Sunday, September 03, 2006

Plug-In Hybrid Campaign

I encourage everyone to sign this online plug in hybrid campaign urging automakers to produce plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). The petition basically says, 'If you build it, we will buy it.' Plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles are key to energy independence and reducing pollution.

Over 40 percent of the generating capacity in the U.S. sits idle or operates at a reduced load overnight, when most PHEVs would be charged. That means tens of millions of plug-ins could be charged every night without the need to build additional electric generation capacity.

According to the California Electric Transportation Coalition that commissioned a study, if automakers begin producing Plug-Ins within the next few years, 2.5 million cars (eight percent of the cars on America's roads) could be Plug-Ins by the year 2020. That's the equivalent of taking as many as 5 million of today's vehicles off the road. Annually that's 11.5 million tons of CO2 which won't be emitted and 1.14 Billion gallons of gasoline would be saved each year. For those concerned about energy security it is definitely a step in the right direction. Less than 2% of U.S. electricity is generated from oil, so using electricity as a transportation fuel would greatly reduce dependence on imported petroleum.

Sign the Plug-In Hybrid Petition

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Blogger Engineer-Poet said...

A lousy 2.5 million plug-in cars by 2020? The industry should be producing that many per year by 2010!

6:16 pm, September 03, 2006  
Blogger Tom Gray said...

Great stuff, people, right on!

Plug-in hybrids could transform the energy equation in this country.

Thomas O. Gray
American Wind Energy Association

8:36 pm, September 03, 2006  
Blogger Barbosa said...

I just sigend the petition.

While you are all at it, sign my petition to get the University of Pittsburgh to purchase 10% of its electricity from renewable sources. Grassroots campaigns like this are the way are energy future will be created.

8:51 pm, September 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Remember those rubber band powered model airplanes?

They were onto something IMHO. How much waste from idling in traffic or signals? No motion just sit there and burn fuel. So what if you used regenerative braking to store energy analogous to turning the rubber band on a model plane. Release that energy to get moving and only then kick in the motor. This could be a dirt simple modification to existing vehicles and save both fuel and noise pollution from idling engines.

3:26 pm, September 12, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Plug ins sound like a great idea but I have my concerns. At a recent conference on GeoThermal energy, a spokesperson from Princeton University discussed how they were buying their energy at off peak times and generating their own at peak times to reduce their overall energy cost (accounting for any changes in their consupmtion). Someone asked about their 'Carbon footprint' and the response was, "Unfortunately, the cheapest electricity generation in the US is coal. So, while we have decreased our energy costs, we have significantly increased our carbon footprint. This is due to the fact that there is no carbon tax in the US to make other power generation as cheap as coal."
My concern is that if we are going to advocate for plug-in hybrids that we also need to make sure that we are not actually polluting more and simply changing the location of the emmisions. The Bush administration has helped to create loopholes to allow old powerplants to not clean up their act. Please demand that we have not only energy independence, but also clean, sustainable energy to power our plug-in hybrids. Without clean electricity sources, we may be killing our lungs and our environment in exchange for energy independence.

6:41 am, September 13, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

On the "waste" while sitting at traffic lights -

As long as we're going for flex fuels, how about flex work hours? If all companies offered flex time hours, we could reduce the traffic jams and save even more energy and reduce pollution.

All companies ought to be encouraged to offer employees flex time and work from home options as much as possible. For many workers who do computer-oriented jobs, there is no need to even *be* in an office 9-5. Companies can set core meeting hours and flex work times or even have employees do most of their work from home.

But yup, I want my hybrid. The one I want is a hybrid micro van, though, so I can haul my golden retrievers around!

10:32 am, September 24, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Before getting all excited about plug-in hybrids (or frankly, ANYTHING that increases electrical demand substantially), remember, they're only a good idea if the electricity is generated from renewable sources.

It's not just that, as someone has commented, much electricity comes from burning dirty coal. There's also the tremendous losses of energy that occur in generation and transmission of electricity. Basically only about a third of the energy in the fossil fuel makes it to the household outlet. That means if you replace liquid fossil fuels in gas tanks with fossil-fuel-generated electricity, you could potentially be making fossil fuel consumption and carbon emissions worse.

The exact math depends on the scenario I'm sure, but the last thing a hybrid buyer wants to do is be pouring tainted electrons into their tank...

10:26 pm, September 25, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was going to post and make exactly the point above: traditional electricity generation is actually less efficient and worse in terms of carbon emissions than internal combustion engines.

But look on the bright side: Traditional electricity generation & transmission systems are dinosaurs; most new generation is far more efficient, indeed more efficient than car engines, tends to use low-carbon fuel (natural gas) and a large portion of it is renewable. Growth in demand must largely be met by newer generation. And most of the people purchasing plug-in hybrids are going to be the same people who take the 'green power option', even in places where that involves paying a premium.

12:36 am, September 29, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If (if if if) we transition to plug-in cars, I think the nation's outmoded, inefficient electrical grid will solve itself, because politicans will have to start paying attention to it the way that they pay attention to gasoline prices today. The result will be a new grid that is enormously more efficient -- which, in turn, means less wasted electricity. An upward spiral!

10:07 am, October 04, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now GM has introduced the Chevy Volt. This will truly be the first mainstream electric car.
For more information go to a new enthusiast site:

5:43 pm, January 15, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Plug me in.

5:49 am, January 24, 2007  
Blogger Unknown said...

Regarding this comment by the author:
"I was disappointed by the report’s lack of vision on transport. It correctly notes that past increases in efficiency in internal combustion engine (ICE) design have been used to increase power rather than fuel efficiency meaning vehicle carbon emissions have continued to climb. This trend has even continued into hybrid vehicles with performance being favoured over fuel economy (e.g. Lexus hybrid cars)."

I, too, have watched in dismay as the hybrid concept has been perverted in favor of performance. However, the market has been speaking, and Honda has decided to cease production of the Accord hybrid, which has sold poorly compared to the Toyota Prius. It is not that Honda doesn't know how to make good cars. Rather, as I see it, the Accord hybrid is one of those models where performance was valued over economy, and it appears that the market of hybrid buyers does not see the value in using complex technology to boost power fractionally.

Perhaps this well-publicized outcome will cause there to be more emphasis by manufacturers on the fuel-saving aspects of hybrids.

2:30 am, June 13, 2007  
Blogger lateadopter said...

"Over 40 percent of the generating capacity in the U.S. sits idle or operates at a reduced load overnight, when most PHEVs would be charged. That means tens of millions of plug-ins could be charged every night without the need to build additional electric generation capacity."

-Does that mean I can run my air conditioner at night and not feel guilty about it? And that in general, using electricity during off-peak times (charging gadgets at night, etc.) is less harmful to the environment than using electricity during peak times?

11:19 am, July 25, 2007  
Blogger Daniel Bell said...

Masanao Ozaki is either pathetically inept or was highly misquoted in the recent press he was featured in regarding plug in hybrid vehicles. He was quoted at as sayint this:

"The regular hybrid may even be better for the environment," he said in a telephone interview. "The advantage of a plug-in hybrid is that it uses electricity from homes through a regular outlet. But utilities companies predominantly use fossil fuels to produce electricity for homes."

This may on the surface make some sense. But it shouldn't for an expert. Let me explain it to the expert so that in the future he may do his job properly. A car using electricity will use a certain amount of electricity per mile, this electricity in the worst case will have been created using coal. But even in the case of coal generated electricity, the amount of carbon dioxide released per mile will be vastly less than the amount released by burning petrol. That's becasue the power plants generate power more efficiently than the engines in cars. Also, this statement is pathetic because it fails to imagine a time when we are generating a decent proportion of our electrcity from renewables. Already our energy sources are not completely fossil fuel based for electricty, and therefore on average using electricity to move our cars will be less taxing on the environment. So again, Masanao Ozaki, are a fool or were you made a fool by the press?

3:21 pm, July 27, 2007  
Blogger STReeTJeSUS said...

Definitely a move in the right direction. I would love to see something that was completely independent on fossil fuels but that is a stretch at this moment in time. :)

6:13 pm, July 30, 2007  
Blogger Matt Montagne said...

I think the PHEV industry will spur the development of a host of third party value added solutions (look at what iPods do for all of these 3rd party providers).

A killer 3rd party app will be an efficient, small scale solar charging system for the home. This won't be possible everywhere due to the fact that not everyone is going to have the right exposure to sky, but for many this will be great.

Imagine pulling your EV into the garage and charging it with your home EV solar charging station.

Or perhaps municipalities will develop car ports charing stations that charge EVs via clean power.

My point is, let's get the PHEVs out there and let the 3rd party value added groups develop solutions to make it even cleaner and meaner.

2:43 pm, October 26, 2007  
Blogger C. Siegel said...

Note: The pledge does not just say that I support plug-in hybrids. It says that I will buy one.

I currently do not own a car. I live in an old-fashioned neighborhood where it is very easy for me to get around by bicycle, and I use the train to commute to work. I occasionally rent a car for trips out of the city.

Does the owner of this blog seriously suggest that I should pledge to buy a hybrid?

You are not doing a service to the environment by ignoring the possibility of living without a car. Being car-free saves lots of money, it improves your health, and if we designed cities properly, it would be more convenient than living with a car is today.

Yes, we do need techno-fixes like plug-in hybrids. But we also need to realize that we (meaning the average American) would be better off if we consumed less.

There was life before cars.

1:18 pm, November 30, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

plug in cars sound great but why should we plug in and use dirty coal electricty to recharge. Sell the cars with small gas operated generators. They burn gas but no nearly as much as a car would burn driving 500 miles. I can fully recharge my honda insight hybrid batteries in 5 minutes. OK so it will take 15 minutes to recharge a big battery pack. Still looks like a big C02 reducation.

6:36 pm, December 01, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi all. I have read some conflicting reports about the 2009 Toyota Prius in regard to gas mileage.

The U.S. News is reporting that the "2009 Prius May Reach 94 MPG"

How can that be unless it is a plug-in version? However, I was under the impression that a plug-in version of the Prius will not be available until 2010 (not 2009).

Could someone set me straight on the 2009 Prius, I'm not sure what to believe.

8:52 pm, May 25, 2008  

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