Monday, March 16, 2009

Pomona gets Presidential on Thursday

Both David Allen and Original Skrip are reporting that Pomona, California will get a special visitor on Thursday - President Barack Obama. Allen links to an L.A. Observed piece with more details.

Obama will make a private visit to the Edison International Vehicle Electric Plant in Pomona. Edison discussed the Pomona facility in a 2002 press release:

SCE and Toyota began the 100,000-mile RAV-4 EV project in February 2000 to obtain data on costs, maintenance, battery life, charging issues and other factors with EVs that are used continually long-term. Employees with long commutes drive the vehicles daily to and from work-either SCE's headquarters in Rosemead, Calif., or its state-of-the-art EV Technical Center in Pomona, Calif. The test data also showed that EVs with advanced batteries are cost-effective to operate and have an equal lifecycle of comparable internal combustion engine vehicles.

Not only have the EVs met the employees' driving needs, they have proven reliable, with just minimal routine maintenance required, and have demonstrated the long-term durability of the battery packs, motors, controllers and other components. Given the successful operation of these EVs to date, SCE plans to continue using them even after they roll past 100,000 miles.

And coincidentally (or perhaps not), USA Today recently ran an article:

[T]he switch to electric cars is expected to be gradual....To prepare for that day, SoCal Edison runs prototype electric vehicles through their paces at its test facility in Pomona, a few miles east of headquarters. Ford chose SoCal Edison as a testing partner in 2007 for its experimental plug-in hybrid Escape SUVs. It recently announced it's adding seven other utilities to the program. Its goal is to have a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle on the market by 2012.

Other makers contribute models for testing, such as a new Mitsubishi iMiEV subcompact and a Daimler plug-in hybrid van undergoing evaluation recently. Kjaer says SoCal Edison and other utilities are working with General Motors on its Chevy Volt plug-in electric, which is supposed to hit the roads next year.

As for the long term, mechanics work on the fleet of RAV4s that have collectively logged more than 17 million miles since 1999. Today, the fleet achieves 120,000 miles a month.

"We have more data than Toyota does on this fleet," Kjaer says.

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