Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Plug-ins converge on Washington

Last week Google.org and the Brookings Institution hosted a two-day conference in Washington to showcase plug-in electric vehicles and examine how the government can support their widespread adoption. An impressive lineup of Members of Congress, auto and utility executives, and technology experts spoke to a packed house about the potential of plug-ins to reduce oil dependence, lower the cost of driving, and fight global warming. Between panels, participants were treated to a display of the latest plug-in cars, including one of Google.org's RechargeIT cars, an electric sportscar, and Detroit's answer to high gas prices.

There appeared to be overwhelming agreement that government leadership is necessary to make this industry transformation a reality. (A recent poll commissioned by Google.org shows that voters agree.) A second theme was the need to modernize and green the power grid as the country moves toward electrifying transportation. But with gas prices at record highs and enthusiasm for the promise of electric cars growing, the feeling in Washington last week was that plug-ins' time has come.

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