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Pres. Bush Speech on PHEVs and CalCars' Response
Feb 20, 2006 (From the CalCars-News archive)
CalCars-News
This posting originally appeared at CalCars-News, our newsletter of breaking CalCars and plug-in hybrid news. View the original posting here.
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Text below. First, CalCars' response:

TWO-SENTENCE VERSION:
We're delighted the president is now "plugging" plug-in hybrids. But why wait? We hope he'll call the CEOs of car companies and find out how he can help them build PHEVs right away. LONGER VERSION:
We're delighted that Pres. Bush is now "plugging" plug-in hybrids. The President is right to say that "hybrids are a good deal for consumers" and that "plug-in hybrids will make a big difference" so drivers can fuel with cleaner, cheaper, domestic electricity. Continued R&D funding is welcome -- but why wait? We already have the "amazing breakthroughs" the President cites. DaimlerChrysler plus volunteer engineers and entrepreneurs have already put a few plug-in hybrids on the road. Mercedes, UC Davis, CalCars.org and EDrive Systems all use batteries we have right now. Plug-In Partners has fleet buyers asking for cars now. We hope the President will call up the CEOs of car companies and find out how he can help them build PHEVs right away.

Comment at: http://www.hybridcars.com/­blogs/­power/­pres-bush-endorses-phevs-amazing-breakthrough

TOP QUOTES FROM THE PRESIDENT'S SPEECH:

  • Hybrid vehicles are a good deal for consumers and the American people are figuring it out.
  • Start picturing what I'm talking about: you've got your car, you pull in, you plug it right in the wall. (Laughter.) Development will make a big difference in the performance of hybrid cars and trucks. Instead of depending on the gasoline engine to recharge the electric battery, the plug-in hybrids will have fully charged batteries as soon as you get in the automobile. And that means plug-in hybrids will be able to travel much greater distances on electricity alone, thereby saving more gas for our consumers, thereby making us less dependent on oil.
  • Ethanol, by the way, can be used in hybrid vehicles.
  • solar technology has the potential to change the way we live and work, if you really think about it.
  • I am telling you I recognize the importance of wind power.More than $3 billion worth of equipment to generate electricity from wind was installed in America last year. In other words, it's a new industry, it's beginning to grow -- $3 billion is a good investment, good amount of investment.Obviously, people think there's potential when it comes to wind energy.

LONGER EXCERPTS BELOW -- from intro/PHEV/ethanol/conclusion -- the entire speech is at http://www.whitehouse.gov/­news/­releases/­2006/­02/­20060220-1.html

President Discusses Advanced Energy Initiative In Milwaukee Johnson Controls Building Efficiency Business Milwaukee, Wisconsin February 20, 2006 11:43 A.M. CST

THE PRESIDENT:
I want to talk to you about the fact that I think we're in an important moment in history, and that we have a chance to transform the way we power our economy and how we lead our lives. That's what I'm here to talk about. It's a good place to come to talk about it because, the truth of the matter is, in order to seize the moment, this country has got to remain technologically advanced.

We're seeing new develops all the time -- new developments -- advanced battery technology allows cell phones to last about 50 percent longer than they did just five years ago. In your laboratory we're seeing -- firsthand seeing the progress being made because of your scientists and engineers in lighter, more potent battery technology. Lightweight parts and better engines allow cars to travel 60 percent farther on a gallon of gas than they did three decades ago.

I know it came as a shock to some to hear a Texan stand up there in front of the country and say, we've got a real problem, America is addicted to oil. But I meant it, because it's a true fact, and we've got to do something about it now. Oil is the primary source of gasoline; it is the primary source of diesel; it is the primary source of jet fuel. And that means that oil accounts for virtually all energy consumption in the vital transportation sector of our economy.

Our nation is on the threshold of some new energy technologies that I think will startle the American people. It's not going to startle you here at Johnson Controls because you know what I'm talking about. (Laughter.) You take it for granted. But the American people will be amazed at how far our technology has advanced in order to meet an important goal, which is to reduce our imports from the Middle East by 75 percent by 2025, and eventually getting rid of our dependence totally.

The first objective is to change the way we power our cars and trucks. Today's cars and trucks are fueled almost exclusively by gasoline and diesel fuel, which, of course, comes from oil. To transform the way we power the vehicles, we have got to diversify away from oil. I just gave you a reason from a national security perspective, as well as economic security perspective why reliance upon oil is not good for the United States.

And so here are three ways that we can do that, change our reliance from oil. First, invest in new kinds of vehicles that require much less gasoline. It's a practical thing to do. Secondly, find new fuels that will replace gasoline and, therefore, dependence on oil. And, finally, develop new ways to run a car without gasoline at all.

The most promising ways to reduce gasoline consumption quickly is through hybrid vehicles. Hybrid vehicles have both a gasoline-powered engine and an electric battery based on technologies that were developed by the Department of Energy. In other words, this technology came to be because the federal government made a research commitment. That's why I think it's double -- important to double research as we go down the next decade. The gasoline engine charges the battery, which helps drive the vehicle. And the twin sources of power allow hybrid cars and trucks to travel about twice as far on a gallon of fuel as gasoline-only vehicles. That is a good start when something that can go twice as far on a gallon of gasoline than the conventional vehicle can.

Hybrid vehicles are a good deal for consumers and the American people are figuring it out. More than 200,000 hybrids were sold in the United States last year -- the highest sales on record. There's growing demand for hybrid automobiles. And working with the Congress, we came up with an additional incentive, and that is we provide a tax credit up to $3,400 per hybrid vehicle purchaser. In other words, we want to stimulate demand. In the marketplace when there is demand, suppliers will meet that demand, and that's positive, because if you can go twice as far on a gallon of gasoline than otherwise it means we're becoming less dependent on oil. Hybrid vehicles on the road today are delivering impressive gasoline savings.

But there is more to be done, and that's why I'm here at Johnson Controls, because engineers here are working on ways to replace the current hybrid battery technology with advanced lithium ion batteries that are now used in cell phones and laptops. These batteries are lighter, they are more powerful, and they can be recharged quickly. Using new lithium ion batteries, engineers will be able to design the next generation of hybrid vehicles, called plug-in hybrids, that can be recharged through a standard electrical outlet. Start picturing what I'm talking about: you've got your car, you pull in, you plug it right in the wall. (Laughter.)

Development will make a big difference in the performance of hybrid cars and trucks. Instead of depending on the gasoline engine to recharge the electric battery, the plug-in hybrids will have fully charged batteries as soon as you get in the automobile. And that means plug-in hybrids will be able to travel much greater distances on electricity alone, thereby saving more gas for our consumers, thereby making us less dependent on oil.

The plug-in hybrid, they estimate, can initially go 40 miles on electricity alone. So you've got a lot of folks living in cities like Milwaukee, Wisconsin, who generally don't drive more than 40 miles a day. Therefore, within 40 miles you'll be on electricity and using no gasoline. Eventually, plug-in hybrids with lithium ion batteries will be able to get 100 miles per gallon. And now all of a sudden you're beginning to see the effects of this important technology on our national security and on our economic security. But, more important, for the pocketbook of our consumers.

Plug-in hybrids are a really important part of the strategy I've announced, and we're going to provide $31 million to speed up research on these advanced technologies -- this is a 27-percent increase over current funding levels. In other words, we like to -- the experts tell me this is a very good chance to have major breakthroughs and we want to accelerate those breakthroughs. And, again, I want to thank you all for being on the leading edge of change.

We're also supporting the development of advanced fuels that can replace regular gasoline. Here again I'm talking to folks who know what I'm talking about -- I'm talking about ethanol. You've got a lot of it here in Wisconsin because you've got corn. Ethanol is produced -- primarily produced from corn; it's blended with gasoline to produce clean and efficient fuel. And blends with that ethanol concentration of less than 10 percent, ethanol can be used in any vehicle. With minor modifications -- I emphasize "minor modifications" -- cars and trucks can become what we call flex-fuel vehicles that run on a fuel blend called E85, which is a mix of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. That's a positive development.

Ethanol, by the way, can be used in hybrid vehicles. So the more ethanol we use, the less crude oil we consume. And using ethanol has the added benefit of supporting our farmers. I like to kind of tease in a way, but beneath the tease is serious -- it will be good one day when the President is given the crop report. (Laughter.) It says, "Mr. President, corn is up." (Laughter.) And we're less dependent on foreign sources of energy.

America produced a record 3.9 billion gallons of ethanol in 2005, was the record levels. That's twice the level produced when I got sworn in first time. There are five ethanol that plants up and running here in Wisconsin, and more are coming. We offer a tax credit to ethanol blenders of 51 cents per gallon. We're committed to ethanol. It makes sense. Ethanol benefits a lot of folks, but, most importantly, it benefits those who are driving cars.

Now, we're on the edge of advancing additional ethanol production. New technology is going to make it possible to produce ethanol from wood chips and stalks and switch grass, and other natural materials. Researchers at the Energy Department tell me we're five or six years away from breakthroughs in being able to produce fuels from those waste products. In other words, we're beginning to -- we're coming up with a way to make something out of nothing. And this is important because it's -- economics are such that it's important to have your ethanol-producing factories or plants close to where the product is grown.

That's why E85 has spread throughout the Midwest, that's where you're growing the corn. Pretty soon, you know, if you're able to grow switch grass and convert that into ethanol, then you're going to have availability for ethanol in other parts of the country. I mean, there's a lot of stuff that gets thrown away that may be converted into fuel, but it's not just located in one part of the country -- it's located around the country. And one of the goals is to make sure that ethanol is widespread. If we want to affect our consumption of oil, we want ethanol to be readily available for consumers outside certain parts of the -- certain regions of the country.

And so we proposed spending $150 million for government and private research into these homegrown fuels. It's an important initiative. We want to provide our consumers with reasonable, cost-effective ways to help us become less dependent on foreign sources of oil.

<fuel cells/hydrogen/coal/natural gas/nuclear power> <photovoltaic solar power and wind power>

I think you're beginning to get the drift of what I'm talking about. We're on the edge of some amazing breakthroughs -- breakthroughs all aimed at enhancing our national security and our economic security, and the quality of life for the folks who live here in the United States. And so, therefore, now is the time for Congress to join me in spending this money. I think it's a good use of your money, to help us achieve major breakthroughs in how we live and how we can reduce our dependency on oil. This is an issue that Republicans and Democrats can, and must, come together on. It's an issue that -- (applause.)

Think about how your children or your grandchildren may be able to spend a President's Day in the future. If you're planning a trip to visit relatives, you can plug in your hybrid car the night before and drive the first 40 miles on your lithium ion battery. If you've got more distance to go, you can fill up at your local ethanol station. If you're in Wisconsin, you'll be filling it up with corn product. In Crawford, it may just be switch grass. (Laughter.) You may decide to travel in a hydrogen-powered minivan, and refuel at a station with hydrogen generated by a local nuclear power plant. When you finally make it to where you're going, you can sit at a house that is lit by clean coal, or wind energy, or solar-powered roof over your head.

We're close. We're close to having this vision realized in America. And by the way, this can all be done -- the whole trip can be done without consuming a single drop of oil. It's within our reach. There was a lot of time when most Americans would never have imagined that we'd be traveling long distance in our automobile instead of a buggy, or sending emails instead of letters. In the life of this nation we have seen incredible and rapid advances in technology -- in the history of this country.

I believe the greatest advances are yet to come. And I want to thank the good folks here at Johnson for helping them come. Thanks for your time. God bless. (Applause.)


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