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Plug-In Partners Launch: Transcript (long)

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  • Felix Kramer
    This is PART of the California Cars Initiative s UNOFFICIAL transcript of the Plug-In Partners Press Conference held in Washington DC on January 24, 2006.
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 26, 2006
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      This is PART of the California Cars
      Initiative's UNOFFICIAL transcript of the
      Plug-In Partners Press Conference held in
      Washington DC on January 24, 2006. CalCars' goal
      in producing this is to promulgate as broadly as
      possible what was said at this historic event. We
      haven't seen as good and current a presentation
      of the benefits of PHEVs and of the scope of the campaign anywhere else.

      Because this has been prepared as rapidly as
      possible, by volunteers, before you quote from it
      we urge you to check the authoritative source:
      the streaming video webcast of the 82-minute long
      event, found at <http://www.pluginpartners.org>
      or
      <http://www.connectlive.com/events/austinenergy>,
      which will be available until January 2007. For
      your convenience in doing so, the text includes
      time-stamps that are keyed to that webcast. Audio
      versions of the event are also available via EV
      World at <http://www.evworld.com/view.cfm?section=article&storyid=961>

      To keep the email within Yahoo Groups limits (it
      may get truncated), included below are the
      statements ONLY -- not the transcript of the
      video that was shown or the Q&A, For the full
      transcript, go to
      <http://www.calcars.org/partners-launch.html>. We
      encourage you to link to that page.


      [Roger Duncan, Deputy General Manager, Austin Energy]
      I want to thank everyone for coming this morning,
      and welcome you to the kick-off event for the
      Plug-In Partners campaign. I want to also welcome
      those of you who are watching by the webcast this
      morning. We are going to move through the agenda
      rather quickly this morning, but before I start,
      I would like to make a couple of introductions.
      The Plug-In Partners campaign is an initiative of
      the city of Austin, Texas, and I would like to
      start by introducing some of our officials here from the city of Austin.

      I'd like to start with City Council Member
      Jennifer Kim: Ms. Kim, thank you for being here.
      [applause] And we also have with us this morning
      Austin City Manager Toby Futrell. [applause] And
      the General Manager of Austin Energy, Juan Garza. [applause]

      You have before you the agenda for this press
      conference. We will open with the Mayor of Austin
      in just a moment. As we move through the agenda,
      I also wanted to let you know ahead of time that
      we're hopeful that Senator Hatch will be here at
      about 10:15 or so. At that time, he will speak
      and answer questions to the media, immediately
      after his talk, and then we will finish with the
      press event. At the end of the speakers I will
      moderate questions and answers, and at that time
      we'll also have microphones for the reporters to ask their questions.

      So I would like to go ahead and start the event.
      As I said, the Plug-In Partners Campaign is an
      initiative of the City of Austin, and to start it
      off, I'd like to introduce The Honorable Will Wynn, Mayor, City of Austin.

      [Will Wynn] [2:00]
      Thanks, Roger, and good morning -- thank you all
      very much for being here. Today marks the
      beginning of an unprecedented national grassroots
      campaign. It's a movement that says, "We have a
      problem -- a serious problem." And it's a serious
      problem that's not being addressed. Actually, three problems:

      Number one -- an over-dependence on foreign oil.
      It's a serious threat to the well-being of our
      country right now, and it's an even greater
      threat to our future. Two -- automobile
      emissions, that are fueling smog in our cities
      and that are a large source of greenhouse gasses
      that are warming our planet. And three -- fuel
      costs, that are ratcheting up and resettling at
      levels higher and higher, hurting everyone, right
      now, every day. When it takes thirty, forty, even
      fifty dollars to fill up your tank, and really
      only good for just a few days of commuting. Right
      now, escalating fuel costs are driving up the
      price of everything -- goods and services --
      things that we buy and use and that our economy depends on.

      So we're here today to kick off a nationwide
      grassroots campaign called "Plug-In Partners,"
      bringing together local governments, businesses,
      cities, organizations, and community groups from
      across the entire country, to say to the
      automakers, "Americans understand the problem,
      and Americans will deal with the problem. If you
      will build plug-in hybrid electric vehicles,
      Americans will buy them." And we will demonstrate
      that that market exists through this year-long campaign.

      The Plug-In Partners Campaign consists of four
      key components. Number one, a pledge of support,
      through a letter or resolution, from a
      participating entity, like the City of Austin
      (and we'll list several others later). [Two] A
      citizens petition drive -- signatures -- again,
      demonstrating that demand. [Three] Soft fleet
      orders, or expressions of interest, from
      businesses, governments, organizations, to in
      fact purchase these plug-in vehicles when they
      become available. And number four, incentives, at
      the community level, to help citizens and
      businesses purchase these plug-in hybrids as they
      first roll off the assembly lines. In Austin,
      Texas alone, we now have already collected eleven
      thousand signatures. We have compiled soft fleet
      orders for nearly 600 vehicles -- many of those
      from our private sector. And we have set aside
      $1,000,000 for rebates and incentives. And our
      goal now is to replicate this effort in cities
      and local areas all across this country.

      The campaign actually only starts today, but it's
      already been joined by major cities, such as San
      Francisco, Denver, Los Angeles, Seattle, and
      Baltimore. Congratulations and my thanks for the
      leadership of Mayors Newsom, Hickenlooper,
      Nickels, Villaraigosa, and O'Malley. And there
      are many, many more on the way. You're probably
      aware that tomorrow we kick off our annual U.S.
      Conference of Mayors meeting here in D.C. --
      there's probably 300 of 1,000 member Mayors in
      attendance. I chair the Energy Committee, and we
      will be presenting this campaign, as well as
      others, as best practices for many, many more
      local jurisdictions to become aware of.

      We've already been joined by over 100 local power
      utilities -- the City of Austin happens to own
      our municipally-owned utility, Austin Energy.
      We're a proud member of the American Public Power
      Association, and now 100 of those utilities have
      joined in the program. And it's also been joined
      by major environmental and National Security
      interest groups across the country.

      So today marks our invitation to the entire
      country: let's join together, and let's get
      something done. Something that will benefit each
      and every one of us, but more importantly, will
      benefit America. Let's demonstrate that a market
      for these flexible-fuel plug-in hybrids exists.
      Again, let's get something done -- thank you all
      for being here this morning, and I think we're going to roll a video.

      [video]

      [Roger Duncan] [16:21] As Mayor Wynn has
      indicated, there are many partners that have
      joined us in this campaign. We'd like to start
      this morning with our first partner, Charles Fox,
      Deputy Secretary to Governor George Pataki of New
      York, for Energy and the Environment. Charles...

      [Charles Fox]
      Good morning everyone. I just want to than the
      Press Club and Plug-In Partners Campaign for
      having me down here to talk about some of the
      things that Governor Pataki is trying to do to
      reduce New York's dependence on petroleum, and
      imported petroleum in particular.

      New York has the most efficient transportation
      system in the country. On a per capita basis,
      more people use mass transit in New York than in
      any other state. But even though that's the case,
      our transportation system is still 95% dependent
      on petroleum -- and the vast majority of that is
      imported over a long and tenuous supply chain
      that we all know too well can be subject to
      interference by people who would like to do harm
      to us. That means that every loaf of bread, every
      kid that's on their way to school, and every
      ambulance is dependent on a supply chain that is
      [susceptible] to interruption, and that is an
      economic imperative and an environmental
      imperative and a security imperative that we begin to do something about it.

      A week ago today, Governor Pataki introduced his
      Executive Budget for 2006. The budget proposal
      includes hundreds of millions of dollars in tax
      incentives and 50 million dollars in direct
      capital spending, intended to diversify New
      York's fuel supply and make our motor vehicles
      more efficient. It included grant programs for
      private-sector gas stations to allow those
      stations to install renewable fuel pumps -- so
      that folks who are driving and stop in their
      neighborhood gas station can have a choice
      between petroleum or a renewable fuel made right
      here in New York or right here in the United
      States. It includes tax incentives so that all
      renewable fuels are completely tax-free in New
      York. It also includes a proposal so that
      renewable fuel pumps will be available at every
      rest stop on the New York State through-way. And
      finally on the renewable fuels side, it includes
      a $20 million program to build a cellulosic
      ethanol facility to create the first pilot-plant
      (we hope) that will produce ethanol from woody
      biomass as opposed to corn, and thereby
      drastically raising the energy balance of the ethanol.

      But I think for today's discussion, most
      importantly it focuses very much on vehicle
      efficiency, and actually trying to get out and
      show people that these things can be done -- much
      like the video we just saw. I just want to
      reiterate, the technologies that we're talking
      about are largely available today. With a few
      small improvements, particularly in battery
      technology, we have right around the corner the
      ability for drivers to drive past the gas station
      and say I'd rather purchase a renewable fuel, or
      I'd rather run my vehicle on electricity, or --
      best of both worlds -- I'd rather do both. And
      that allows the market to work and it gives
      consumers a choice, and it gives consumers the
      ability to choose an American product and stop
      sending all of our energy dollars overseas to
      places where people will use it in some cases to hurt us.

      The Governor's budget proposal includes
      specifically ten million dollars to the New York
      State Energy Research and Development Authority
      for the purpose of actually getting out and
      deploying plug-in hybrid flexible fuel vehicles.
      We're going to work with private sector companies
      -- hopefully bring them to New York -- to deploy
      these vehicles, and we're going to do so in
      conjunction with a new Advanced Vehicle
      Technology Laboratory that small companies can
      use to try to get their vehicles on the road
      towards certification. Our hope is that in the
      very near future, to deploy a hybrid flex-fuel
      vehicle, and then very soon thereafter to start
      deploying hybrid flex-fuel plug-in vehicles.

      We also have a ten million dollar proposal within
      this budget for the sole purpose of R&D on
      specific niche technologies that are critical to
      bringing about this new reality that we're
      working for. Folks mentioned the batteries and
      other pieces -- very light-weight vehicle parts.
      And again the New York Energy Research and
      Development Authority is going to be a leader out
      there, trying to incentivize the private sector
      to try to bring about the kind of vehicle
      technologies that we all know we need, and we
      need to get out there and show everyone that this
      can be done. Once we do it, it's going to be
      impossible for people to say that these things
      can't be done. And again, as the Mayor indicated,
      we need to give the consumers the power to show
      the automobile manufacturers and others that
      these technologies are desired in the
      marketplace, and let's hope they'll sell them once that happens.

      So, the key thing for us is to obviously get our
      budget proposals through, but once we do that, we
      think that his presents an opportunity to turn
      the twin challenges of energy dependence and
      climate change into an economic opportunity --
      for New York, and hopefully for the American
      people to stop sending all of our energy dollars
      overseas, recapture them, build new technologies,
      and then export those technologies around the
      world as people try to reduce their own dependence and fight climate change.

      So, thank you very much. [applause]

      The next partner we'd like to introduce in this
      effort is Mr. James Woolsey, the former director
      of the Central Intelligence Agency, currently
      with Booz Allen Hamilton. Mr. Woolsey...

      [Jim Woolsey] [21:45]
      Thank you, Roger, I was honored to be invited to
      be on this distinguished panel this morning, but
      to tell you the truth, since I spent 22 years as
      a Washington lawyer, and then I spent some time
      at the CIA in the Clinton Administration, I'm
      actually pretty well-honored to be invited into
      any polite company, for any purposes whatsoever. [laughter]

      The first question in a lot of people's minds
      about this campaign is "What's new? You know, we
      had oil dependence problems in the '70s, we
      started the Synfuels Corporation -- too
      expensive, went bankrupt; now people are again
      concerned about fuel dependence & oil
      dependence... aren't we kind of just going through the same cycle again?"

      Three things are different, I think, from the
      19'70s. First of all, the vulnerability of our
      oil infrastructure is extraordinarily greater --
      close to double. We were coming close to 33% of
      imports of oil in the 19'70s, and people were
      getting very worried about that, and now we're
      well over 50%, and the oil infrastructure --
      whereas it was vulnerable in the 19'70s to
      cutoffs, such as a coup in Saudi Arabia that was
      attempted in 1979, or a policy decision by a
      Middle Eastern State -- today it's vulnerable to,
      say, Al Qaeda flying a hi-jacked aircraft into
      the sulfur-clearing towers near Ras Tanura in
      Northeastern Saudi Arabia and taking, say, four
      to six million barrels a day offline, just like
      that, and throwing oil up to well over
      $100/barrel. We also, uniquely in this war on
      terrorism and Islamist Terror in the Middle East,
      are paying for both sides of the war. This is the
      only war the United States has ever fought in which we pay for both sides.

      We pay for our side, and then we pay -- we borrow
      -- 250 billion dollars, approximately, per year,
      to import oil -- about a billion dollars every
      working day. Much of it goes in IOUs, indirectly,
      to these countries in the Middle East, and they
      use it -- particularly Saudi Arabia through the
      Wahhabis of Saudi Arabia -- use it to, in part,
      run madrasas in Pakistan, institutes in various
      parts of the world, to teach a form of Islam,
      they say, that is fanatically hostile to Shiite
      Muslims, Sufi Muslims, Jews, Christians, women,
      democracy, music... that is essentially the same
      ideology as Al Qaida. The only thing that the
      Wahhabis and Al Qaeda disagree about is the same
      thing that the Stalinists and the Trotskyites
      disagreed about in the 1930s -- who should be in
      charge. But the underlying, hate-filled ideology
      is one that we pay for -- its dissemination --
      every time we pull up to the pump.

      So, in the immortal words of Pogo, we've met the
      enemy and he is us. If you want to know who's
      paying for those madrasas in Pakistan to teach
      hatred and propensity to terrorism, next time you
      pull in and fill up, just look in the mirror.

      Now... that's new -- that set of issues is new.
      The second thing that's new is that this time
      around, the people who are promoting plug-in
      hybrids -- Andy, his wonderful work at Cal Davis
      for years -- have it right, with respect to the
      infrastructure. A lot of the changes that were
      going to be made in the 19'70s required huge
      changes in the energy infrastructure of the
      country. That's the problem with hydrogen now. If
      I were to leave you with six words to remember
      from what I'm saying here, with respect to any of
      the values that we've been talking in -the
      importance of moving away from oil and so forth
      ... Forget Hydrogen. Forget Hydrogen. Forget Hydrogen.

      Massive changes in the energy infrastructure and
      in the transportation vehicle infrastructure
      would be necessary; whereas for a plug-in hybrid,
      we need a bigger battery and, yes, there is an
      infrastructure investment: an extension cord...
      each family would need an extension cord.

      So, the focus on minimal changes to the
      infrastructure is something that has been thought
      through, now -- a lot better than it had been in
      the '70s when people started things like the Synfuels Corporation.

      The third thing is the interaction, I think,
      with the environment -- because, at the same time
      one is moving to plug-in hybrids and using
      existing electricity capacity -- not building new
      power plants, as the videos say -- but using
      existing electrical capacity, one is therefore
      limiting the expulsion of greenhouse gasses, the
      emission of greenhouse gasses, helping the
      environment. One is helping with poor countries
      such as Bangladesh, that their major barrier to
      development is the huge debt that they have to
      carry -- the reason most countries have to carry
      debt is because they can't pay for 60-70
      dollar-a-barrel or certainly more expensive oil
      with commodities, textiles, and what they have to
      export. One is helping the rural parts of the
      United States, where synfuels such as cellulosic
      ethanol can be grown for purposes of moving
      toward flexible fuel vehicles -- hybrids as well
      as plug-in hybrids. One is, I think, talking
      about lack of dependence on a very volatile part
      of the world as I mentioned, and you will find,
      interestingly, and increasingly in days to come,
      more public statements about this -- Evangelical
      groups are starting to show real interest in this
      area, and taking some stands as they say, 'We
      missed.. the-- some of their spokesman) 'We
      missed backing the civil rights revolution as
      soon as Martin Luther King said what he said. We
      should have been in that, and now we're going to
      be here, helping with respect to global warming
      and we're going to do it now because we want to
      be good stewards of God's creation.

      I call this a coalition between the tree-huggers,
      the do-gooders, the sod-busters, the chief hawks,
      and the evangelicals. Once you have a coalition
      of that diversity and that size, the politicians -- believe me -- will notice.

      Thank you. [applause] Thank you, Jim. Our next
      speaker and partner in this effort is Frank
      Gaffney. Frank is the founder and President of the Center for Security Policy.

      [Frank Gaffney] [28:45]
      Thank you Roger. My job is to be the act follower
      to Jim Woolsey, which is always a tough one,
      especially since much of what he said, I would
      say as well. There are three other things, I
      think, that he didn't mention. There are also new
      [concerns] that add further to the national
      security imperative behind this initiative.

      One is that virtually every place we get oil from
      is either unstable, politically, or downright
      hostile to us. Jim has mentioned of course Saudi
      Arabia -- and its at the top of the list, as far
      as I'm concerned, in terms of places that are
      hostile to us upon whom we are dependent. But you
      go through the rest of the roster and it isn't
      much prettier. Iran is much in the news of late
      -- who knows where that's going to go. Nigeria,
      Venezuela, even Mexico, all places where we're
      seeing trends, if not very strong direction, that
      is very hostile to us, and compounding the problem of our dependency.

      The second is the emergence of new competitors
      for those energy supplies -- notably Communist
      China, and not far behind, India -- with
      burgeoning demands and a willingness to make
      deals with all of the aforementioned countries to
      take any oil that we can't or won't.

      And then finally, there's the problem that I'm
      not expert enough to give a firm answer to, but I
      think it's in prospect if it's not already here, and that is peak oil.

      You put all of these things together, and it's
      transparently obvious that the way we've been
      doing business as a country is no longer tenable.
      It's not tenable from an economic point of view,
      and it most especially is no longer tenable from
      a national security point of view.

      Consequently, at the risk of shameless
      self-promotion, I'm going to advertise a book
      that we've done on this subject, called War
      Footing -- Ten Steps America must Take to Prevail
      in the War for the Free World, and I do so in
      part because Jim has been kind enough to give us
      a forward for it. My friend Gal Luft is one of
      the contributors to the step that talks about
      energy security, and the necessity to be moving
      in the direction that, with Gal's leadership,
      we've called Set America Free -- at the core of
      which is the idea of utilizing existing
      technologies (as Jim has talked about and others
      will to): notably, combined hybrid and plug-in
      and recharging options, greatly to diminish the
      amount of oil that we consume in the place that
      we consume most of it and most inefficiently --
      namely, in our transportation sector.

      So, we're very pleased to be part of this
      coalition, and very excited about the leadership
      that is coming from below and very hopeful that
      as Jim has said, politicians from the top will
      take notice, and I call on President Bush --
      right here, right now -- to make this initiative
      part and parcel of this year's State of the Union
      Address and at the top of his agenda, and that of the Congress in 2006.

      Thank you very much. [applause]

      [Roger Duncan] [32:47] Thank you, Frank. As Jim
      pointed out, an important part of this coalition
      is what he called the "Tree-Huggers", and I'm
      comfortable with that label. But an important
      representative today of the environmental
      community, I'd like to introduce Kateri Callahan,
      the President of the Alliance to Save Energy.

      [Kateri Callahan] [33:06]
      Thank you, and I'm proud to be referred to as a
      tree-hugger, and a nut-eater and whatever other
      thing you want to sling this way.

      Thank you for having me here today. I'd like to
      begin by congratulating the City of Austin and
      Austin Energy on this innovative partnership,
      which we are very proud to be a part of: a
      partnership to drive and develop a market for
      plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. It's very
      important -- I've worked with the auto industry
      for many years, and they have a mantra: We build what customers want...

      Well if they'd been listening over the last
      couple of years, they'd know that customers today
      want and are interested in hybrid electric
      vehicles. And with this partnership, the
      customers of tomorrow will be demanding very soon
      -- tomorrow -- plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.
      And I would say to anyone that would doubt that
      the City of Austin and Austin Energy have the
      power and capability and the commitment to do
      this, to look at their history and their track
      record. The Alliance to Save Energy was pleased
      to give them an award in 2003 for -- since 1982,
      the city and Austin Energy have been investing 15
      million dollars a year in energy efficiency, and
      what have they gotten for that commitment and
      that investment? They have reduced energy use by
      the equivalent of a 500MW power plant annually.
      So they will do what they say they will do and
      we're pleased to be a part of it.

      From the perspective of the Alliance to Save
      Energy, what they are doing is very important,
      because we believe that the cheapest, quickest,
      and the cleanest way to improve and reduce energy
      use in the transportation sector is by improving
      fuel economy and that's something that plug-in
      hybrid electric vehicles can do in spades.

      We have a conundrum that we look at. In this
      country, we have two percent of the world's
      population, we have only five percent of the
      world's oil reserves, and yet we are gobbling up
      25% of the oil that the world consumes every day.
      That's simply not sustainable.

      So, significantly lowering energy use in the
      transportation sector -- which is the main
      culprit for our oil dependence -- is very
      important. Plug-In hybrids, with a 20-mile range,
      are projected to cut petroleum use by as much as
      60% and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by
      two-thirds. And as we move into plug-in hybrids
      using renewable fuels, that situation only gets
      better. Greenhouse gasses are reduced even more, as it petroleum use.

      Right now, and it's been said in the slides and
      other places, that the transportation sector is
      97% dependent on oil and for practical
      applications, Jim Woolsey said "Don't think
      Hydrogen, don't think Hydrogen." But if you want
      to think it, it's still decades away, no matter how you cut it.

      So, looking at PHEVs, what we see as an
      organization that promotes energy efficiency, is
      a very practical, very real, very here-today
      technology. It's immediate, it can help us reduce
      petroleum use, improve the environmental
      performance of our vehicles and importantly, it
      represents at a minimum, a bridge technology and
      perhaps even the final technology of a
      sustainable transportation of the future.

      Thank you. We're pleased to be part of this. [applause]

      [Roger Duncan] [36:35] Thank you, Kateri. Mayor
      Wynn mentioned, and others before, the utility
      industry is obviously a very important part of
      this coalition. We are proud members of the
      American Public Power Association in Austin, and
      we're proud to see public power leading the way
      again to solve the energy problems of this country.

      So it's my pleasure to introduce Alan Richardson,
      the President and CEO of the American Public Power Association.

      [Alan Richardson] [37:00]
      Thank you, Roger. It's my pleasure to be here.
      I'm Alan Richardson, the President and CEO of the
      American Public Power Association, representing
      the interests of more than 2,000 publicly-owned,
      locally-controlled electric utilities around the
      country. Mayor, it's a real pleasure to have
      Austin Energy in the lead on this, a public-power
      community and a wonderful city. And Juan, council
      Member, Roger Duncan... you've got some terrific
      talent there to lead this effort, a truly outstanding grassroots effort.

      It's sort of to the point where almost
      everything's been said, just not everybody has
      had a chance to say them. So I'm not just going
      to reiterate the arguments that people have made,
      but I will say that the case for plug-in hybrid
      electric vehicles can be boiled down into
      short-hand that people understand: energy
      security, vulnerability to foreign sources of
      oil, greenhouse gas emissions, the environment,
      economic security. People understand those
      arguments almost intuitively, and when you say
      there is one answer that addresses each of these
      issues and it's plug-in hybrid electric
      vehicles... they get it. And the proof of that is
      the fact that 140 -- I heard they're up to 140
      now -- publicly-owned electric utilities around
      the country in 33 states, and these are not just
      general managers who sign off on a little "I want
      to be part of the Plug-In Hybrid program" --
      these managers take their participation to their
      own city councils or their own boards of
      directors and educate them and then sign on to a
      campaign like this. And 140 is just the tip --
      Mayor, we're going to keep pushing.

      But that is really evidence that this is a
      grassroots campaign that has momentum that will
      be sustained, and I'm convinced for the reasons
      we're already hearing this morning, will be
      successful, so thank you again for your
      leadership. It is my pleasure to be hear with you this morning.

      [Roger Duncan] [39:00] Our last couple of
      presentations speak to some of the technical
      aspects of the plug-in hybrid, particularly
      answering some of the questions that have been
      raised in the discussion. I'd like to start with
      Dr. Joseph Romm, with the Center for Energy and Climate Solutions.

      [Joseph Romm] [39:17]
      Thanks, I'd really like to thank the City of
      Austin and Austin Energy for their foresight and
      tireless work putting this coalition together,
      and I'd like to thank Jim for apparently having
      read my book on Hydrogen. [laughter]

      People are always asking me what is the green car
      of the future. I did run the Department of Energy
      program responsible for all clean car research,
      development, demonstration and deployment, and I
      can safely say that the flexible-fuel, plug-in
      hybrid electric vehicle is the most
      environmentally desirable and practical
      alternative fuel vehicle yet conceived. It
      sharply reduces urban air pollution and greenhouse gasses.

      Plug-in hybrids running on electricity will
      reduce urban air pollutants such as nitrogen
      oxides and carbon monoxide 90% or more compared
      to the average new car running on gasoline. And
      even better, none of the pollutants are emitted
      from the tailpipe -- so they don't aggravate
      urban smog. Those of you who have heard me speak
      before know that I think that the issue of the
      century is global warming, and the good news is
      that plug-ins will also sharply reduce greenhouse
      gas emissions compared to existing cars. This is
      already true for the current U.S. electric grid,
      which is half-coal, and the cleaner the grid gets
      in the future, the better plug-ins will do.

      I think it's worth noting that even running on
      pure coal-electricty, a plug-in hybrid electric
      today would have much lower emissions of
      greenhouse gasses than the average new car today
      running on gasoline, and about the same emissions as a regular hybrid.
      I think it's worth saying that if all the power
      plants built in the future are coal, then
      plug-ins would do nothing to address global
      warming. But then again, if all power plants
      built in the future are coal, then our climate is in big trouble.

      And I think this is an important point -- there
      is no pure techno-fix to global warming. There's
      no automotive technology that will solve the
      problem without government policy. So if you want
      to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, you need to
      cap those emissions -- that's what all the
      previous EPA administrators said earlier this month.

      But once you have a cap on utility emissions,
      then you shift emissions from a
      difficult-to-regulate sector -- 250 million cars
      -- to an easy-to-regulate sector -- a few hundred
      large power plants. And at that point, plug-ins
      go from being a good idea to being the single
      best way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from cars.

      And I think one final point is worth making: we
      are using more and more unconventional oil.
      'Unconventional' is almost a code-word for
      dirty... such as the Canadian tar sands -- as you
      saw the 60 Minutes special -- which increase the
      total greenhouse gas emissions from gasoline substantially.

      People are even talking about turning coal into
      liquid fuel, which is a climate nightmare. Yet
      not only will electricity get cleaner over time,
      so will biofuels, as we shift from more corn
      ethanol to ethanol made from crop waste and dedicated energy crops.

      And the good news is that even running a plug-in
      hybrid on 100% renewable electricity, the fueling
      cost per mile is still substantially lower than
      running a regular car on gasoline at current
      gasoline prices, let along what gasoline prices
      are going to be in the next ten to twenty years.

      For all these reasons, just to repeat: the
      flexible-fuel plug-in electric hybrid is the most
      environmentally desirable and practical
      alternative-fuel vehicle yet conceived. That is
      why they are inevitable winners in the
      marketplace over the next several years, and that
      is why I am pleased to support this campaign.

      Thank you.

      [Roger Duncan] [43:09] I've received word that
      Senator Hatch is on his way. We would like to end
      our regularly scheduled speakers with a great
      honor -- to introduce to you Dr. Andy Frank. Dr.
      Frank is the professor at the University of
      California at Davis, and widely regarded as the
      inventor of plug-in hybrids. Dr Frank...


      Duncan: [43:32] I've received word that Senator Hatch is on his way.
      We would like to end our regularly scheduled
      speakers with a great honor… to introduce to you
      Dr. Andy Frank. Dr. Frank is the professor at the
      University of California Davis, and widely
      regarded as the inventor of plug-in hybrids, Dr. Frank…

      Dr. Andy Frank
      Well, I don't know if I'm the inventor but I've
      probably been working on it longer than anybody, anyone that's still alive.

      I want to thank Austin Energy, I've been working
      on this a long, long time. I've been trying to
      promote it myself but one person just doesn't...
      It's like the guy tilting windmills. But Roger
      and the people in Texas have really brought this
      thing to the forefront to national attention and
      I'd really like to thank Roger and everybody for that.

      And of course we've heard all about the global
      warming stuff. My job here is to answer any
      possible technical questions you may have. I've
      been working on this for a long long time. The
      car companies have always said that it can't be
      done, batteries are going to cost to much and so on and so forth.

      We've done very careful analysis and studies and
      we show that's not true. Fundamentally these
      kinds of plug-in hybrids are equivalent to a
      sunroof and your navigation system, maybe your
      leather seats. So, it's doable now. It's not
      infrastructure that requires massive investment
      and the average consumer is not going to pay that much more for his car.

      The most important, when he goes to the gas pump,
      he's only going a few times a year as the video
      pointed out, but more than that, when he's
      plugging in at home he's using energy at the
      equivalent of .70 cents a gallon. It's been a
      long long time since we've seen that kind of price for fuel.

      So, plug-in hybrids have all the advantages of
      emissions, green house gases, low fuel costs, so
      why aren't we doing it? It's a matter of getting
      the car companies, and that's the main purpose
      here, getting the car companies, getting the
      public to demand these kinds of cars. We've shown
      over and over again these kinds of cars that the
      technology is available, we can do it. If me and
      a bunch of students can build cars, the car
      companies can certainly do it and do a much better job.
      So, I welcome everybody here and I'll be happy to
      answer any questions, technical or otherwise for you later.

      QUESTIONS

      [DUNCAN] I would like to interrupt these question
      and answer now. It's our great honor to introduce
      as our partner in this effort the United States
      Senator from Utah, the honorable Orrin Hatch.

      [Orrin Hatch] 52:25
      I'm very honored to be here with you today, And
      you can tell how important this is to me, because
      we just opened up the Alito markup, so I did my
      opening remarks and I scooted out of there and I've got to get right back.

      But I want to thank Mayor Will Wynn of Austin,
      Austin Energy and of course the Plug-In Partners
      Coalition for holding this important event today,
      and for asking me to say a few words.

      As you know I was the author of the CLEAR ACT
      which was included in the Energy Policy Act of
      2005, signed into law this summer and currently
      being implemented by the administration. The
      CLEAR ACT stands for Clean Efficient Automobiles
      Resulting from Advanced Car Technologies Act. It
      provides attractive tax credits to consumers who
      purchase alternative fuel and advanced technology
      vehicles, including battery, electric and hybrid
      cars. This new law also provides tax incentives
      for new alternative fuel stations and for the use
      of alternative fuels in vehicles.

      As with most tax incentives, the credits will
      sunset after a few years and they may not be
      available by the time a commercial plug-in hybrid
      is available to consumers. However, in the
      meantime CLEAR ACT credits will promote these
      advanced technologies necessary to make plug-in
      hybrids commercially viable as they are being
      used and perfected in our current hybrid cars on the road today.

      Six years ago when I joined with environmental
      groups and auto makers to write the CLEAR ACT, we
      strongly believed that hybrids were an important
      answer to our nation's energy problems and to our
      nation's environmental problems, and we've been
      proven right. Today, I believe the next big step
      forward in our nation's energy strategy will be
      to develop commercially viable plug-in hybrids.

      We have proven that battery/electric vehicles are
      technologically feasible and that hybrid electric
      vehicles are very marketable. Never forget when
      they decided to change the HOV 2 law to allow a
      single driver during busy traffic times, all the
      hybrid cars sold out almost overnight. And it
      shows that incentives, there are plenty of
      incentives for people to buy hybrids. And can you
      imagine how wonderful it would be to have plug-in hybrids.

      By combining the popularity of hybrid electric
      vehicles with the added environmental and energy
      benefits of the battery-electric technology, we
      may very well be able to produce a silver bullet
      for our nation's transportation and environmental needs.

      Let's not forget that two thirds of all of our
      oil is consumed in the transportation sector. To
      improve our nation's energy has to be one of our
      prime goals. But to improve our nation's energy
      security and air quality we have to focus on
      these type of solutions. So I add my voice to
      those you've already heard today. I believe it is
      in our nation's interest to promote the
      accelerated development of commercially available plug-in hybrids.

      The world demand for energy is well above the
      world's supply and it's getting to be a higher
      demand every day. With the advent of China, India
      and other countries that are rapidly becoming very powerful.

      I might add that new oil discoveries are dropping
      dramatically as well. While we have even more
      pressure. The world is headed for an energy
      crunch and we need the equivalent of the space
      race to find solutions if we hope to avoid a global disaster.

      In terms of the transportation-energy supply
      problem I believe that no solution hold more
      short term promise than plug-in hybrids. In my
      view it should be the policy of this nation to
      become the world leader in the development of
      this important technology. And I pledge my
      support and I lend my support to this goal. I
      think you've got an idea of how important I
      consider this press conference to be, and how
      much I admire the city of Austin for leading out
      and making the case that we really have to do
      something about our energy and environmental
      problems in this country. And plug-in hybrids is
      one of the best short term solutions to those
      problems that I know of and I'm just grateful to
      have all these good people here today at this
      press conference. Thank you so much.

      Thanks for transcription help to Greg Willey from
      Fair Oaks, CA and a second anonymous volunteer.


      -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
      Felix Kramer fkramer@...
      Founder California Cars Initiative
      http://www.calcars.org
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/calcars-news
      http://www.hybridcars.com/blogs/power
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/priusplus
      http://www.seattleeva.org/wiki/EAA-PHEV
      -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
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