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Get "Butts in Seats" Part 2: Plug In America's Charged Up! Guide

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  • Felix Kramer
    Plug In America has just released Charged Up!: The Definitive Guide to Plug-In Electric Vehicles, 2013. This fourth edition s 68 pages showcases 17 production
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 20, 2013
      Plug In America has just released "Charged Up!: The Definitive Guide
      to Plug-In Electric Vehicles, 2013. This fourth edition's 68 pages
      showcases 17 production vehicles. Thanks to the talented and tireless
      team that assembled the great stories and superb photos -- and ads
      from many in the industry. We encourage all plug-in drivers to keep
      some copies in your car, and give them to people you know who are
      thinking about buying a PEV. We reprint below -- after the table of
      contents for the issue and information on our how to get it -- "A
      Plugged In Life," our article telling the story of how we spent a
      decade going from CalCars.org to DrivingElectric.org. (This is our
      second message today; the first was about the Electric Auto
      Association, the other national plug-in organization.)

      (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.)

      Electronic PDF version of Charged Up! is FREE to Plug In America
      members (join for as little as $25) or get print copies@$5 (less for
      bulk orders) from:

      Partial Table of Contents

      5 Welcome by Chad Schwitters

      6 The Story of the Chevy Volt by Bob Lutz: Former GM chairman and
      "Father of the Volt" recounts the development of the PHEV and the
      technology that will take us into the future.

      8 Achieving Efficiency by Greg "Gadget" Abbott: The easiest way to
      find more energy is to waste less. Gadget tells us how.

      10 A Plugged-In Life by Felix Kramer: EV driver and advocate Felix
      Kramer works to get "butts in seats."

      13 National Plug In Day by Zan Dubin Scott: The second annual event
      was a big success nationwide.

      15 The Former Secretary and His LEAF by Marc Geller: Former
      Secretary of State George P. Shultz is a Nissan LEAF driver. We sat
      down with him to talk about his love for his car and the environment.

      16 The 2013 Car Showcase: From the LEAF to the Spark to the car of
      the year. There is a car for everyone

      34-53 Testimonials

      56 Incentives
      59 Glossary
      60 Resources
      63 Plug In @ Work

      A plugged-in life
      We plug in our gadgets -- why not our cars?
      By Felix Kramer

      My experiences with driving electric go back to my childhood. I
      remember bumper cars at amusement parks, and electric toys that ate
      up so many throwaway batteries we bought them in bulk. Now advanced
      rechargeable batteries power our phones, cameras, tablets, and
      computers. It feels natural to plug in every thing in every day.

      Is it a big leap to add cars to the list? How do we think about
      plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs)? For a long time, PEVs seemed
      marooned in pigeonholes like lame (underpowered, strange-looking,
      less reliable) or exotic (costly, made by small companies, for niche
      markets). But now they've really arrived. Buyers can shop for a
      growing range of models.

      Now PEVS are starting to prove they can actually be better choices
      than gas-guzzlers! Journalists are handing out Car of the Year awards
      to many all-electrics and plug-in hybrids. In their reviews and
      comparisons, PEVs are often tops in customer satisfaction,
      acceleration, driver amenities, and total lifetime cost of ownership.
      Industry analysts predict broad adoption can follow, as high initial
      costs come down.

      Buying a PEV is no longer a leap of faith or a noble sacrifice. We
      can sync our driving needs with performance levels. They can be every
      family's second car. And the only car for millions of urban and
      suburban households -- with a rental, carshare, or friendly swap for
      special purpose trips. But what will it take for most drivers to
      understand that?

      The "aha" moment for people who read about these awards and see ads,
      and are curious to learn more about PEVs, comes when they try out the
      cars at showrooms and events, or when a driver offers them a chance
      get in and take a spin.My own PEV story follows the mantra: it takes
      getting "butts in seats" to make all the difference. In 1999 I
      happened upon a few dozen GM EV1s at a hotel. I stopped to look, but
      didn't try one -- and I missed their significance. In 2002, I first
      drove a hybrid. It didn't plug in, but I was impressed that when its
      engine turned off at stoplights, it started again quietly with
      electricity. The following year, I drove in a Chevy Suburban that
      Prof. Andy Frank at UC-Davis had retrofit into a plug-in hybrid.
      Then, plug-in advocate Paul Scott gave me the full electric
      experience in his Toyota RAV4 EV. Test drives won me over, motivating
      me to do all I could so anyone could try out a plug-in.

      That led me to a thrilling five-year stretch when CalCars.org and
      partner startups converted hybrids. We put hundreds of plug-ins on
      the road and gave thousands of neighbors, auto industry insiders,
      engineers, environmentalists, business executives, elected officials,
      journalists, and other thought-leaders the opportunity to say, "Wow!"
      -- and then ask, "If garage engineers and small companies can improve
      hybrids, why won't automakers produce cars with plugs?"

      We took cars with giant "100+MPG" signs to conferences and car shows,
      brown-bag lunches at Silicon Valley companies, even to Washington,
      DC. We brought along a great prop -- a yellow "dongle" that plugged
      in to a standard 120-volt outlet. Taken up and used as a symbol at
      legislative hearings and many events, the dongle became more powerful
      than we'd expected, proving we already had infrastructure everywhere.
      At the same time, advocates organized Don't Crush and then Plug In
      America, moving automakers to build EVs. And we saw a direct
      connection between our Johnny Appleseed efforts and carmakers'
      decisions to build the Chevy Volt, the Prius Plug-in, the Ford C-Max
      Energi and other plug-in hybrids.

      The moment of understanding

      Once you've driven a plug-in, you get what's called the "EV grin." In
      my family, we feel punished when we can't drive our Volt and Leaf --
      we can't wait to get out of gas-jail.Of course, we also have other
      big reasons to fuel our cars with cheaper, cleaner, domestic
      electricity. I sometimes wear a T-shirt I call my "Petrocide"
      T-shirt. A stick figure beside a fuel pump is blowing out his brains
      with a gasoline nozzle. Shocked people used to caution me about
      delivering such a provocative message. But I haven't heard that since
      the BP Gulf blowout and Hurricane Sandy. PEV drivers want to get cars
      off oil to improve energy security.

      Many go further, recognizing that unless we go beyond fossil fuels
      ASAP, coal, oil, and gas will destroy our world. Plug-in cars plus
      "negamiles" (reducing vehicle miles through mass transit and driving
      less) and a zero-carbon power grid, can start us down that road.

      Drivers' unique contributions

      PEV drivers welcome every chance to talk about their cars, which is
      fortunate, because buying or leasing a PEV is just the start of our
      public engagement. Why the urgent push to spread the word and share
      the driving experience? Because the success of plug-in cars is not
      guaranteed. For instance, if the $2,500/$7,500 federal tax credit is
      defunded, it will significantly affect sales. Building a pipeline of
      demand will shore up support for the tax credit while strengthening
      the resolve of carmakers to produce more PEVs.

      Carmakers have built really wonderful PEVs, but have often fallen
      short in promoting them. We realized something was very wrong when it
      took more than a year after the first big-company PEVs hit the market
      in late 2010 for their ads to show regular people loading, driving,
      talking about them. (Could it be because some in the industry or
      their marketing firms haven't had their own EV grin moments?) A funny
      thing has happened to many PEV drivers. We've discovered we're
      selling cars! People tell us, "Because of you, I went out and bought
      one!" And we've realized we could help dealers too -- easing their
      load and often, because we know our cars' ins-and-outs, are better
      able to answer questions than salespeople.

      Carmakers have noticed and graciously acknowledged drivers'
      importance to sales. When Brendan Jones, director of Nissan LEAF
      marketing & sales strategy, spoke at the 2012 National Plug In Day in
      San Francisco, he turned heads talking about the driver community.
      (The seven-minute video at http://youtu.be/Hkey12m0xhg is worth watching.)

      He said:

      "I will tell you after 25 years of experience in the business, I've
      never found this much energy, enthusiasm, entrepreneurial spirit and
      emotion surrounding one vehicle as I have with the Nissan Leaf and
      all electric vehicles in general. There's [no] more excitement and
      passion about changing the way we move, about doing something for the
      environment, about getting the country off foreign oil, etc., than
      there is around the EV movement. It's something different. And it's
      the first time people can own a car and actually feel good about what
      they're doing with it, and that's outstanding."

      "And when you hear that enthusiasm coming from the public, it can't
      help but rub off. And what I mean by that is more of our sales come
      from you guys than come from our sales and marketing efforts. And for
      that again I have to thank you, because when you go into a parking
      lot, or you drive through your neighborhood, and you talk about the
      vehicle with so much enthusiasm and passion, that just helps to sell
      cars. It makes my job very, very easy."

      New ways to connect drivers and EV-curious people have come up; many
      drivers enthusiastically and unselfishly have fun showing their cars!
      What do you get when you mash up local PEV driver groups, the
      Electric Auto Association, Plug in America, and CalCars with
      Meetup.com and Match.com? DrivingElectric.org!

      It's connecting everybody. It's a website where drivers can create
      profiles, upload pictures, and share stories. People hear about it
      from drivers or flyers on PEV windows. Via an online map, they
      connect with a PEV driver who lives or works near them. That way they
      get answers to questions, test rides and drives, and even do short car swaps.

      With DrivingElectric as a "utility" for companies and non-profits in
      the plug-in vehicle community, along with a range of other efforts by
      advocates and drivers, we could double the demand for PEVs in 2013.
      What a triumph that would be for drivers and for us all!

      Felix Kramer, a San Francisco Bay Area cleantech entrepreneur and
      advocate, founded CarlCars.org in 2002 and DrivingElectric.org in 2012.

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      Felix Kramer , Founder
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