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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.

Whether you've been waiting for ten years or ten days, when you decide to make the switch to an electric vehicle, time can seem to drag by. For years, we've known that the end of 2010 would finally bring us the first example of mass-production plug-in vehicles from major OEMs but that didn't make the wait any easier. With the first deliveries of the first (non-celebrity) Nissan Leaf and the first Chevy Volt sold, that time is finally here. For people like CalCars founder Felix Kramer (pictured,

This is a big week for Amp Electric Vehicles, because the fledgling electric vehicle (EV) conversion company is finally delivering its first Amp'd Equinox to a fleet customer. Amp president Steve Burns told AutoblogGreen that the converted Chevrolet Equinox has been much, much improved since we drove it earlier this year at the New York Auto Show and then again during the Automotive X-Prize. We were able to get behind the wheel in a parking lot course set up at the 2010 Business of Plugging In c

The ongoing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico continues to have a tremendous impact on not only the local environment but our national discussion as well. Our friend Felix Kramer, founder of CalCars, was particularly emotionally hit by the mess and is using the opportunity to speak about some of the bigger issues relating to oil use, transportation and terrorism. One example:

We've been chronicling the world of more efficient vehicles for almost four years now, but we're still the new kind on the block compared to long-time organizations like CalCars and that group's leader, Felix Kramer. At a recent meeting of the Electric Auto Association (of which CalCar is also a chapter) in Palo Alto, CA, Kramer took a look back at what CalCar has accomplished over the last eight years or so and, in doing so, created a slide show of the recent history of the plug-in vehicle move

During one of the sessions at the Electric Drive Transportation Association meeting here alongside the Washington Auto Show, our friend Felix Kramer from CalCars got an answer to a question that's been on his mind for a while: just how much will large-format lithium-ion batteries cost in five or ten years?

While it would seem that the Obama administration's $2.4 billion investment of Recovery Act grant money into electric car and battery development would be seen as a positive step to most green car advocates, not everyone is pleased with how the money was dolled out. According to CalCars, a number of smaller, innovative companies were left out of the proceedings. One such unnamed company "made the comparison to funding dinosaur land-line companies at the birth of the cellphone age."

click above image for a high-res gallery of the Ford Escape PHEV

Ron Gremban of CalCars has written an interesting guest piece over on Green Car Congress examining the debate between General Motors and Toyota that started last fall about the best approach to plug-in hybrid vehicles. The debate started when Toyota executives criticized the whole series-hybrid/extended range EV approach of the Chevy Volt. Gremban does a good analysis of the numbers looking at each type of powertrain over different driving cycles. So the obvious question is: Who's right, GM or T

The Embedded Systems Conference in Boston played host to a buildup of a 100-mpg Prius equipped with a pair of additional battery packs and plug-in facilities. If Toyota won't build a series hybrid to compete with GM's burgeoning E-Flex program, aftermarket innovators will help them along. The retrofitted Prius can drive up to 14 miles in EV mode, and if you keep your boot out of it, the developers say that the 100mpg number is attainable. The car had been previously disassembled, and the retrofi

The Silicon Valley Leadership Group has organized "Plug-in Push" which includes putting 100 plug-in hybrids into the hands of Silicon Valley executives. Cal Cars now estimates there are 70 plug-ins in North America, so this will more than double the number of PHEVs on the road. The Silicon Valley Leadership Group plans to have the cars delivered by early next year.

With Toyota dominating the hybrid market, some other automakers are trying to play catch-up (not Ford, of course). But there are different types of hybrid engines, and the dual-mode hybrid system in development by GM and DaimlerChrysler and BMW has won praise from some analysts, but HybridCars.com got dissenting views from two others. UC Davis Professor Andy Frank and Ron Gremban, CalCars Technology Lead both give their opinions on the dual-mode hybrid. In short, they think the system is too cos

Timed to coincide with the Big Three automakers' CEOs meeting last week with President Bush (which the President cancelled), two groups who promote alternative fuel vehicles, Set America Free and CalCars, decided to take some plug in hybrids to the Capitol steps. The visit garnered attention from elected officials, the media and the Capitol police, according to HybridCars. Since one of the cars was in California right before the meeting date, the groups flew the Prius in for the event.

Plug-in hybrids remain a mysteriously contentious issue with automakers, despite the fact the public and many non-profit and for-profit organizations are pushing for the technology's mainstream adoption. At Ford's annual shareholder's meeting Bill Ford responded to a question about plug-in hybrids by saying "We have nothing to announce today, but yes, we are keenly looking at it." You may remember we foresaw Ford considering the technology earlier when Niel Golightly, Ford's Director of Sustaina

Hybrid automakers such as Toyota, Honda, and Ford spent millions educating consumers that hybrid vehicles don't need to be plugged to an outlet to be charged. But among a growing number of hybrid enthusiasts, there is a burgeoning movement for such technology to be incorporated in future hybrid vehicles.