01.20.2010 - by Mary Kathryn Campbell
Finally, a Big Enviro Gets Charged Up

VoltCharging Environment America today released a new report, Plug-in Cars: Powering America Toward a Cleaner Future that I encourage you to download (it’s free), read, and let others know about. What a joy to read, on so many levels.

The report gets it right, using the terminology that Plug In America has been using for years, and making the environmental point we’ve been hammering on from the beginning — namely, that plug-in electric vehicles are cleaner than gasoline cars (even hybrids) right now — today — even on our 52%-coal electric grid. And that cleaning up the grid will maximize the benefits of plug-in vehicles for the environment. Extra fun: Plug In America board member Mike Kane and his beautiful family show up in a great photo with their RAV4-EV at the start of the document, which references work by other Plug In America leaders (like moi).

Here’s why this report is so important — it’s the first time a major, national environmental organization in the United States has focused so clearly on plug-in vehicles. Previously, the National Resources Defense Council published an important and positive study with the Electric Power Research Institute about plug-in hybrids, but it said little about all-electric vehicles, and NRDC has not used its high-quality study to advocate for plug-in vehicles as much as they could have. Internationally, WWF (formerly World Wildlife Fund) published a great report, Plugged In: The End of the Oil Age. California Sierra Club is an active proponent of plug-in vehicles (I’m on its Energy and Climate Committee), but national Sierra Club has been a bit of a stick in the mud on this issue. That could change now that Rainforest Action Network’s Michael Brune (author of the 2008 book Coming Clean: Breaking America’s Addiction To Oil and Coal ) has been hired as national Sierra Club’s new executive director. Rainforest Action Network, Greenpeace, and Global Exchange all have supported Plug In America at various stages, but none have published the kind of report that Environment America put out today.

PIA_GUIDE_COVER_lg[1] The new report will make a great companion to Plug In America’s new consumer guide, which we’re launching next week: Charged Up & Ready To Roll: The Definitive Guide To Plug-in Electric Vehicles. Watch this space for more about that, or come to our launch party in San Francisco on Thursday, January 28 to be among the first to see a copy.

Sherry Boschert

Photo of Chevy Volt charging copyright GM Corp.

1 comment on “Finally, a Big Enviro Gets Charged Up”
  1. Thanks for pointing out this report! It is a great primer on EVs and related grid issues–it’s comprehensive, but not deep or stuffy. I plan on saving it for when I run in to people curious on these issues.

    (That looks like Dan Davids’ car on the cover!)

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