Plug-In 2008 to Take Place July 22-24

Plug-In 2008

Plug-In 2008 will take place from July 22-24 at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center.  This event is a conference and expo that will showcase the latest technological advances, market research, and policy initiatives shaping the future of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). 

For some some background on PHEVs a video is provided below.  This video is the panel session "Plug-In Electric Vehicles: Where Are We Today?" from the Plug-in Electric Vehicles 2008: What Role for Washington? conference that took place in June, 2008.

For more information:

Progressive Automotive X PRIZE to Award $10 Million

Progressive Automotive X PRIZE

At the recent New York International Auto Show, the X PRIZE Foundation and Progressive announced that Progressive will serve as the Title Sponsor of the Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE competition and provide funding for the $10 million prize.

The Progressive Automotive X PRIZE is an international competition with a $10 million prize purse that is designed to inspire a new generation of viable, super fuel-efficient vehicles. The competition is open to teams from around the world that can design, build and bring to market 100 MPGe (miles per gallon energy equivalent) vehicles that people want to buy, and that meet market needs for price, size, capability, safety and performance.

The window for applications is open until mid-2008, when a qualification process will take place. Qualifying applicants will then race their vehicles in cross-country stage races in 2009 and 2010. The winners will be the vehicles that exceed 100 MPGe, meet strict emissions standards and finish in the fastest time.  To date, more than 60 teams from nine countries have signed a Letter of Intent to compete for a share of the prize purse.  Information for potential applicants is available in the Prize Details section of the Progressive Automotive X PRIZE website.

Video of the recent announcement in New York (in three segments) is provided below:

For more information: Announces Philanthropy Focus Areas; Includes Climate Change

On Thursday, January 17 announced the five focus areas for its philanthrophic efforts for the next five to ten years.  These focus areas include ones that address the challenge of climate change.  This announcement also contained information on more than $25 million in new grants and investments that is making in these areas, including $10 million to eSolar, a company that specializes in solar thermal power.

Listed below are the five areas, along with a brief overview as described in the announcement, as well as selected overview videos:

Focus Area #1 – Accelerate the Commercialization of Plug-In Vehicles (RechargeIT)
RechargeIT is a initiative that aims to reduce CO2 emissions, cut oil use and stabilize the electrical grid by accelerating the adoption of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and vehicle-to-grid technology. launched a $10 million request for investment proposals this Fall, and will invest amounts ranging from $500,000 to $2 million in selected for-profit companies whose innovative approach, team and technologieseSolar will enable widespread commercialization of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, electric vehicles and/or vehicle-to-grid solutions.

Focus Area #2 – Develop Renewable Energy Cheaper Than Coal (RE<C)
This cross-Google collaboration has set a goal of producing one gigawatt of renewable energy capacity that is cheaper than coal, within years not decades. The initiative, known as RE<C, was launched in November 2007 and will focus initially on advanced solar thermal power, wind power technologies, enhanced geothermal systems and other potential breakthrough technologies.

[Editor’s note: The initial RE<C announcement was covered by Green VC in the post Google Invests in Renewable Energy.]

Focus Area #3 – Predict and Prevent supports efforts to empower communities to predict and prevent events before they become local, regional, or global crises, by identifying "hot spots" and enabling a rapid response. Rapid ecological and social changes are increasing the risk of emerging threats, from infectious diseases to drought and other environmental disasters. is initially focused on Southeast Asia and tropical Africa. In Southeast Asia, a hot spot for SARS and potentially bird flu, is working with partners to strengthen early warning systems and build local capacities to prevent the next pandemic.

Focus Area #4 – Inform and Empower to Improve Public Services works with partners to improve the flow of vital information to improve basic services for the poor in India and East Africa. In many countries in the developing world, essential public services are failing, especially for the poorest members of society. supports efforts to provide information to empower citizens and communities, providers, and policy makers to improve the delivery of essential public services such as education, health, water and sanitation.

Focus Area #5 – Fuel the Growth of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises supports efforts to lower transaction costs to invest in SMEs, create opportunities to access larger financial markets and make investments in this sector. SMEs are critical for inclusive economic growth and job creation in the developing world, but lack the capital and tools necessary to succeed. Many micro-enterprises and most large businesses have access to capital through microfinance institutions, banks and capital markets, but SMEs remain extraordinarily underserved, creating a "missing middle." wants to help increase the flow of capital to "the missing middle" by tackling some of the root causes that prevent these firms from becoming profitable investment opportunities

A replay of a call discussing yesterday’s announcement is available through midnight Thursday, January 24th, 2008 by calling 888-203-1112 (US) or 719-457-0820 (outside the US). The confirmation code for the replay is 4699562.  For additional information on

$10 Million to $30 Million Grants Available from the U.S. Department of Energy to Support Plug-In Hybrid Vehicle (PHEV) Projects

U.S. Department of Energy

The U.S. Department of Energy recently announced a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) to provide awards for "cost-shared" (i.e. the award recipient must also contribute funds to the project) development and demonstration projects supporting Plug-In Hybrid Vehicles (PHEVs) capable of charging using a standard 110 volt outlet. The intent of this FOA is:

[T]o further research, develop and demonstrate light duty vehicles such as automobiles, light duty trucks, SUV’s, light trucks and vans, light heavy duty trucks, passenger vans, or any vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 10,000 lbs or less, that can achieve a cumulative electric range (before transitioning to charge sustaining mode) of at least 10 miles on the Urban Dynamometer Driving Schedule (UDDS).

The U.S. Department of Energy plans to provide one to four awards, each in the range of $10 million to $30 million. This FOA has two closing dates – February 13, 2008 and April 30, 2008.  For more information:

U.S. Department of Energy and General Motors Announce “EcoCAR: The NeXt Challenge”

EcoCAR: The NeXt Challenge

EcoCAR: The NeXt Challenge is a new competition from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), General Motors (GM), Natural Resources Canada and other sponsoring organizations in which university teams will re-engineer a production GM vehicle to meet the requirements for earning Zero Emissions Vehicle credits from the California Air Resources Board.  This competition will be managed by DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory and is a successor event to Challenge X: Crossover to Sustainable Mobility, a three-year university competition ending in May 2008 that focused on re-engineering a Chevrolet Equinox to minimize its fuel consumption and emissions.

EcoCAR is open to all accredited engineering schools in North America and DOE and GM expect to select 16 teams for the competition in April, 2008.  Each team will receive a GM production vehicle, $10,000 in seed money, a wide range of powertrain components, and technical and mentoring support from the competition sponsors. Responses to the EcoCAR RFP are due by March 3rd, 2008.

"This is one competition where everyone is a winner," said Ed Wall, manager of the Vehicle Technologies Program, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy. "EcoCAR demonstrates how government, industry and academia are working together to develop creative approaches and solutions to decreasing total emissions and energy consumption in some of America’s most popular vehicles."

For more information: