PLUG OK license plate
Our Nov. Washington State trip
Dec 6, 2005 (From the CalCars-News archive)
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This message can be found online at http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/­group/­calcars-news/­message/­217

We are boosters of the State of California. We couldn't have gotten as far as we have without support from people across the state. And CA is the birthplace of the modern plug-in hybrid (though of course, what we're doing is applicable nationally and world-wide.) Then in the past year, we became Texas fans, inspired by the growing support there, especially the enthusiasm generated by Austin Energy.

When we accepted an invitation to drive the PRIUS+ to Washington, we didn't know what to expect. We found an extraordinarily high level of support, enthusiasm, and excitement about the possibilities that flex-fuel plug-in hybrids open up. So Washington joins Calilfornia and Texas in taking leadership in promoting flex-fuel plug-in hybrids! (As I head up for a brief trip to Vancouver, I'm looking forward to meeting many people who are already involved in renewable automotive and energy technologies.

I had hoped to produce a more detailed trip report, but I've run out of time....so I'll hit the highlights and the main facts. I hope that as future alliances and projects unfold, you'll hear more specifics about organizations and programs relating to PHEVs in the Pacific Northwest.

You can see a sampling of photos from the trip at http://www.flickr.com/­photos/­56727147@N00/­sets/­1512261/­. (Viewing photos at Flickr is a bit complicated. Click on the first photo, then click on + and you can see the captions; if you view them as a slideshow, you don't get the captions. And see if you can watch them in chronological rather than reverse order.) After reading this, see media reports in the message that follows: http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/­group/­calcars-news/­message/­218

Just before leaving, we got new signs for the PRIUS+ (dark green, should
have been yellow). Near the "GAS OPT" license plate is a small logo;
slogans are:
World's first plug-in Prius
Your local commute for under $1/gallon.
100 MPG hybrids!
CalCars.org
The front doors have larger logos plus 100+ MPG hybrids

Ron Gremban and I made 4 stops on our trip.

EVENT #1
Passing through Oregon on Nov. 13, we we got an enthusiastic reception from members of the Portland Electric Vehicle Association <http://www.oeva.org/­http://www.oeva.org.

EVENT #2
In Seattle on Nov. 14, we were welcomed by Stephen Lough of the Seattle Electric Vehicle Association <http://www.seattleeva.orghttp://www.seattleeva.org. We then attended a press conference in front of City Hall. Speaking about PHEVs were:

  • City Councilmember Jean Godden, Chair, Energy & Environment Committee and Vice-Chair, Transportation Committee
  • Seattle Deputy Mayor Tim Ceis (We were told Mayor Nickels, who has spearheaded the national Mayor's Climate Protection Agreement http://www.ci.seattle.wa.us/­mayor/­climate/­ signed so far by over 190 cities) would have been there but had to be out of town)
  • Superintendent of Seattle's City Light Jorge Carrasco
  • Richard Feldman, Washington State Coordinator for the Apollo Alliance and member of the Seattle Mayor's Green Ribbon Commission on Climate Protection.Thanks to Rich for helping to put together the event, together with Alec Fisken, Greg Nickels and others in the Mayor's' office. Their comments and links to media coverage are in a following posting, http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/­group/­calcars-news/­message/­218

We are looking forward to the results of the expected hearing and vote on Friday, Dec. 9, at Transportation Committee on Resolution 30825 to promote and encourage the manufacture and use of PHEVs, endorsing the Plug-In Austin Initiative. http://clerk.ci.seattle.wa.us/­%7Escripts/­nph-brs.exe?d=RESN&s1=30825.resn.&Sect6=HITOFF&l=20&p=1&u=/­%7Epublic/­cbor2.htm&r=1&f=G

EVENT #3
We then travelled to the West Seattle Campus of South Seattle Community College http://www.southseattle.edu, where we were welcomed by College President Jill Wakefield. We met in the automotive program's vast garage with students and faculty interested in learning more about advanced technology vehicles and getting a glimpse of what they might be working on in the future. Thanks to Michael Porter for helping to make this happen!

EVENT #4
We spent the next day in Wenatchee (across the Cascade Range on the mighty Columbia River), at the Advanced Vehicle Initiative Action Summit http://www.ncwctc.com/­205.html. Before the event, the Commissioners of the Port of Chelan County passed a resolution in support of plug-in hybrids and economic development programs around them http://www.calcars.org/­wenatchee-avi-resolution-nov05.pdf.

The program was sponsored by the Port of Chelan County, Wenatchee Valley College, Washington Public Utility Districts Association, Washington State University Center for Sustaining Agricultural and Natural Resources, and the Institute for Environment Research and Education (IERE). (See the event URL for the agenda and links to the sponsors' websites.)

Austin Energy spoke by video; UC Davis Prof. Andy Frank discussed the technology, and we gave the keynote address. Our PRIUS+ occupied the position of honor under the canopy outside the Confluence Technology Center where the event was held.

Leading the strategic discussions were Ron Johnston Rodriguez, from the Port of Chelan County and Jim White, founder of the Chelan County Public Utility District's Sustainable Natural Alternative Power (SNAP) Program, with notable participation from Rita Schenck from IERE and Patrick Mazza from Climate Solutions http://www.climatesolutions.org, which works throughout the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia on "practical and profitable solutions to global warming."

With the resources provided by low-cost hydropower and the focus of the Seattle and Wenatchee colleges on automotive technology and economic development, it became clear that a large number of energetic people and important institutions are planning to use PHEVs as the starting point for innovative programs ranging from hybrid conversion businesses to pilot vehicle-to-grid programs. CalCars and the UC Davis Hybrid Center could be working closely with them. This is all very promising! We're continuing discussions with the event's sponsors and other groups.

POSTSCRIPT
On our return from a 1900-mile trip, we got to take a few of the kind of "great outdoors" pictures familiar to us all in car ads (two are in the photos--URL above)....it occurred to us that this is a way to "sell" PHEVs: they give you not only the freedom of the open road (with the performance and range of any gasoline car), but freedom from oil dependence and from the greenhouse gas emissions of petroleum.


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