Green Drive Expo: CalCars' Felix Kramer ready to go beyond cars

In modern history, it is all too rare that a progressive activist is able to achieve his or her goals (just read A People's History if you doubt this). Felix Kramer – a name that should be familiar to many regular AutoblogGreen readers – is at that stage, though, and he took a moment to celebrate the arrival of actual, OEM production plug-in vehicles at the beginning of his speech at the Green Drive Expo in Richmond, CA this past weekend.

See, for the past decade, Kramer has worked tirelessly to promote plug-in vehicles. He started the non-profit organization CalCars in 2002 and helped with the first Prius conversion in 2004 in the Bay Area. Since then, he's been busier than almost anyone in the movement to get plug-in vehicles to market. Since the Green Drive Expo crowd was full of similar-minded people, they heartily responded to his story.

What's interesting is that Kramer is, in some ways, moving beyond the plug-in car now. Electrons, even those generated by coal, are cleaner than gas, but Kramer said that the best unit of energy is a negawatt, energy you didn't use in the first place. The same thing with a negamile. "I love plug-in cars, but a mile not driven is the best use of resources," he said, explaining why he is moving to a place five blocks from a BART station and is hoping to someday reduce his garage from two plug-in vehicles today to zero by using Zipcar or some other carsharing service. The entire reason he supports plug-in cars after all, is because of climate change and energy security. Thus, his support for the negamile.

Kramer called his ten years (so far) with CalCars, "The best time of my life," and ended his presentation with a recommendation for people to go visit plug-in vehicle news sites (like ABG) and to prepare for National Plug-in Day on October 16th (you can download a PDF of his slides that accompanied his talk here). Other projects he's busy with these days are getting a 4WD plug-in available in the U.S. and a push to make the federal $7,500 tax credit available for conversions, not just new vehicles. Kramer's next challenge is "The Big Fix," a plan to convert millions of old vehicles on the road today to plug-in hybrid technology. In other words, once an activist, always an activist.

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