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Our New Guzzler Video; Other Media; Apply for US Billions; GM Book; Correction

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  • Felix Kramer
    Here s information on how to get the federal application for plug-in car program awards; a 2-minute video to watch and vote on BEFORE SUNDAY NIGHT, links to a
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 27, 2009
      Here's information on how to get the federal application for plug-in
      car program awards; a 2-minute video to watch and vote on BEFORE
      SUNDAY NIGHT, links to a recent important conference and other media,
      and a correction of a key URL in yesterday's posting and an apology
      and further discussion about one of the items in that posting.

      (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.)

      DOE SHOWS US THE MONEY! When we said last week that the $2.4 billion
      President Obama announced at Southern California was not new funds,
      we neglected to note that what was new was that the DOE has released
      solicitation documents for these funds -- with applications due May
      13. So get ready: it's not just the large companies that should be
      applying, and there are funds for a broad range of projects and
      activities. If you're a small company or organization, partner with
      an institution with experience with the complex federal applications
      process, or hire a consultant. Find out more at "DOE to Award Up to
      $2.4B for Advanced Batteries, Electric Drive Components, and Electric
      Drive Vehicle Demonstration/Deployment Projects"
      http://www.greencarcongress.com/2009/03/doe-to-award-up-to-24b-for-advanced-batteries-electric-drive-components-and-electric-drive-vehicle-d.html
      . Finding the actual documents isn't always easy; one of the
      following will work: use the links from that report or at
      http://www07.grants.gov/search/search.do?&mode=VIEW&flag2006=false&oppId=46161
      click on "Application" or go directly to
      http://apply07.grants.gov/apply/UpdateOffer?id=11180 ,.


      CALCARS VIDEO ON CONVERTING GAS GUZZLERS: With the help of Chris
      Baldwin and Sustainability Media http://www.sustainabilitymedia.com
      (our video partner for many projects, most recently the documentation
      of the new San Francisco Charging Stations), we've produced a 1
      minute and 45 second video explaining the reason we're working to
      launch a major effort to build awareness for the opportunity to
      convert large internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles -- what
      former Intel CEO Andy Grove calls "PSVs" (Pickups, SUVs and Vans) to
      run partially on electricity. We have big ambitions in this area to
      find ways to create an entire new industry that will bring green jobs
      to installers in every town and city in the country, as well as
      internationally. Watch the video at
      <http://www.planetforward.org/videos/convert-millions-of-gas-guzzlers-already-on-the-road-to-plug-in>http://www.planetforward.org/videos/convert-millions-of-gas-guzzlers-already-on-the-road-to-plug-in
      -- At that page, we say "The short video explains a strategy for how
      to have a rapid impact on two great challenges that result from our
      dependence on fossil fuels: reducing greenhouse gases and increasing
      energy security. It's produced by CalCars.org, the non-profit that
      helped spark the interest in plug-in hybrids. It explains how we
      can't simply wait for new plug-in cars from automakers -- they won't
      and can't deliver quickly enough. The answer, surprisingly, is found
      in the hundreds of millions of vehicles already on the road. CalCars
      explains how to do something few yet think is possible or
      achievable." The video is at the PlanetForward, a website for a new
      public broadcasting show that will be highlighting innovative energy
      solutions in its April 15 national broadcast. Before then it's
      soliciting video, audio and written submissions and inviting visitors
      to the website to rate and comment on submissions -- which they
      presumably will take into account in deciding what appears on the
      show. We hope you'll register there and vote for ours BEFORE 6PM EST
      MARCH 29. You'll also find videos on which can cast your ballot from
      Plug In America's Sherry Boschert, Tony Markel from the National
      Renewable Energy Lab, and blogger Michael Hoexter. You can see a
      higher-quality version of our video at
      http://www.sustainabilitymedia.com/blog/02009/mar/12/calcars-part-pbs-special-energy/


      CALCARS MEDIA: Here are a few recent items:
      * Read an interview by James Motavalli with Felix "Plug-In Hybrids:
      Will They be Affordable?" http://industry.bnet.com/auto/1000970/bat
      the BNET Business Network, the new CBS-owned business website.
      * Felix Kramer chaired a panel on "The New Networked Car" at GigaOM
      Green:Net http://events.earth2tech.com/greennet/09/schedule/. As far
      as we know, this is the first large conference introducing
      Information Technology professionals to Cleantech, with the theme,
      "how the tools created in the Internet, computing and IT revolutions
      will be crucial for fighting climate change." Over 350 people
      attended. You can see our 38-minute session at
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z3flMefXoZ0& -- it starts with my
      5-minute overview of what's been happening with plug-ins for people
      who haven't been following "this space" (as they say in Silicon
      Valley). Panelists were John Clark/GridPoint (previously V2Green),
      Richard Lowenthal/Coulomb Technologies, Rolf Schreiber/Google.org,
      Sven Thesen/Better Place. Find links to videos of all sessions at
      http://events.earth2tech.com/greennet/09/videos/ . We especially
      recommend the always-amazing Saul Griffith's illuminating take on
      climate change's challenges, and Lawrence Berkeley Lab's Jonathan
      Koomey, who echoed our "it's easier to transport and store electrons
      (electricity) than molecules (liquid fuel) with an imaginative
      calculation that it takes 300,000 times more energy to move a 5-gram
      piece of paper across the country than to send a 1MB PDF. (After
      viewing the sessions, you can see high-quality versions of the
      powerpoints in keynotes -- ours had none -- at
      http://events.earth2tech.com/greennet/09/presentations/.) Read about
      the session at
      http://www.goodcleantech.com/2009/03/the_abcs_of_the_new_networked.php
      and about the conference at http://www.worldchanging.com/archives/009657.html
      * Listen to or download a 64-minute "EVCast" on the general state of
      the plug-in world with Felix, Marc Geller of Plug In America and John
      Briggs from Boston University's Frauenhaufer Center for Innovation at
      http://www.evcast.com/members/evcast/blog/VIEW/00000001/00000212/EVcast-193-Panel-Discussion-with-Felix-Kramer-Marc-Geller-and-John-Briggs.html
      .
      * Hear a quick ten-minute exchange between Felix and Josh Tickell,
      director of the new film, Fuel (now premiering in Southern
      California), at green broadcaster Betsy Rosenberg's "On the Green"
      show, http://www.modavox.com/voiceamerica/vepisode.aspx?aid=37334 .


      TWENTY-SECOND ENTRY ON OUR LIST OF BOOKS ABOUT PHEVS: At
      http://www.calcars.org/books.html#wgm you can get "Why GM Matters:
      Inside the Race to Transform an American Icon, by William Holstein.
      This is a very-up-to-date book (it covers events in Detroit and
      Washington, DC through early 2009), by a veteran business writer. An
      entertaining 24-page chapter on the Chevy Volt profiles Volt team
      leaders Tony Posawatz, Frank Weber, Denise Gray, Jelani Aliyu,
      explaining how important the new car is to the company -- and why its
      photo is on the book's cover.


      CORRECTIONS: Our new President has shown the way in stepping forward
      to take responsibility for errors -- and in reinstating science as
      the starting point for our understanding of the world and our actions
      to solve our problems. The last posting contained an error and a
      mis-statement. First we had the wrong URL for the IEEE Spectrum
      interview with EPRI's Mark Duvall. The correct location is
      http://www.spectrum.ieee.org/mar09/8409 . We've fixed the link at our
      archive. Thanks to many who wrote in -- at least we know that people
      are following our links!

      More importantly we mischaracterized a serious academic work in a
      somewhat offhand comment. We were wrong to conflate two categories:
      misinformation and questionable. We're trying to counter many
      misdirected ideas floating around and gaining currency these days,
      including the value of paying thousands of dollars to scrap cars that
      could be converted, the danger of our being dependent on imported
      batteries, and incidents where PHEV conversions don't get high MPG).
      Our disagreements in this case are qualitatively different, and we
      wronglly characterized a serious peer-reviewed effort by an eminent
      academic group that has made important contributions to analyzing the
      impact and benefits of plug-in cars.

      We heard from Constantine Samaras, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow,
      Climate Decision Making Center, Department of Engineering and Public
      Policy, Carnegie Mellon University. With his permission we're
      reproducing his email below, followed by a few additional comments from us.

      SAMARAS EMAIL: We met at the 2008 Brookings-Google conference for
      plug-ins in Washington. When we spoke, I stated that I was sincerely
      grateful for all of the good work you and Calcars have accomplished
      and that I and other researchers have come to depend on the Calcars
      updates for cutting edge information and in-depth analysis regarding
      plug-ins. I feel the same way today, and am still grateful.

      However, a comment in your latest calcars news update deserves a
      response. In the update, you mention Dr. Mark Duvall's interview with
      IEEE Spectrum, and you say "[Duvall] responds to the latest
      misinformation and questionable analyses, including a Carnegie Mellon
      study that questions whether large battery PHEVs will be viable".

      While there is plenty of misinformation and questionable analyses out
      there regarding plug-ins, it is unfortunate that you would
      characterize our work as such. It was definitely not intended to be
      misinformation, I don't think it would qualify as questionable, and I
      urge you to read the article (I will send you a final copy when it is
      published in the journal). We set out to answer a question that
      remained unanswered in the literature, namely how does battery weight
      and distance between charging affect the fuel use, cost, and GHGs
      from plug-ins. Our assumptions were clearly stated, and we looked at
      different cases and assumptions to see how the answer changes. What
      we found was that weight and distance between charging does affect
      the things we were analyzing. We would be happy at any time to talk
      with you about our work and how it can be improved. We share the
      belief that we need to get well-engineered plug-ins on the road as
      soon as possible, and analyses like ours can add to the discussion
      and assist automakers and policymakers.

      As researchers, our goal is to pose interesting questions, collect
      and analyze data, state assumptions and methods, and report results
      and implications. We then subject our work to blind peer-reviews and
      revisions, in order to be published in reputable peer-reviewed
      academic journals. Of the perhaps dozen or so peer-reviewed studies
      of plug-in hybrids that exist, three have come from our Carnegie
      Mellon group, and we have published several other proceedings and
      conference papers on this subject. Indeed, my 2008 Ph.D. dissertation
      is titled: "A life-cycle approach to technology, infrastructure and
      climate policy decision making: Transitioning to plug-in hybrid
      electric vehicles and low-carbon electricity". Our latest climate
      policy brief, "Cap and Trade is Not Enough: Improving U.S. Climate
      Policy" encourages bold action in addition to cap and trade
      legislation, including a doubling of CAFE standards with automakers
      earning credits with PHEVs
      http://www.epp.cmu.edu/httpdocs/Publications/ClimatePolicy2009.html .

      Again, I thank you for all of your hard work and successes with
      CalCars. It is very important that your readers understand the
      difference between misinformation, and a scientific study that
      reports results that may be different than they expected. Together,
      as a community, we can advance the state of knowledge regarding
      plug-in hybrids and electrified transportation so that we all can
      live in a world with sustainable, low-carbon mobility.

      CALCARS FINAL COMMENTS: I think CMU's reported perspective has been
      overly narrow. In looking at the interview with Jeremy MIchalek, I
      would like to see room in your approach for an acknowledgment that
      car owners have complex motivations that go beyond cost-benefits -- a
      point most journalists and auto analysts usually overlook. Tom
      Turrentine and others at UC Davis have done great academic work in
      this area. It's important to take into account the symbolic and
      emotional value motivations to their consumer activities -- and for
      many people, a car with a larger battery that enables them to "drive
      green" more is worth much more than the cost-benefit they don't
      bother to compute. That colors the discussion of what's the best way
      to achieve broad social objectives.

      In addition, we hope to see a continued dialogue about the
      conclusions presented by Mark Duvall at
      http://www.spectrum.ieee.org/mar09/8409 which do in fact make the
      case that CMU's quoted comments about the impact of weight, for
      instance, may be overstated. We know it was not the intention of the
      study's authors, but this report has been taken in the media as a
      criticism of the Chevy Volt. While we've often said the 40-mile range
      of the Volt could have been 20-25 miles rather than 40, that's still
      much more than 10, and GM has made a strong case for its approach.
      CalCars-News readers will benefit greatly by reading VP Jon
      Lauckner's extraordinary response on range, battery pack cost
      trends, the impact of incentives, and a corporate mea culpa about
      GM's past short-sightedness in how it measured "cost-effectiveness,"
      at the Fast Lane Blog
      http://fastlane.gmblogs.com/archives/2009/03/our_real-world_learnings_differ_from_cmu_study.html#more-850
      , Meanwhile, we thank the CMU team for its continued dedication and
      scientific approach -- and its tolerance of our mistake.

      -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
      Felix Kramer fkramer@...
      Founder California Cars Initiative
      http://www.calcars.org
      http://www.calcars.org/news-archive.html
      -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
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