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[ News Release picture montage ]
For Immediate Release: October 29, 2007
Media Contact: Adam Gottlieb - 916-654-4989

M E D I A     A D V I S O R Y

Energy Commission Funding 'Green' Vehicle Technology at UC Davis
Media Invited to Drive the Latest in Electric Cars on Oct. 30

WHAT: Reporters are invited to drive the latest UC Davis car of the future, a "plug-in hybrid electric vehicle." Like hybrids, plug-in hybrids run on gasoline or electricity, but are modified to go much farther on electricity alone, and are recharged by plugging into a standard home power supply.

With $3 million from the California Energy Commission's Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) program, UC Davis is establishing Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle Research Center to study clean vehicle technology. One of the center's initial research projects will place 10 plug-in hybrids with local families who will evaluate them for up to eight weeks.

This project is supported with an additional $1.8 million from the California Air Resources Board.

A 2007 Toyota Prius converted to a plug-in hybrid, the first of UC Davis' plug-in hybrid fleet, will be on display and available for test drives.

WHEN: Tuesday, October 30, 2007, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

WHERE: At UC Davis, in the Corin Courtyard at the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts.

WHO: Key participants will make brief remarks and/or be present for media interviews:

Tom Turrentine, Director, UC Davis Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle Research Center Director
James Boyd, Vice Chair, California Energy Commission
Brad Whitcomb, Vice President of customer products and services, PG&E
Alexandra Morehouse, Senior Vice President, California State Automobile Association
Andrew Frank, UC Davis professor of mechanical and aeronautical engineering and pioneer of plug-in hybrid technology

BACKGROUND: Reducing global climate change and cleaning California's air means reducing fossil fuels use in transportation. By using electricity instead of gasoline or diesel for daily driving, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles address that concern. Additionally, if plug-in hybrids are charged using clean, renewable electricity (such as hydroelectric, solar and wind power), the environmental benefits are even greater. There are fewer than 100 plug-in hybrids in the nation and little is known about how consumers will use them.

The UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies is the academic leader surveying consumer attitudes toward new auto fuels and technologies. Previous and current research projects include all-electric cars, fuel-cell hydrogen vehicles and hybrid vehicles.

Two other key partners in the Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle Research Center are PG&E and the California State Automobile Association.

  • PG&E is one of the members of the PHEV Center Advisory Council guiding the center's research agenda and working with researchers at UC Davis to understand the impact of plug-in hybrid vehicles on California's electricity grid.
  • The CSAA has launched a Greenlight Initiative to help educate customers on alternative fuels and vehicles, and is playing a key role in the PHEV Center's consumer research by providing roadside assistance and insurance coverage for PHEVs that UC Davis will place with households in Northern California.

DIRECTIONS AND PARKING: Take I-80 to the UC Davis exit. TV trucks should park adjacent to the event location; all others should park in the Mondavi Center parking structure. Please do not park in front of the Mondavi Center.

TV trucks: Proceed from I-80 along Old Davis Road to California Avenue (just past the information booth and before the big orange building under construction). Turn left on California Avenue. Turn right immediately onto an unnamed road/bike path that travels between the Mondavi Center on the right and the arboretum on the left. Drive ahead to the end of this road and park in the right-hand lane. The event will be held in the Corin Courtyard, on your right.

All others: Those in the parking structure should leave a media business card on their car's dashboard to act as a parking permit. Walk to the Mondavi Center, past the front of the center and the ticket booth, to the Corin Courtyard, on your left.

Media contacts:
Adam Gottlieb, CA Energy Commission, (916) 654-4989 agottlie@energy.state.ca.us
Sylvia Wright, UC Davis, (530) 752-7704 swright@ucdavis.edu

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