Well, it’s been a great launch to the HybridCenter Earth Day Challenge. As you might have noted, our Who’s Got Hybrids? section was quite small, but it won’t be for long. We’ve gotten over 100 testimonials and photos already, and a number of other owners who had testimonials ready, but no photos yet. I know many of you are anxious to see yourselves up on our site (we're excited, too), but we’ll need a bit of time to get all these photos formatted and up, so give us a week or two and you’ll be seeing a much expanded web feature.
Thanks also to the nearly one thousand people who have already signed up for our new Driving Change Network. A number of folks have already written in with questions that will be best answered by both our technical experts and on-the-ground hybrid owners, so we’ll start what should be a great exchange of information with this new network at the end of the Challenge.
As you might expect, there are a lot more people coming to look at HybridCenter.org for the first time. We’ve gotten a couple of repeat comments/questions from these folks that could use a quick answer, and Hybridblog is just the place to do it.
1) Bill Nye, the extension cord, and plugin hybrids: A number of plugin hybrid advocates have the impression that Bill Nye’s photo of him holding an extension cord by his Prius is meant as a “slap” at the plugin hybrid concept. I understand that those heavily invested in promoting plugin or all electric vehicle technology might be sensitive to this, but that’s simply not the case. Indeed, we at HybridCenter have been talking about plugins for quite some time. Jason Mark, the director of the UCS Clean Vehicles Program, blogged about it specifically. He noted our hopes for plugin development and the potential market, but recognized the challenges ahead. I echoed some of those same sentiments in this blog. You’ll also note that we talk about plugin hybrids in our A New Road report.
So why is Bill holding the cord? Because the myth that all hybrid vehicles need to be plugged in is still very pervasive, and is a barrier to the mainstream growth of the hybrid market. Note this BusinessWeek article that rates the “plug in myth” as #1. While we at UCS are quite interested in plugin technology development and HybridCenter will continue to cover plugin development, we also believe that there is tremendous need, and potential, to push “no plug” hybrid technology in a cleaner, more efficient direction, and to push it far more widely to the public. Dispelling the “must plug” myth is part of that effort.
2) Diesel & Biodiesel: Seems there are lots of diesel advocates and biodiesel supporters out there as well looking at HybridCenter for the first time. This is an area we covered extensively in a blog by our vehicles engineer Don Anair (aka “Sharkey”) that featured a lively exchange in the comments section. The potential of diesel technology, and its current limitations, are explored in our Diesel Dilemma report. A note that I made in this blog is the fact that no diesel vehicle can currently apply for the advanced technology vehicle tax credits because they cannot yet meet the minimum smog-forming emissions standard to do so. Biodiesel has both potential and hurdles, and that is something we explore in this biodiesel FAQ. Remember if you have questions that go beyond hybrids, many of the answers will be available on our UCS Clean Vehicles homepage.
Thanks to all who have written in and joined the network. We’ll keep you posted periodically as to how the challenge is going. Thanks to all, like Mary Laiuppa in San Diego (see her comment on the last blog), for helping to spread the word about the challenge with emails, links, and chatrooms. We can use all the help we can get!
Posted by: ScottN