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Possible New Plug-In Manufacturing Credit and Other PHEV News

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  • Felix Kramer
    Below read about: The Cleantech Open Award has gone national and will announce its 2009 awards in San Francisco this Tuesday--attend at a discount. A new
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 12, 2009
      Below read about: The Cleantech Open Award has gone national and will
      announce its 2009 awards in San Francisco this Tuesday--attend at a
      discount. A new controversy grows about federal manufacturer credits
      for plug-ins. President Obama continues to highlight PHEVs role and
      has signed a somewhat improved Executive Order for fleets to purchase
      plug-ins. X Prize contestants are mostly electric. Boulder Colorado
      moves ahead on the smart grid; Inc magazine plays plug-ins big, and
      the Freakanomics authors get taken down in the New Yorker.

      (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.)

      spectacular Cleantech Open 2009 Awards Gala & Expo (since last year
      the former California Cleantech Open has added regional and national
      programs), see the next green companies and inventions, including
      multiple automotive solutions. Held at the Masonic Center, Expo
      starts in morning, pitches/demonstrations and Peoples' Choice voting
      in afternoon, Awards Gala & $250K Prize in late afternoon, reception
      in evening. Register now at
      http://www.cleantechopen.com/app.cgi/events/view/84 . Use the
      promotion code "CalCarsGala" for a 40% discount off the regular price of $129.

      US PROPOSES 2:1 CREDITS FOR PLUG-INS: The Obama Administration is
      sending out trial balloons about a plan to give automakers CAFE
      credits that would count plug-in cars in multiples when calculating
      requirements that carmakers meet the 35.5 MPG fleet average by
      2016. fleet fuel efficiencies. The Wall Street Journal explained it
      and see other comments at
      . The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, representing
      international and U.S. carmakers supports the idea. But with recent
      memories of the bogus credits given to "flex-fuel" vehicles for which
      there was no fuel, there's some hesitation among legislators and advocates.

      ceredits and sticker MPG ratings indicate how important plug-in cars
      are getting. We're no longer surprised when a story like this is
      subject of the weekly column of the Wall Street Journal Detroit
      Bureau Chief. We simply take note when a story in Business Week
      starts with a bang: "The electric car is likely to emerge as one of
      the most transformational products of the current era, as important,
      perhaps, as the personal computer and the Internet"
      . And we nod when Accenture's discussion of the disruptive
      technologies in transport fuel supply, demand and greenhouse gases
      for the net 10 years cites three of 12 as "game-changers:" PHEVs,
      controlled charging and vehicle-to-grid.

      OBAMA ON PHEVS; On Oct. 27, President Obama announced a $3.4B
      Recovery Act investment program for the Smart Grid at a solar energy
      center in Florida. He said, "together, we can begin to see what a
      clean energy future will look like. We can imagine the day when
      you'll be able to charge the battery on your plug-in hybrid car at
      night, because your smart meter reminded you that nighttime
      electricity is cheapest. In the daytime, when the sun is at its
      strongest, solar panels like these and electricity stored in car
      batteries will be able to power the grid with affordable,
      emission-free energy.
      Full text at
      . (These comments were quoted by NY Times columnist Bob Herbert, in
      "A Glimpse of the Future"
      http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/03/opinion/03herbert.html . Herbert
      joins Thomas Friedman and Nicholas Kristoff as another fan of PHEVs
      on the newspaper's Op-Ed page.)

      EXECUTIVE ORDER BOOSTS PLUG-INS: On Oct. 5, the President signed
      Executive Order 13514 on Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy,
      and Economic Performance to accelerate Federal agencies' efforts. For
      the government's 600,00 vehicle fleet, it requires a (relatively
      modest) 30% reduction in petroleum use by 2020, and for agencies with
      20 or more vehicles to reduce petroleum use by 2% annually through
      2020. The text at http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2009/pdf/E9-24518.pdf
      includes provisions for agencies to develop "Sustainability
      Performance Plans" taking into account environmental, economic and
      social benefits. Previous Executive Orders had focused on cost of
      lifecycle return on investment (difficult to calculate before PHEVs
      and EVs are on the market.) In coordination with the General Services
      Administration, the Energy Department will develop within six months
      guidance for fleet managers on alternative fuel vehicles and fuels.
      It's a step forward.

      ARPA-E ANNOUNCES FIRST GRANTS: The Advanced Research Projects
      Agency-Energy awarded its first $151 million in grants, with $33M for
      green vehicle projects. See comments by Dr. Andy Frank as well as
      CalCars' Ron Gremban and Felix Kramer at

      whittled-down list of 43 entrants from 10 countries that have made it
      past the second judging stage, at
      http://www.progressiveautoxprize.org/teams you'll see that well over
      half are PHEV or EV flavors. (The Automotive X Prize just got $5.5M
      in ARRA funds to support its evaluation and education activities.)

      BOULDER, COLORADO'S SMARTGRIDCITY: The SmartGridCity project now
      getting started is described as "the first fully functioning smart
      grid enabled city in the world." It's a joint effort of the a new
      joint venture between the U.S. Department of Energy's National
      Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the University of Colorado at
      Boulder's Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute (RASEI), with
      Xcel Energy and a 150-vehicle demonstration fleet, including 10 Prius
      PHEVs from Toyota arriving in March 2010.

      PREDICTIONS ABOUT FUTURE BATTERIES: CalCars has generally stayed away
      from tracking or bringing to readers' attention the latest laboratory
      breakthrough or promise about new battery technologies. We did find
      worth noting that Prabhakar Patill, CEO of Compact Power (LG Chem
      subsidiary supplying battery packs for the Volt), told the Reuters
      Auto Summit in Detroit that battery costs would decline to one half
      or one quarter of current levels within a decade.

      INC MAGAZINE'S COVER STORY ON PLUG-INS: This monthly magazine that
      focuses on practical business opportunities turns vehicle
      electrification has one of the longest cover stories yet on the
      plug-in industry in its November issue. Its message is restated three
      times. Cover: "The Innovation Machine: The electric car is coming.
      And it's one big gold mine for savvy entrepreneurs." Table of
      Contents: The Connected Car: Entrepreneurs, start your
      (noncombustion) engines. The electric car is coming soon, creating a
      new auto industry that will produce thousands of new companies."
      First of the story's 10 pages: "Want to get into the car business?
      The imminent introduction of electric vehicles will make possible --
      in fact, will require -- the creation of a vast ecosystem of
      entrepreneurial businesses." The cover photo is of three CEOs: Ann
      Marie Sastry of battery maker Sakti3 (this dynamo also runs the
      University of Michigan Advanced Materials Systems Lab), Peter Corsell
      of GridPoint and Richard Lowenthal of Coulomb Technologies. The
      article includes long sections and photos about the Chevy Volt and
      interviews with key team members. It's not online but
      it's summarized at
      /the magazine presents at
      http://www.inc.com/ss/6-areas-electric-car-ecosystem Inc
      illustrations from the story: six "areas of opportunity" for the
      Electric Car Ecosystem, showing the supply chain of products and
      services involved: parts and suppliers, battery makers and
      integrators, battery farmers, auto-telecom companies, builders of the
      smart grid, and connectors.

      D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, authors of the popular bestseller,
      "SuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why
      Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance" have been getting waves of
      criticism for their casual approach to climate change and
      geoengineering. See a thought-provokingm biting and humorous
      critique by Elizabeth Kolbert in the New Yorker at

      SIDE NOTE: We had to cancel our trip to India; we still have hopes to
      connect with both Indian and Chinese automakers about promoting
      acceleration of vehicle electrification in general as well as the
      opportunities for converting millions of gas-guzzlers to plug in.

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