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altfuels

A lot of us are concerned not that you don't "pick winners," but that, with regard to plug-in vehicles, you have (in the past, anyway) "picked losers." That is, UCS has repeated automaker spin about plug-in vehicles being nothing but "elsewhere emission vehicles" that merely transfer an equivalent amount of pollution from the tailpipe to the generating station, or that a large number of plug-in vehicles would strain the electrical grid, etc. (I don't have time right now to hunt down the blog posts where you said these; search for my handle, "altfuels," to find them because I replied to a lot of these a year or so ago!) Even the "you don't have to plug it in" promo for (non-plug-in) hybrids implicitly denigrates plug-in vehicles, as if plugging in a vehicle was a bad thing (for anybody except oil companies and OPEC nations). To UCS's credit, I will note that I haven't seen that kind of thing on this blog in awhile; just make sure that you don't backslide!

Jim Stack

The Energy bill requires us to stop subsidising big oil. If that happens and gas is $7 a gallon like all of Europe and the rest of the world it will be the best way to increase efficiency.

The full hybrid in a light vehicle like the Prius and better yet the Yaris in the future is the best step. Offering plug-in options for these full hybrids is the next step. I'd pay for that in a nano second from Toyota !

We have to move ahead.

Tom Schaffter

UCS, Please GET REALISTIC about PHEV's:

1) the TECHNOLOGY is AVAILABLE NOW;
2) with the SHIFT of a little of OIL's SUBSIDY they'll be AFFORDABLE;
3) the DISTRIBUTION INFRASTRUCTURE is IN PLACE;
4) UTILITY companies will BUY USED BATTERIES;
5) V2G has TREMENDOUS POTENTIAL;
6) PHEV's get CLEANER as GRID gets CLEANER;
7) with E85, 500! MPG of OIL, INCREASING NATIONAL SECURITY
and DECREASING both low- and high-altitude POLLUTION;

WHERE'S THE DOWNSIDE, EXCEPT FOR THE OIL COMPANIES??

Respectfully,
Thomas Schaffter
Ph.D., Berkeley, '75, Logic and the Methodology of Science
TomSchaffter@Mac.Com

felixkramer

It's true that CalCars.org has long urged that UCS expand its scope. We think environmentalists should set their sights higher, predicated that we will in the next few years see the end of "business as usual." We're hoping for what investment house Alliance Bernstein projects: 72% of the fleet, 85% of new cars will be hybrids or plug-in hybrids by 2030 (see link on CalCars homepage to read this report).

The not-so-large leap from gasoline-only hybrids to mostly-electric PHEVs in new cars can vastly exceed the benefits of improving efficiency of gasoline cars. Of course carmakers can and should tweak the range extension fuel, engine, aerodynamics, weight, etc.

We think the "we don't pick winners" theme doesn't adequately respond to the realities that we have no level playing field and overlookS the fact that uniquely among "alt-fuel vehicles," the electrical source and the range extension fuels of PHEVs "don't pick winners." Finally, UCS in fact still picks winners, perpetuating misconceptions like the idea that plugging in is inherently negative, along with the inexcusably unscientific idea (by Bill Nye, who knows better) that hybrids that somehow generate their own electricity and don't plug in "help most at the pump and with the planet." http://www.hybridcenter.org/owners/bill-nye-plugin.html

Personally, I've been a big fan of UCS since its pioneering work in the 1970s. From its more than 100,00 members, we do hear from individuals who want to help. Advocates for the electrification of transportation already include many environmental groups. We look forward to the day when UCS decides to enthusiastically focus its expertise on technical, regulatory and other steps to ensure successful commercialization of PHEVs -- and working energetically to motivate carmakers to develop a full line of plug-in cars!

-- Felix Kramer, Founder, The Caifornia Cars Initiative

(See a longer version of this post at CalCars-News http://www.calcars.org/calcars-news/858.html )

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Very interesting... as always! Cheers from Switzerland.

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