SunDrive with the California Car Initiative! Note:
Please see Felix’s email to PlanetShifter.com
Have you seen Neil Young’s car?
Have not yet seen Neil Young’s car but have heard his new CD.
Have you utilized MTV or YouTube.com?
We’ve used Youtube from time to time but we have our own audiov-video page at http://www.calcars.org/audio-video.html
How has this coalition changed since the recession hit? (“… coalition between the tree-huggers, the do-gooders, the sod-busters, the cheap hawks, and the evangelicals, utility shareholders, mom and pop drivers, and Willie Nelson.”)
The three main drivers of plug-in cars: cleaner/cheaper/domestic still are powerful motivations for people to support them. Most people understand too that at some point fuel prices will again rise.
Where is Enterprise Rent-A-Car in this PHEV movement today?
Enterprise became an important partner for Google.org in RechargeIT but has not begun any independent efforts.
What is your solution for the “battery issue?”
We don’t need to wait for any giant “breakthroughs: Today’s batteries are “good enough to get started.” Multiple battery chemistries can provide excellent plug-in batteries. As they improve, our plug-in cars will get cheaper and better.
Why don’t we simply get rid of cars? Go with mass transit? And localize our economy?
We need to evolve our transportation solutions, including miuch more mass transit, but meanwhile we need to fix our cars.
Who are the current “public officials” you mention in your press kit?
Public officials from the President to governors, senators and representatives, mayors, county executives have provided broad support for plug-ins.
Can you market PHEV’s to the lower income community? How?
Public incentives to reduce the initial purchase price of vehicles with tax credits will be helpful. But low-income communities won’t be the first customers for the initial runs of mass-production PHEVs.
Are you certain that we will not be watching “Who Killed the PHEV?” soon?
We still have much to do to ensure that PHEVs became broadly successful — both in terms of encouraging rapid mass production and working to ensure that consumers’ expectations match the capabilities of the first cars. But this time, I think PHEVs will be here to stay.
Felix Kramer, Founder of the California Car Initiative
Felix Kramer is an entrepreneur and lifelong environmentalist. Concentrating on innovative ideas, events and businesses in energy and technology, he builds ambitious and “first-ever” projects and companies. At CalCars, he has led the first “by popular demand” campaign for a high-ticket consumer product that will result in mass production. CalCars is cited as a model for innovation in moving beyond fossil fuels.
In 2002, working with entrepreneurs, environmentalists, engineers, and drivers, Kramer founded the non-profit California Cars Initiative (CalCars.org) to put plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) on the map through technology demonstrations, advocacy and buyer demand. CalCars’ open source creation of the first prototype Prius PHEV ignited interest in the technology. In April ’06 Kramer became the world’s first non-technical consumer owner of a PHEV. CalCars built broad support among Senators, Governors, Mayors, companies, media, citizens’ groups and leaders like Al Gore, William McDonough, Larry Brilliant, John Doerr and Thomas Friedman. CalCars won the ’08 Aspen Institute Energy/Environment Award for NGOs. In early 2009, the stimulus program allocated $5-10+ billion to plug-ins. Automakers now plan mass production in 2010-2012. CalCars’ goal, “Successful Commercialization ASAP,” has expanded to integrating transportation with low-carbon electricity. With Andy Grove and others, CalCars is now persuading skeptics we can partially electrify millions of already-built internal combustion engine gas-guzzler pickups, SUVs and vans.
Kramer says, “I envision millions of plug-in cars, charged off-peak, providing distributed storage for a power grid fueled by increasingly renewable sources. Local travel will be electric, and low-carbon biofuels or larger batteries will provide range extension. This is a great way to significantly reduce greenhouse gases and increase energy security.”
In the ’70s, Kramer was a Congressional legislative aide and journalist. He then directed a three-day citywide solar energy event in NYC, ran a nonprofit energy conservation services company and created a trade association for conservation businesses. In the ’80s-’90s, Kramer was an entrepreneur in technology startups. An early desktop publisher, he co-authored “Desktop Publishing Success,” (Dow Jones-Irwin, 1990), the first book on the electronic publishing business. He became one of the first online marketers. He sold his DTP business and founded eConstructors, the marketplace for web development services, raised $1M, and with an international staff built the world’s largest searchable directory of web builders. He sold that company in ’01. In addition to his work at CalCars.org, in ’08 he began advising several PHEV startups.
A graduate of Cornell University, Kramer lives with his wife and son in Silicon Valley.
photos at http://www.calcars.org/photos.html