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The last in our series of reports from the discussion panels from last week's Austin Alt Car expo focuses on the panel that had the broadest possible appeal: an overview of plug-in hybrids. Taking place on the Saturday, and therefore more accessible to the working public, the free-form panel featured Ron Johnston-Rodriguez of PluginCenter.com and the Port of Chelan County in Washington State, and Chelsea Sexton of Plug-In America. Austan Librach, who works for Austin Energy and Plug-in Partners

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As I said earlier, the panels at the Austin Alt Car expo were heavily focused on plug-in vehicles. The last discussion on Friday continued the trend and was called "Future Prospects for Plug-in Hybrids" and the participants acknowledged that their presentations were treading over some of the same ground that earlier panelists had covered. Still, Mark Duvall of EPRI and Susan Zielinski of CARSS did add a few new tidbits to the discussion and if you're a PHEV fanatic, you'll find something in the

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If you want to get an answer to the question of whether or not consumers will flock to plug-in vehicles, Southern California Edison's Ed Kjaer and Better Place's Sven Thesen would be great people to get to put up some answers. That's exactly what happened at the Austin Alt Car expo last weekend, where they presented an optimistic yet realistic assessment of what PHEVs might bring to the auto industry. The real question, Kjaer said, isn't "Will Consumers Buy In?" but will the OEMs build PHEVs in

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When was the last time you talked to your electric power company? I mean, really sat down and had a good chat about when they should send you power and when they shouldn't? Have you told them when you'd like to have the air conditioner shut off and let the home warm up because no one will be home? If you haven't had this talk with your utility, you're not alone. Not by a long shot. In fact, figuring out how to get customers to even start having this kind of communication is a huge challenge for

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Here in Austin, Texas, one of the big sellers of electric-powered two-wheeled vehicles is Alien Scooters. On the floor of the Austin Alt Car Expo, the shop has a large display area full of two-wheeled EVs. Oh, and inflatable aliens.

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U.S. Congressman Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) was present at the Alt Car Expo in Austin, Texas yesterday. This is quite the reasonable place for him to be, not just because he's the Representative from this area but because he's been a long-time promoter of more government support for plug-in vehicles.

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The AltCar crowd around the EV1 and the Chevy Volt. Photo to Amy Williams

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Here's a tip for Terry Tamminen: retire the joke already. You know, the one about Arnold Schwarzenegger and whoever just introduced you as a speaker, how they were pumping iron together back in the day? We heard it about Ed Begley at the 2006 Alt Car Expo and then again at AFVI in 2007. When Tamminen told it again at this year's Alt Car Expo (listen to the audio clip below), I started to worry that he might not have anything new to say at all. But, while Tamminen is still a strong supporter of h

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click above to see more of the TrioBike

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Dr. Andy Frank, the "godfather" of the plug-in hybrid

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Are you craving an battery-powered, open-air two seater but can't swing $100K for a Tesla Roadster? Maybe the Vectrix scooter is a little more your speed, financially. The stylish NiMH powered two-wheeler will run you $11,000 for it's 68-mile range and 62 mph top speed. If you're in the Santa Monica, California area this weekend, you can swing by the AltCarExpo and take it for a test ride. If you like it you can even buy one there.

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