We saved this special edition of our newsletter to be released during this historical week, and to share with you photos and reactions to what has been billed as an historical moment for electric vehicles -- the nation's largest plug-in parade
, organized in less than three weeks!
75 Electric Vehicles Signed Up, 75 Showed Up
With 100-percent participation, Plug In America pronounced its inaugural plug-in parade on January 17th a total success, confident that President Obama himself will hear the message sent by the event's participants: America needs one million plug-in vehicles by 2010 and 10 million by 2016.
The little ones got creative
Billed as "Inaugural evParade West, Plug In, America!" the event featured 75 freeway-capable vehicles that participated in the 2-mile parade through downtown Santa Monica. A fantastic variety of Electric Vehicles (EVs), electric 2-wheeled vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) showed up. See below for the detailed list, unique photos and featured speakers. Please visit our website for extensive press coverage.
"It was astounding, even for us in the movement, to see 'old-time' RAV4 EVs, one of which had some 160,000 miles on it, parading beside prototypes from Ford and Mitsubishi, beside four Tesla Roadsters, beside a 50-ton truck and a PHEV school bus," said Plug In America spokeswoman Zan Dubin Scott. "We even had an all-electric Hummer H2. The moral of this story is that EVs can meet a variety of needs."
Roughly 250 drivers, spectators and supporters attended the parade preceded by a press conference next to the City of Santa Monica's 40-kW solar carport equipped with EV chargers. Edward Kjaer, director of electric transportation for Southern California Edison, which sponsored the event, said that nobody should think that plug-in technology is not ready.
Linda Nicholes graces the Balqon truck
"It is so ready," Kjaer said. "The country is ready, the market is ready, the people are ready and news flash, the technology is ready." Southern California Edison is testing the two prototype vehicles it brought to the parade: a Ford Escape PHEV and a Mitsubishi iMiEV.
"Journalists and bloggers continue to ask if there really is a market for plug-ins, now that gas is back to $2-per-gallon, " said Plug In America co-founder Paul Scott. "That question was answered unambiguously at this history-making parade. Those in attendance, like Americans nationwide, would tell anyone, "yes, we all want to drive on renewable electricity instead of on foreign oil. Just sell us the cars!"
Plug In America President Linda Nicholes was euphoric: "Attendees loved this parade event -- you could see it on the drivers' faces -- so much pent up passion and pride -- so few ways to join together and flaunt what we know is true and what we are lucky enough to drive and the support for electric drive that we now demand from our leaders," she said.
As many of you know, Plug In America was one of 1300 applicants to request one of 65 coveted slots in the official Presidential Inaugural Parade in Washington DC. We assembled an awesome team, yet the competition was just too much. Despite being turned down, Plug In America board members Zan Dubin Scott and Paul Scott declared that the parade would go on! Photos of Paul and Zan are shown below with the list of vehicles and speakers.
As America pauses in awe of a new federal administration that is decidedly pro-EV, many of us here at Plug In America are gearing up for what promises to be another banner year. Yes We Can! (For more photos see below)
With all of the change in the air, we want get everyone current on what is happening for plug-in vehicles in Washington DC. First, we could never have imagined how much industry has moved in the right direction and how they are supporting, rather than opposing, legislation for electric cars and plug-in hybrids. With Representatives like Jay Inslee, Steve Israel, Eliot Engel, Ron Klein, Tim Ryan, and Henry Waxman (who just took over the chair of the Committee on Energy and Commerce) in the House, as well as forward thinkers in the Senate, we're optimistic that real legislation will support plug-ins in Congress.
The first step will be to fund many of the initiatives already passed into law. Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN) is leading the charge to electrify the American transportation sector and to make sure critically-needed green jobs are funded as part of the stimulus bill. Billions of dollars are proposed for retooling the auto industry so Detroit's and other companies can make plug-ins, advanced battery manufacturing in the US, electricity and electric vehicle infrastructure, and all of the moving parts needed to build this industry.
Amazingly, even before President Obama had been sworn in, Senators Cantwell (D-OR), Hatch (R-UT), Alexander (R-TN), Kerry (D-MA), Stabenow (D-MI), and Nelson (D-FL) introduced Senate Bill S.271, the Freedom Act of 2009. This bill builds on the plug-in tax credits passed last year, offering significant breaks for EV manufacturers and providing consumer tax breaks for plug-in hybrid conversions, two wheeled, and three wheeled plug-in vehicles like those from Aptera, Brammo, Electric Motorsport, Hum Cycles, Myers Motors, Persu Mobility, Vectrix, and Zero Motorcycles. Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEVs) are also included.
We're working to help get this bill included as part of the proposed stimulus package. You will receive a Plug In America legislative action alert very soon so you can easily contact your members of Congress and make sure you tell them you want to urge them to support plug-ins with these key pieces of legislation.
Finally, at the U.S. EPA, incoming head administrator Lisa Jackson has committed to reconsider granting California's request for a waiver so that we can have higher standards than the nation for CO2 emissions. Again, see our web site for more press and updates on this.
Back in California, all eyes are on the California Air Resources Board (CARB) again as it considers a staff recommendation for Plug-in hybrid conversion emission test procedures. While this may seem like an esoteric item, CARB has drafted a set of criteria that, if not clarified, could keep large numbers of plug-in hybrid conversions off California's highways. We agree with CARB that conversions need to be crash and emissions tested and meet consumer safety and health standards. However regulations shouldn't be so onerous as to stifle the marketplace. Calcars.org has a campaign that advocates for letting the free marketplace open up the gates to millions of conversions. Plug In America finds itself in the middle ground and this is stated in our commentary letter submitted and found at www.pluginamerica. org.
On a brighter note, the California Energy Commission (CEC) released its Investment Plan, which is a prelude to its obligation to start distributing funding under AB118 (the initiative that funds the California Climate Change goals for transportation) . Plug In America's Dan Davids showed up at the CEC public hearing to challenge some of CEC's statements about how EVs are not ready for mass deployment due to limitations that we believe are based on false assumptions. Nevertheless, CEC seems to be listening and the regulators have correctly rated electric-drive as a "super ultra low carbon fuel" the highest standard. Our formal written response with comments will be submitted to CEC and posted on our web site.
Save the Date! Plug In America at LA Go Green Expo
Plug In America will have a booth at the LA Convention Center for the Go Green Expo on January 23rd - 25th. Come visit us and inspect a sparkling new Tesla Roadster. Join our board members and other surprise guests for a lively panel discussion: Charging into the Future with Electric Cars and Mass Transportation on Saturday, January 24th.
You also won't want to miss a variety of eco-friendly offerings, and the chance to meet and greet electric car driver and star Ed Begley Jr., as well as other renewable energy and eco-leaders! You can acquire advance tickets by visiting www.GoGreenExpo. com
Plug In America Helps Al Gore's Repower America
As the nation watched the Obama inauguration on January 20, viewers also took in the premiere of a national PSA for Al Gore's Repower America campaign
featuring the RAV4 EV belonging to Plug In America board members Paul Scott and Zan Dubin Scott. The latter helped producers round up other cars in the spot, made for Gore's Alliance for Climate Protection. It's another surge forward for plug-in cars. Plug In America thanks you, Mr. Gore.
The window sign says it all Paul Scott directing SolarCity's Solar Taco Zan Dubin Scott introduces press conference speakers Chris Paine and his film crew