Powering Up Cities for Plug-In Hybrids

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Powering Up Cities for Plug-In Hybrids

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The New York Academy of Sciences

An enormous investment is now being made to develop and produce plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) to help shift on-road transportation away from petroleum. Rarely has a new technology moved so quickly from concept to commitments for full-scale production. Current hybrid cars use gasoline to generate all of their electric power. In contrast, plug-in hybrids get their electric power primarily from the grid. So in most of the country, they will not require a new infrastructure -- unlike other alternative-fuel vehicles. But in cities like New York, many car owners do not park in personal garages so there is no readily available place to charge a PHEV. What can New York City do to smooth the transition to PHEVs? Are there critical elements where governmental action is required? What elements in the transition depend on initiatives which must come from utilities, vehicle manufacturers, parking facilities, and vehicle fleet operators?

Mark Duvall of the Electric Power Research Institute will present the technological and economic issues that must be addressed to make plug-in hybrid vehicles commercially viable.

Arthur Kressner, who is director of research and development for Power Supply at Con Edison, will discuss what changes are needed in the electrical supply system in order for it to successfully accommodate PHEVs, such as developing Smart Grid capability.

Richard Drake is program manager at NYSERDA for alternative-fuel vehicle technology. He'll focus on the results of the first phase of NYSERDA's PHEV Initiative Program, which is working towards large scale deployment of PHEVs in New York State's own fleet.

Panel Moderator: Bernard Tuchman