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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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click for more shots of the biodiesel H1

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Rhett Akins. Aaron Tippin. Ted Nugent. These are the usual suspects when you think about electric vehicles, right? Naturally.

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When I head just how (comparatively) cheaply you can get solar panels installed in Austin, Texas, I was pretty jealous. The real short version is that a $20,000+, 3 kWh system can be yours for around $6,000 thanks to local and federal tax breaks. And considering the amount of sunshine that Austin gets, this is a real deal.

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One of the more organized presences at the first Austin Alt Car expo this past weekend was from the Texas propane community. From propane-powered lawnmowers to a giant propane-powered school bus, you couldn't miss the vehicles. Three pro-propane groups - the Texas Propane Educational & Marketing Foundation, the Propane Education & Research Council, and the Alternative Fuels Research & Education Division of the Railroad Commission of Texas - came together to showcase ways to burn prop

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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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