EVWorld reports on plug-in hybrids at Clean Cities Conference
- This feature article is a parallel to our report on the conference at
Following are excerpts form EVWorld's Premium-Member coverage of the event
(we urge you subscribe at $29/year--it's well worth the cost, and we need
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Energy Urgency Pervades Clean Cities Conference
EV World attends the 11th National Clean Cities Conference and discovers
the way and the will to move beyond oil.
May 09, 2005
Debut of Electric Plug-In Hybrid
Energy CS was on hand with the second iteration of their electric plug-in
Toyota Prius. They, along with Clean Tech, a Southern California alt fuels
conversion house, announced the creation of E-Drive Systems, a new joint
venture to manufacture and market a retrofit kit to convert the newest
generation of Priuses to run faster and further on electric power provided
by $15,000 worth of Valence Saphion(tm) lithium ion batteries. (See our
upcoming audio interview with the Energy CS founders as we drive around
Palm Springs in electric-only mode).
What is significant about Energy CS' efforts and those of CalCars.Org
founder, Felix Kramer, who was also on-hand to help promote the concept, is
that it may well be one of those technologies that's at the right place at
the right moment in history. Four of the most vocal proponents within the
national security community and utility industry made up one of the panels
talking about ways to reduce America's dependence on imported oil.
Gal Luft and Anne Korin are the co-founders of the Institute for the
Council Foundation. All three are signatories to the Set America Free
initiative, a significant focus of which is the call for flexible fuel,
electric plug-in hybrids; the fusion of two distinct technologies on
display during the conference. Bob Graham, who also spoke on the
"Developing a Global Energy Security Strategy" panel has helped lead the
electric hybrid efforts at the Electric Power Research Institute.
However, not everyone is enamored by the notion of electric hybrids.
American Honda's chief engineer, Ben Knight challenged Ms. Korin's views,
arguing that since half of North America's electrical grid is powered by
coal, any local environmental benefit offered by plug-in hybrids would be
lost by the increased combustion of coal.
EPRI's Bob Graham and SCE's Ed Kjaer countered by saying that it will take
millions of plug-in hybrids on the road before we'd see any potential
increase in pollution, largely because electric hybrids would be charged at
night using spare electric utility generating capacity. And when we do need
to add new capacity, it will likely come from far cleaner coal
technologies, nuclear power and renewables like wind and solar, the two men
Clearly the debate over the environmental merit of electric hybrids isn't
over, but given that Energy CS's Prius got better than 160 mpg while
driving around Palm Springs, it pretty well puts to rest any doubts about
its national security benefits.