Jan 15, 2011 (From the CalCars-News archive)
We've posted our experiences on what we believe is the first time anyone has driven in a plug-in car from the San Francisco Bay Area to Lake Tahoe without refueling. That's over at EVWorld, with photos. Canadian author Guy Dauncey "gets" the need for a "Big Fix" conversion of existing cars better than almost anyone. Plug In America salutes CalCars and our December celebration. All that below.
TO TAHOE AND BACK IN MY CHEVY VOLT is our story at EVWorld. http://evworld.com/article.cfm?storyid=1955 includes photos of our Chevy Volt in and around Lake Tahoe, featuring toned-down signs saying "PLUG IN!" The story has multiple shots of electric and gasoline use as well. The news of the trip: a car that's 100% electric most of its time driving around locally can still get an overall 35.8 MPG on a trip to Lake Tahoe that includes 8,000 feet of elevation, and have enough fuel to get back down the mountain. While up at the Lake, we were again able to drive all-electric for short trips. And the vehicle's "lifetime" numbers, down significantly from 111.9 MPG before this first long trip, remained at 73.9 MPG for the first 998 miles.
OUR ADDENDUM TO THE PUBLISHED STORY: The return trip from Tahoe was uneventful and easy. Starting the trip with a full electric battery, I averaged 50.8 MPG for 221 miles that included a net 6,000 foot descent, and the new lifetime MPG became 70.5 MPG for 1282.9MPG. The next day, on a trip from home in Redwood City to San Francisco Airport, which included a hilly ascent to I-280 to avoid traffic and a return on US 101, the car was just about to run out of juice after 38.2 totally electric miles.
GUY DAUNCEY'S REALITY CHECK: Dauncey, president of the BC Sustainable Energy Association and author of "The Climate Challenge: 100 Solutions to Global Warming" (which you can get via http://www.calcars.org/books.html#tcc ). Wrote an amazingly effective article, "A Reality Check on the Plug-In Revolution: We need 100 million Plug-Ins on the world's roads by 2020, not one million." It was published at BCSEA http://www.bcsea.org/blog/guy-dauncey/2011/01/14/reality-check-on-plug-revolution and at YES Magazine http://www.yesmagazine.org/planet/a-reality-check-on-the-plug-in-revolution .
Citing the relative impact of new plug-in vehicles as a percentage of the total number of vehicles on the road for the next decade or two (and if anything, underestimating transportation's contribution to global warming), Dauncey says "So for all the excitement, and all the positive stories, these little cars don't amount to a hill of electric beans - a sentiment that Felix Kramer agrees with, and the reason why he has embarked on a new goal - to retrofit tens of millions of cars that are already on the road, turning them into electrics. And don't underestimate the persistent Mr. Kramer. It was Felix, Andy Frank and Ron Gremban and their CalCars team, inspired by the Rocky Mountain Institute's Hypercar project, who got this whole revolution going, eight years ago.
PLUG IN AMERICA SALUTES CALCARS: We've of course appreciated PIA as it sprouted from the "Don't Crush" campaigns and became an effective national organization that's been central to the successful arrival of plug-in cars. We work with them all the time. So we were very gratified that PIA's January newsletter (not yet at http://www.pluginamerica.org ) hailing 2011 as the Year of the Electric Car includes a writeup:
CalCars Gets its Cars, Plug-ins, That Is
"The reality hasn't sunk in that they've actually built this car... ."
A hefty handful of EV enthusiasts might have uttered those words with the recent delivery of the world's first mass-marketed plug-ins. But the quote, first published on PlugInCars.com, comes from one of our industry's most ardent, tireless advocates of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, Felix Kramer, upon receiving his very own Chevy Volt.
Kramer, along with Ron Gremban, founded the pro-PHEV CalCars initiative by completing the first public conversion of a Toyota Prius hybrid into a plug-in hybrid in 2004. Ever since, the powerful pair has been driving plug-in hybrid conversions, hence the near disbelief in possessing a factory-made, off-the-assembly-line Volt.
Kramer and Gremban celebrated the historic arrival of their new cars at Novato Chevrolet in Marin County just before Christmas. They rightly titled their event, "Success of the Plug-In Vehicle Campaign."
"It starts us on the path of taking this giant global industry and turning it around," Kramer said upon the occasion. "It's a big start."
Plug In America extends its hearty congratulations to Kramer and Gremban. Keep on pluggin'!
In photo, from left: Ron Gremban, Felix Kramer and Andy Frank, "father" of the plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. [See that photo and others at http://www.calcars.org/photos-plugins-arrive.html ]