It’s been a long time since we’ve posted to CalCars-News. Reasons include personal distractions for the main people involved, and our consideration about the evolving role of CalCars. Those discussions are continuing, but meanwhile, here are a few key points and important developments we’d like to share, including “DriveElectric,” a very important new initiative from CalCars and plug-in advocates:
Here are some key developments:
EVERYTHING IS CHANGING IN THE PLUG-IN WORLD, as the cars arrive, as controversies continue and as more and more people starting talking about “PEVs,” rather than making strong separations between plug-in hybrids, extended range electric vehicles, and plug-in electric vehicles. All the news and discussion sites reflect this change; we hope our readers are in the middle of many of them. It’s an exciting and challenging time!
FINALLY, A PRIUS PLUGS IN! We’ve been delighted about the launch of the Prius Plug-in Hybrid (that’s the way Toyota spells and capitalizes it). For those who are surprised about the strength of its sales, just remember how many people love their Priuses — and how many were exposed to Prius conversions since 2004! It turns out many of these people are just fine with a car with a relatively limited electric-only range.
GM HAS STARTED TO “GET” HOW TO PROMOTE THE CHEVY VOLT. Ads started with strange themes and quirky people. Now on YouTube, seek out dozens of videos in the “Happy Volt Owners” series. Many are under 45 seconds showing a single owner talking about what they love. Longer ones cover Speed, Technology, Misconceptions, and other topics. Now, to start reaching mainstream audiences, we hope to see drivers not just standing in front of white backgrounds next to their trophy cars but instead INSIDE their cars, showing how they’re part of commutes, shopping, families, etc.
BIG FIX CAMPAIGN: CalCars continues to promote conversions of internal combustion vehicles; in recent months, Via Motors http://www.viamotors.com/, including Bob Lutz as a spokesperson, and featuring moments with Jay Leno, has gotten much attention. And AMP Electric Jeep Cherokee SUV conversions http://ampelectricvehicles.com are eligible for the $7,500 federal tax credit!
IN-WHEEL MOTORS: A most positive long-term development for conversions is the renewed pursuit of a technology that will eventually make retrofits of millions of vehicles possible. When we have lightweight, affordable “hub motors” in the wheels of cars, conversions will have to find room mainly for batteries. One company, Protean Electric http://www.proteanelectric.com , familiar to some a few years ago as the British company PML Flightlink, has reorganized with better technology, new funding and great momentum!
DRIVING ELECTRIC IS GETTING STARTED; Meanwhile, advocates and the entire plug-in industry are starting to come to a consensus that there’s no greater priority now than to find ways to ensure the success of the new plug-in vehicles by increasing demand for the cars! Therefore, we are happy to announce a new initiative. We don’t want to encourage too much attention now, because it’s still in the formative stages. But it’s coming soon and we hope it will help! Here’s how we describe it: