History of plug-in hybrids


History of plug-in hybrids

The history of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) spans a little more than a century. Most of the significant commercial developments have taken place after 2002.

1899-1999

Hybrid vehicles were produced beginning as early as 1899 by Lohner-Porsche. Early hybrids could be charged from an external source before operation. However, the term "plug-in hybrid" has come to mean a hybrid vehicle that can be charged from a standard electrical wall socket.

The July 1969 issue of Popular Science featured an article on the General Motors XP-883 plug-in hybrid. The concept commuter vehicle housed six 12-volt lead acid batteries in the trunk area and a transverse-mounted DC electric motor turning a front-wheel drive trans-axle. The gasoline powered engine was connected to the trans-axle via a worm gear. [Popular Science (July, 1969) [http://www.finkbuilt.com/blog/hybrid-car-ready-in-1969 "Hybrid Car Ready in 1969"] pp. 86-7] The car could be plugged into a standard 110 Volt AC outlet for recharging.

In 1971, Dr. Andy Frank, the inventor of the modern PHEV, begins working on hybrids and PHEVs. He is professor of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering at the University of California at Davis [ http://www.team-fate.net/, http://www.calcars.org/history.html, http://efficientdrivetrains.com/ ] .

The September 1975 issue of Popular Science [http://www.popsci.com/popsci/automotivetech/c45d3bcc2eb84010vgnvcm1000004eecbccdrcrd.html featured] a cover story on an experimental "turbo-electric" hybrid that "plugs in overnight for thrifty driving around town." Built by electronics engineer Harry Grepke, the vehicle used eight 12-volt truck batteries and a turbine genset. Grepke claimed an all-electric range of 50 miles. [ Popular Science, September 1975: [http://www.popsci.com/popsci/printerfriendly/automotivetech/1d7d3bcc2eb84010vgnvcm1000004eecbccdrcrd.html "Loking Back"] ]

In 1989, Audi produced its first iteration of the Audi Duo, a plug-in parallel hybrid based on the Audi 100 Avant Quattro. This car had a 12.6 bhp Siemens electric motor which drove the rear wheels. A trunk-mounted nickel-cadmium battery supplied energy to the motor that drove the rear wheels. The vehicle's front wheels were powered by a 2.3-litre five-cylinder engine with an output of 136 bhp. The intent was to produce a vehicle which could operate on the engine in the country and electric mode in the city. Mode of operation could be selected by the driver. Just ten vehicles are believed to have been made; one drawback was that due to the extra weight of the electric drive, the vehicles were less efficient when running on their engines alone than standard Audi 100s with the same engine.

Beginning around 1990, Professor Andy Frank of the University of California, Davis began using student teams to build operational prototype Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. His work attracted industry support and funding from Nissan, Koyo Seiko, General Motors, Saturn, Ford, Visteon, JATCO, Ovonics, the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA), Sacramento Municipal Utility District, Southern California Edison, the United States Department of Energy, and others. The UC Davis PHEVs won several DOE/USCAR "Future Car" and "Future Truck" national competitions.

Inspired by his work as an EV1 propulsion system engineer, Jeff Ronning began developing concepts for plug-in hybrids in the mid-1990s at then Delco Remy, Division of GM. EV1 prototypes were sometimes attached with "range-extender" trailers, developed by Alan Cocconi of AC Propulsion. These trailers were simply rolling gen sets that could supply power for long trips. It was only natural to conceive of an EV1 with a small turbo-alternator on board (1995 internal publication). External publications (SAE 971629 [ SAE 971629 [http://www.sae.org/technical/papers/971629 "Early SAE PHEV Paper"] ] and 1999-01-2946) followed expounding the merits of using electrical energy for most local travel and proving it with the data from the US DOT. "Unlimited EV" and "Battery Dominant Hybrid" as well as "Energy Hybrid" were the given names for the architecture because the term "plug-in" hybrid coined by Dr. Andy Frank was considered at odds with Toyota's position that Prius did not need to be "plugged in" and their opinion that plugging was inconvenient. In 1997 (ten years before Volt) an internal project at the new spin-off, Delphi Corporation, began to convert an EV1 to a PHEV. However, the project was canceled by the corporate directors of technology.

In 1994, the Esoro H301 two-door, four passenger plug-in hybrid sedan was built in Switzerland by the vehicle prototyping company Esoro AG. [Esoro AG: [http://www.esoro.ch/english/content/kernk/nhanst/h301/h.htm "The First Hypercar"] "www.esoro.ch" retrieved 2007] Four such prototypes are still on the road. The lightweight (710 kg/1565 lb) vehicle featured a 360cc engine in parallel with a 34 kW air-cooled AC induction motor. The 9 kWh nickel-cadmium battery could be recharged in four hours from a 220v electrical wall outlet, or from 30% to 80% state of charge in about two hours at a steady speed of 120km/h. [Esoro AG: [http://www.esoro.ch/deutsch/content/kernk/bilder/nachhaltige/TWINTRAK.pdf "Twin Trak - a compact hybrid drive"] accessed April 22, 2007]

In 1998, Audi premiered a second iteration of the Duo plug-in hybrid, based on the Audi A4, at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The 1998 Audi Duo featured a parallel configuration similar to its predecessor. At the time, hybrid propulsion was considered as a promising solution to Europe's inner city emissions problems. Audi AG leased ten Duo PHEVs to Solarmobilverein Erlangen in the city of Erlangen, Bavaria as part of ELCIDIS (Electric Vehicle City Distribution), an advanced mobility project funded by the European Commission. [Vermie, T. (2002) [http://www.elcidis.org/elcidisfinal.pdf ELCIDIS Final Report"] European Commission Energy, Environment and Sustainable Development Programme technical report] Solar recharging stations were envisioned, but were not built. The fleet trial ended in August 2001.

About sixty 1998-1999 Audi Duo PHEVs were built. However, few customers were prepared to pay twice the price as the base model A4 equipped with an identical diesel engine, and series production was stopped.

2000-2005

;2000

The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) sponsored the Hybrid Electric Vehicle Alliance to promote and develop original equipment manufacturer commercialization of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. Alliance members include major automakers, national labs, utilities, and the University of California at Davis. EPRI's Hybrid Electric Vehicle Working Group published reports on PHEV attractiveness. Dr. Frank received new support from the European Commission, Southern California Air Quality Management District, Yolo-Solano Air Quality Management District, California Air Resources Board, and other governmental agencies.

;2001

The U.S. Department of Energy created the National Center of Hybrid Excellence at UC Davis, with Dr. Frank as Director. Dr. Frank also obtained substantial GM funds to hybridize and plug-in GM's EV1.EPRI's Hybrid Electric Vehicle Working Group (HEVWG) published a report on costs and efficiencies of hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles. [Electric Power Research Institute (July 2002) [http://www.evworld.com/library/EPRI_sedan_options.pdf "Comparing the Benefits and Impacts of Hybrid Electric Vehicle Options"] technical report, accessed 27 April 2007] The report evaluated a small car, a midsize car, and an SUV, and simulated four powertrains for each vehicle: a conventional powertrain, a parallel HEV, a PHEV-20, and a PHEV-60.

:"Terminology note:" A plug-in hybrid's all-electric range is designated by PHEV-"(miles)" or PHEV"(kilometers)"km representing the distance the vehicle can travel on battery power alone. For example, a PHEV-20 can travel 20 miles without using its internal combustion engine, or about 32 kilometers, so it may also be designated as PHEV32km.James, W. (September 2006) [http://www.rise.org.au/pubs/Alt_Trans_Energ_Conf_WA_20060912.pdf "Large Oil and GHG Reductions with Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles"] "Alternative Transport Energies Conference" (Perth, Australia)]

;2002

Entrepreneurs, environmentalists and engineers created the California Cars Initiative [http://www.calcars.org/ (www.calcars.org.)] CalCars is a non-profit PHEV advocacy and technology development group.

;2003

Renault began selling the Elect'Road, a plug-in series hybrid version of their popular Kangoo, in Europe. It was sold alongside Renault's "Electri'cite" electric-drive Kangoo battery electric van. The Elect'Road had a 150 km range using a nickel-cadmium battery pack and a 500cc, 16 kW liquid-cooled gasoline "range-extender" engine. It powered two high voltage/high output/low volume alternators, each of which supplied up to 5.5kW at 132V at 5000 rpm. The operating speed of the internal combustion engine (and therefore the output delivered by the generators) varied according to demand. The fuel tank had a capacity of 10 litres and was housed within the right rear wheel arch. The range extender function was activated by a switch on the dashboard. The on board 3.5kW charger could charge a depleted battery pack to 95% SOC in about four hours from 220 volts. Passenger compartment heat was powered by the battery pack as well as an auxiliary coolant circuit that was heated by the range extender engine. Renault sold about 500, primarily in France, Norway and the UK, for about 25,000 euros each [Renault (March 10, 2003) [http://www.calcars.org/KangooRangeExtend.pdf "Kangoo reinvents the electric car"] press release] and redesigned the Elect'road in 2007.

With support from the Southern California Air Quality Management District, the California Air Resources Board, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the Electric Power Research Institute, and Volkswagen, Alan Cocconi of AC Propulsion converted a Volkswagen Jetta into a plug-in series hybrid. The engine was replaced with a 120-kW electric motor and 8.7 kWh’s worth of lead-acid batteries, which were charged by a trunk-mounted 1.4-liter internal combustion engine from a Volkswagen Lupo. [ [http://www.evchargernews.com/miscfiles/evaosc111905.pdf "AC Propulsion: Past, Present, and Future"] ]

Professor Frank's vehicles were shown at the Paris International Auto Show and demonstrated to about 200 Renault engineers at its Paris headquarters. In the same year, Toyota shipped Coulomb, a University of California Davis Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle, to Toyota City to demonstrate it to about 250 engineers and executives at two of Toyota's primary Tier 1 suppliers, Koyo Seiko, and Aisin AW (Aisin built the 1998-2003 Toyota Prius hybrid transaxle, as well as those used in the Ford Escape Hybrid, Toyota Camry Hybrid, and Nissan Altima Hybrid).

;2004

In September, the California Cars Initiative converted a 2004 Toyota Prius into a prototype of what it calls the PRIUS+. With the addition of 130 kg (300 lb) of lead-acid batteries, the PRIUS+ achieved roughly double the gasoline mileage of a standard Prius and can make trips of up to 15 km (10 miles) using only electric power. [cite web | title=How We Green-Tuned an '04 Prius into a PRIUS+ Plug-In Hybrid!| work=CalCars.com - The California Cars Initiative | url=http://www.priusplus.org | accessdate=January 11 | accessyear=2006] The vehicle, which is owned by CalCars technical lead Ron Gremban, is used in daily driving, as well as a test bed for various improvements to the system.

Also in September, DaimlerChrysler displayed a plug-in hybrid version of its popular Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 311 CDI commercial van at the 2004 Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung Commercial Vehicle Show in Frankfurt, Germany. [DaimlerChrysler press release, 30 July 2004: [http://www.daimlerchrysler.com/dccom/0,,0-5-7165-1-428612-1-0-0-0-0-0-1371-7165-0-0-0-0-0-0-0,00.html "Diesel engine combined with electric engine: Mercedes-Benz Sprinter now also with hybrid drive"] accessed April 23, 2007 ] The diesel-engine PHEV Sprinters had a maximum all electric range of 30 kilometers. Hand-built in Sindelfingen, Germany by Mercedes-Benz, the vehicles were tested around the clock, and some were placed in commercial fleet environments. The PHEV Sprinter's engine could be turned off by the driver for operation in historic European city centers that had outlawed internal-combustion engines.

By the end of the year, Dr. Frank's student teams had built and operated seven proof-of-concept and proof-of-demonstration prototype Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles, including 6-passenger sedans (Taurus and Sable), Sport Utility Vehicles (Suburban, Explorer), two-seater sports car (GM EV1), and two ground-up 80 mpg sports cars, and the CalCars PRIUS+ prototype and EDrive Systems conversions were demonstrated.

;2005

Additional DaimlerChrysler Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 15-passenger van PHEV prototypes were completed.California Cars Initiative (2005-7) [http://www.calcars.org/history.html "Plug-In Hybrids: State Of Play, History & Players"] (CalCars' PHEV History) accessed 18 April 2007] EPRI, along with a number of utilities and government agencies, worked with DaimlerChrysler to deliver 4 Sprinter PHEV vans to test fleets. [Malloy, G. (May 5, 2007) [http://www.thestar.com/Wheels/article/210192 "Mitsubishi releases final details for Evo X"] "Toronto Star" accessed 5 May 2007]

In August, four companies - Raser Technologies [ [http://www.rasertech.com Raser Technologies ] ] , Maxwell Technologies, Electrovaya, and Pacific Gas and Electric - formed the Plug-In Hybrid Consortium [Green Car Congress: [http://www.greencarcongress.com/2005/08/advanced_hybrid.html "Advanced Hybrid Vehicle Development Consortium Targets Plug-Ins"] accessed April 21, 2007] [ [http://www.hybridconsortium.org/ Plug In Hybrid Electric Vehicle Consortium-PHEV Development ] ] to help reduce the research and design gap between component suppliers and OEMs and to accelerate the development of critical PHEV components. Since then, nine other component companies and three more utility companies, as well as CalCars and Plug In America, have joined the consortium.

2006

At the UC Davis Hybrid Center, teams led by Professor Andrew A. Frank cite web | title=(interview) | url=http://www.inoculatedmind.com/?p=81 have been designing and building working prototypes, installed into a GM Equinox for the Challenge X competition. [cite web | title=Team Fate | work=UC-Davis Hybrid Electric Vehicles Group | url=http://www.team-fate.net/ | accessdate=January 11 | accessyear=2006]

PHEV conversions of IVECO medium-duty diesel-powered commercial vehicles, sold as Hybrid Daily Bimodales, are offered by Micro-Vett SPA of Imola, Italy in truck, 9- passenger van, and 20-passenger schoolbus configurations.cite web | title=Hybrid Daily | work=Micro-Vett | url=http://www.micro-vett.it/english/bimodaleing.html | accessdate=April 21 | accessyear=2007] Micro-Vett offers their conversions with either lead-acid or lithium-ion battery packs, which have an advertised all-electric range of 25 kilometers, or 45 to 100 kilometers, respectively. [cite web | title=Hybrid Daily: Technical Data | work=Micro-Vett | url=http://www.micro-vett.it/english/bimodaleing2.html | accessdate=April 21 | accessyear=2007]

February: [http://www.hymotion.com Hymotion] , a Canadian company, introduced plug-in hybrid upgrade kits in February 2006. Designed for the Toyota Prius and the Ford Escape and Mariner Hybrids, these kits were offered to fleet buyers at first and are projected to be available to the general public in 2007.

April 14: Piaggio, the Italian manufacturer of Vespa scooters, announced that it had built two parallel-architecture plug-in hybrid prototypes based on the standard Vespa LX 50 and X8 125 models. [Green Car Congress: [http://www.greencarcongress.com/2006/04/piaggio_launche.html "Piaggio Launches Two Plug-In Hybrid Vespa Scooters"] accessed April 28, 2007]

May 17: Representatives of academia, government, and the utility and auto industries testified before the House Science Subcommittee on Energy in support of proposed legislation that would advance the commercialization of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. [Green Car Congress: [http://www.greencarcongress.com/2006/05/congressional_w.html Congressional Witnesses Unanimously Support Proposed Plug-in Hybrid Legislation] ]

May: Ryan Fulcher and Rich Rudman of Manzanita Micro converted Fulcher's Prius to a plug-in hybrid, using components that would lead to the introduction of a Manzanita Micro charger kit for PHEV conversions.

July 5: Hybrids Plus of Boulder, Colorado began offering plug-in hybrid conversions of the 2004 and later Toyota Prius, using [http://www.a123systems.com/ A123] Li-ion batteries for either a 15 or 30 mile all-electric range. Their first contract was with the Colorado Office of Energy Management and Conservation, which ordered one plug-in Prius conversion. The vehicle was handed over to Colorado OEMC on March 6, 2007.

July 18: Toyota announced that it "plans to develop a hybrid vehicle that will run locally on batteries charged by a typical 120-volt outlet before switching over to a gasoline engine for longer hauls."cite news | last=Thomas | first=Ken | title=Toyota charging ahead with plans for plug-in hybrid | date=19 July, 2006 | publisher=Chicago Sun-Times/Associated Press| url=http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4155/is_20060719/ai_n16541548 ] The next major update to the Toyota Prius is said to use lithium ion batteries. [Garcia, D. (May 10, 2006) [http://vtec.net/news/news-item?news_item_id=553701 "Japanese mag update"] "VTEC.com"] Toyota’s fuel economy target for the upcoming next-generation Prius has been reported to be 40 kilometers/liter (2.5 l/100km, or 94 mpg US.) [Green Car Congress: [http://www.greencarcongress.com/2006/04/rumors_rampant_.html "Rumors Rampant: Next-Gen 94MPG Prius by 2008?"] accessed 22 April 2007]

August: PML Flightlink unveiled an in-wheel, plug-in series hybrid conversion of a MINI at the British Motor Show, the MINI QED. [Green Car Congress (08/25/2006) [http://www.greencarcongress.com/2006/08/pmls_inwheel_mo.html "PML’s In-Wheel Motor, Plug-in Series Hybrid MINI"] accessed April 21, 2007] PML claimed fuel economy of 80 mpg, 0 to 60mph in 4.5 seconds, top speed of over 150mph, and a range of 1,000 miles. [PML Flightlink Ltd. (August 2006) [http://www.pmlflightlink.com/archive/news_mini.html "MINI QED - A demonstration vehicle"] accessed 18 April 2007]

October: Hybrids Plus won a contract to convert a Ford Escape Hybrid to a plug-in hybrid for the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. [Hybrids Plus (2007) [http://hybrids-plus.com/pmwiki/index.php?n=Ext.History "History"] accessed April 21, 2007]

November 1: [http://www.manzanitamicro.com Manzanita Micro] sold their first [http://www.eaa-phev.org/wiki/PiPrius PiPrius] conversion kit using their PFC charger and battery regulator as a DC to DC converter and rapid battery charger system. [http://www.plugincenter.com Chelan County’s Advanced Vehicle Initiative] received the first conversion kit from Manzanita Micro in October 2006. As of April 2007 the fourth and fifth such conversions were underway.

November 29: GM announced plans to introduce a production plug-in hybrid version of Saturn's Greenline Vue SUV with an all electric range of 10 miles. [Magda, M. (November 29, 2006) [http://www.autobloggreen.com/2006/11/29/la-auto-show-saturn-vue-green-line-will-offer-2-mode-and-plug-i/ "LA Auto Show: Saturn Vue Green Line will offer 2-mode and plug-in hybrid technology"] " [http://www.autobloggreen.com AutoblogGreen] " accessed 18 April 2007]

2007

January 7: General Motors' Chevrolet Volt was [http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid416542521 unveiled] at Detroit's North American International Auto Show. [General Motors (January 7, 2007) [http://media.gm.com/us/gm/en/news/events/autoshows/07naias/brands/chevrolet/volt/volt%20design.htm "Chevrolet Volt..."] press release] The Volt is part of GM's E-Flex architecture, which is expected to initially feature a plug-in capable, battery-dominant series hybrid architecture. Future E-Flex plug-in hybrid vehicles may use gasoline, diesel, or hydrogen fuel cell power to supplement the vehicle's battery. General Motors envisions an eventual progression of E-Flex vehicles from plug-in hybrids to pure electric vehicles, as battery technology improves. [Green Car Congress, January 15, 2007: [http://www.greencarcongress.com/2007/01/the_volt_may_be.html "IThe Volt May be First, But E-Flex is the Key"] accessed 28 April 2007] General Motors presented the Volt as a PHEV-40 that starts its engine when 40% of the battery charge remains, and which can achieve a fuel economy of 50 mpg (4.7 l/100 km), even if the vehicle is not plugged in. [Abuelsamid, S. (January 7, 2007) [http://www.autobloggreen.com/2007/01/07/detroit-auto-show-its-here-gms-plug-in-hybrid-is-the-chevy-v/ "Detroit Auto Show: It's here. GM's plug-in hybrid is the Chevy Volt Concept"] "AutoBlogGreen"]

February 28: The United States Department of Energy released a draft of a plan to accelerate the development and deployment of plug-in hybrid vehicle technology. [U.S. Dept. of Energy (2007) [http://www1.eere.energy.gov/vehiclesandfuels/pdfs/program/phev_rd_plan_02-28-07.pdf "Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle R & D Plan"] FreedomCAR and Vehicle Technologies Program report, accessed April 22, 2007] On May 22, five research projects were selected to receive $19 million to further the development of technologies related to PHEVs, such as electric motor power inverters. [US Dept. of Energy (May 22, 2007) [http://www.energy.gov/news/5078.htm "DOE Provides up to $19 Million for Advanced Vehicle Technologies"] "www.energy.gov" accessed 27 May 2007.]

March 2: The South Coast Air Quality Management District in California approved a $2.6-million contract for the conversion of 20 Ford Escape Hybrids and 10 Toyota Priuses to plug-in hybrids. [Green Car Congress (4 March 2007) [http://www.greencarcongress.com/2007/03/aqmd_contracts_.html "AQMD Contracts for 30 More Plug-in Hybrid Conversions from Quantum and Hymotion"] accessed 27 April 2007] The SCAQMD selected Quantum Technologies and Hymotion to perform the conversions.

March 14: The Illinois Institute of Technology delivered a converted plug-in Ford Escape Hybrid to the Chicago Department of Fleet Management for four to six months of field testing of the vehicle to evaluate the vehicle's performance, as well as improvements in fuel efficiency and emission reduction. [Green Car Congress (14 March 2007) [http://www.greencarcongress.com/2007/03/all_cell_plugin.html "All Cell Plug-in Escape Hybrid Starting Field Trials"] accessed 25 April 2007] The project is sponsored by the City of Chicago, MicroSun Technologies, ComEd, and All Cell, an Illinois Institute of Technology-based technology transfer company formed in 2001 to commercialize lithium-ion batteries in military, medical, portable, and transportation applications.

April 9: Pacific Gas and Electric, California's largest electric company, announced their support for plug-in hybrids with Vehicle to Grid capabilities. PG&E proposed regulatory changes which could allow homeowners to use such vehicles for back-up electricity in the event of a power failure.News.com (April 9, 2007) [http://news.com.com/PGE+sees+plug-in+hybrids+as+potential+profit+centers/2100-11392_3-6174672.html "PG&E sees plug-in hybrids as potential profit centers"] ]

April 23: The California Air Resources Board Independent Expert Panel on Zero Emission Vehicles published a report [Green Car Congress (23 April 2007) [http://www.greencarcongress.com/2007/04/arb_expert_zev_.html#more "ARB Expert ZEV Panel Bullish on Plug-in Hybrids"] accessed April 23, 2007] that assessed advanced vehicle technologies and concluded, among other things, that plug-in hybrids "have the potential to provide significant direct societal benefits and are likely to become available in the near future." [Kalhammer, F.R. "et al." (2007) [http://www.arb.ca.gov/msprog/zevprog/zevreview/zev_panel_report.pdf "Status and Prospects for Zero Emissions Vehicle Technology"] State of California Air Resources Board Independent Expert Panel, accessed April 23, 2007]

April 25: Phoenix Motorcars and UQM Technologies announced a collaborative project to develop a plug-in series hybrid version of the sport utility truck that Phoenix currently sells as an all-electric vehicle. [Green Car Congress: [http://www.greencarcongress.com/2007/04/phoenix_motorca.html Phoenix Motorcars and UQM to Develop Plug-In Series Hybrid Sport Utility Truck] accessed 28 April 2007] The vehicle is projected to use a small gasoline-fueled internal combustion engine as a range extender and lithium titanate batteries from Altair Nanotechnologies.

May 1: A123Systems lithium-ion battery company CEO David Vieau announced that A123 plans to market battery packs in 2008 for third-party conversion of hybrids to plug-in hybrids. [green Car Congress: [http://www.greencarcongress.com/2007/05/a123systems_to_.html#more "A123Systems to Market PHEV Conversion Packs in 2008"] ]

May 2: CalCars [http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/calcars-news/message/755 announced] that it had received a $200,000 grant from Google.org, the philanthropic arm of Google, for a two-year period to support its work in educating the public about plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles. In 2006, Google.org [http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/14/technology/14google.html?ex=1178337600&en=97bb4ac29290de9d&ei=5070 announced] that it intended to develop a plug-in hybrid of its own. [New York Times, September 14, 2006: [http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/14/technology/14google.html?ex=1178337600&en=97bb4ac29290de9d&ei=5070 "Philanthropy Google’s Way: Not the Usual"] accessed May 4, 2007]

July 9: Ford Motor Company CEO Alan Mulally said he expects Ford to sell plug-in hybrids in five to ten years, the time depending on advances in lithium-ion battery technology. Ford will provide Southern California Edison with twenty Ford Escape Hybrid sport utility vehicles reconfigured to work as plug-ins by 2009, with the first by the end of this year.] "Reuters" accessed 27 July 2007] Ford announced that it will team up with Southern California Edison to examine the future of plug-in hybrids in terms of how home and vehicle energy systems will work with the electrical grid. [ [http://www.eere.energy.gov/news/enn.cfm#id_11093 EERE News: EERE Network News ] ] [ [http://media.ford.com/newsroom/release_display.cfm?release=26326 Ford Motor Company - Press Release - Ford Motor Company And Southern California Edison Join Forces To Advance A New Transportation And Energy Vision ] ]

July 12: Frank J. Gaffney, Jr., the President and C.E.O. of Center for Security Policy testified before the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming that China will shortly introduce to the USA and other export markets a Chery car variant at a price to consumers of $13,000 to $15,000. [http://www.setamericafree.org/gaffney071207.pdf]

July 18: Toyota requested permission from Japan’s government to test a prototype plug-in Prius with a lithium-ion battery pack on public roads. After the test, Toyota is expected to lease them to government and municipal fleets, and may introduce the new model at the Tokyo Motor Show in November. [Green Car Congress (18 July 2007) [http://www.greencarcongress.com/2007/07/toyota-to-obtai.html "Toyota to Obtain Permission for Public Road Test for Plug-in Prius in Japan"] translation from "Asahi.com"]

On July 25, 2007, Japan's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport certified Toyota's plug-in hybrid for use on public roads, making it the first automobile to attain such approval. Toyota plans to conduct road tests to verify its all-electric range. The plug-in Prius was said to have an all-electric range of convert|13|km|mi|0|abbr=on. [Toyota Motor Corporation (July 25, 2007) [http://www.japancorp.net/Article.Asp?Art_ID=14929 "Japan Certifies Toyota Plug-in Hybrid for Public-road Tests"] "JCN Newswire" accessed July 25, 2007] But later prototypes shown at the 2008 Paris Auto Show had an electric-only range of "just a little over six miles." [Cunningham, W. (October 2, 2008) [http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-13746_7-10056934-48.html "Toyota finally plugs in the Prius,"] "CNet Car Tech"]

August 9: General Motors vice president Robert Lutz said that GM is on track for Chevrolet Volt production to begin by 2010. Announcing an agreement with A123Systems, Lutz said GM would like to have their planned Saturn Vue plug-in on the roads by 2009.Terlep, S. (August 10, 2007) [http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070810/AUTO01/708100342/1148 "GM races ahead with plug-in car"] "The Detroit News" accessed 6 September 2007]

September 5: Quantum Technologies [ [http://www.qtww.com Quantum Technologies ] ] and Fisker Coachbuild, LLC announced the launch of a joint venture in Fisker Automotive.cite news | title=Drive the Future with Fisker Automotive, A New Green American Premium Car Company | date=5 September 2007 | url=http://www.fiskerautomotive.com/pdf/FISKER%20AUTOMOTIVE%20-%20English.pdf ] Fisker intends to build a US$ 80,000 luxury PHEV-50, the Fisker Karma, anticipated in late 2009.Shirouzu, N., and Buckman, R. (January 14, 2008) [http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120027887033287745.html "Electric-Car Firms Get Star Investors,"] "Wall Street Journal"]

September 6: Toyota announced that they reached an agreement with Electricite de France (EDF) to "jointly test prototype plug-in hybrid vehicles and develop electricity infrastructure for plug-ins". [cite web |url=http://www6.lexisnexis.com/publisher/EndUser?Action=UserDisplayFullDocument&orgId=101846&topicId=103840033&docId=l:665462273 |title=TOYOTA, FRENCH POWER FIRM TO JOINTLY TEST PLUG-IN HYBRIDS|accessdate=2007-10-23 |date=September 6, 2007|publisher=Asia Pulse]

September 11-23: The Frankfurt Auto Show features plug-in hybrids. The Volvo "Recharge" PHEV-60 concept car was unveiled, [ [http://media.ford.com/newsroom/feature_display.cfm?release=25980 Ford press release] , [http://jalopnik.com/cars/frankfurt-auto-show/volvo-recharge-plug+in-hybrid-concept-car-296913.php show report] , [http://car.pege.org/2007-iaa/volvo-interview.htm developer interview] ] and General Motors Corporation exhibited the Opel Flextreme PHEV-34 concept car.

September 25: The United States Department of Energy is providing $17.2 million to further development of advanced batteries, and another $2 million for the study of future plug-ins. A cost-share with the United States Advanced Battery Consortium will allow up to $38 million in battery research and development. [ [http://www.energy.gov:80/news/5523.htm Department of Energy - DOE to Provide Nearly $20 Million to Further Development of Advanced Batteries for Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles ] ]

October 9: Chinese manufacturer BYD Automobile Company, owned by China's largest mobile phone battery maker, announced that they would be introducing a production PHEV-60 sedan in China in the second half of 2008. BYD plans to exhibit it in January 2008 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Based on BYD's midsize F6 sedan, it uses iron-based batteries instead of lithium-ion, and can be recharged to 70 percent of capacity in 10 minutes.Edmunds (15 October 2007) [http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/News/articleId=123027 "Detroit Show Preview: BYD's New Plug-in Hybrid on Sale Next Year"] "Edmunds Inside Line" retrieved 26 October 2007]

November 8: German Environmental Minister Sigmar Gabriel received a concept paper from Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn about Volkswagen's attempts for electric drive and plug-in-hybrid technology. [ [http://www.planetark.com/envpicstory.cfm/newsid/45228 Planet Ark Environmental News Pictures: Volkswagen CEO Winterkorn and German Environmental Minister Gabriel Pose at the Research Department of the Volkswagen Plant ] ]

2008

On January 14, 2008, Toyota announced they would start selling lithium battery plug-in hybrids by 2010. [ [http://motortorque.askaprice.com/news/auto-0801/toyota-announces-plugin-hybrid-by-2010.asp Toyota announces plug-in hybrid by 2010 ] ] [ [http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/chi-wed-car-batteries_06-17jun18,0,4936123.story Plug-in car production race is on] (Chicago Tribune)]

January 2008: A privately-run waiting list to purchase the Chevy Volt reached 10,000 members. The list, administered by Lyle Dennis, was started one year prior. [Dennis, L.J. (January 26, 2008) [http://www.gm-volt.com/2008/01/26/gm-voltcom-chevy-volt-waiting-list-hits-10000-members/ "Chevy Volt Waiting List Hits 10,000 Members,"] "GM-Volt.com" accessed January 26, 2008]

January 2008: Assistant professor Yi Cui and colleagues at Stanford University's Department of Materials Science and Engineering [ [http://www.stanford.edu/group/cui_group/yicui.html Yi Cui Group] ] have made a discovery to use silicon nanowires to give rechargeable lithium ion batteries 10 times more charge [ [http://www.news.com/A-tenfold-improvement-in-battery-life/2100-1041_3-6226196.html?part=rss&tag=2547-1_3-0-5&subj=news A tenfold improvement in battery life? - CNET News.com ] ] [ [http://www.nature.com/nnano/journal/v3/n1/index.html Table of contents : Nature Nanotechnology ] ] .

On February 7, 2008, Valence Technology announced it has entered into a contract with The Tanfield Group Plc (LSE: TAN) to manufacture and supply safe, Lithium Phosphate energy storage systems to power zero emission, all-electric commercial delivery vehicles. The Valence battery systems will be installed in leading-edge vans and trucks produced by Tanfield's UK-based trading division, Smith Electric Vehicles, the world's largest manufacturer of electric vans and trucks.

On March 27, 2008, the California Air Resources Board modified their regulations, requiring automobile manufacturers to produce 58,000 plug-in hybrids for sale to Californians during 2012 through 2014. [ [http://www.arb.ca.gov/msprog/zevprog/zevreview/summary.pdf "Preliminary Summary of Air Resources Board Action (3/27/08) - Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Program"] "www.arb.ca.gov"] This requirement is an asked-for alternative to an earlier mandate to produce 25,000 pure zero emission vehicles, reducing that requirement to 5,000. [ [http://www.autoblog.com/2008/03/31/carb-backs-off-a-bit-on-zev-mandate-orders-66k-phevs-sold-by-20/ "CARB backs off a bit on ZEV Mandate, orders 66k PHEVs sold by 2014"] "autoblog.com"]

April 2008: Raser and FEV [http://fev.com/] series hybrid/extended range EV powertrain plan to have the first prototype vehicle ready to demonstrate in the third quarter of this year installed in a full-size SUV. [ [http://www.autobloggreen.com/tag/raser-fev/ Posts tagged Raser fev at AutoblogGreen ] ]

On June 4, 2008, "GM's Chevy Volt Is a Go" (Rick Wagoner, GM chairman and CEO) -- Production Vehicle, in Showrooms in 2010. [ [http://www.calcars.org/calcars-news/957.html GM's Chevy Volt Is a "Go" - Production Vehicle, in Showrooms in 2010 ] ] On June 5, 2008, Toyota Dealers Sold on Hymotion Plug-In Hybrids. [ [http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/toyota-dealers-sold-on-hymotion-plug-in-hybrids-977.html Greentech Media | Toyota Dealers Sold on Hymotion Plug-In Hybrids ] ] On June 12, 2008, Ford has urged US Government to step up evolution of plug-in hybrids. [http://www6.lexisnexis.com/publisher/EndUser?Action=UserDisplayFullDocument&orgId=101846&topicId=104970025&docId=l:806056867]

On June 26, 2008, Volkswagen announced that they would be introducing production plug-ins based on the Golf compact. Volkswagen uses the term 'TwinDrive' to denote a PHEV.Thompson (June 26, 2008) [http://www.forbes.com/afxnewslimited/feeds/afx/2008/06/26/afx5156904.html "VW starts testing electric cars, sees launching them by 2010"] (Forbes)]

In September 2008, Mazda was reported to be planning PHEVs. [ [http://www.autocar.co.uk/News/NewsArticle/AllCars/234607/] ] On September 23, 2008, Chrysler announced that they had prototyped a plug-in Jeep Wrangler and a Chrysler Town and Country mini-van, both PHEV-40s with series powertrains, and an all-electric Dodge sports car, and said that one of the three vehicles would go in to production. [ [http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5hNc7S9F0ntHtyL8ZMuEiOXqt3uEgD93CLGQ85] , [http://toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080924/BUSINESS02/809240299/0/BUSINESS10] , [http://www.financialpost.com/news/story.html?id=818218] , [http://www.popsci.com/cars/gallery/2008-09/chrysler-reveals-alternative-energy-prototypes] , [http://www.calcars.org/calcars-news/1005.html] ]

In October, the U.S. Congress passed the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008 as part of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008. The legislation provides tax credits of $2,500 plus $417 for each kilowatt-hour of battery capacity over 4 kilowatt-hours, up to $7,500 for cars under 10,000 pounds, $10,000 for larger vehicles under 14,000 pounds, $12,500 for bigger trucks under 26,000 pounds, or $15,000 for larger trucks and equipment. The tax credit will be phased out two calendar quarters after the first 250,000 such vehicles are sold, down to 50% for the next six months and 25% for another half year after that. [Schoenberger, R. (October 2, 2008) [http://blog.cleveland.com/business/2008/10/bailout_bill_includes_tax_brea.html "Bailout bill includes tax breaks for buyers of plug-in hybrid vehicles,"] "Cleveland Plain Dealer"] [Vijayenthiran, V. (October 3, 2008) [http://www.motorauthority.com/senate-passes-bill-that-approves-up-to-7500-in-tax-credits-for-plug-ins.html "Bush signs $7,500 plug-in hybrid tax credit bill into law,"] "MotorAuthority.com"]

References


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