SAN JOSE, California -- Plug-in hybrids are a great way to ease our oil
addiction and do something about global warming. But it's taken 10 years
for conventional hybrids like the iconic Toyota Prius to eke out almost 3
percent of the domestic market, and nothing suggests cars with cords will
take hold any faster.
For that reason, plug-in advocates say, we've got to figure out how to start
converting a sizable chunk of the nation's 240 million cars into
gas-electric hybrids you can plug into a wall socket. There's a handful of
companies venturing down this path, but they charge as much as 12 grand to
do the job and the number of cars they've converted would fit inside a
Toyota cargo ship with room to spare.
That, according to Andy Grove, the former chairman and CEO of Intel, simply
will not do. He's become one of the country's most high-profile plug-in
evangelists, reading from a sermon published last month in The American.
Now he's issued a Herculean challenge during the Plug-In 2008 conference
that had many in the choir singing "Hallelujah!"
He's called on automakers, utilities, researchers and pretty much everyone
in Silicon Valley to develop a plan to convert 10 million pickup trucks,
vans and SUVs to plug-in hybrids within four years. And he says they should
hand it to the next president on Jan. 21...
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