Tuesday, January 11, 2011

2012 Prius Plug-in in Rockaway, and some other plugs

I got an email today from Doug Stansfield, President of the NJEAA, who wrote to share with the mailing list that he has a 2012 Prius Plug-in in his very own possession for the next month.  He'll be hosting the next NJEAA meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 18 at 7 p.m. at the Rockaway Mall, and he'll bring the vehicle and offer test drives.  

Doug's Prius Plug-in charging (his Hyundai Tiburon EV was recently totaled in a fluke accident, but how'd he get in on this loaner program?)
I don't usually give a lot of space to traditional hybrid news on this blog, but Toyota's introduction of the Prius Plug-in marks yet another a significant shift towards real change in the marketplace: the first commercial PHEV.  Doug also reports that earlier this week that he was present at the unveiling of the Ford Focus EV in NYC!  

Plugs are popping up all over

Folks, EV advocates helped bring about this moment.  There is a profoundly inspiring article in this month's national EAA newsletter by Felix Kramer on the history of Cal-Cars, the organization he helped found in 2002.  since 2003.  In 2003 he and Ron Gremban started to convert the first Prius to plug-in, and 3 years later they launched a publicity campaign for the Prius+ in order to increase popular acceptance of and eagerness for plug-in vehicles.  They made all their work open source and shared it freely -- at Maker Faires and elsewhere -- in addition to traveling widely to promote the vehicle.  They wanted to spread the word, to put other folks behind the wheels of their own PHEV's, and create a critical mass of customers for production plug-ins.  Says Kramer, their vision was to "turn around one of the world's biggest and hardest-to-change industries."   

Kramer, Gremban, and Andy Frank, the visionary professor from UC Davis on whose work their conversion was based, are all Chevy Volt owners as of this month. 

Now that is a story of a few activists becoming an organized movement and effecting change.  And dig what Felix Kramer -- obviously my new hero -- has to say about EV conversions:
"Cars are part of the built environment. They stay on the road for decades. Just as we need to retrofit our homes, offices and factories, we need to “fix” lots of gasguzzlers.  CalCars and Andy Frank have a few allies like Intel founder Andy Grove who “get” the importance of this approach. We’re demonstrating there are technical solutions and a business case to do it. We promote startup conversion companies , but it’s happening too slowly. We need entrepreneurs and advocates to make the cause their own urgent priority."
Interestingly in the very same issue of Current Events there's a report from the Future of Electric Vehicles USA 2010 Conference in San Jose CA in which Prof. Pietro Perlo, Senior Director at Research Center Fiat, argues "A vehicle has to be born electrical.  We used to say, ‘A vehicle has to be born smart,’ because if you’re born stupid, you can go to university, but at the end you remain stupid.”  In other words, throwing an electric motor and battery pack in a car designed for a combustion engine is not the way to go.

I'm with Kramer, not Perlo, but for offering up lots of points of view and covering both conversion and production EV news, Current EVents can't be beat  -- and the Electric Auto Association, which produces it monthly, is an important voice for our movement. The EAA harnesses the power and voices of many, many EV advocates across the country in helping increase EV awareness and create a real tipping point for change. 

Can't read the latest Current EVents online?   If you're not already an EAA member, click here to purchase your membership and support a national move towards cleaner, cheaper, domestic driving.  

EV Charging Station

Doug has been a busy man this month!  In addition to somehow getting his hands on that plug-in Prius and checking out the Ford Focus EV launch, he is launching an EVSE company called  EV Energy Stations as well: www.EVEnergyStations.com.  He writes

"We have custom designed Charging Stations to help roll out the installation of the EV Revolution that is coming!  The OEMs are getting it and launching their own.   Do your part and get in line to buy one!   This is the future!  Help support it today.  Also, contact me if you would like me to talk to your business workplace about installing charging stations.  We are ready to go and can begin scheduling installations in early February."

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