Silicon Valley Joins Global Warming Struggle
Mar. 22 - KGO (KGO) -- Business and government leaders are joining forces in Silicon Valley to promote a way of fighting global warming.
They want to persuade organizations with company cars to trade in their gas guzzlers for something more environmentally friendly.
It's not just companies, but also cities that are endorsing this effort. City officials in Palo Alto are the latest to join this effort.
Felix Kramer: "At low speeds I glide along completely silently and I know I'm using all electricity and that's just great because electricity is cheaper and cleaner and domestic. It's got all these benefits and the second thing I love about it is that for my daily drive I'm getting over 100 miles per gallon of gasoline."
Felix Kramer is a plug-in hybrid fan. He recently converted his Toyota Prius, adding an extra bank of batteries. Having more electrical energy available lowers fuel costs and decreases greenhouse gas emissions.
The challenge is that automakers do not currently mass-produce plug-in hybrids. Consumers have been making the after-market conversion themselves, which costs about $10,000.
Supporters of the ultra-efficient cars have been organizing to get major car companies like Toyota, Ford and GM to commit to making these types of cars.
The local Plug-In Bay Area chapter is trying to encourage businesses and municipalities throughout Silicon Valley to join in the movement.
Jodie Van Horn, Plug-In Bay Area: "To try to stimulate the market for plug-in hybrids, demonstrate that a demand exists amongst institutional fleet buyers, which represents one fifth of auto sales in this country and generate soft fleet orders, which basically expresses an intention to purchase plug-in hybrids once they become commercially available."
Some Bay Area municipalities have already committed soft orders of 160 plug-ins. That includes San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, Alameda, Marin County and Palo Alto is also considering it.
The Silicon Valley Leadership Group has also teamed up. They're encouraging their area companies to support using these plug-ins as company vehicles.
They estimate that when these cars are mass-produced they will cost about $3,000 more than the conventional hybrid and of course when you use that electrical portion of it, your gas equivalent savings for gas are under $1 per gallon.
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