Driving Oregon’s Future

A group of state and local government, higher education, and businesses — including PGE — is working to expand the electric vehicle infrastructure in Oregon, to bring the newest electric vehicles to market here and develop new business opportunities that benefit the environment.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9ACaOJVTtk

America’s Electric Car Capitals According to Forbes

Forbes' List of America's Electric Car Capitals

 

The Full List of America’s Electric Car Capitals:

  • Portland, Oregon
  • San Diego, California
  • San Francisco Bay area, California
  • Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Nashville, Tennessee
  • Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Tampa, Florida
  • Los Angeles, California
  • Austin, Texas
  • Seattle, Washington
  • Denver, Colorado
  • Phoenix/Tucson, Arizona

Source:  Forbes.com

Pecan Street Project: a community-wide collaboration to reinvent the energy delivery system

I saw a great presentation by Jose Beceiro yesterday on Austin’s ambitious Pecan Street Project.  Here’s a brief introductory video:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bC5a3Wv2OsQ

Meet the Pecan Street Project

The Pecan Street Project is a community-wide collaboration to fully reinvent the energy delivery system. It’s more than a smart grid project. Pecan Street is an ambitious effort to empower customers and innovators to use the energy system in new ways while making energy cleaner, water usage more efficient and the economy stronger.

OREV Steps Up with Proposal to Make Oregon a Leader in Electric Vehicles

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                June 10, 2010

OREV Steps Up with Proposal to Make Oregon a Leader in Electric Vehicles

Group gains momentum along with Oregon’s EV market, technology, and policy strength

PORTLAND, Oregon – The Oregon Roundtable for the Electric Vehicle Industry (OREV) submitted a proposal last week with a $2.45 million plan to establish Oregon as a world leader in the design, manufacture, and integration of ultra-efficient vehicles and related infrastructure and technologies.  The proposal was submitted to the Oregon Innovation Council in response to a request for Key Industry Innovation Initiatives.

The proposed initiative will build OREV’s ability to achieve key goals for Oregon:

  • Leverage federal and private funding to enable Oregon’s continued leadership in Electric Vehicles (EVs).
  • Connect Oregon University System institutions, utilities, state and local government entities and EV industry stakeholders to efficiently develop and commercialize next-generation transportation technologies.
  • Foster collaboration between Oregon’s existing clean tech, manufacturing, smart grid, software and other sectors to participate in the EV supply chain.
  • Create skilled, family-wage jobs to build the next generation of transportation solutions.

“The EV industry – with electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, components, and infrastructure – represents a huge opportunity for Oregon,” said John Thornton, lead author of the group’s proposal.  “But we will only capture these jobs, and the energy security and environmental benefits, if we act now and turn our early EV readiness into a long-term strength.”

A key strategy is to win a leading share of large federal programs, aimed at EV deployment and EV-related manufacturing, by rallying the state’s strong existing capabilities in a coordinated and focused effort.

Oregon’s strength in EVs goes back many years, combining the state’s high-technology industry and a history of environmental leadership.  The Oregon Electric Vehicle Association (OEVA) has long been the gathering place EV enthusiasts, along with providing education and outreach and an annual EV Awareness Day.  More recently, the Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium (OTREC) was formed in 2005, directing research expertise at multiple Oregon universities to look at transportation improvements, increasingly including EVs.

But the state lacked a means of gathering the many industry players who were working on vehicle electrification.  In early 2009, the Portland Development Commission (PDC) identified this emerging cluster, and worked with Business Oregon to convene and support the group – which later became OREV.  The group now includes over 40 companies and organizations working across the electric vehicle arena.  More information is available at www.OR-EV.org.

The interest in EVs continues to build, with activities nearly every week.  Portland General Electric (PGE) recently took EVs to the streets, featuring a range of vehicles in the Starlight Parade.  And on Friday, June 11, PGE, Portland State University, and OTREC will host ‘E.V. Road Map 2,’ featuring presentations by national experts, and providing an update on continuing EV initiatives in Oregon.

As a likely early-adopter market for EVs, Oregon has garnered international attention through the state’s high hybrid electric vehicle concentration.  This helped earn the state a position as one of just five test markets for the largest rollout of electric vehicles and an associated charging station network in U.S. history.  The initiative will bring nearly 1,000 Nissan electric vehicles to Oregon in 2010, along with nearly 2,000 charging stations.

The public sector is a key factor favoring the success of Oregon’s EV players.  Companies including Cascade Sierra Solutions, Shorepower Technologies, Entek, EnerG2, and Revolt Technology have already won significant federal support for their job-creating work in EVs.

At the state level, recent modifications to Oregon’s Business Energy Tax Credit (BETC) include a credit for EV manufacturing.

Key upcoming leverage opportunities include a bill co-sponsored by the state’s own Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR).  The “Electric Vehicle Deployment Act of 2010” proposes an $11 billion package to create 5 to 8 “deployment communities” to jump-start the electric vehicle industry in the U.S.  With a concerted effort and support from the Oregon Innovation Council, OREV aims to make Oregon one of the winning deployment communities. 

In its proposal, OREV also plans to help members target the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Incentive Program (ATVMIP), which includes $20 billion of DOE funding. 

“We have done a fantastic job in green buildings, and now we need to focus on transforming our transportation system,” said Thornton.  “It’s another local example of innovation and high density deployment leading to a strong sector, job creation, and exportable products.”

Contacts from the OREV Steering Committee:

Tim Miller
President and CEO
Green Lite Motors Corporation
Cell: 503-490-3014
Email: TimMiller@GreenLiteMotors.com

 

Trevor Steele                                                          
Director of Government Relations                
Arcimoto LLC                                                          
Cell: 541-954-0065                                              
Email: trevor@arcimoto.com                         

###

Japan-U.S. Smart Grid Market Trends of the Future

Here’s an event by the Japanese External Trade Organization (JETRO) on comparisons of smart grid trends in the U.S. and Japan I’ve been helping with:

Global companies are closely eyeing the opportunity in the now-developing and popular smart grid market. Currently, the U.S. is the hot spot for smart grid development and is also attracting Asian companies from Japan, China and Korea, who are interested in deploying their smart grid technologies in the U.S. However, a majority of the U.S.-based smart grid technology companies in this market are unaware of the opportunities outside of the U.S.

This seminar will offer opportunities to learn what is happening in the smart grid market in Japan and the U.S. Furthermore, in this seminar you will learn ideas on how Japanese and U.S. smart grid companies could complement each other to grow the market together.

The general difference in the current implementation of the smart grid in Japan and the U.S. is that the U.S. seems more business-focused, aiming to reduce energy costs and develop infrastructure, while Japan seems more society-focused, seeking to reduce carbon emissions as a whole. Japan already has a reliable grid and is pushing for advanced integrated control including demand-side to be ready for intermittent renewable energy sources. In the United States, however, there’s a need for highly reliable transmission and distribution networks.

Agenda:

Registration and NetworkingWelcome Remarks

Panel Discussion: Japan-U.S. future smart grid trends
 Chenyi Chiu, Strategic Engineering Manager, Panasonic R&D Company of America
Stephen G Eichenlaub, Managing Director, Intel Capital
Tim Van Slambrouck, Vice President of Marketing and Sales, DENT Instruments

 

    What is happening in the Japanese smart grid market/technology (composite smart grid including EVs)?
    What is happening in the U.S smart grid market/technology (composite smart grid including EVs)?
    What are the difference and similarities between Japan and the U.S smart grid market/technology? How can they complement each other to grow the market together?

Moderator: Jeff Hammarlund, Adjunct Associate Professor and Senior Research Fellow, Portland State University

Q&A

Closing Remarks

Networking and Adjourn

Join us for an opportunity to advance a close working relationship between Japan and the U.S. to develop and deploy the smart grid in each nation.  Register here.

Planning the Smart Grid for Sustainable Communities – Interactive Conference 2010

Conference Announcement

Planning the Smart Grid for Sustainable Communities

Interactive Conference on June 15th, 2010 / 8:00 am – 3:30 pm
Join faculty and students of Portland State University and
government, business, and community leaders as we learn,
discuss and collaborate on how the technologies of the
Smart Grid can support sustainable communities at
Two World Trade Center, 121 SW Salmon StreetPortland, Oregon

 Sponsors: Portland State University, Portland General Electric

Climate Solutions, Smart Grid Oregon, and others

Agenda Highlights

  • Morning Keynote Speakers
    What is the Smart Grid and how can it support more sustainable communities?  Allen Schurr, IBM Vice President for Strategy and Development, Global Energy and Utilities
  • Morning Presentations on Three Case Studies
    • Testing utility-scale battery storage as a Smart Grid option: Portland General Electric’s Feeder Advanced Storage Transaction (FAST) Project
    • Applying the Smart Grid to an eco-district or neighborhood energy project: the proposed Portland State University’s Eco-District and the North Pearl Energy Project
    • A strategy for connecting electric vehicles and the Smart Grid in the Portland Metro area
  • Lunch Keynote Speaker
    Austin’s Pecan Street Project:  One Model for Integrating the Smart Grid into a Comprehensive Sustainable Development Strategy.  Jose Beceiro, Board Member, Austin’s Pecan Street Project, and Director of Clean Energy Economic Development, Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce
  • Afternoon Roundtable Discussions and Feedback on our Case Studies
    • Portland General Electric’s Feeder Advanced Storage Transaction (FAST) Project
    • Applying the Smart Grid to an eco-district or neighborhood energy project
    • Connecting electric vehicles and the Smart Grid 
  • Reflections on the day and recommendations for next steps from our keynote speakers and other conference participants
 

Who Should Attend
Leaders in government, business, IT and communications regulators, utilities, Smart Grid technology vendors, planners, engineers, architects, home and building owners

Register Now Advance registration is required. Cost:  $25.  Space is limited and registration requests will be accepted in the order they are received.

Description
As your host, Portland State University will facilitate discussion around the recent outcomes and findings from our interdisciplinary graduate class,  Planning the Smart Grid for Sustainable Communities.  At this interactive conference, participants will collaborate to identify Smart Grid components and priorities that will support a more sustainable energy plan for the energy demands of the Pacific Northwest.

Background
The “Smart Grid” has caught the attention of political, business, and community leaders from the White House to Northwest communities and electric utilities. And for good reason.

Its champions tell us the Smart Grid will allow us to use many of the same technologies, concepts, and models behind the internet to transform our electric grid from a centralized network largely controlled by utilities to one that is less centralized….more                         

Electric Vehicle Deployment Act of 2010 – Section-by-Section

EVDA as introduced

The purpose of the Electric Vehicle Deployment Act of 2010 is to promote the rapid, near-term deployment of plug-in electric drive vehicles in order to reduce dependence on imported oil, to strengthen the national economy, and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

With the transportation sector driving approximately 70 percent of the country’s oil demand, powering vehicles from alternative fuel sources is a necessary top priority for reducing the country’s oil dependence. Electric-drive cars and trucks represent the most promising near-term opportunity to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

The Electric Vehicles Deployment Act aims to accelerate the introduction electric cars and trucks throughout the country by creating a national program to support the deployment of electric vehicles and by identifying and supporting at least 5 and up to 15 electric vehicle deployment communities. The bill offers significant incentives over 5 years to these deployment communities to integrate large numbers of vehicles and the necessary infrastructure. The target is to see the introduction of 700,000 electric vehicles in the selected communities. This will enable communities in different parts of the country and of different sizes to “learn by doing,” by experimenting with different approaches to deploying electric vehicles (including questions of how much charging infrastructure to deploy and how to plan for and manage it). It will also demonstrate how electric vehicles can be deployed relatively rapidly at a high market penetration rate in a community. Deployment communities will provide critical information to other communities about how to efficiently deploy electric vehicles in their own backyards. In addition, the bill extends certain incentives nationally to continue preparing for broad deployment across the country, and it invests in key research and development priorities.

Section 1: Short title

Section 2: Findings

Section 3: Definitions

Section 4: National Electric Drive Vehicle Deployment Program

This section establishes a program in the Department of Energy that will develop a national plan for supporting the deployment of electric drive vehicles, and will provide technical assistance on the deployment of electric drive vehicles to communities throughout the country, with a focus on communities that are not selected in the Targeted Electric Drive Vehicle Deployment Communities Program (section 5) but which are good candidates for electric vehicle deployment.

Section 5: Targeted Electric Vehicles Deployment Communities Program

This section establishes a program within the National Electric Drive Vehicle Deployment Program to competitively select “deployment communities” based on their plans to support the deployment of electric vehicles. Deployment communities will be eligible for additional incentives and they will share information with the Department of Energy that will be used to inform best practices for implementing vehicle electrification.

Selection of deployment communities: State, tribal, or local governments may apply to become a deployment community. The application will describe the community’s plan to encourage the deployment of electric vehicles and related infrastructure, and it should demonstrate buy-in from relevant stakeholders such as public and private utilities, government agencies, and providers of electric drive motor vehicles and charging infrastructure. The Secretary of Energy will choose at least 5 and not more than 15 deployment communities that reflect diverse populations, geography, and models for deploying electric drive motor vehicles. At least one deployment community will have a population of less than 125,000.

Grants and cost sharing: Two billion dollars will be authorized for the Program (note that other sections of the bill provide for other incentives, such as an enhanced tax credit program, that are specific to deployment communities). Communities must provide at least 20 percent of the funding for their proposed electric vehicle deployment program from non-federal sources.

Continuation of program: Phase 1 of the Program will last for 5 years from the date that deployment communities receive their grants. The Secretary of Energy will report to Congress on Phase 1 of the Program and will assess whether the Program should be extended and/or modified, and make suggestions for Phase 2, if warranted.

Section 6: Tax Credits

Tax credit for qualified buyers within deployment communities: Raises the tax credit by $2,500 to a maximum of $10,000 and makes the tax credit refundable and transferrable, so that the tax credit can function like a point-of-sale rebate, for deployment community taxpayers only.  Entities that take this enhanced credit may not receive the electric vehicle tax credit available nationwide – no double-dipping.

Nationwide tax credit for qualified buyers and manufacturer’s cap: Maintains the current $7,500 tax credit and raises the number of vehicles that qualify for tax credits from 200,000 to 300,000 vehicles per manufacturer before an incremental phase-out.

Medium- and heavy-duty hybrid vehicles: Extends and expands tax credits for medium- and heavy-duty hybrid and plug-in hybrid and plug-in electric vehicles

Refueling property tax credit: Extends the current 50 percent nationwide tax credit for all electric charging stations, including residential and publicly available)  through  2016, subject to current price caps. The tax credit is also made transferrable nationwide.

Section 7. Electric Vehicle Refueling Property Bonds and Loan Guarantees

Creates a new qualified tax credit bond that can be issued by governmental bodies, public power providers, or electric cooperatives to fund qualified electric vehicle refueling properties.  This cannot be used if the tax credit is used. This section also clarifies that electric vehicle charging infrastructure is eligible for loan guarantees under Title XVII of the Energy Policy Act of 2005.

Section 8. Utility Planning for Plug-in Electric Vehicles

Requires electric utilities to consider the potential levels of plug-in penetration that they might expect to see on their systems in the near term, investigate the potential impacts on their transmission and distribution infrastructure, and plan for the deployment of electric vehicles in their service area.  Any utility that does not anticipate meaningful electric vehicle penetration on their system can request that this requirement be waived.  The bill also asks State Utility Commissions to participate in any local plan for deploying charging infrastructure, require infrastructure interoperability, consider how it interacts with smart grid, and start to consider  rate recovery for utility plans.

Section 9. Federal Fleets

Electricity as a fuel: Directs the federal government to count electricity used to refuel a plug-in electric drive motor vehicle as an alternative fuel.

Report on electric vehicle potential in federal fleets: Directs the Federal Energy Management Program and the General Services Administration to compile a report on how many plug-in electric drive vehicles could be deployed in federal fleets based on needed functionality and costs. Federal agencies are to request funding for these vehicles in their annual budget requests.

Pilot program: Directs the Administrator of the General Services Administration to acquire and deploy plug-in electric drive vehicles to be used in a pilot program in federal fleets and authorizes funds to cover incremental costs.

Section 10. Advanced Batteries for Tomorrow Prize

Directs the Secretary of Energy to establish a competition for the development of a 500-mile vehicle battery.

Section 11. Research and Development

Research and Development: Establishes an R&D program in DOE to work on all aspects of the development, production, and deployment of electric vehicles.

Secondary use applications program: Establishes a research, development, and demonstration program in the Department of Energy to identify and assess possible uses for vehicle batteries at the end of their useful life in a vehicle. Provides grants for selected demonstration projects.

Materials recycling program: Directs the Secretary of Energy to carry out a study on recycling materials from electric vehicles and batteries.

Section 12. Study on the Supply of Raw Materials

Directs the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a study identifying the raw materials needed to manufacture plug-in electric vehicles, batteries, and other components, to describe the known sources of these materials and the risk associated with their supply, and to identify ways to secure the supply chain of critical raw materials.

Section 13. Plug-in Electric Drive Vehicle Technical Advisory Committee

Establishes a technical advisory committee to advise the Secretary of Energy on matters relating to plug-in electric drive vehicles. The committee is to coordinate with the Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Technical Advisory Committee and the Biomass Research and Development Technical Advisory Committee.

Section 14. Plug-in Electric Drive Vehicle Interagency Task Force

Establishes an Interagency Task Force, chaired by the Secretary of Energy, to coordinate federal actions related to plug-in electric drive vehicles and infrastructure.

Section 15. Prohibition on Disposing of Advanced Batteries in Landfills

Batteries from plug-in electric drive motor vehicles must be disposed of in accordance with the Mercury-Containing and Rechargeable Battery Management Act.

Section 16. Loan Guarantees for Advanced Battery Purchases for Use in Stationary Applications

Provides loan guarantees for eligible entities that purchase more than 200 qualified automotive batteries in a calendar year for use in nonautomotive applications.  This program will help attract battery manufacturing facilities to the U.S. while plug-in electric drive vehicle production is still ramping up.

Section 17. Model Updating Building Codes, Permitting and Inspection Processes, and Zoning or Parking Rules

Directs the Secretary of Energy to develop and publish model building codes that include charging infrastructure, model construction and permitting codes that allow for expedited installation of charging infrastructure, and model zoning, parking rules, or other local ordinances that apply to publicly available charging infrastructure.

Section 18. Workforce Training

Provides grants for training first responders, electricians, contractors, and engineers who will be installing infrastructure, code inspection officials, dealers, mechanics, and others. Provides grants for programs in designing plug-in electric drive motor vehicles and associated components and infrastructure.

See also:  Electric Vehicle Deployment Act of 2010

Electric Vehicle Deployment Act of 2010

Senators Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) introduced today the “Electric Vehicle Deployment Act of 2010,” a bill that promotes the rapid, near-term deployment of plug-in electric drive motor vehicles. The bill would create “deployment communities” across the country, where targeted incentive programs for electric vehicles and charging infrastructure systems would help demonstrate rapid market penetration and determine what “best practices” would be helpful for nationwide deployment of electric vehicles.

Dorgan – Alexander – Merkley

Electric Vehicle Deployment Act of 2010

 To rapidly deploy 700,000 electric vehicles in the near-term

 

1)       National Electric Drive Vehicle Deployment Program

  • Directs the Secretary of Energy to establish a program to support the nationwide deployment of electric vehicles and to offer technical assistance to states and communities across that country as they prepare for plug-in electric drive vehicles.

 

2)      Electric Vehicle Deployment Community Program

A minimum of 5 and maximum of 15 “Electric Vehicle Deployment Communities”
  • Each community can apply for up to a $250 million total grant, with a local cost share of at least 20%.
  • DOE will select communities based on criteria such as, partnership with key stakeholders in the public and private sectors, local cost share levels, the quality of the community’s plan for deploying electric vehicles, and evidence of the plan’s likelihood for success.
  • Selected communities will demonstrate a high level of electric vehicle integration through a 5-year grant program, covering charging infrastructure, building code updates, workforce training, or other needs.
Electric Vehicle purchasing incentives
  • Increases the maximum tax credit to $10,000 (from $7,500) in deployment communities, and makes the tax credit transferable and refundable so that car-buyers can get the value of the tax credit at the point of sale. Point of sale rebate must be taken in lieu of the existing vehicle tax credit               
Charging Infrastructure incentives
  • Eligible for 50% tax credit for installing electric vehicle charging infrastructure

 

3)      Nationwide Incentives

Electric Vehicle purchasing incentives
  • Increases the number of tax credit eligible vehicles for each manufacturer from 200,000 to 300,000 vehicles
  • Extends and expands the credit for medium/heavy duty hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles
Infrastructure
  • Extends the current 50% tax credit (expiring in 2010) for electric charging infrastructure for 6 years and makes the credit transferable.
  • Also creates a new bonding program to help local governments, public power providers, and cooperative electric companies pay for charging infrastructure in lieu of the current tax credit.

 

4)      Research and Development and Other Programs

  • R&D to reduce battery and other electric vehicle component costs – $1.5 billion
  • Competition to invent the 500-mile battery – $10 million prize (first battery to meet a cost/kwh threshold)

Workforce training grants to educational institutions for the establishment of programs that will provide training and education for vocational workforce (first responders, electricians/contractors installing infrastructure, code inspection officials, dealers/mechanics)

See also:  Electric Vehicle Deployment Act of 2020, Section-by-Section

California rules on sale of electricity for electric cars

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) issued a proposed decision of importance to the nascent electric vehicle marketplace with a ruling on the sale of electricity for use in electric cars. 

A key uncertainty amongst the electric car market and its associated electric vehicle charging infrastructure is how utility regulators will view service providors of electric car charging.  The CPUC

concludes that the ownership or operation of a facility that sells electricity at retail to the public for use only as a motor vehicle fuel and the selling of electricity at retail from that facility to the public for use only as a motor vehicle fuel does not make the corporation or person a public utility within the meaning of Public Utility Code § 2161 solely because of that sale, ownership or operation.

 This rulemaking allows more diversity in business models with competitive access to electricity for charging, provides better clarity for future investment, and facilitates more rapid deployment of electric car charging infrastructure. 

The proposed decision is Phase 1 of rule-making as California considers alternative-fueled vehicle tariffs, infrastructure and policies to support California’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals.  The proceeding will remain open for consideration of a number of additional issues to be addressed in a Phase 2 decision, including:

  • Any health and safety issues related to electric vehicle charging and the associated infrastructure;
  • The appropriate utility role in the provision of electric vehicle charging services to the public;
  • The appropriate utility role with respect to charging equipment on the customer’s side of the meter;
  • Ways in which the utilities can further help to streamline the installation of home charging infrastructure;
  • Cost allocation, including a consideration of the circumstances in which the costs of any distribution system upgrades should be borne by an individual customer or be recoverable from all customers;
  • Principles for electric vehicle time-variant rates to align rates with system costs and impacts;
  • Metering requirements;
  • Any modifications to tariff rules needed to implement the adopted pricing policies;
  • Development of appropriate smart charging programs or policies to manage the impacts of electric vehicle charging on the grid; • Intra – and inter – utility billing policies; and
  • Other issues.

With widely varying positions the rulemaking has been contentious, particularly as California is expected to be one of the earliest and largest markets for plug-in electric vehicles. California could be a possible model for other states’ Public Utilities Commissions (PUC) as they consider adoption of regulations for electric car charging.

Buyers reserve 20 percent of Nissan Leaf electric cars in first 3 days

Early adopters of electric cars reserve early.

Nissan Motors Co. said Friday that buyers have already reserved more than 20 percent of the first year’s production of its Leaf electric car in the first 3 days of taking reservations.

About 6,600 U.S. consumers have paid the $99 reservation fee and 3,700 in Japan have done the same.  Nissan said it will make about 50,000 Leaf electric cars the first year.  The automaker said it wants to have about 40 percent of production reserved by December, when the car goes on sale.  The car will initially only be available in California, Oregon, Seattle, Arizona and east-central Tennessee when it first rolls out in December 2010. Nissan has said it will roll out nationwide in 2011.

Nissan began taking reservations on Tuesday from amongst the 115,000 pool of early registrants (Leaf “hand raisers”) who expressed interest in the Nissan Leaf electric car.  The all-electric car will cost $32,780, though government subsidies will reduce the cost through a federal tax credit of $7,500. 

The Nissan Leaf is one of the early mass-market electric cars to market when scheduled sale later this year.  Is the Leaf electric car’s early adoption interest a harbinger of mainstream consumer demand for electric cars?  I’m curious about the demand of other electric cars and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) like the GM Volt will fare when finally released.