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CalCars Engages with Designer/Architect William McDonough on Plug-Ins Development

The California Cars Initiative (, the non-profit organization behind the Plug-in Prius (earlier post), has announced that it will be working with William McDonough to integrate Cradle-to-Cradle approaches in its future technology development work.

CalCars is thus expanding its efforts to motivate automakers to build plug-in hybrid vehicles to incorporate a broader Cradle-to-Cradle approach where, as McDonough puts it, “materials are designed for continuous re-use as biological and/or technical nutrients.”

McDonough is a world-renowned architect and designer and winner of three U.S. presidential awards: the Presidential Award for Sustainable Development (1996), the National Design Award (2004); and the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award (2003).

He has been a leader in the sustainable development movement since its inception. The Cradle-to-Cradle strategy, developed with German chemist Michael Braungart, is now being applied in locations that range from the Ford River Rouge Plant to seven new cities in China. The strategy first came to broad public attention in their book, Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things.

Bill McDonough is our leading visionary designer in many fields. He was involved in the development of the 2003 Ford Model U concept car, bringing the Cradle-to-Cradle vision to automobile design and manufacturing. CalCars is happy to be part of the next evolution.

— founder Felix Kramer

Plug-in hybrid vehicles are important as a path to a renewably powered future. I welcome CalCars’ work on the technical and the advocacy sides in bringing these vehicles to market.

—William McDonough

Kramer made the announcement 22 September at the Palo Alto Research Center, at his talk entitled “How Plug-In Hybrids Tackle National Security, Jobs and Global Warming.

McDonough is also Consulting Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Stanford University, U.S. Chair of the Board of Councilors of the China–U.S. Center for Sustainable Development, and Chair of the Board of Overseers for the Center for Eco-Intelligent Management at the Instituto de Empresa in Madrid. He is a venture partner with VantagePoint Venture Partners, a $3.5-billion global technology venture capital firm with a dedicated CleanTech practice group.


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