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Fleet campaign: Austin and Mayors / NY State Consortium

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  • Felix Kramer
    http://www.austinchronicle.com/issues/dispatch/2005-06-24/pols_naked.html Electric Plug-In Hybrid Concept Touted to US Mayors Source: Austin Chronicle [Jun 29,
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 29, 2005
      Electric Plug-In Hybrid Concept Touted to US Mayors

      Source: Austin Chronicle
      [Jun 29, 2005]
      Excerpted from Naked City section of Austin Chronicle.

      Earlier this month, Mayor Will Wynn addressed the 73rd annual conference of
      Mayors in Chicago, giving a presentation titled Smart Energy Best Practices
      for Livable Communities, along with Austin Energy's Roger Duncan, who
      focused on Austin's plug-in hybrid vehicle initiative. "Austin is at the
      forefront of the transportation debate," Wynn said. "The beauty of this
      system is that vehicles charged by the electric system will run on
      alternative energy sources such as West Texas wind instead of Middle East
      oil." The city's plug-in plan, first introduced last September, involves
      purchasing a fleet of next-generation hybrid DaimlerChrysler Sprinter vans
      for city use, charging them at night with wind power from Austin's
      award-winning GreenChoice renewable energy utility program, and asking
      other cities to buy similar fleets of plug-ins, placing huge bulk orders.
      The goal is to create an economy of scale for the vehicles, making them
      more affordable and plentiful for everyone. The plug-ins increase fuel
      economy by 50%, significantly decrease emissions, and are capable of 20
      miles worth of all-electric urban driving, according to Duncan.

      Plugging for an Electric Transportation Sector
      By Gene Zeltmann
      New York Power Authority CEO and President urges development of electric
      June 26, 2005

      Our nation consumes just over 19 million barrels of oil each day, 25
      percent of the world total, and nearly 60 percent of that ends up as
      tailpipe exhaust from cars, trucks and buses. With oil production predicted
      to peak in five years -- and the number of vehicles on the road continuing
      to grow -- a Malthusian scenario emerges with clear implications for fuel
      prices and our economy in the years ahead. Still, we are assured by most
      experts that the internal combustion engine will be with us for some time
      to come. Consider that only 88,000 hybrid-electric vehicles were sold in
      the United States in 2004, accounting for about one-half of 1 percent of
      total vehicle sales. And this year, with gasoline prices at an all-time
      high, sales are forecast at around 200,000 hybrid cars, a significant
      increase, yet still just 1.7 percent of the overall car market.

      Despite generous tax incentives offered by the federal government, and most
      states, including New York, J.D. Power Associates estimates that sales of
      these vehicles will not exceed 3 percent of the U.S. market by decade’s
      end, even with gasoline selling above $3 a gallon.

      The reason for this peculiar state of affairs is economic: The price
      premium of $3,000 to $5,000 that consumers must pay for a hybrid vehicle
      does not in their minds, at least, offset the higher cost of gasoline.

      But I believe the economics are about to change in the hybrid’s favor. At
      Governor Pataki’s direction, the New York Power Authority is funding
      research to demonstrate the feasibility of plug-in hybrid vehicles. Four
      plug-in prototypes of the popular hybrid version of the Dodge Sprinter van
      are to be manufactured by Daimler Chrysler and rolled out on America’s
      highways as early as this fall. The plug-in option will boost the already
      frugal gas mileage of the Dodge Sprinter hybrid by as much as 55 percent.
      For a passenger car, that would be equivalent to a range of between 100 and
      150 miles a gallon on a single eight-hour charge. (Once the charge is
      spent, the car reverts to normal hybrid mode.)

      This may or may not signal the ubiquity of plug-in hybrids in the future.
      But their potential – both to curb our oil addiction and provide major
      environmental benefits--is clear. And given other incentives, I think we’ll
      be seeing a lot more plug-in hybrids on the road.

      In addition to significant fuel cost savings, virtually zero emissions and
      a vehicle with stored energy, the plug-in hybrid would be a boon to our
      economy and energy security as it is largely dependent not on foreign
      sources of oil but on domestic sources of electricity. This fuel is
      available from either the electric grid or from distributed generation,
      such as fuel cells.

      One recent study found that if half of all vehicles were electric, we’d cut
      oil demand by 4 million barrels a day, or by about 40 percent of the
      current total. There were also significant economic effects, such as an
      improved balance of payments account, cleaner air, a vast increase in jobs
      and bigger gross domestic product.

      Governor Pataki is even more optimistic than that. He thinks that
      100-miles-per-gallon hybrid vehicles might be the norm as early as 2015. If
      true, we could conceivably cut oil demand in the transportation sector by
      70 percent – and possibly even more.

      More, because trucks would account for as much as 64 percent of all plug-in
      hybrid sales by then. And some experts think that, given current trends in
      the price of gasoline, there could be as many as 70 to 100 varieties of
      plug-in hybrid vehicles for sale by the middle of the next decade.

      To make sure these predictions come to pass, Governor Pataki is now
      orchestrating a second phase of the demonstration project – arranging for a
      consortium of New York companies to put these vehicles in their corporate
      fleets, where their feasibility and benefits might be readily proven.

      As our transportation and financial future is now presented in dark hues,
      this shows that it can also be presented in bright ones -- powered by
      clean, domestic sources of electricity.

      Gene Zeltmann is Co-Chairman of the Electric Drive Transportation
      Association, President and CEO of the New York Power Authority and Chairman
      of the Electric Power Research Institute.

      -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
      Felix Kramer fkramer@...
      Founder California Cars Initiative
      -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
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