Plug-In Partners Launch: Transcript (long)
- 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>
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
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.
[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...
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.
[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.
[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.
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Felix Kramer fkramer@...
Founder California Cars Initiative
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