehicle age into account
are mostly driven by the strong forces promoting conversions from
gasoline to natural gas. (There's still no equivalent campaign for
large vehicle electrification retrofits.) Story and press release at
A California perspective on NG conversions :
And an update from the Wall Street Journal about the constituencies
and pitfalls for converting large trucks to natural gas (story
doesn't mention fracking or CO2): http://on.wsj.com/m4LFzw
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Felix Kramer fkramer@...
Founder California Cars Initiative
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