12.19.2010 - by Mary Kathryn Campbell
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

7 comments on “Historic: CalCars, Prof. Frank Get Plug-in Hybrid Chevy Volt”
  1. Plug-in Fan says:

    See here http://www.plugincars.com/interview-plug-hybrid-pioneer-receiving-chevy-volt-106601.html
    and interview with Felix when he received his Chevy Volt.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Hi Sherry. After reading your book I have been following very closely the developments in hybrids, plug-in hybrids and electric cars, and it seems unbelievable how things change between 2007 and 2008, and finally the first mass production plug-in electric cars are being delivered. I hope you are planning an updated version of your book, as there is still too much skepticism and confusion out there.

    I want to call your attention to a recent shift that is taking place in Wikipedia. In general Wiki articles provide a decent coverage of hybrids and PEVs that allow us to be aware of the latest developments and latest news. The Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt articles are good examples, evolving every month. Nevertheless I recently discovered that the Toyota Camry Hybrid article was deleted, I today I found a Talk page in Wikipedia where the editors of the WikiProject: Automobile are discussing to do a mass merge of several articles of hybrids and EVs including the Toyota RAV4 EV, Mitsubishi i MiEV, Ford Focus BEV, four other EVs from the 90s and seven hybrids, and already deleted the Hyundai Elantra LPI Hybrid (you can follow this discussion here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Automobiles#Mass_article_merger

    If you follow all the threads regarding this discussion I hope you will be as outrageous as I am. Despite a couple of editor defending the articles, a majority of hard-die automotive fans do not consider of any relevance the environmental benefits of these advanced technology vehicles and are voting to merge these articles. I just can’t believe that Wikipedia is supporting this obsolete view in 2010’s. Why don’t you drop by to see by yourself I give us your take. It seems Wikipedia is requiring a wake-up call.

    Continue your hard work, some of us really appreciate it. Also I am looking forward for the feedback from your friends once they get their Volts and Leafs.

    1. Nonagon47 says:

      Anonymous – one of the many – said ‘Volts and Leafs’. How we are being revolutionized! when I went to school, they taught me that the plural of ‘leaf’ was ‘leaves’. Now that the LEAF is a brand name, what do we call a car-carrier laden with them? We’re bound to see some of them on the road, in our PHEV, kids in the back … ‘a load of LEAFs’?? Hmmmm. Over to you guys – I’m too outrageous!

      1. Colby says:

        I believe it is Leafs, because Leaf is a product name. Similar to how the plural of Prius is Priuses, not Prii.

        1. Anonymous says:

          Wikipedia uses Leafs all over the Nissan Leaf article (and they do not write it as LEAF though the article explains what LEAF means)

      2. Redmond Chad says:

        A car carrier laden with Leafs would be a Tree.

    2. AnonPEVfan says:

      This site has a interest follow up on Wikipedia removing articles about hybrids and electric cars
      http://www.misselectric.com/?p=1731

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