UC Davis got $3 M from the California Energy Commission to open a new plug-in, hybrid research center. Pat's Garage will convert 10 Priuses for the center, adding a $12,000 battery that extends the electric-only range up to 40 miles, and the total range of the car to 100 miles per gallon. UC Davis will loan the cars for eight weeks to 100 random members of AAA Northern California.
The members must have a car port, garage or parking place with a 110-volt outlet close by, and a daily, round trip commute of 20 to 120 miles. "We're going to be interviewing households every week. ... We want to know how people respond to the car. Are they excited because it is cheaper [to operate]? Are they excited because they are saving the world? ... We're very interested ... to see how much the benefits consumers get from the vehicle offset the added cost of that battery" says Tom Turrentine, director of the Plug-In Hybrid Center.

"This is the first large consumer study of plug-in hybrids. ... We're the advance guard of putting a lot of these [cars] in households" says Tom. The program starts Spring 2008.

Related:
[Source: UC Davis, San Francisco Chronicle, ABC 7 News]


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