During its 7 April meeting, the Board of the California South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) will vote on a set of proposals to further accelerate the development of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV).
The actions, which AQMD staff recommended for approval, have three components: (1) increasing resources to address the technical challenges, (2) directing staff to promote the technology to local communities, and (3) joining the Austin Energy Plug-in Partners National Campaign.
AQMD, which has supported PHEV development since 2000, has two current demonstration projects underway: the DaimlerChrysler PHEV Sprinter delivery vans and the conversion of Toyota Prius vehicles to PHEVs.
As PHEV technology continues to progress and realize lower and lower emissions, the AQMD Governing Board has directed the staff to expand its efforts and leverage existing programs elsewhere to accelerate PHEV commercialization.
Accordingly, AQMD staff has proposed a PHEV Technical Plan and a PHEV Outreach Plan.
On the technical side, AQMD staff recommends convening a working group of key partners, such as DaimlerChrysler, EPRI, and SCE, along with technical advisors and other invited experts, to develop a strategic research, development, demonstration, and deployment PHEV Technical Plan (PHEV Tech-Plan) to address and overcome barriers—especially those concerning battery technologies.
All of the major automobile manufacturers, especially the ones with commercial hybrid vehicles (Ford, Honda, and Toyota), will also be invited to participate. The working group will assist staff in developing projects to include in the PHEV Tech-Plan but the individual projects will still require Governing Board approval for implementation.
The staff also proposes establishing a PHEV Outreach Plan which identifies key stakeholders to educate regarding PHEV technologies. These stakeholders should include, but are not limited to, local city governments, public and private fleets, environmental groups, community groups, and municipal utilities.
Finally, staff proposes that the AQMD Outreach Plan collaborate with the Austin Energy Plug-in Partners National Campaign, initiated by the electric utility in Austin, Texas. (Earlier post.)