October 25, 2007

City of Seattle will participate in electric plug-in vehicle testing

Seattle, Washington – Greg Nickels, the mayor of Seattle, has announced that the city and other local agencies will participate in a year-long demonstration project testing the performance of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) in an urban area. Thanks to funding and technical support from the U.S. Department of Energy, matched by funding from program participants, 13 Toyota Prius models will be converted to PHEVs, at a total cost of US$156,000.

The project will test technology used to convert the vehicles to 100 mpg (2.35 L/100 km); test PHEV performance in an urban area; help evaluate PHEV-electric grid integration issues; and promote electricity as an alternative fuel for transportation.

“Last week, oil prices broke $90 per barrel for the first time,” Nickels says. “In King County, 52 per cent of our greenhouse gas pollution comes from burning oil in our cars and trucks. For the sake of our economy, security and our climate, we need to use fewer cars and greener cars for getting around. It is critical for government to be involved in developing clean and cost-saving alternatives to oil-fuelled vehicles. This demonstration project will accelerate the commercial introduction of these vehicles and prepare our utility for the day when many of us are plugging into the grid instead of filling up at the pump.”

Lithium ion battery manufacturer A123Systems of Massachusetts will provide the conversion kits. A total of 13 vehicles owned by the city of Seattle, King County, Port of Seattle, and the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency will be converted.

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