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Felix Kramer

We appreciate this thoughtful comment. It's also timely, since plug-in hybrids are starting to get attention in the national media. And we're very pleased that the Hybrid Center's "Under the Hood" area has a "Hybrid Checklist" at http://www.ucsusa.org/hybridcenter/page.cfm?pageID=1698 that shows the different kinds of hybrids and awards more wheel-checks to plug-in hybrids than any other hybrid type. (If you want to know more about plug-in hybrids, check out the resources and links at http://www.calcars.org, and to read our 3-page Fact Sheet about the PRIUS+ conversion.)

Of course, as Jason suggests, these cars' benefits (and the costs of high-emission gasoline cars) extend well beyond the individual owner's payback to society and our world. Plug-in hybrids, with gasoline as the "range extender" fuel initially, progressing to biofuels and cellulose ethanol, can represent a highly effective way to reduce greenhouse gases from cars and light trucks (and other vehicle types) using existing technology. That's why policymakers and car buyers want them, and, we hope soon, automakers, will build them.

For a quick response to that big issue: why an electric car is cleaner than a gasoline car even on the dirty national (50% coal) grid see section 3 of the CalCars Vehicles page.) And to keep things lively, we've added a link to this blog at http://www.calcars.org/kudos.html

by Felix Kramer, founder, California Cars Initiative http://www.calcars.org and the PRIUS+ campaign http://www.priusplus.org

doug korthof

Electric cars use no gas, and can easily be converted into plug-in hybrids if you were to add a small generator.

But Toyota is still crushing, and then shredding, Electric cars!

Join the informational picketing of Toyota and Hummer dealers this Saturday:


WHEN: Sat., Jun 18, 11:00 A.M.
WHAT: Hummer Protest. Optional.
EV/Hybrid/Bicycle/Pedestrian Parade
WHERE: Hummer of Sherman Oaks
14401 Ventura Blvd Sherman Oaks
DIR: From 405, take 101 E to Van Nuys exit S to Ventura,
turn Left (E) to appx. Beverly Glen.
BRING: Wariness. I don't know the organizers.


WHEN: Sat., Jun 18, 1:30 P.M.
WHAT: DontCrush.com Informational leafletting
WHERE: Keys Toyota
5855 Van Nuys BLVD., Van Nuys
DIR: From 405, take 101 E. to Van Nuys, exit S.
1.4 miles from Hummer of Sherman Oaks.
BRING: Hat, good shoes. Water, signs, leaflets will be provided.

Hold Saturdays at 1:30 open for persistent dealer protests.

Next week Friday protests at Toyota HQ commence at 7:15 A.M. and on. Just stop by, even for one hour, there will be someone on-site until Noon.


Man, this stuff cracks me up...an all electric car. Sounds fabulous - quiet ride, no emissions, long battery life.

I have a question though...if you have fleets of cars that require you charge a big battery every night, where's all that electricity going to come from? Most of the new power generation built in the last 20-25 years in North America consists of natural gas fired plants. Gas suppliers have been frantically drilling for more on this continent in the past few years, but despite more rigs in place every year, natural gas supply has remained flat. All they're doing is running faster and faster just to stand still. And any ability for North America to import the stuff in liquified form in tankers will not be augmented until the start of the next decade. Now you know why natural gas prices have tripled in the last five years.

But what else is there? No one wants coal anymore, and nuclear is costly and problematic from a waste standpoint. As for renewables...yeah, they're great, but you'd be pretty hard pressed to charge your car battery every night with the solar panel sitting in the dark.

What I'm saying is that an all electric car only adds another big user onto the electricity grid, which is the absolute last thing this continent needs right now.

Your heart is in the right place, but if you really want to be serious about conserving energy or even the environment, this is the wrong approach. The thing to concentrate on isn't fuel efficiency in cars, it's USING WHATEVER CAR YOU HAVE LESS. Less trips to the store, shorter commutes or none at all, and living in a community where there is actually something to walk to.

To quote Matt Savinar, author of the vitally important website www.lifeaftertheoilcrash.net, hybrid cars are "like putting a filter on a cigarette."


If one is to plug-in one's car to recharge it overnight, there's an even better, much safer and cheaper car than hybrids or hydrogen cars, or electric cars - air-driven cars.



Best regards,



Greg asks rhetorically:

"...if you have fleets of cars that require you charge a big battery every night, where's all that electricity going to come from?"

Average power production of all US generation plants is roughly 440 GW. Total nameplate capacity is around a terawatt (10^12 watts).

Average power delivered to the wheels of all US vehicles is around a measly 180 GW.

"Most of the new power generation built in the last 20-25 years in North America consists of natural gas fired plants."

Fine. Start adding wind to take the burden off gas supplies; the 5 MW turbines coming along ought to be good. Re-power the more recent coal plants with gasifiers and gas-turbine topping cycles; this will increase their net efficiency by 20% or more while nearly eliminating emissions. A re-powered steam plant has its capacity close to tripled, so old, inefficient and polluting plants can be retired as repowered plants come back on-line.

Roughly half of all US electric production comes from coal; call it 220 GW average. If the efficiency can be boosted by 20%, that's an extra 44 GW of power from no additional fuel, or almost 1/4 of the total required to power all our transport. If the re-powered plants can hit 45% instead of the 40% of the first conversions, power output will go up by 35% compared to baseline (77 GW) and more than 40% of transport energy demand could be met for the same amount of fuel.

"you'd be pretty hard pressed to charge your car battery every night with the solar panel sitting in the dark."

Wasn't it you who just said something about running out of gas for powerplants? What's the problem with using RE to displace those plants during the day, and running them at night instead? For that matter, what's the problem with plugging in at work and using the (gasp) electrical grid to move the power a few miles?

"The thing to concentrate on isn't fuel efficiency in cars, it's USING WHATEVER CAR YOU HAVE LESS."

Which only reduces oil use rather than displacing it... which is exactly the point made by your Savinar quote.

I think you need to go back and work on your reading comprehension.


Couple points:

First, of all the hybrids on the road, only one tries to be a mileage king: the Honda Insight. The Prius and Civic hybrids are fairly mileage-oriented, but those and on down the line from there - greater and greater emphasis is placed on peformance and size.

I think the big win in national fuel economy, and national emissions reduction, would first be to get more people into simple mileage-oriented hybrids.

After that, is it worth it to add more batteries? Tell me how much those batteries cost, the gas reduction they will yield and most importantly if you are reducing the number of simple conventional hybrids you could make?

I own a new Prius, and wouldn't mind topping up the batteries with a plug, but I'm not really interested in dropping another $6-10K. No, I'd rather see more people convert to simple inexpensive hybrids.

(I think we can agree to just groan at the thought of a plug-in highlander hybrid ...)


One of the two Prius conversions uses lead-acid electric bicycle batteries (216 volts nominal); those probably cost a chunk of change as it is, but if they were made in volume and sold as a package (or factory option), I don't see any reason they couldn't go for $1000 or less.

Cor van de Water

Just a quick note on high-volume battery cost:
I was able to purchase an EV (Electric Vehicle) after searching for it several years. I had to settle for a S10 (Chevrolet light-truck, converted by US Electricar in 1994) that carries a whopping 1800 lbs (800kg) of batteries, this gives it a fairly decent range and my daily 23 miles commute (mostly freeway) does not even use half the available range.
I installed 26 batteries (110Ah, 12V) and this cost me around $2200, including delivery to my driveway. Sure, I did not order specialized EV batteries but settled for mass-produced Universal Batteries, which use standard Lead-Acid technology but are safe because they are completely sealed and shock resistant due to the AGM technology (Absorbed Glass Matt).
This means that even when a battery gets damaged, it does not leak dangerous acid as it is all contained in the "sponge" glass matt and this also prevents the lead plates from moving, which is ideal for a vehicle.

Castor Oil

Plug in hybrids sure sound like an optimal blend, perhaps once the promise of biogasoline and biodiesel become a reality, these greener fuels can be used for long distance and electricity for local travel

Vic, Castor Oil Online @ http://www.castoroil.in


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New Cars

I've always been curious about these figues as well. Thanks for the information.

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