Tuesday, September 12, 2006

PG&E Asks Customers to Help Bring Plug-In Hybrids to Market


SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., Sept. 12, 2006 - Pacific Gas & Electric has a vision for its 5 million customers in California: pulling their cars into the garage in the evening and plugging them into a standard 120-volt standard electric socket to recharge.

In coming weeks, PG&E customers will receive in their September bills an insert asking them to sign an online petition at a Web site designed by Plug-In Partners — a national group lobbying automakers to manufacture plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, or PHEVs. The petition basically says, "If you build it, we will buy it."

"Although Pacific Gas and Electric Company is using PHEV prototypes in its operation today, consumers can't go to the local auto dealer to get one because automakers aren't convinced there are enough buyers," said Bob Howard, PG&E vice president of gas transmission and distribution.
Over 40 percent of the generating capacity in the U.S. sits idle or operates at a reduced load overnight, when most PHEVs would be charged. That means tens of millions of plug-ins could be charged every night without the need to build additional electric generation capacity.

PG&E currently operates the 4th cleanest/largest low emission vehicle fleet in the country. As an official Plug-In Partner, the company has already pledged to automakers that the company will buy PHEVs to make its vehicle fleet even cleaner.

According to the California Electric Transportation Coalition that commissioned a study, if automakers begin producing Plug-Ins within the next few years, 2.5 million cars (eight percent of the cars on the road) could be Plug-Ins by the year 2020. That's the equivalent of taking as many as 5 million of today's vehicles off the road. Annually, which means that 11.5 million tons of CO2 emissions won't contribute to global warming and 1.14 Billion gallons of gasoline would be saved each year.

"Our customers have the power to help make Plug-Ins for the public a reality by simply saying they would consider buying one," said Howard. "We hope they will join us and become a Plug-In Partner."

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