President Bush examines the Phoenix electric SUT and a plug-in hybrid from A123 Systems

A123 batteries, who recently won a contract, along with Johnson Controls via the U.S. Advanced Battery Consortium, delivered an unidentified plug-in hybrid to the White House for President Bush to inspect. Along with them, Phoenix Motorcars chief financial officer Dennis Hogan brought their all electric Sport Utility Truck. Hogan said, "We have no idea how they got on their radar, people will see us and take a bit more notice. It gives us a little more credence when we are trying to visit fleet customers." Hogan mentioned that they were contacted by the White House two weeks ago to arrange the visit. Bush met with a group of experts and executives, including Phoenix Motorcars CEO Dan Elliott, A123 Systems CEO Dave Vieau and Alex Molinari, president of Johnson Controls' power solutions business before Bush publicly evaluated the vehicles on display.

Referring to cellulosic ethanol, Michigan State University professor Bruce Dale, an expert on ethanol who was invited to the event said, "This is real. It is not pie in the sky," Dale said. "It's going to grow exponentially."

I find it rather interesting that none of the large U.S. manufacturers were invited for the demonstration. One might think that at least General Motors would be on hand to show off their Chevrolet Volt concept. But, with the battery vendors and researchers there, I am sure that the topic will come up as to who will be using these technologies in the near-term future, which would include, I would imagine, Chevrolet - if they do introduce the Volt to the market.

[Sources: Whitehouse, ABC News, Detroit Free Press and Phoenix Motorcars]

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