Professor Franks Has Given Birth – Day Three at Plug-In 2008

P1000542-filteredIn an earlier Plug-In 2008 Greenius post I called Professor Andrew Frank of UC Davis the Godfather of Plug-In Hybrid vehicles, not only was I probably inadvertently quoting Sherry Boschert from the PIA website, but as you can see in the above photo of him I wasn’t giving him nearly enough credit for he truly is the Father of PHEVs not merely the godfather.

 

Professor Franks gave the keynote address at today’s lunch session at the conference and he was brilliant.  His topic was the Impact of the PHEV on Society and he had the audience hanging on his every word.

 

Not only did Professor Frank give a superb overview of the history of PHEVs – easy enough to do because he himself was part of all of it from the beginning – but he also had one of the best produced PowerPoint presentations of any of the conference guest speakers.  His slides not only look great, they had compelling content and messaging.  

 

Everything about this man impresses the hell out of me. Not the least of which is the fact he’s attending this conference with a broken foot and a walking boot cast.  He claimed he suffered the injury from kicking his students one time too many.

 

Professor Frank believes that Plug-In Hybrid vehicles are our most viable solution to reducing oil consumption and his reasoning is sound and convincing.  He’s been building his own hybrids since 1993 and he’s built them better than anything GM, Ford or Chrysler has built or is planning on building soon.  Here’s why PHEVs are his vehicle of choice:

 

 

The gas stations and the electric outlets are already in place to fuel PHEVs, unlike pure Electric vehicles, BEVs which need a high power charge .  Using direct wind and/or solar renewable energy is an option and because of the gas engine, range is not a problem.  And the cost of the zero C02 substitute for the global warming gas is less than any other proposed solution.  Frankly speaking it’s a no brainer.  

 

So Professor Frank has no problem sharing Andy Grove’s vision of trying to get 10 million plug-ins on the road in four years.  But he knows we can’t get there from new car sales because the 15 million new cars sold annually isn’t a large enough pool to draw from.  Once the high volume manufacturers like Toyota, GM, Nissan, Ford and others DO start  PHEVs they won’t be able to capture enough of that new car market in their first decade to get to 10 million.

 

So he says, we need to modify existing vehicles at the rate of 10-15% a year.  someone needs to help with the cost to make it possible until oil goes up enough to justify the expense out of pocket.  One way to pull that along he suggests is to start installing outlets at every parking spot and I agree.  

 

Once the public sees the abundance of potential charging outlets everywhere they park in public, the sense of being able to charge up wherever you go will will become part of the mainstream consciousness.  

 

How hard could this be?  After all, as Dr Frank pointed out, Canada has already done this.  They use the outlets to power the block heaters so many of our friends in the great white north carry throughout the cold weather months.  And as another speaker in one of my breakout sessions enlightened us, there is already electricity going to most parking meters in the United States, so the idea of adding an outlet or two per meter is a practical one.

 

 

Besides being the hands-on guru at UC Davis, Professor Frank is also in business as Efficient Drivetrains Inc (EI) and is doing everything in his power to accelerate PHEV development including collaborating with vehicle companies to develop PHEVs and supplying drivetrains and systems components as well as licensing existing technology solutions.  

EI can provide a huge savings in R&D fundings and more importantly in time to market.

 

If any of the American car companies had a man like Andrew Franks at the top or close to the top he could teach them the same thing he’s been teaching his students for the past 15 years and they’d be pumping out PHEVs with the same energy and passion they do the Hummers that used to get them $15,000 in profits for every car sold.  But I got the impression from listening to Professor Frank today that he doesn’t think too much of the efforts being made by GM, Ford and Chrysler and that he’s not putting great odds on any of them catching plug-in fever in a big way anytime too soon.

 

 

One last note before I hit the hay tonight.  At this evening’s big conference gala at the San Jose Tech Museum I was lucky enough to be checking out the Baker electric car from the late 1890s when Professor Frank came by with a few colleagues to discuss the car.  I got to listen to him talk about the history of the car and how it had been turned into a hybrid with the addition of a gas engine after the intro of the Model A by Ford.   I joined in the impromptu discussion and got the tiniest taste of what a joy it must be to study with Professor Frank.  Wow.  

 

And it gave me renewed confidence, knowing how many of Professor Franks former students are now the key players and leaders in this quickly growing new industry.  It’s a good thing they’re all here.  We’re going to need them.

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Electrifying Day At Plug-In 2008

P1000368-filteredThat’s Mark Duvall of the Electric Power Research Institute, EPRI.  He’s the program manager of Electric Transportation and he’s been working with plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles for 16 years since his days as a student at UC Davis.  There are few people who know more about Plug-In cars than Duvall and few who are more impressive when presenting or answering questions.

 

Tuesday’s session started with “The Potential and Challenges of PHEVs to Reduce Petroleum Consumption and Greenhouse Gas Emissions” and I wasn’t nearly as impressed with Mark’s boss, Steve Specker who seemed cautious and short of vision to me.  His presentation was weak at best.

 

 

The same can’t be said of Peter Schwartz, the co-founder and chairman of the Global Business Network.  He spoke about climate change and didn’t pull any punches.  

 

The one statement he made that will stay with me a long time is that you can already kiss Bangladesh goodbye.  “Bangladesh is over,” is the way Schwartz put it.  

 

He said there will be 150 million refugees that India and China would have to assimilate. 

 

 

 

 

Nothing Schwartz said gave me a single ounce of hope that climate change is being treated with the sense of urgency it needs to be reckoned with.  He might as well have said you can kiss your current way of life goodbye.  “The good time is over,” is what I heard.

 

Increasing climate change is what we are headed for…

 

 

 

One of the worst presentations I’ve ever seen by a corporate exec was given by the monotone and soul-free Jonathan Lackner, a GM VP.  

 

He was there to talk about the Volt and the Saturn plug-in hybrid SUV and after listening to his lackluster and detached read of his poorly prepared remarks I came away thinking that GM will never deliver on their promise.  

 

A small but telling note about Jonathan, he sported a Hitler style mustache that only served to add to his lack of credibility.  Any corporate exec at his level that doesn’t even understand the optics of his own face and the message it sends with his choice of stash style doesn’t understand the American public, what they want and what they don’t trust.  The fact that this is the guy GM sent to the premier plug-in event speaks volumes about where Detroit is still coming from.

 

I was equally unimpressed with Nancy Gioia from Ford.  In fact, after hearing both these American car company employees talking about their plug-in offerings, I don’t give either one of them much of a chance in succeeding.  I don’t think Ford or GM get it and frankly I don’t believe their spokesman.  I believe both Ford and GM and Chrysler as well are the problem, not the solution.  I hope I’m wrong, but I would bet against both of them and put my money on the Japanese and the entrepreneurs.

 

Fortunately there were many speakers and presentations that hit home runs and gave me great hope for the plug-in future.  Ed Kjaer, the Director of Electric Transportation for So. Cal Edison was superb.  His expertise and enthusiasm for his work were inspiring.

 

 

When it came to providing real inspiration Andy Grove, Intel’s former Chairman and CEO was right on the money.  He gave the keynote speech at lunch and his vision was as sharp as his remarks.

 

Grove called for a World War II level effort to convert 10 million pickups, SUVs and minivans – the low hanging fruit of bad milage, big vehicles – to plug-in hybrids within four years.  

 

Grove wants to see an inter-industry task force made up of the utilities, vehicle manufacturers, high tech companies and academia to put together the plan to make it happen.  Grove said only disruptive action on this scale can curtail greenhouse gas emissions sufficiently and cut our use of gasoline in half.  While nay-sayers whine about how soon it can be done, Grove has been there before when an industry went from zero to sixty as fast as a Tesla.

 

 

Maybe we should just turn the entire job over to UC Davis.  Before this conference I had no idea just how influential and significant the work done at Davis has been.  But now it’s clear that UC Davis is to plug-ins as UCLA has been to NBA basketball.  So many stars of this new industry have come out of Davis or are part of Davis now.

 

 

The godfather of plug-in vehicles, Dr. Andrew Frank is here and must be proud of what his work has fostered.  I’ll write more about Dr. Frank in future posts.  

 

I sat next to Professor Frank in the PHEV Conversions breakout session moderated by Felix Kramer of CalCars.org and I was pretty much spellbound by the panel that included Sanjeev Choudhary of A123Systems/Hymotion and Alec Proudfoot of the Google RechargeIT.

 

This session made it clear that plug-in hybrids are ready right now to deliver close to 100 mpg for American drivers.  It is only through the efforts of the people on this panel and those working with them that the auto companies are making plug-in hybrids at all.  These plug in pioneers pushed the car companies kicking and screaming all along the way to the brink of production they’re on today.  That’s not what any of them said, but that’s what the Creative Greenius is telling you is true fact.

 

 

 

The day ended with the public night in the exhibition hall and over 700 members of the public came to see the cars they’ll be driving next.  The enthusiasm and passion of the public was a welcome vibe by the exhibitors and plug-in supporters attending the conference and a big boost for all.

 

 

 

 

 

The evening wrapped up with a 90 minute panel session featuring a tremendous panel of well spoken, exceptionally smart plug-in experts.  UC Davis Director of their PHEV Research Center, Tom Turrentine moderated the panel featuring Mark Duvall, Dan Reicher, the director of Climate Change and Energy Initiatives for Google.org and Chelesa Sexton, former GM EV1 Specialist.  

 

The session had to end at 9pm, but if the public had their way we’d still be there talking about Plug-ins and asking and answering more questions.

 

Two bits of good news came out of the conference.  GM is now working with 37 different states and their electric companies to speed bringing plug-in cars to market.

 

 

And Google announced two new investments in the plug-in development field.

 

$2.75 million went to Aptera, the three wheel BEV and PHEV vehicle that looks like a flying car; and to ActaCell the lithium-ion battery maker.

 

I’d write more, but I have to get back to the conference.

Welcome To Plug-In 2008

 

P1000113-filtered I attended the Welcome Reception for Plug-In 2008 last night and got my first look at the Exhibition Hall.  Here’s some of what I saw:

 

That’s the Plug-In Hybrid from the Sacramento Muni Utility District…

 

 

AC Propulsion’s Ebox all electric car…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Consider this my visual sneak preview.  Tonight I’ll be blogging about who is here and what they’re showing.

 

In the meantime, let me leave you with two important items.  This from Plug-In America co-founder, Paul Scott, who reports that Japanese plug-in car makers have reached an important agreement to standardize batteries:

Toyota Motor Corp, Nissan Motor Co, Matsushita Electric Industrial Co and other Japanese companies will work together to set up common standards for lithium-ion batteries being developed to power next-generation cars, the Nikkei business daily said on Saturday.

 

And this great article from Stefano Paris on his UC Davis professor, and the man I consider the Godfather of Plug-In Hybrids, Professor Andrew Frank.

 

Greetings From Plugged-In San Jose

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 That’s CalCars Founder and Plug-In Hybrid visionary, Felix Kramer with his now legendary Plug-In Prius outside of the San Jose Convention center this afternoon.  Kramer and several other plug-in hybrid heavyweights held a well-attended press event in advance of today’s plug-in battery workshop.   

 

 

I hope to get some news from the battery workshop when I attend tonight’s Welcome Reception sponsored by PG&E.

 

But one big piece of charging news comes courtesy of Plug-In America founder, Paul Scott who passed on the report from 

Coulomb Technologies who “Today announced a smart charging infrastructure for plug-in vehicles. Coulomb has developed a complete solution targeting plug-in vehicles including Extended Range Electric Vehicles, Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles, and Battery Electric Vehicles. Coulomb’s ChargePoint™ Network includes public charging stations, a consumer subscription plan and utility grid management technology for electric utility companies to smooth electrical demands on the grid. The infrastructure solution will be showcased with the Saturn Vue Plug-in Hybrid at the Plug-In 2008 Conference.”

 

 

Speaking of news, there was a plug on the front page of this morning’s San Jose Mercury News for the conference with a photo of Kramer’s converted Prius.  A piece on the conference lead the front page of the Tech section.

 

It was great to see four different plug-in hybrids ready to drive in front of the convention center.  They may look like regular old hybrids, but they’re really super hybrids.  And I don’t know a person who drives today who doesn’t want one right now.

 

 

Tomorrow morning the full Plug-In 2008 Conference kicks off with keynote speaker, Andy Grove, Intel CEO and Chairman, talking about why the time is now for Plug-Ins.

 

I’ve already got my “hit list” of breakout sessions, exhibitors and plug-in principals I want to meet, listen to and learn from while I’m here.  

 

I’ll try to share as much as I can each day as I shoot photos and video for my Greenius reports.  I’m excited to be here and on to road to meeting the challenge of clean, green electric drive vehicles.

 

 

I Accept The Challenge Al – We CAN Do It In Ten Years If We Start Now

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Al Gore gave the single most important speech of the Presidential campaign last Thursday and told it exactly the way it is when it comes to the climate change crisis and what we should do about it.

 

Gore said our survival is at stake and that things are bad and getting worse.  If you’ve been reading the Creative Greenius you know that’s true.  If you’ve been paying attention to Dr. James Hansen over the last year or so Gore was telling you what you already know.  But that would put you in small minority of Americans.

 

Al Gore said we are in danger because we continue to use carbon-based fuels and that our reliance on them is hurting our economy, our environment and our national security.  Your Creative Greenius will add that it’s also turned us into a nation of BOHICA chumps.

 

Al correctly pointed out that “we’re borrowing money from China to buy oil from the Persian Gulf to burn it in ways that destroy the planet. Every bit of that’s got to change.”  We couldn’t agree more.  We’re not quibbling with a single stirring word Al spoke.

 

He challenged our nation “to commit to producing 100 percent of our electricity from renewable energy and truly clean carbon-free sources within 10 years.”  

 

I say Let’s Go, Let’s Go, Let’s Go!

I stand with Al Gore and my sleeves are rolled up.  I’m ready to do some heavy lifting.

Others are ready to do some chirping, harping, pillaring and complaining.  Their criticism only puts us further away from what needs to be done now.

 

You might hear some people say we can’t do it in just ten years.

Those people are wrong.

Some of them are well meaning and just don’t have the vision, resolve or ability to make great things happen.

Those people should get out of the way and let those of us who do get to work.

 

But many of people who say it can’t be done are part of an industry that has been lying and damaging our health for a long time and making huge profits off that business model.  They will say and do anything to keep things the way they are.  But remember this – there is no such thing as an oil or coal company that isn’t a climate killer and a carbon collaborator.  It doesn’t matter how many ad campaigns Chevron, Exxon/Mobile or Shell Oil run.  It doesn’t matter how much greenwashing they do.  The truth is out there and it damns them.

 

The truth is that the scientists who know best have already told us that the amount of C02 in the air needs to be at 350 or below.  Today it’s at 385 and climbing higher every day.

The experts I trust say that if we don’t turn things around in the next ten years – the ten years Al is challenging us with – then life as we know it will be over.  They’re not fudging or factoring in wiggle room.  Life as we know it now will be over.

 

Those experts are right and the people who dispute them are wrong.  Listening to the people who are wrong, who have been wrong every step of the way, will only hasten the worst of all possible worlds.  We don’t have any spare time left to mince words or be diplomatic about it.

 

Al said, “Those who, for whatever reason, refuse to do their part must either be persuaded to join the effort or asked to step aside. This is such a moment. The survival of the United States of America as we know it is at risk.”

 

When Al says they should “be persuaded” your Creative Greenius stands ready to help be a persuader.  There are so many effective methods I’ve seen work.  Some of them are really fun to employ.

 

Al says we need a whole new electric grid to transmit our 100% renewable power everywhere it needs to go.  Al is 100% correct about that too and once we get the oil company lobbyist out of the White House and Vice President’s residence we should immediately initiate that work and fund it with a carbon tax on oil, coal and the people who burn them.

 

Al Gore proposes that we shouldn’t be taxed on what we earn, we should be taxed on what we burn, as in climate changing carbon.  Al is right about this too.  The sooner gas, oil and coal start carrying their own weight based on the damage and harm they’re doing the closer we will be to ditching these planet killers.

 

Al says we can also ditch gasoline and run our cars off the clean power our national electric system will offer.  I’m sure plenty of the folks I’m looking forward to meeting at the Plug-In 2008 Conference this week will be ready.  Hell, several of them are already there, having blazed the path for the rest of us.

 

Al Gore is seizing the moment just when it needs to be grabbed and run with.  It’s too bad no one running for President is taking the leadership role this moment in our history demands.  But we don’t need the politicians.  We’ve got Al.  And Al has got me.

 

Just try and stop us.

Plugging Plug-Ins Part III The Greenius Guide to EVs, Hybrids & Plug-In Hybrids That Will Rock Your World

 

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In Part I we covered Electric (BEV) vehicles.  

In Part II we covered PHEV, Plug-In Hybrids.

 

Here in Part III we’ll cover what’s coming in BEVs.

 

I’ve already shared the many reasons I love all electric plug-in cars that don’t use any gasoline or other fuels.  I can easily imagine a world just a decade away when electric vehicles completely replace all gasoline vehicles.  I’m not alone in previsualizing that transportation dream world.  

 

Read this comprehensive article from May 26, 2008

An industry charged up: Electric vehicles are poised to go mainstream

The Financial Times – By John Reed – Published: May 26 2008 

While as recently as a year ago carmakers’ green-car announcements often had overtones of worthy science projects or corporate window-dressing, their actions in recent months point to electric propulsion becoming a core business. “You’re going to see more changes in powertrain technology over the next five years than you’ve seen in the last 50,” says Rod Lache, an analyst with Deutsche Bank.

 

Here are some of the cars that will get us there…

 

 

Nissan Going All Electric, Looks To Seize The Initiative

 

Renault/Nissan, the auto industry’s third-largest group, has announced the most ambitious plans of any major car company, promising pure electric cars providing an expected range of about 100 miles (160 km), to be sold in the US and Japan from 2010 and theb globally from 2012.  Carlos Ghosn, the alliance’s chief executive, has identified leadership in electric vehicles as a top objective in Nissan’s new five-year business plan.

 

 

According to the article in the NY Times in May of this year, Ghosn said Nissan decided to accelerate development of battery-powered vehicles because of high gasoline prices and environmental concerns, not just because of the need to meet stricter fuel-economy standards.

“What we are seeing is that the shifts coming from the markets are more powerful than what regulators are doing,” he said.

 

 

Mitsubishi i-MiEV Expected to be Released Next Year

 

 

Mitsubishi MiEV’s  in-wheel motor electric vehicle is a very cool approach to driving a car by electricity and they look very serious about getting this car out to the market.  

 

They’ve moved up their original delivery date and plan on having cars first to Japanese customers in 2009. 

 

Right now Mitsubishi has no plans to sell the car in the US, but is asking for potential customers to petition them.  Youi can sign this petition asking Mitsubishi to bring the i-EV to the U.S.

 

 

Mitsubishi has added one new innovation by giving the i-EV two different charging ports for different charging situations. The i-EV has a charging port on each side.  One allows the car to be charged using normal household or parking lot charging, and the other allows for using a “Quick Charging System”.  

 

 

 

 

The household/parking lot method takes about 7 hours and the Quick Charging System takes about 30 minutes to get it to 80%.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Subaru Quick Charge Electric Car in New York

 

 

Based on the Subaru R1 minicar sold in Japan, the R1e was developed by Subaru in partnership with the Tokyo Electric Power Company, Inc.. The utility has been testing a fleet of R1e electric cars since 2006. As part of a U.S. test program, two of the Subaru R1e electric cars will join the New York Power Authority (NYPA) fleet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Subaru R1e employs fast-charge lithium ion battery technology that eliminates typical lithium ion battery issues of charge memory loss, allowing partial charges and quick charges that do not decrease battery life. The two-seat Subaru R1e is capable of driving at speeds up to 65 mph with a range of up to 50 miles, making it an ideal urban commuter. 

 

 

 

 

The Subaru R1e can be “quick-charged” to 80 percent capacity in only 15 minutes using quick-charge technology. The vehicle can be fully charged overnight (eight hours) while connected to a standard household electrical outlet. The R1e uses an AC permanent magnet synchronized motor producing 40 kW.

 

 

THINK ELECTRIC OX DUE IN 2011

 

 

Backed by U.S. venture capital, Norwegian company Think is betting its Ox concept vehicle can prove the electric car’s time has finally arrived.

 

An electrified people’s car for the 21st century, the Ox is a preview of Think’s next-generation production vehicle, due out in 2011. 

 

 

Roughly the size of a Toyota  Prius, the Ox can travel between 125 and 155 miles before needing a recharge, and zips from zero to 60 miles per hour in about 8.5 seconds. 

 

Its lithium-ion batteries can be charged to 80% capacity in less than an hour, and slender solar panels integrated into the roof power the onboard electronics. Inside, the hatchback includes a bevy of high-tech gizmos such as GPS navigation, a mobile Internet connection, and a key fob that lets drivers customize the car’s all-digital dashboard.

 

Pricing has yet to be announced, but the company’s current vehicles cost less than $25,000.

 

500 Electric Minis Coming to California

 

 

BMW plans to export nearly 500 electric versions of its Mini car to California, company sources said.  The electric Minis are being built at the Mini factory in Oxford, England, without engines, gearboxes or fuel tanks, then shipped to Munich, Germany, where they are being fitted with electric powertrains.  

 

The key to this first step is that these cars will only be available to lease at first.

 

If you want to own an electric plug-in Mini today you’ll have to have a Mini you already own converted.  Hybrid Technologies will be happy to do that for you for about $57,500.

 

In April of 07 popular mechanics got to test drive a mini cooper converted to electric by Hybrid Technologies  You can watch the video here too.

 

According to company founder Richard Griffiths, the Mini we tested sports a 78kW electric motor, can get up to 200 miles on a charge and recharges in six to eight hours. Inside, the only real changes to the Mini interior are that the back seats are gone (your batteries are now your “+2”) and the gas gauge now reads permanently empty because as far as your vehicle’s instrument cluster is concerned, you have no gas.  But that doesn’t mean that you have no power. The lithium-powered Mini takes off with gusto—not surprising, since electric motors have full torque available at takeoff.

 

That’s my report for right now…

 

BUT… One huge potential development I’m watching along with everyone else in this field is the PROJECT BETTER PLACE concept of selling you an electric car without the batteries and then having “subscribe” to the batteries for a monthly fee.  That way when your batteries run down you just go to a Better Place battery station and swap them out for fully charged batteries.  This is brainchild of Shai Agassi, (read his blog here) the software entrepreneur behind the new company, and the nation of Israel is already on board in a big way.

 

 

There are some other plug-in vehicles I haven’t covered here, but a couple of other sources have gone more in-depth and you should check them out too if you want to drill even deeper… you should pardon the pun:

 

CLICK HERE TO READ “CARS AFTER THE AGE OF OIL” by dotcommodity of DailyKos.  His review of vehicles is the best that’s out there and the most comprehensive.  I learn an awful lot from this guy.

 

CLICK HERE TO READ VENTURE BEAT’S JANUARY 2008 “30 ELECTRIC CARS READY TO TAKE OVER THE ROAD”

 

Plugging Plug-Ins Part II The Greenius Guide to EVs, Hybrids & Plug-In Hybrids That Will Rock Your World

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In Part I we covered Electric (BEV) vehicles.  

Here in Part II we’ll focus on PHEV, Plug-In Hybrids.

Plug-In Hybrids are going to be big, fast.  The electric utilities are big backers for the technology and I’m seeing article after article like this one from last week’s Oregonian in Portland:

 

 

 

PGE predicts Surge in hybrid vehicles, plans more plug ins

Demonstration – The utility will build 12 charging stations in Portland and Salem

Saturday, July 05, 2008

LIBBY TUCKER -The Associated Press

Portland General Electric has begun leading the charge for mass adoption of plug-in hybrid-electric cars in Oregon. The utility plans to install 12 electric-vehicle charging stations in Portland and Salem by September as part of a demonstration project to develop the transportation infrastructure needed to support electric vehicles.

The project will also help the utility anticipate the demand plug-in cars might place on the region’s electric grid and design smart grid systems to help even out variability in wind and solar resources.

 

Meanwhile conservative Kiplinger Business Resource reports:

Plug-in Hybrid Cars Zooming Ahead

Auto makers are speeding ultra-high-mileage plug-in cars to market to beat looming federal emissions mandates.

 

WHAT YOU CAN BUY TODAY

 

CONVERT YOUR PRIUS INTO ONE OF THE FIRST PLUG-IN HYBRIDS

Led by Felix Kramer’s pioneering efforts there’s more than one place you can bring your 2004 or later Toyota Prius into a plug-in hybrid (PHEV)- the next best thing to having an electric car.  

 

 

Plug-in Hybrids are seen as the perfect transition step to BEVs – battery electric vehicles -because their combination of electric motor and gasoline motor will allow most people to travel their average 30 miles a day on the electric motor, but still have the long range capability they also need sometimes

 

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I could tell you everything you’d ever want to know about plug-in hybrids, but I’d just be repeating what I learned from the Plug-in Hybrid FAQ expertly compiled by Earl Killian at Climate Progress.

 

One thing I can tell your right now is where to get yourself one of the those 100+ mpg Prius conversions:

 

 

A123Systems uses their Hymotion L5 Plug-in Conversion Modules to convert your Prius hybrid into a plug in hybrid capable of 100+ mpg for 30-40 miles.

 

Hybrids Plus is converting both Prius hybrids and Ford Escape Hybrids.  They’re in Colorado and they charge $32,400 to do an Escape – car not included.

 

 

 

Plug-In Conversions in Poway, California is one of the first companies I became aware of doing Prius plug-ins when I saw their cars and Nilar batteries back in November at the Renewable L.A. event.  Here’s what their website says today:

Plug-In Conversions Corporation (San Diego, California) is pleased to announce our participation with the California Cars Initiative (CalCars.org) and Nilar, Inc (www.nilar.com) in the first CalCars based East Coast conversion of a Prius into a PHEV (Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle) at the Embedded Systems Conference in Boston. Nilar NiMH batteries are used which give the converted Prius a low-speed electric range of 15+ miles which provides overall mileage of 100+ MPG depending on driving profile. Nilar makes an advanced NiMH battery with characteristics similar to NiMH batteries used in electric vehicles that have attained 150,000 miles of battery pack life. While other battery chemistries show promise, no other battery chemistry to date has been able to demonstrate this longevity.

 

EDrive in Los Angeles says they’ll start converting cars next month.  Here’s what else they say on their website:  

 

With an EDrive upgrade installed in your 2004 or later year Toyota Prius, you won’t miss those trips to the gas station as your daily commute driving range expands to well over 1000 miles per fill-up. EDrive allows a substantial amount of gasoline to be displaced by electricity when you charge nightly and drive locally. Using any 110-volt wall socket, your EDrive Prius can be plugged in overnight to recharge an expanded lithium-ion battery system. With a full charge, expect to see over 100 miles per gallon for the first 40 miles of your daily drive under average conditions. On the open road past 40 miles, or if you forget to plug it in, your EDrive Prius will behave like a normal Prius gasoline-electric hybrid.

EDrive can be installed in the rear of a Prius in about four hours without touching the motors, engine or hybrid control system up front. The lithium-ion battery system fits entirely under the rear cargo carpet.

 

WHAT YOU’LL BUY TOMORROW

 

 

 

GM says their new plug-in hybrid Chevy Volt will be ready sooner than they originally planned:

GM Pushes Up Production Of Volt Electric Car

 

Posted on: Tuesday, 8 July 2008,

In the wake of an economic downturn, General Motors Corp is hurrying production of its Chevy Volt. It now hopes to unveil a showroom-ready model in September, according to sources close to the project.

 

Your Creative Greenius really wishes GM well, but I have no faith or confidence that they will deliver on their promise with this car.  Based on GM’s record over the last 30 years they will have to prove themselves to me.

 

 

 

Meanwhile they’ll have Toyota to deal with if they do succeed…

 

 

 

Toyota is promising a Plug In Prius for 2010 

 

Toyota made their announcement in January at the Detroit Auto Show and they haven’t said much since except to whine a little about how tough it is to develop the batteries. I think it’s safe to say that it’s only because of the efforts of the groups like CalCars.org and others doing the heavy lifting to develop the Prius as a Plug-In that Toyota is doing this now.

 

The good news is that Toyota’s car is looking good according to Popular Mechanics testing.

 

But we don’t have to count on Toyota and GM to give us the plug-ins we want, they’re just two of the floats in this parade of plug-ins.

 

German Government to Help VW Develop Plug-In Hybrid for 2010

 

The German government announced it will be helping to fund VW’s plug-in hybrid development program with 15 million euros. VM aims for a 2010 vehicle with 31 miles of all-electric range. VW head Martin Winterkorn said that while petrol or diesel powered cars would be around for some time to come, “the future belongs to all-electric cars.” According to autoblog, the Twin Drive uses a 82-hp electric motor and a 2.0L turbodiesel producing 122 hp.

 

Saturn Says It Will Have First Commercially Available, OEM-produced Plug-in Hybrid

 

 

Of course, GM’s Saturn division made that claim back in January of 2008 at the Detroit Auto Show and they haven’t shared anything new about this car in a while.

 

Once again, GM’s management and track record during the entire 30+ years I’ve been driving would lead me to bet against them.

 

It would be nice if I was wrong about GM, but so far I never have been.  There isn’t a single person in top management at GM who really gets it.

 

I have more faith in the Fiscar start up company vehicle than I do in GM’s chances of delivering anything as they’ve promised it.

 

Fisker Karma Prototype on Test Track in May

 

 

The vehicle dynamics and fuel economy have performed better than expected and we remain on target for our fourth quarter 2009 initial delivery.

    —Henrik Fisker, CEO, Fisker Automotive

 

In sport mode the Fisker Karma will offer a continuous top speed of 125 miles per hour (200 kph). Electric only, or stealth mode, is capped at 95 miles per hour (150 kph). Preliminary testing of the lithium-ion energy storage system that powers the Fisker Karma has indicated a life expectancy of more than 10 years.

 

The Fisker Karma is designed to provide an all-electric range of up to 50 miles per day, given a recharge at night. Fisker Automotive is preparing to deliver its first vehicles by fourth quarter 2009.

 

Currently, Fisker Automotive has received more than 500 orders for the Fisker Karma since its 2008 debut at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in January. Fisker Automotive will reach a full production of 1,250 vehicles per month by the end of 2010. The starting estimated MSRP for the Fisker Karma will be approximately US $80,000

 

Volvo ReCharge Plug-In Hybrid Concept

 

 

Back in 2007 Volvo Cars announced the introduction of the Volvo ReCharge Concept, a plug-in hybrid with individual electric wheel motors and batteries that can be recharged via a regular electrical outlet for maximum environmental benefit.

 

Volvo claimed that recharging allows the car to be driven about 100 kilometres on battery power alone before the car’s four-cylinder Flexifuel engine is needed to power the car and recharge the battery.

 

CLICK HERE TO READ PART III – THE BEV ELECTRIC CARS ON THE WAY

 

Plugging Plug-Ins Part I The Greenius Guide to EVs, Hybrids & Plug-In Hybrids That Will Rock Your World

wpopu080706

 

 

Damn I want a plug-in electric car.  I want to end my relationship with the internal combustion engine and the gasoline industry.  I want to stop polluting every time I drive.  I don’t want to buy another quart of oil or ever pay for another smog check or tune up.  The tipping point for me has now arrived.  You’ll be there soon enough if you’re not already.

 

Everyone in my enlightened social circle already wants the details of when they can buy their electric car or their plug-in hybrid.  The people I know are ready to ditch gasoline powered vehicles today.  And the good news for them is their new cars are on the way.  Especially if they live where I do, in California.

 

 

I don’t know whether to convert my 1997 Honda Del Sol like Larry Allen did in Riverside California did, or wait for one of the new electric cars coming out in the next few years.

 

 

But I do know that I want an electric car I can recharge at night by plugging it into the outlet in my garage. 

 

And I want that outlet powered by my very own solar panels so I can plug into free fuel forever that’s clean and under my control.  

 

Within the next 12 months I’ll have my solar panels installed and generating clean electricity.  It no longer makes sense to wait.  Not when we’re already in the red zone.

 

It’s my job to know what’s coming next and I can smell the rapid demise of the gas powered car coming quicker than an excited adolescent at a Victoria Secrets sleep over.  They’re going to be too expensive to compete with electric cars and plug-in hybrids.  The price we pay in climate change is already unacceptable even if most people don’t get that yet.  But they will.  

 

The price of gas is already close to five bucks a gallon here in California so you can forget all about that $4 a gallon gas they keep talking about in the media.  That $4 a gallon gas is all gone now.  But soon it will be $6 and then $7. Count on that.  You can make believe that’s not true but you’ll just be fooling yourself the same way more than a few folks do about someday winning the lottery and solving all their financial problems.  

 

Meanwhile your electric rates will no doubt be going up too, but nowhere near the astronomical, uncontrollable way oil is and will continue to – and the bigger difference is you can make your own electricity right now with solar panels or wind turbines.  

 

 

In fact, between solar, wind and geothermal resources in the USA we have more power than we can ever use in this country and it’s time to build a new power grid to connect us all to clean renewable power.

 

If the ultimate carbon collaborators weren’t controlling the White House and we had any  effective opposition leaders we would have been building that new grid for the last 7 years – instead of diverting those funds to Iraq in order to seize the oil assets from Saddam Hussein regime on behalf of the US oil companies.  

 

But if “ifs” and “buts” were raisins and nuts we’d all be eating Waldorf salads right now instead of the big steaming pile of C02 we’ve been force-fed.

 

 

So electric power for cars is the obvious solution to fighting climate change, making our air far less polluted, stopping crazy oil prices, criminal profiteers, and more importantly it’s the quickest, smartest way for the USA to become energy independent.

 

But even if all that wasn’t true I could STILL sell you on switching to an electric car in about five minutes.  The first minute you got behind the wheel and put your foot down on the accelerator pedal the torque and power off the line would impress the hell out of you.  But that’s just the start…no pun intended.

 

 

Wait till the time comes for your first tune up.  

You can just skip it, and the one after that too because electric cars never need a tune up.  

They don’t use spark plugs or valves or fan belts so you’ll never pay to have those replaced.  

No transmission either, so forget about having that rebuilt, replaced or repaired.  

No transmission fluids either.

Speaking of toxic fluids – electric cars don’t use oil so they don’t need oil changes or oil filters.  

 

Ever.

 

No air filters either cause the air under your hood and coming out of your tailpipe is clean.  Forget about needing a catalytic converter. You’ll never need to get a smog check or worry about emission control sensors or exhaust system computer components because electric cars don’t have them or need them.

 

It should be no surprise that the folks who have killed the electric car up to now include the auto dealers with their high profit service centers, independent mechanics and oil change stations and the industries that make all the dirty parts that go into vehicles that run on oil and spew a mix people like to inhale when they decide to commit suicide in their garage. 

 

Their argument is easy to understand – it is worth putting you and your children at risk by continuing to use their toxic, antiquated products because it keeps their economy healthy and thriving. 

 

Not anymore.  Now even those sellouts cannot stop the plug-in revolution that’s going to sweep the world over the next five years.  The price of oil and gasoline is their BOHICA moment.  

 

 

“So what’s the catch?” you’re asking me.  Why won’t EVERYONE want to either convert their current car or buy a new electric car?

 

Well…

 

The average American drives less than 30 miles per day.  The average commute is 12 miles.  But if you’re in the small minority of American drivers who needs to drive more than 150-200 miles a day, then the range of the current generation of electric cars will be too short for you.  That makes you a better candidate for a plug-in hybrid car (PHEV) that will get you 100-200 miles per gallon using a combination of electric engine and gasoline engine – more about those later in this post.

 

But what if you’re like me and you want your electric car as your next vehicle?  Well the first thing you do is go to the root sources, the places where I’m learning the things that have got me excited..

 

 

Plug In America grew out of the “Who Killed The Electric Car” movement.  Their leadership is superb and they’re doing a great job lobbying, informing, building awareness and appeal as well as a movement.  I’m proud to say I’m a member and I invite you to join me.  Paul Scott is one of the founding fathers of Plug-In America and I’ve been lucky enough to meet him and receive his private newsletter on Plug-Ins.

 

 

CalCars.org founder Felix Cramer is a bonafide legend in the plug-in field.  One of the godfathers of the Prius conversion to a plug-in hybrid, Felix is a testament to what one determined and very sharp guy can do.  

After founding, running and selling a small Internet company, beginning in 2001 he volunteered his time to CalCars. In April 2006 he became the world’s first non-technical consumer owner of a plug-in hybrid.  Now thanks to his efforts you can get your Prius converted into a plug-in today.

 

Climate Progress is an outstanding insiders view of climate science, politics and solutions that includes a strong advocacy for electric cars and plug in hybrids that will give you all the facts you need to make a car buying decision and to quickly shut the pie holes of pro oil carbon collaborators when they try to scam you into buying another gasoline powered car or drilling for more oil

 

EV World is another great source of info on electric vehicles of all kinds.  And I also like AutoGreen Blog.  

 

One of my real favorites is Stefano Paris’ Plug-in Alternative Vehicles site.  Stefano is a tremendous resource and a creative talent who I admire.  He shoots and provides video of key events throughout the plug-in world, including his comprehensive coverage of the recent Google Brookings Institute and Google.org Washington DC Plug In Conference

and his web links are some of the best available.

 

WHAT YOU CAN BUY TODAY

 

 

TESLA Motors is taking orders on their high profile Roadster at over $100,000 but they’ve only delivered a handful and they have a healthy waiting list of rich and famous folks ahead of you.  If you’ve got the dough-ray-me and the patience it might be worth it.  Paul Scott reports today that “Tesla is delivering their Roadster at a rate of four a week now. Soon to ramp up to 100/month.”  You’ll get yourself a car that seats 2, has a range of 220 miles per charge and can go as fast as 135 mph.  Read what Fortune magazine has to say about Tesla in their latest issue, “Tesla’s Wild Ride.

 

 

USED ELECTRIC CARS like the Toyota EV RAV 4 or the EV Ford Ranger are out there, few and far between and selling for numbers like the $89,200 paid in May for a 2001 Toyota EV RAV4.  There’s currently another RAV 4 electric on EBay with bidding at $45,100 and three days left in the auction.

 

That’s Arnold de Leon, of Cupertino, CA with his 2002 electric Rav4 which he purchased in March of 02. He plugs into free power for his car through his 10.9 kW solar PV system.

 

 

MEYERS MOTORS NMG – That’s a whole fleet of the one seat all-electric, No More Gas NMG vehicle that will cost you $29,000, go 40-70 miles per charge and a top speed over 100 mile per hour.  It’s a great little funky looking neighborhood vehicle and to me a viable alternative to a motorcycle that will never cost you a dime in gasoline.  They’re freeway legal but you can park them like a bike in town.

 

 

 

eBox by AC Propulsion is what you get when you bring AC Propulsion a Toyota Scion xB 5-speed and $55,000.  They’ll convert your Scion into a electric vehicle that goes 120-150 miles per charge, fully charges in fast mode in 2 h\ours and in normal mode at 5 hours.  Top speed 95 miles an hour and you’ll go from 0-60 in 7 seconds.  I rode in one of these in November and it took off like a rocket.

 

ZAP & ZENN

 

 

THE three-wheel Zap comes in car and truck form and each can go 40 mph.  

 

 

This model comes with the optional 150 watt solar panel.

 

There are some questions about Zap’s ability to deliver everything they promise, but I’d still keep an eye on them if I were you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 4 wheel Zenn is restricted to 25 miles per hour.  They’re both sold locally in Southern California at Environmental Motors in Glendale.  They’re both too limited to be considered replacement cars for what you have now.  But they both promise better cars to come in 09 and 10.  We’ll see, but we’ll hope so.

 

 

 

CONVERT YOUR EXISTING CAR TO ELECTRIC

This might be your most sustainable option.  If you’ve got a car you like and it’s a good candidate (A light car – 2000-3000 lbs. curb weight – with a manual transmission) this would be your fastest, easiest and least expensive way to go. 

 

 

The Porsche above cost $18,000 to convert.  It gets about 60 miles per charge and has a top speed of 90 mph.  

 

In L.A. Left Coast Electric is legendary for their Dr. Gadget who runs the place and for being hard to get a hold of, but the consensus is that he’s worth it.  

There are many places on line where you can learn to do your own conversion using the abundance of parts and kits available.

 

 

If you’ve got a VW bug you should check out Hank and Joe’s instructional videos on how to convert it to an EV.

 

 

 

 

 

 

CLICK HERE TO READ PART II

 

 

BOHICA, Baby! But It Doesn’t Have To Be This Way…

bohicaPR-filtered

  

My erudite and genteel audience of readers is no doubt unfamiliar with the contemporary colloquialism, “BOHICA,” but you are more than familiar with the concept.

 

 

 

B.O.H.I.C.A. =  Bend Over, Here It Comes Again.

 

If you thought last week’s Congressional testimony by Dr. Hansen on climate change was going to wake anyone up or that my Cat is On the Roof post would supply that slap in the face I was looking to deliver…

WRONG

Just two days after Dr. Hansen told the world we were “toast” if we didn’t begin the change from a carbon-based society within a year, that this was “The Last Chance”– the Bureau of Land Management announced they were putting put a halt to the development of all solar energy projects on federal land and stopping the application process on ALL the big solar projects.

 

They said there was no sense of urgency and that an extensive environmental study was needed to determine how large solar plants might affect millions of acres it oversees in six Western states – Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah.

 

 

But the unexpected and immediate uproar from members of Congress, citizens and environmental groups was so swift and loud that on Wednesday the BLM reversed itself and announced that they WILL continue to process the applications.  

 

That’s great, but now they’ve already tipped their hand, haven’t they?  And how fair a hearing do you think solar is going to get during their “scooping” process?  You already know the decision the BLM has in mind and rest assured they are still expecting you to grab your ankles for that $5-$6-$7 a gallon gasoline and more coal-fired power plants as your ONLY option.

 

 

But wait, there’s more.  

 

Our federal solar and wind investment tax credits will expire by the end of this year unless Congress renews them.  

 

So far the President and Congress haven’t done squat on this issue and you should have zero confidence that they will.  Unless we force them to.

 

 

 

At the very moment they should be providing every possible incentive and tax credit to get Americans putting up solar panels and wind turbines generating as much clean energy as possible our elected leaders are taking us backwards and still selling us out in a carbon con job.  They hate the fact that they don’t yet own and control the sun and blowing wind.

 

So instead they shout their come-ons like a carnival barker with a megaphone – “Drill for more oil!  Use our 250 year supply of coal!  More corn ethanol! Ignore solar, wind and other renewable weird environmentalist craziness.  Pay no attention to that witchcraft mumbo jumbo folks!”

 

So your Creative Greenius says, bend over, here it comes again my friends and stay in that position because you’ve got plenty more coming your way…

 

Last Monday, the good old Wall Street Journal broke the story of how the Bush White House has put the fix in on that big EPA report on greenhouse gasses. 

 

You know the report I mean, it’s the one the EPA was forced to make to the Supreme Court.  It’s the EPA’s 

formal response to the High Court’s April 2007 decision that found greenhouse gases including carbon dioxide, are pollutants under the Clean Air Act, and that the EPA can regulate them. 

 

Let me make this as easy to understand as an article in USA Today.

 

 

The EPA was ordered by the Supreme Court to tell the truth about the emissions that  are causing climate change.  The Court mandated that the EPA must then do something to reduce those emissions to a safe level.  

 

George Bush and his administration are stopping the EPA from doing that and using every desperate ploy a scam artist employs. Cutting the emissions that kill people is bad for the Bush family business.

 

The Wall Street Journal uncovers that the EPA report says emissions from cars, trucks, trains, planes, boats, power stations, chemical plants, and refineries endanger public welfare.  The result of “a multimillion-dollar study conducted over two years” the document details how greenhouse gasses could be regulated and includes an analysis of the cost of doing that here and in other counties.

 

 

The Journal reports that the EPA report says everything the Bush Administration doesn’t want you to hear.  It says that using things like plug-in hybrids we could be getting far great fuel efficiency from our cars.  It shows how a cap and trade system for carbon would work in the US and says “The net benefit to society could be in excess of $2 trillion”

 

What may sound great to you and me sounds like red alert with alarm bells to George Bush and his carbon collaborators.  And that’s not just my opinion.  According to The Journal, people close to the matter said, “Clearly [White House officials] don’t want to leave behind a blueprint that suggests that the Clean Air Act could offer a potential pathway in a cost-effective way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  Leaving a blueprint behind could leave the next administration a document they could work from, and that’s not in their interst.

 

 

George Bush, along with the oil, gas and coal industry doesn’t believe in the Clean Air Act and wants it deleted – they believe it’s bad for business – the oil, gas and coal business –   The one they’re all in together.  The one they have always put ahead of their country.

The one they will do ANYTHING to keep pumping profits into. 

 

George Bush and the oil, gas and coal industry have gotten rich from the sales of their carbon-spewing products and they will say and do anything to make sure that you keep paying the price to keep them that way.  There is no lie too outrageous for them to tell.  No scientific evidence they will accept.  No propaganda too obscene for them to release. 

 

These carbon con artists expect you to bend over every time their bill comes due and to pony up on their behalf.  And why shouldn’t they?  You never let them down.  America has become the home of the duped and the land of the hapless victim.  

 

In an era when Nigerian con men at 3rd World Internet cafes find Americans every day to send them money, expecting to make a fortune from an email, it’s no surprise that con men like George Bush and John Mcain are confident of continued success by telling Americans we can become energy independent if we just drill for more oil and call our coal “clean.”

 

 

But your Creative Greenius grew up in Brooklyn, New York.  I don’t do “chump.”

I work in marketing and advertising and consumer products.

I’ve been observing and commentating on American politics for 25 years now.

And my bullshit detector is world class.  I can smell a con with one whiff.

And for the last eight years the air is more than just full of C02 – it stinks of rotting phonies telling lies that make them rich while punking the average American at every step.  

 

 

We can all pretend that’s too harsh a judgement, but the truth is hard for some folks to grasp after all that blood rushes to their brain from bending over so long.

 

So my new mission is clear.  It’s not enough for me to just offer Greenius solutions for our future  – I need to help the vast numbers who have been frozen in BOHICA pose and apparently can neither see it coming or tell when it’s happening.

 

So… If you can’t see that the biggest BOHICA of all has been the invasion of Iraq on behalf of the American oil industry then you need my help.  

 

Saddam Hussain had to go for one reason only – he controlled the oil in Iraq.

 

 

The oil in Iraq is the WMD they were looking for from the beginning.

We didn’t stay in Afghanistan because they don’t have any oil.

 

Making the oil available for Exxon/Mobile, Chevron, etc, etc was what “Mission Accomplished” was all about.  Can you say “no bid contract?”

That’s exactly what happened last week.

 

The billions spent every week in Iraq is the money that we needed to be spending on renewable energy and getting the C02 in the air back down to safe levels.  Projected total US spending on the Iraq war could cover all of the global investments in renewable power generation that are needed between now and 2030 in order to halt current warming trends. 

 

 

But you need to keep bending over because that is bad for the oil, gas and coal industries and their total control over the current White House administration and the majority of those sitting in Congress means they will fight that using every twisted tool at their disposal.  

 

Don’t you know how much fuel our invasion and occupation of Iraq has used?  Do you understand what a fantastic business model this is for the carbon con crew?  Their control is so powerful no one has been able to stop them while they change the basic climate and destroy our way of life along with the other species they kill off one by one for profit. 

 

They have been so successful in their con that they have the suckers they’ve fleeced arguing for “more please!” as they make that argument in the BOHICA position.

 

 

So even when the U.S. intelligence community issues a report like the one they did last week that says that food shortages and migration caused by a warming climate could threaten US national security by aggravating ethnic strife around the globe, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, that doesn’t sound any alarm bells for most folks.  They’re still not comprehending the reality of what they’re really up against.

 

Let me help you explain it to them – the people who get paid to know what’s really going on, are worried.  

 

They’re not debating whether climate change is really happening, they’re already dealing with what they see coming.

 

Thomas Fingar, chairman of the National Intelligence Council, is the guy who delivered the report last Wednesday to a joint meeting of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Select Committee on Energy Independence. He warned that global warming will reduce food supplies in Africa, which he predicted would in turn spark violence in the region

 

 

The Wall Street Journal reports that experts who study the connections between security and climate believe the threat is real and must be considered by policymakers.

 

“It does trade off,” said Sarah Ladislaw, a fellow in the energy and national security program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “The real question out there is: How well are people going to deal with the trade-offs?” The convergence of the increasing cost of fuel, global food shortages, global warming, and national security threats show how interconnected these transnational issues are, and policy makers need to be mindful of that, she said.

 

So –  with all of the above being part of the news in just the last week, perhaps you understand why I’m hearing a calling to become a passionate town crier, spread the truth  and help people stand up straight and reverse their previous position into one where the carbon collaborators now become the ones yelping, “Here it comes again!”

 

And just in case you were wondering, your Creative Greenius doesn’t think this all part of some vast right wing conspiracy.  It’s a lot less complicated then that.  This is about uncontrollable greed, selfishness and outright crooked rotten-to-the-core people taking advantage of the Last of the Bohicans  any which way they can.  Nothing more than that.