Historic: CalCars, Prof. Frank Get Plug-in Hybrid Chevy Volt

Professor Andrew Frank of the University of California, Davis has been designing, building, and advocating for plug-in hybrids longer than just about anyone — 30 years or more. Felix Kramer and Ron Gremban, the indefatigueable duo behind the non-profit California Cars Initiative (CalCars), put the drive for plug-in hybrids on the political map and into consumers’ consciousness by doing the first public conversion of a Toyota Prius hybrid into a plug-in hybrid in 2004 in Gremban’s garage. Kramer and Gremban have been driving plug-in hybrid conversions for half a decade while organizing to help shift the auto industry into producing new plug-in hybrids.

On Wednesday, Dec. 22 at 9:30 a.m. all three will be at Novato (Calif.) Chevrolet when two of the very first Chevy Volts get delivered to Kramer and Gremban. Prof. Frank’s should arrive a few days later. I can’t think of anyone who more deserves to get some of the first mass-produced plug-in hybrids than these three guys. They’re inviting everyone to join them as they take delivery at Novato Chevrolet, 7123 Redwood Blvd.

Yeah, yeah, I know that GM prefers to call the Volt an extended-range electric vehicle. Whatever. See a more detailed discussion of the kinds of plug-in hybrids (including a series plug-in hybrid, like the Volt) in my book, Plug-in Hybrids: The Cars That Will Recharge America. Needless to say, Prof. Frank, Kramer, Gremban and CalCars all star in the book.

The point is that Prof. Frank, Kramer, and Gremban helped propel a huge change in the auto industry that will benefit our national security, the environment, and consumer pocketbooks. Our work isn’t finished — Plug In America and CalCars and our other allies have got a lot of educating of the public left to do, and working for plug-in friendly policies, and more. But as these three pioneers take the keys to their new Volts, it’s a moment to celebrate.

p.s. Both Kramer and Gremban also have ordered electric Nissan Leafs. More celebrating ahead!

Sherry Boschert

Co-founder, Plug In America

Author, Plug-in Hybrids: The Cars That Will Recharge America

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