Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Is There a Plug-In Hybrid in Your Future?

Friends and colleagues across the nation stop me from time to time and ask, "my wife's car has run its course and it is time to replace it. What car should I buy? Should I wait until the Plug-In Hybrids come out? How long would that be?"

How times have changed. When Roger Duncan, General Manager at Austin Energy (my boss), decided to push for the Plug-In Hybrid Vehicle to emerge victorious and save America from oil dependency several years back, it was not clear that the world would turn so quickly to embrace the long-time green ways that many rejected for so long.

Read all about it at

And now, everybody loves green and everyone is rushing to it. Finally! Green makes sense. Especially for America. Here are 10 reasons as to why America needs Plug-In Hybrids:

1 - The U.S. is facing a perfect storm of rising fuel costs, escalating dependence on foreign oil, and increasing greenhouse gases and other air pollution.
2 - Oil is a finite resource.
3 - The U.S. holds only about 2% of the world’s oil reserves, yet accounts for 25% of world consumption.
4 - The U.S. must import more than 60% of our oil.
5 - Dependence on foreign oil is a national security issue because we are dependent for oil on unstable countries and/or countries hostile to the United States.
6 - Two-thirds of all U.S. oil use is consumed by cars, trucks and buses; meaning reduction in oil must concentrate on the transportation sector.
7 - There is a growing consensus that climate change and the need to reduce greenhouse gases demand dramatic action.
8 - Oil use is a major contributor to greenhouse gases; for example, it accounts for about 40% of all U.S. CO2 emissions.
9 - The cost of oil, and thus gasoline, has risen dramatically in recent years, directly affecting the price of gasoline for motorists and businesses.
10 - Increasing global demand for oil— especially by China and India— means long term rising costs are likely.

So Detroit and Japan have committed to building some by 2010. But there are several new green auto start-up companies making plug-in hybrids as early as now and into the future:

Tesla Motors
Think Global

Fisker Automotive

Gordon Murray Design

And I hear that there are more coming. A true renaissance for the auto industry. Personally, I dream of a Plug-In Hybrid Hummer. See, the bigger the car, the bigger the battery. Hence, the longer the ride and fun. So hurry up GM and build me one.

So why am I so interested in Plug-In Hybrids being an energy guy, because you should imagine an America with all cars Plugging-In at night recharging and leveraging the most sophisticated distribution network in the country. The electric grid. It is the most efficient, most reliable, and most effective distribution network ever built.

Now imagine an economy booming with new innovation, new business models, new companies, and renewed traditional companies riding on top of the electric grid renaissance. Imagine portable power (mobile + storage) and transactions redefining services and companies across the nation.

In the meantime, we continue to test with new tools and push the envelope to be ready for the future, now. We are building an electric grid that is intelligent and that will manage portable generation and its transactions.

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