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Obama's PItches for Plug-In Hybrids: Videos, Transcripts, Clips

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  • Felix Kramer
    While Pres. Bush came around in 2006 to support PHEVs, his actions were minimal. Pres. Obama has far exceeded his efforts, using his bully pulpit to highlight
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 20, 2009
      While Pres. Bush came around in 2006 to support PHEVs, his actions
      were minimal. Pres. Obama has far exceeded his efforts, using his
      bully pulpit to highlight the opportunities and allocating billions
      of dollars in funds to plug-in cars. In a whirlwind trip to Southern
      California, he visited the Edison Electric Vehicle Technical Center
      and appeared on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Last summer and fall,
      with both candidates supporting PHEVs, we had attempted to bring them
      to the campaign foreground as candidates made their way through the
      hard-hit swing states of Ohio and Indiana. Yesterday, Pres. Obama
      gave the speeches we had always hoped for then -- including directly
      connecting plug-in cars, Detroit's future, and saving and creating
      jobs. Below we include quotes of what he said on TV and at the
      Center, plus links to photos and videos and official statements. And
      we clarify that the $2.4B he announced yesterday for PHEVs is not
      additional funds, but is part of the multi-billion dollar package
      we've previously described.

      (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.)

      TONIGHT SHOW: Starting with the most public part: The broadcast
      attracted twice as many Tonight Show viewers as usual and may become
      one of the show's highest-rated broadcasts
      . It's also viewable online; here's the best part (we'll comment on
      the rest of what he said at the end of this post):

      LENO: Now, you mentioned cars a minute ago. You went to the electric
      car, you went to look at some batteries today. OBAMA: I did. It's
      spectacular what is being down now with plug-in hybrids, where not
      only are you getting the hybrid technology, but now you can plug it
      in at home in your garage. And potentially we could see cars getting
      150 miles to a gallon of gas. And when you get home you could
      potentially sell the energy in your car back into the grid, back to
      your utility and get money.

      WATCH THE SHOW: If you missed the entertaining event, right now, you
      can watch the entire interview online at
      http://www.tonight-show.com/season-2009/march-19-2009 (official site)
      . Or fast forward to 18:45 of 24:46 for the plug-in part. We plan to
      post a short video at http://www.calcars.org/audio-video.html to
      accompany our 20 seconds of Pres. Bush from Feb 20, 2006.

      OBAMA STIRRING WORDS AT EDISON: Watch AP's 1:45 excerpt from his
      speech at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qvGacRFX7XA . Here's the
      transcript of the clip:

      "Now yesterday I was in Costa Mesa, talking about this economic
      downturn that we're in. It's downturn that's hitting this state as
      much as it's hitting any state in the union. One out of ten
      Californians are out of work and actively looking for jobs. The
      foreclosure crisis has had a devastating impact on Southern
      California in particular. But Californians aren't just bearing the
      brunt of this crisis. You are doing what needs to be done to overcome
      it. This workshop is a perfect example of that. Day by day, test by
      test, trial by painstaking trial, the scientists, the engineers, the
      workers at this site, are developing the ideas and innovations that
      our future depend on. It's your ingenuity that will help create the
      new jobs and new industries of tomorrow. I know it's not easy. There
      are days, I am sure, when progress seems fleeting, and days when you
      feel like you're making no progress at all. That's how it feels in
      the White House sometimes, too. (Laughter). But often our greatest
      discoveries are born not in a flash of brilliance, but in the
      crucible of a deliberate effort over time. And often they take
      something more than imagination and dedication alone, often they take
      a commitment and investment from government. That's how we sent a man
      to the moon. That's how we were able to launch a World Wide Web. And
      it's how we'll help to build the clean energy economy that's the key
      to our competitiveness in the 21st century. We'll do this because we
      know. As [name] just said that the nation that leads on energy will
      be the nation that leads the world in the twenty-first century."

      TEXT OF COMPLETE SPEECH AT EV CENTER: http://www.energy.gov/news2009/7067.htm

      OFFICIAL PRESIDENTIAL STATEMENTS: See the press release, "President
      Obama Announces $2.4 Billion in Funding to Support Next Generation
      Electric Vehicles / DOE Support for Advanced Battery Manufacturing
      and Electric Vehicle Deployment to Create Tens of Thousands of U.S. Jobs" at

      This press release announces the availability of $2.4B in funding for
      "to put American ingenuity and America's manufacturers to work
      producing next generation Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles and the
      advanced battery components that will make these vehicles run. The
      initiative will create tens of thousands of U.S. jobs and help us end
      our addiction to foreign oil. Americans who decide to purchase these
      Plug-in Hybrid vehicles can claim a tax credit of up to $7,500." The
      release details $1.5 billion in grants to U.S. based manufacturers to
      produce these highly efficient batteries and their components; up to
      $500 million in grants to U.S. based manufacturers to produce other
      components needed for electric vehicles, such as electric motors and
      other components; and up to $400 million to demonstrate and evaluate
      Plug-In Hybrids and other electric infrastructure concepts -- like
      truck stop charging station, electric rail, and training for
      technicians to build and repair electric vehicles. [See a similar
      statement at the White House Blog,
      http://www.pasadenastarnews.com/ci_11951014 .]

      IMPORTANT CLARIFICATION; Thanks to Plug In America's Jay Friedland
      for explaining that this announcement is not about new funds: "This
      is a combination of the $2B in Battery (EISA Sec 135 money) and $400M
      for deployment of plug-in infrastructure and vehicles. (EISA Sec
      543B, H.R.1-pg.24). Both of these were already in the American
      Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 so they are just new callouts,
      and DOE is actually starting to do something with the funding." For
      the details on those provisions, see our Feb. 25 posting, "Do You
      Realize Plug-Ins Get $5-$10+ Billion in Stimulus Package?"

      lot of information in a short time, including detailed briefings from
      engineers. Southern California Edison expects to have video and
      photos next week. Before then, you can see a great 14-photo slideshow
      from the AP, including many photos of the President viewing a PHEV
      conversion of the Ford Escape, as well as larger utility PHEV trucks,
      and walking and talking with attendees including Edison CEO Ed
      Craver, EV Director Ed Kjaer, and Senior Lead Engineer Loic Gaillac,
      directly at
      or linked from http://www.pasadenastarnews.com/ci_11951014 . For a
      few large photos, see

      http://www.sce.com/Feature/Obama-EV-Tech-Center.htm as well as media
      backgrounders (PDFs on the Technical Center, etc.) The release
      includes several quotes from the President:

      "This workshop is a perfect example of how Californians are doing
      what needs to be done to overcome the financial crisis....Here at
      Southern California Edison, and all across the country, in factories
      and laboratories, at the Big Three and at small startups, these
      innovations are taking place right now....At our best, we have never
      relied on hope and chance alone. Time and again, we have tapped those
      great American resources: industriousness and ingenuity. That, after
      all, is what California is all about. This is a state that has always
      drawn people who've had their eyes set on the horizon; who've always
      dreamed of a future that others thought beyond reach. That is the
      spirit that you are reclaiming here at the Electric Vehicle Technical
      Center, and that is the spirit we need to reclaim all across this country."


      ASSOCIATED PRESS: Obama: Investment in energy research creates jobs,
      by Charles Babington (AP writer Mark S. Smith contributed to this
      report from Pomona)

      His economic message had the twin aim of touting the $787 billion
      economic stimulus plan and building support for his $3.6 trillion
      budget plan. Both put an emphasis on so-called green enterprises,
      like plug-in electric cars that are designed to be fuel efficient and
      kinder to the environment. "Even as our American automakers are
      undergoing some painful adjustments, they are also retooling and
      remaking themselves into an industry that can compete and win," Obama
      said. "And millions of jobs depend on it."

      In Pomona, at the Edison Electric Vehicle Technical Center, Obama got
      a look at its Garage of the Future, with a solar panel roof and a
      Ford Escape hybrid parked inside. Later, Obama toured a testing bay
      where white-coated technicians evaluate battery designs for electric
      cards. "It's spotless," he marveled. "Where's the grime? Where's the
      dirt?" Obama looked at an LCD displaying test results for batteries,
      was briefed on an environmental chamber where life cycle testing
      takes place and talked to technicians running tests on another Escape
      and a golf-cart-sized electric vehicle with its chassis open.

      iquotes him saying, "It's always nice to get out of Washington a
      little bit -- recharge your batteries," and reports, "Obama, who
      famously traded his Hemi Chrysler 300C for a 2008 Ford Escape Hybrid
      to appear green-friendly at the start of his presidential bid, is
      shown above next to a plug-in prototype of his compact SUV."
      [includes large photo]

      NEW YORK TIMES "The Caucus" Politics & Government" Blog:
      : "Millions of jobs depend" on the work being done at plants like
      Edison, Mr. Obama said. He checked out prototypes of Ford electric
      and alternative fuel vehicles, asked lots of questions about
      batteries and marveled at the gas tank of a Ford Truck with plug-in
      technology, saying "Just like I got at home."

      WASHINGTON POST "44: The Obama Presidency" Blog:
      President Obama, in campaign mode, told workers at an Orange County
      electric-car factory that "it is your ingenuity that will help create
      the new jobs and new industries of tomorrow....The problem is that
      for decades we've avoided doing what we must do as a nation to turn
      challenge into opportunity," Obama told the audience of about 150
      factory workers, students and public officials....As a consequence,
      we import more oil than we did on 9/11. The 1908 Model T -- think
      about this -- the 1908 Model T earned better gas mileage than the
      typical SUV in 2008. Think about that -- a hundred years later and
      we're getting less gas mileage, not better, on SUVs. Even as our
      economy has been transformed by new forms of technology, our electric
      grid looks largely the same as it did half a century ago." On his
      15-minute tour the Edison International Garage of the Future in
      Pomona, he looked over prototypes of Ford electric and alternative
      fuel vehicles. He asked workers in white lab coats questions about
      batteries, asking at one point "What's the holy grail?" of the
      alternative-fuel auto industry.

      SECOND AP STORY: Obama's visit juices up small SoCal Edison plant
      where workers are developing electric cars, by John Rogers

      Whether President Barack Obama's California visit rallied sufficient
      support for his economic stimulus package remains to be seen, but his
      arrival Thursday definitely juiced the spirits of those who have
      toiled for years here building, testing and maintaining the kind of
      electric-powered cars Obama says are the nation's future. In the 16
      years since it opened, Southern California Edison's Electric Vehicle
      Technical Center has quietly logged a number of firsts. Among them,
      the first consumer field test of General Motors' pioneering EV1
      electric vehicle and first conversion of a heavy-duty,
      gasoline-powered boom truck to gas-electric hybrid. Edison itself
      maintains a fleet of more than 300 electric and gas-electric hybrid
      vehicles that it says has logged more than 17 million miles.

      But at a company whose name often lands in the news only after a
      power blackout, there was some concern about whether anybody was
      paying attention. "We've been at times feeling maybe a little lonely
      out there with our support for electric transportation," Edison
      International Chairman Ted Craver Jr. said after showing Obama around
      the plant. "To have this recognition, this exposure of electric
      transportation and what we have been able to accomplish is just a
      real thrill for the company."

      At the center, located in a gritty industrial neighborhood sandwiched
      between auto repair shops and rattled by passing freight trains, more
      than a dozen employees test, maintain and repair vehicles, including
      those in Edison's fleet. "We're not just driving 'em around the
      track," Craver said. "We've got our own meter readers using electric
      vehicles, have been for years. We've got utility vehicles, the bucket
      trucks and that type of thing."

      During his visit, Obama made the case for government investment of
      billions of dollars to develop fuel-efficient cars and provide an
      electric grid to support them. He called for putting 1 million
      plug-in hybrid vehicles on America's roads by 2015. "It's certainly
      doable," Craver said of that figure. "Whether you capture everybody's
      enthusiasm and get the adoption, of course, is part of what all of
      this is about," he said of Obama's visit. "To get people to
      understand what the benefits are and how it could really be good for
      the system and good for the individual."

      DOW JONES NEWSWIRES: Obama Presses Alternative-Energy Agenda, By
      Henry J. Pulizzi
      "Show us that your idea or your company is best-suited to meet
      America's challenges, and we will give you a chance to prove it,"
      Obama told workers Thursday at the Edison Electric Vehicle Technical
      Center in Pomona, Calif...."We have a choice to make," Obama said.
      "We can remain one of the world's leading importers of foreign oil,
      or we can make the investments that will allow us to become the
      world's leading exporter of renewable energy....These are challenging
      times, but we know we can do this," Obama said. "It won't come
      without cost, nor will it be easy. We've got 240 million cars already
      on the road. We've got to upgrade the world's largest energy grid
      while it's already in use. And other countries aren't standing around
      and waiting for us; they are forging ahead with their own bold energy plans."

      followed the statement we included at the start with "So we're going
      to be investing billions of dollars in research and development
      around these technologies." In fact, the government is investing not
      only in R&D but in deployment -- no one should imagine we need to
      wait for new "breakthroughs." And we were less happy that he followed
      up with a comment indicating that like many others, the President
      remains intrigued by the fuel cell smoke screen that touts an
      inefficient far-out solution many carmakers still promote along even
      as the immediately feasible plug-in solution gains momentum. And we
      also differ on the implications of the U.S. being behind on battery
      technology (or, for that matter, wind). This issue of international
      trade and competition is being used by some as a reason to slow down
      deployment in favor of R&D. Yet it ought to have NO IMPACT on
      necessary rapid transition to vehicle electrification and zero-carbon
      electrons -- regardless of who is ahead on any technology or who has
      the most manufacturing capacity.

      OBAMA: I know that you were mentioning you've got a hydrogen car --
      LENO: I've got the GM hydrogen car. That's a whole new -- OBAMA:
      That's a whole new level of technology. That's what's going to create
      the auto industry of the future. That's where we're going to win back
      manufacturing. But right now we're behind. These batteries are being
      made in Japan -- just like wind power is being made in Europe. We
      need to bring that here, and that's part of what my budget and part
      of what our Recovery Act is all about.

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