Mar 23, 2007 (From the CalCars-News archive)
Plug-In Bay Area's activities ratcheted up significantly today with an press conference jointly sponsored by Sililcon Valley Leadership Group. We were most excited by the fact that ETM Electromatic is the first company, that, inspired by the example of Hyperion, Google, Yahoo, Timberland, Bank of America and others in giving $3-$5,000 benefits to employees who buy hybrids, has decided to take the next step: offering a $3,000 ADDITIONAL benefit to employees who buy PHEVs (when they become available). We hope this becomes a trend! See photos of the event (and many other new photos) at http://www.calcars.org/photos-people.html and at http://www.calcars.org/photos-leaders.html.
Below we include links to an local ABC TV report, a KCBS radio report, the event press release and a news story from the San Jose Mercury News (which includes a brief report on an interview with Malcolm Bricklin about his plans for PHEVs.
http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=global_warm&id=5137250 Watch a 2:30 report by abc7news.com, the San Francisco ABC affiliate, about the campaign. The report says Palo Alto is considering signing up, but Mayor Yoriko Kishimoto statement today endorsed the campaign, signing up both the city and her own family with soft orders.
Listen to a 1-minute radio report, New Partnership Pushes Cleaner Cars, with reporter Mike Colgan from KCBS All-News Radio report (Quicktime audio) http://kcbs.com/pages/317324.php?contentType=4&contentId=384693
Plug-In Bay Area, Silicon Valley Leadership Group
Team up to Promote Plug-In Hybrids
March 22, 2007
Palo Alto Mayor and Silicon Valley CEO endorse partnership at City Hall News Conference
PALO ALTO, CA - Plug-in Bay Area and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group announced a new partnership today with the aim of encouraging businesses and municipalities throughout Silicon Valley to invest in fuel efficient plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. Palo Alto Mayor Yoriko Kishimoto and Tom Hayse, president and CEO of Newark-based ETM-Electromatic, Inc., were on hand to endorse the partnership at a news conference outside Palo Alto City Hall.
"Plug-in hybrids are the key to a cleaner, more fuel efficient future," said Rainforest Action Network's Jodie Van Horn, coordinator of Plug-in Bay Area. "This partnership is another important step toward establishing plug-in hybrids as a realistic alternative to the gas-guzzling vehicles being promoted to consumers by America's oil-addicted auto industry."
Plug-In Bay Area is part of a national grassroots effort intended to show automakers the burgeoning demand for plug-in vehicles via "soft orders," which are declarations of intent to purchase plug-ins once they are commercially available. Plug-in hybrids, which are capable of 100+ miles per gallon, add battery power and a plug to a conventional hybrid while retaining a flexible fuel gas tank. This allows for all-electric, zero-emissions driving locally, and the ability to shift to gas for longer distances.
"Our organization is fully charged and running on all cylinders behind this partnership with Plug-in Bay Area and the importance of reducing greenhouse gases," said Carl Guardino, CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, which represents 210 of the region's largest companies. "We encourage our members, their employees and everyone throughout the Bay Area and beyond to support these and other alternative energy options to fossil fuel-burning automobiles."
"Plug-in hybrids use a viable, existing technology that can help us dramatically improve our air quality and reduce costly fuel consumption," said Mayor Kishimoto. "I am excited about the future of this technology for the City of Palo Alto to evaluate, especially since we have our own electric utility to plug into. The City of Palo Alto has an established history of supporting alternative fuel vehicles, and I want to encourage the application of this technology to heavy equipment as well as small commute vehicles. I am willing to place a soft order for a plug-in hybrid personally as a beginning. I hope that the partnership between Plug-in Bay Area and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group will result in area businesses placing soft orders and jump-starting the development of a viable market."
"I would buy a Plug-in hybrid today if I could," said ETM-Electromatic CEO Tom Hayse. "Since they aren't available yet, I plan to put in a soft order for my company, and I will offer incentives to any employees who wish to order plug-ins for themselves. The auto manufacturers need to know that there are companies and individuals willing to buy these cars as soon as they start rolling off the production lines."
"Automakers are starting to pay attention to the growing consumer demand for plug-in hybrids - cars that drive like normal cars, with fewer pollutants and fewer trips to the gas station," said Danielle Fugere, Global Warming Program Director for Bluewater Network. "We intend to keep the pressure on until plug-in hybrids are sold at every corner auto dealer."
Regional Plug-In Bay Area organizers include Rainforest Action Network, Bluewater Network, PG&E, CalCars, San Francisco Electric Vehicle Association, and Plug-In America.
The goal of Plug-In Bay Area is to bring the Bay Area and America closer to energy independence by working to bring fuel efficient plug-in hybrids to market. Plug-in hybrids, which combine liquid and electric fuel, offer an exciting and timely solution to the nation's dependence on foreign oil, high gasoline costs, poor air quality and climate change.
The Silicon Valley Leadership Group is organized to involve principal officers and senior managers of member companies in a cooperative effort with local, regional, state and federal government officials to address major public policy issues affecting the economic health and quality of life in Silicon Valley.
Support growing for plug-in hybrids
By Matt Nauman
Article Launched: 03/22/2007
From Silicon Valley to China, the groundwork is being laid for plug-in hybrid vehicles that get more of their power from electricity and less from gasoline.
In Palo Alto on Thursday, Plug-in Bay Area, a coalition that includes the Rainforest Action Network, Bluewater Network, CalCars, Pacific Gas & Electric and others, and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, led by Carl Guardino, announced a partnership to support plug-in hybrids.
Nothing specific was unveiled at the event, but those present, including Palo Alto Mayor Yoriko Kishimoto, pledged to work to encourage local companies and governments to show their support of plug-ins by placing "soft orders" for them. Soft orders are public statements of support for the concept; no company is mass-producing plug-in hybrids yet. About two dozen plug-in hybrids exist in the United States.
Like a traditional hybrid, plug-ins have both electric motors and batteries as well as a gasoline engine. The difference, advocates say, is plug-ins have more robust batteries, which allows them to achieve the equivalent of 100 mpg. And they can be charged using a home's electricity.
"I always joke, `I'm doing the sales work for them; all the car companies need to do is to build these vehicles,'" said Jodie Van Horn of the Rainforest Action Network.
So far, about 8,000 soft orders have been placed for these vehicles nationwide. Locally, the cities of San Francisco, Berkeley, Alameda and Oakland, as well as Marin County, have placed soft orders.
Kishimoto said she wants to buy a plug-in. Tom Hayse, president and chief executive of Newark-based ETM Electromatic, which makes power subsystems for communications and defense industries, said his company will place 13 soft orders, and he plans to offer incentives to his employees who buy these cars.
Also Thursday, automotive entrepreneur Malcolm Bricklin revealed in a phone interview more about his plans to build plug-ins in China and sell them in the United States. For the first time, he said the hybrid sedans from his Visionary Vehicles brand would carry his name, Bricklin.
He intends to build four-door models costing about $35,000 that can go 40 to 50 miles on electricity and then use a small gasoline motor to extend the driving range another 300 miles. They might go on sale in 2009.
"The Big Three are telling the truth that the price of battery technology needs to go down," he said. "What they're not saying is it won't come down until somebody orders 150,000 sets of them."
Bricklin, 68, successfully brought Subaru to America, and followed that with the much-derided Yugo and his own sports car, the Bricklin SV-1, which were not as successful.
In 2005, he announced he would import gasoline cars built by Chery Automotive of China to the United States, but that deal has fallen through. But he already had started setting up a dealer network, with several people paying $2 million for specific territories such as Silicon Valley, and he said Thursday that most of those dealers endorse his new plug-in hybrid strategy.
Some praise his vision. Others are skeptical. He admitted hurdles remain, including financing, although he said his company soon would get a $50 million investment.
General Motors Chairman Rick Wagoner has committed the automaker to building plug-in hybrids, but he said the timetable depends on battery advancements. Toyota, the biggest seller of hybrids, has said it is researching plug-in versions as well.
President Bush has endorsed the concept, too, seeing plug-in hybrids as a way to use less imported oil.