An Overview of
ASE TechNews Alternate Fuel Technology
You requested, while at the recent Clean Cities Conference or the ATMC
Conference, a listing of the alternative fuels articles ASE has made
available (at no charge) to those concerned about reducing petroleum
usage and gaining energy independence through the use of alternative
The AFV articles we've published are intended for those desiring to know
more about advanced vehicle technology, clean fuels and clean vehicles.
Those finding the information most useful include fleet owners /
managers, training instructors and technicians, and Clean Cities
partners. Even those in government have found the articles informative.
Our target audience nears 600,000 automotive technicians, trainers and
industry partners. Clean Cities coalitions and other associations have
already reprinted one or more of these "advancing the choice" articles.
Below is an Executive Summary of the AFV articles published thus far in
ASE's TechNews magazine, plus one soon to be released.
Should you desire to have any of these articles sent to you (as PDF
files) at no charge, simply let me know.
We encourage reprinting them, and ask only that ASE be given credit as
ASE Technical Specialist
ATMC Administrative Director
101 Blue Seal Drive, S.E., Suite 101
Leesburg, VA 20175
Hi Electrifying Times!
The eDrive plug-in Prius was built with the help of my friend Seth
Seeberg from his new company CleanTech. They are advertising it as an
100+ mpg vehicle. I read a story in TIME magazine yesterday that says
utilities are thinking about offering a $1000 grant to purchasers
of plug-in hybrids. I never got to drive the vehicle. The batteries got
to hot by the time I got to it. It looks normal except the new digital
readout on the dashboard. The FTP 75 test with a 12 mile drive never
going above 55 mph really favors this kind of vehicle and the SCAQMD
reportedly found the vehicle to get over 250 mpg on this test. In the
real world you will more likely get about 100mpg.
There were other great vehicles on hand also...
This from Katie Romans
EDrive media advisory
"Media advisory for the launch of EDrive Systems
LLC's new battery technology that enables hybrid vehicles, such as the
Toyota Prius, to be plugged in and charged by a conventional 3-prong,
110-volt home electrical outlet. The launch will take place at the Clean
Cities Conference, May 2-3, where we will have a Toyota Prius outfitted
with the new technology available for viewing and rides. Seth and the
engineers of the technology will also be on-hand and available for
interviews. This cutting-edge technology offers a promising alternative
to gasoline-powered vehicles that rely on foreign oil and emit
greenhouse gases. I hope you will find this launch as interesting and
exciting as we do."
The pure electric vehicle from ETEC and Roush
is based on a Ford that is available for the rest of the world as a
gasoline burner. It has good cargo capacity and started as a heavy duty
vehicle and was electrified instead of being a light duty EV that is
upgraded to haul heavy loads. I did not get to drive it. Too busy with
my volunteer duties which is how I got into the event this year with my
APS is Arizona Public Service in Phoenix. They have a hydrogen filling
station that I fill up at for $2.25 a kilo of Hydrogen which is half the
cost of gasoline. Included above is a photo of the H2 station and a
photo of Laura Farkas, my girlfriend with two of APS's electric Rangers.
The 2 white Ford Ranger EV's at APS are for sale.
The heat was killing the batteries in Phoenix. Both cars are in great
shape except dead battery packs. Roush has a stock pile of those exact
battery packs from the Ranger and could get it up and running.
I have a couple photos of Escape's at CC11 in Palm Springs during the
ride-n-drive. APS is mostly using their Escape for transport to their
Solar test facility which is always away and they do not want to run out
of CNG or H2 when traveling back and forth between downtown and out in
the desert. Ray Hobbs is in charge of the future fuels program at APS
and Joyce Collier is another contact I have there.
We made it all the way to Phoenix from Snowbird using CNG and a little
ethanol. Once there we drove around on hydrogen and blended H2 and CNG.
I used H20, or 20%H2 with CNG to drive to California from there and then
we filled up with H2 at Sunline transit. We drove around CA on H2 and
blends of H2 and CNG and then made it all the way home to Utah using CNG.
At the Clean Cities conference my business card was drawn in the final
awards ceremony and I won a methanol fuel cell demo car kit from NAFTC.
I now have methanol as another fuel to demonstrate on board my vehicle
all the time with a wind generator, PV solar panels, BioDiesel, Ethanol,
CNG and H2. I am looking for partners to join in the upgrade of my
mobile education demonstration truck to add the ability to use propane
and to upgrade from a manual open loop system to an automatic closed
I saw Eric Henry of TS Designs, who made the Intergalactic Hydrogen
T-Shirt, in Scottsdale at the Sun Festival where I delivered a workshop
presentation on 7 cleaner fuels available today around the country for
less cost than gasoline or diesel. The workshop was standing room only!
Felix Kramer, Founder of California Cars Initiative, sent this to me
while I was on the road:
"Here's a general press backgrounder (will send
you NYTimes and BizWeek clips separately) What if your readers could do
something about two of today's gravest threats: global warming and
energy security? I hope what's below persuades you the momentum's
building enough to suggest they take a good look, both as citizens and
as car buyers, at "gas-optional hybrids" or "plug-in hybrids" (GO-HEVs /PHEVs).
For your convenience, I've rounded up evidence of growing attention to
what has been a "sleeper" solution, now coming to life. First, press
coverage (links to all at
* Business Week 's first story in a major U.S. business magazine April
* New York Times automotive writer Danny Hakim's BizSection P.1 story
Saturday focused on the grass-roots CalCars' "PRIUS+" and the bigger
picture April 2
* Business Week TV profiled PHEV inventor April 3
* Automotive News wrote about them for the first time on March 28
* Newsweek's International editor Fareed Zakaria envisioned 500 MPG cars
* The Economist pronounced them the future platform Dec '04
* The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)'s
prestigious publication named PHEVs Winner of their International 2004
* A wave of bloggers, including 600 postings in one day at
the leading techie website
Below I have included:
1. Other public interest in GO-HEVs / PHEVS
2. Recent comments by OEMs on PHEVs
3. A summary of CalCars and our PRIUS+ project
... all of which will, I hope, help you consider if this is the right
time for you to share the next developments with your readers. Thanks in
advance for your interest in what we're up to. I'll be checking in to
see if you'd like to find out more.
Founder, California Cars Initiative
Palo Alto, California
voice 650.599.9992 cell 650.520.5555
1. UPDATE ON PUBLIC
INTEREST IN GO-HEVs / PHEVs
PHEVs are the "sleeper" solution that many people are starting to see
can triple the MPG of today's current hybrids with no new technology.
Car companies have said "they're too complex, and there's no market for
them." (-just like what they once said about hybrids.) OEMs have
dismissed the prototypes that they helped build as science projects.
They've promoted fuel cell cars, but more and more people are realizing
they're decades away, and understand that PHEVs can be the platform for
all future automotive development.
Many people are getting excited about PHEVs. (Get to links to all the
following developments from
* The California
Cars Initiative (CalCars)and our partners have "green-tuned" two Priuses
to demonstrate how car companies could do it -- and get up to 180 MPG
(plus cheaper, cleaner electricity). More prototypes are on the way.
Thousands of Prius owners online are talking about this breakthrough,
asking when they can convert to what we call "PRIUS+." Already one
battery maker, Valence (NASDAQ VLNC) sees a major business opportunity
in "installed kits."
* DaimlerChrysler has become the first OEM to commit to a small PHEV
development program (on its Sprinter commercial van platform).
* In the past few months, a unique "green-neocon" alliance has formed to
promote steps to energy security, that's now endorsing PHEVs that we
could build now, rather than fuel cell technologies that could be
decades away. The December report from the blue-ribbon National
Commission on Energy Policy, followed by the March 28 press conference
to announce a letter on energy policy to President Bush from 31 national
security officials, have focused more interest on PHEVs.
* Some electric- utilities and - state government officials are planning
a large buy order to prime the market and attract car makers. Others see
PHEVs as a way for at least one manufacturer to leapfrog past existing
auto makers, and others at many levels of California government see the
opportunity for a domestic PHEV design/assembly industry.
2. RECENT MEDIA COMMENTS BY OEMS ON PHEVS HAVE BEEN CONTRADICTORY, AND
MODIFIED THEIR COMMENTS AS OUR EFFORTS EXPAND AND THEY GET MORE
DAIMLERCHRYSLER: Nick Cappa, manager of advanced technology
communications: "It's just an idea program," (AUTOMOTIVE NEWS- "a great
opportunity to develop the vehicles we foresee in the future." (BUSINESS
WEEK) "This is part of a small program investigating these
FORD: Gerhard Schmidt, VP of Research and Advanced Engineering: "We are
looking at a range of potential alternative fuel solutions to address
the issues around eliminating our dependence on fossil fuels and global
warming - and it may include a plug-in hybrid. (CORRESPONDENCE TO AN
INDIVIDUAL--WEEKS AFTER RECEIPT, FORD REQUESTED IT NOT BE FOR
TOYOTA Motor Sales U.S.A. Cindy Knight: "We're exploring every avenue"
for reducing reliance on petroleum, she says. (AUTOMOTIVE NEWS) David
Hermance, Toyota's executive engineer for environmental engineering: "We
keep looking at the concept, and at some point it might be feasible, but
it isn't there yet," (BUSINESS WEEK) "They say this is the next great
thing, but it just isn't" ..."The electric utilities really want to sell
electricity and they want to sell it to the transportation sector
because that expands their market. They have an agenda." ...And Mr.
Hermance of Toyota said that batteries today were not durable enough to
handle the wide range of charging up and charging down that a plug-in
hybrid would need, calling that the most damaging thing you can do to a
battery .... Mr. Hermance said the feature [EV Button] was disabled in
Priuses sold in the United States because of complications it would have
created in emissions-testing rules. (NY TIMES)
3. INTRODUCING CALCARS AND PRIUS+
Below is a quick background summary on CalCars, Gas-Optional or Plug-In
Hybrids (GO-HEVs or PHEVs) and the PRIUS+ Project
The California Cars Initiative (www.calcars.org)
is a Palo Alto-based nonprofit startup. We're a group of entrepreneurs,
engineers and other citizens promoting high-efficiency low-emission cars
and harnessing buyer demand to help commercialize advanced technologies.
Somewhat uniquely, we focus both on public policy and technology
development. Starting in early 2005, our efforts began to be noticed; in
the first week of April 2005, we were covered in The New York Times and
We're demonstrating the immediate opportunity and benefits of what are
variously called "gas-optional or plug-in" hybrids (GO-HEVs or PHEVs).
The next generation of hybrid cars can be based entirely on existing
components. They're basically like some current hybrids but with larger
batteries and the ability to re-charge conveniently, so local travel is
electric, yet the vehicle has unlimited range. While hybrids may cut
gasoline use by on-third, PHEVS can cut out another third. We see it as
the future pathway to multi-fuel PHEVs, including biodiesel. And it
makes hydrogen cars more affordable by reducing the size of the fuel
cell stack and the amount of hydrogen stored.
We began with a prototype conversion we call "PRIUS+" -- it's a stock
2004 Prius to which we've added batteries and grid-charging, as a way to
bring attention to plug-in hybrids and encourage car makers to build
them. (We've replaced the battery control system but haven't tinkered
with the Hybrid Synergy Drive.) Our proof-of-concept uses lead-acid,
which we'll be replacing soon with nickel-metal batteries, and our
Southern California partners have installed an even better lithium pack
in their car to get 120-180mpg + costs of electric power.)
We hope to persuade Toyota and other automakers to build PHEVs for a
market we expect to expand as the Kyoto Protocols and parallel state and
international greenhouse gas initiatives are phased in. We're
demonstrating demand initially from early adopter individuals and
institutions. We're working closely with other PHEV advocates to develop
fleet orders from utilities, government and private companies. With our
for-profit integration partners, we hope later this year to offer
installed conversion "kits" to celebrities and entrepreneurs. We're
looking first at cars that use Toyota's "Hybrid Synergy Drive" (Prius,
Lexus, Highlander, Nissan), followed by Ford's Escape and other
We're also involved in advocacy and public policy, bringing together the
growing attention given to this little-known technology (see our roundup
www.calcars.org/kudos.html). We're educating the large market of
Green Californians who will pay extra for better cars. We're presenting
the benefits of PHEVs, along with wind and solar power, as a coordinated
response to two of our greatest challenges: global warming and energy
security. We're exploring with public officials ways to provide
incentives to auto makers to build PHEVs, and with government and
industry suppliers the opportunities for California to become a design,
production (perhaps) an assembly center for PHEVs.
We're a mostly-volunteer effort (including an open-source-style
technology discussion group fully documenting our efforts), but we've
received contributions from a well-known entrepreneur and a major
foundation, with others to come.
Personally, I'm a startup person and environmentalist going way back (www.nlightning.com/resume.html).
After selling eConstructors.com (marketplace for web development) in
2001, I began advising Rocky Mountain Institute/Amory Lovins' Hypercar
Inc. My change in focus from that futuristic simulation of a
fully-optimized ideal vehicle to more immediate solutions led to the
launch of CalCars in 2002. My personal motivation for the project has
evolved from general environmental/clean air goals, as well as energy
independence, to seeing PHEVs as a keystone component of a strategy to
address global warming both nationally and internationally. PHEVs
charged from off-peak electricity from an evolving grid and from
distributed photovoltaic and wind power, with the range extension engine
powered by biofuels, point the way forward.
Founder California Cars Initiative
PRIUS+ PHEV Conversion Group
PO Box 61222 Palo Alto, CA 94306
cell 650.520.5555 voice 650.599.9992
I guess I do not have a photo of the bi-fuel
CNG propane truck from Baytech. I sent a couple good shots of the
Propane hot rod though. Markus is seen standing in front of the vehicle
with the president of Weststart, John Bozel behind the wheel. Laura
Farkas behind the wheel and the rear shot of the machine.
Markus Wenzel from ECO drove from Canada to Palm Springs in his
companies latest creation, a bi-fuel, propane or gasoline powered
Chrysler 300C. Laura Farkas took the Mean and Clean machine for a test
drive and declared that its performance on the cleaner burning propane
was obviously superior than the performance on gasoline. The Hemi V-8 worked
flawlessly on propane. The DMX (DaimlerChrysler) engineer that developed
the shift points for the automatic transmission on the factory vehicle
even test drove the vehicle and stated that ECO did a wonderful job
making this vehicle run on propane. Propane is an exceptional energy
that is locally sourced and packed full of energy. Any gasoline engine
can run on propane with a fuel storage and delivery system upgrade.
Diesel engines can be boosted with propane as well to dramatically
The driver of the ride-n-drive escape is Martin Bowman, the fleet
manager for the city of Riverside. Sometime this summer the City of
Riverside will be having the grand opening of their new H2 station it
will be at the same place where they had the CNG station opening that I
attended with the GreenHummer that had the article posted on ET Marry
Nickerson, Alt fuel marketing manager for Toyota has driven the plug in
and liked it. eDrive's motivation is to get Toyota to do this at the
factory and put them, (eDrive) out of business.
The Roush EV low speed battery electric utility vehicle
Roush West Coast Technical Center
11331 Valley View Street
Cypress, CA 90630
401 S. 2nd Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85003
Tell my buddy Kevin that Tai says hi and that we already developed the
6.0L. Roush and ETEC will be selling a hydrogen ICE Chevy truck this
year with the same engine that my Father and I developed for the Hummer
H2. ETEC is housed inside of the APS downtown location where the
hydrogen station is. They started out with just EV's but have moved on
to hydrogen now.
Tai W. Robinson ::: Clean Fuel Specialist
President ::: Intergalactic Hydrogen
Correspondent ::: H2Nation Publishing, Inc.
9851 S. Borg Dr., Sandy, UT 84092
801.201.7370 :: cell
801.944.3704 :: fax