The one press announcement at this weekend's Alt Car Expo in Austin, Texas had to do with the efforts of the local utility, Austin Energy. Austin Energy is hosting this Expo, and used it to mark the end of the Plug-in Partners campaign. Wait, using an alt car show to call an end to a movement that has worked incredibly hard to get the big automakers to focus on plug-in vehicles? Yup. Austin Energy general manager Roger Duncan announced that the Plug-in Partners program is officially finished now because, "We have absolutely achieved success." The rumor is that the EDTA might take over some of the PiP work moving forward, but for now it's mission accomplished.
Also speaking at the press conference was Lloyd Doggett, U.S. Congressman for the Austin area. Doggett said that the smart grid/plug-in efforts are "a campaign that really matters for our city and the planet." Doggett knows what he's talking about; he's worked in Congres for years on getting pro-PHEV legislation passed (we got a chance to speak directly with Doggett about this, and we'll post that interview shortly).
Lastly David Kaplan of V2Green showed of a piece of web-based PHEV software that AE uses to track - and predict - PHEV use. The company currently has two converted Priuses plugged into the network and a fleet of thousands of virtual cars that can help engineers and others understand how customers will affect the grid load and vice versa. It's a new era in grid planning - something we'll have much more on later. For now, you can see the software screens by clicking here (then just click on each picture to go to the next screen).