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Plug-In Partners post-launch press release

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  • Felix Kramer
    http://home.businesswire.com/portal/site/google/index.jsp?ndmViewId=news_view&newsId=20060124005287&newsLang=en January 24, 2006 National Coalition Launches
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      http://home.businesswire.com/portal/site/google/index.jsp?ndmViewId=news_view&newsId=20060124005287&newsLang=en

      January 24, 2006

      National Coalition Launches Campaign to Urge Automakers to Produce
      Plug-In Hybrid Vehicles

      WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 24, 2006--Declaring the country's
      economy, environmental health and national security at risk, a
      grassroots coalition of cities including Austin, Baltimore, Denver,
      Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle as well as electric utilities
      and national policy organizations today kicked off a nationwide
      campaign to urge automakers to accelerate development of plug-in
      hybrid vehicles.

      Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) would combine today's new
      gas-electric hybrid technology with larger batteries that could
      provide an all-electric operating range of 25 to 35 miles or more.
      The result is an 80+ mile-per-gallon vehicle -- with even greater
      fuel economy possible utilizing bio-fuels.

      Plug-ins could be recharged by plugging into a standard wall socket,
      delivering "electric" gallons of gas for about 75 cents a gallon at
      prevailing electric rates. Such a vehicle could reduce gasoline
      consumption for the average American by 50 percent to 70 percent and
      reduce automobile emissions well in excess of emissions that might
      result from the additional use of power plants.

      "Plug-in hybrids represent a real near-term solution to America's
      over-reliance on foreign oil imports and energy prices that escalate
      the cost of everything and threaten the very economic life of our
      nation," says Austin Mayor Will Wynn, who pledged $1 million in city
      rebates to help citizens and businesses purchase the first wave of
      plug-ins to roll off assembly lines. "The technology exists today,"
      Wynn says. "This campaign will demonstrate to automakers that the
      market is also there."

      Already almost a dozen cities, over 100 public power utilities,
      businesses and a host of national policy groups have signed on to the
      "Plug-In Partners" campaign. Austin's template calls for cities to
      initiate citizen petition drives and to encourage government and
      businesses to issue "soft" orders or expressions of interest in
      purchasing plug-ins. In Austin, 11,000 citizens have signed petitions
      calling on automakers to produce plug-ins, and soft orders for 600
      plug-in vehicles have been received from government and businesses.
      For example, an area pest control company has pledged to buy up to
      150 light weight plug-in trucks, once they are produced.

      "Nothing has to be invented to produce a plug-in hybrid vehicle,"
      says Dr. Andrew Frank, a mechanical engineering professor at the
      University of California at Davis and Director of the UCD Hybrid
      Electric Research Center. "Everything needed is available: the power
      trains, the gasoline engines, the computer systems, electric motors
      and batteries. All we need is for one of the large auto manufacturers
      to step up to the plate."

      An additional component of the nationwide Plug-In Partners campaign
      is for electric utilities to help build a pool of funding in their
      respective communities to provide rebates to citizens and businesses
      buying the first round of plug-ins. Experts estimate there is
      sufficient generation in place and available at night to charge up to
      one-third of all vehicles in America, if they were plug-ins. They
      point to plug-ins as a critical part of the answer to a looming crisis.

      "Oil imports and the dark cloud they cast over this country requires
      dramatic and immediate attention," says Frank Gaffney, President,
      Center for National Security Policy. "When that prolonged oil crisis
      occurs, Americans will pay anything because they will have no choice.
      Why wait until a catastrophe strikes to get truly serious about
      addressing the problem?"

      Last year, U.S. consumers purchased more than 200,000 hybrid
      vehicles, which have grown from two models in 2000 to 11 models
      today. Hybrid sales are projected to triple over the next six years,
      as more Americans demonstrate their desire for better fuel economy
      and lower emissions. According to the Electric Power Research
      Institute (EPRI), half the cars in the U.S. are driven just 25 miles
      a day or less. "A plug-in vehicle with even a 20-mile range could
      reduce petroleum fuel consumption by about 60 percent," says Bob
      Graham, Manager of EPRI's Electric Transmission program.

      EPRI has teamed with DaimlerChrysler AG of Stuttgart, Germany, to
      design and build a plug-in prototype van that will be tested in a
      small number of American cities over the next year. The vans, which
      have a 20-mile all-electric range, will be outfitted with either
      nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) batteries or lithium ion (Li-Ion) batteries.

      The cost, reliability and weight of batteries are often cited by
      automotive industry experts as one of the stumbling blocks to the
      mass production of plug-ins.

      "We have driven our fleet of over 200 electric vehicles almost 12
      million miles and have had no major problems with the batteries,"
      notes Edward Kjaer, Manager of Southern California Edison's Electric
      Transportation Department. "The new generation of lithium-ion
      batteries is more powerful and lighter-weight and with reasonable
      volumes, should provide a price that would allow plug-in hybrid
      electric vehicles to be competitive."

      A number of leading energy efficiency and environmental organizations
      also support plug-in vehicles as important to the reduction of
      greenhouse gas emissions that lead to global warming. Plug-In Partner
      Coalition members include: Alliance to Save Energy, Environmental and
      Energy Study Institute, Clean Air Coalition, California Cars
      Initiative, and The Institute for Environmental Research and Education.

      "Even drawing from our existing power plants, plug-in vehicles have
      the potential to cut a vehicle's petroleum consumption by
      three-fourths or more, can operate at as little as one-fourth the
      fuel cost, and reduce greenhouse gases by two-thirds," said Kateri
      Callahan, President of the Alliance to Save Energy. "As we
      increasingly turn to alternative technologies to improve the fuel
      economy of our vehicles, we will see increasing benefits to our
      economy, our environment, and our national security."

      News and information regarding the nationwide Plug-In Partners
      campaign will be chronicled at www.pluginpartners.org which will
      include summary reports on the results of petition drives, "soft
      orders" and development of community incentives programs. The
      coalition also will issue quarterly campaign reports over the coming
      year to the media, elected officials and auto manufacturers.

      For more information regarding the Washington press event contact:
      Frank Walter, 202-299-0300, M 202-271-7727, fwalter@...

      Editor's Notes: A media briefing is scheduled for Tuesday, January 24
      at 9:30 a.m. at the National Press Club in Washington. Participants
      include: U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT); Austin Mayor Will Wynn;
      Charles Fox, Deputy Secretary for NY Governor George Pataki for
      Energy and Environment; James Woolsey, Set America Free; Frank
      Gaffney, Center for National Security Policy; Kateri Callahan,
      Alliance to Save Energy; Alan Richardson, American Public Power
      Association, Dr. Joseph Romm, Center for Energy and Climate
      Solutions; Dr. Andy Frank, University of California-Davis and expert
      on Plug-in Hybrids. The media briefing will be webcast live at
      www.pluginpartners.org at 9:30 a.m. EST and available on demand after
      1:30 p.m. EST.

      Contacts
      Plug-In Partners Coalition
      Roger Duncan, 512-322-6157
      roger.duncan@...
      or
      Daryl Slusher, 512-322-6210
      daryl.slusher@...
      or
      Lisa Braithwaite, 512-322-6511
      lisa.braithwaite@...
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