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CVPS "plug & go" Supercharges Hybrid Vehicles

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RUTLAND, Vt.--Central Vermont Public Service rolled out the latest in energy efficient vehicles today, CVPS plug n go, a program intended to supercharge hybrid electric vehicles.

CVPS plug n go gives our customers the opportunity to be on the cutting edge of reducing automobile emissions and extending vehicle mileage, and the next generation of highly efficient cars and trucks, CVPS President Bob Young said. Just as CVPS Cow Power is creating a new market for energy produced by dairy farmers, CVPS plug n go will demonstrate that plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles are commercially viable and provide tremendous benefits to car owners and society at large.

Green Mountain College, a national leader in environmental studies, has joined CVPS plug n go as a partner. GMC officials will drive one of two PHEVs CVPS purchased, and the college will spearhead efforts to collect and analyze data on performance and costs. Dr. Steven Letendre, a professor and energy economist at Green Mountain, is one of the countrys leading experts on plug-in hybrids and vehicles designed to connect to the electric grid (vehicles-to-grid or V2G).

By converting hybrid vehicles to PHEVs, one can significantly reduce auto emissions by using cleaner, more efficient grid energy, and vastly extend fuel efficiency, Letendre said. This is the next generation of vehicles, and CVPS plug n go gives Vermonters an opportunity to be among the first to enjoy their benefits. It is important to demonstrate now the potential that new vehicle technology can play to tackle the global warming issue. This initiative, and CVPS's Cow Power program, demonstrates a strong commitment by CVPS to provide national leadership on this important issue.

Major automakers are developing PHEVs, and conversion kits are already available to hybrid owners who want to take the next step now. CVPS plug n go allows customers to sign up for an off-peak electric rate that can substantially reduce per-mile driving costs. PHEVs, like normal HEVs, can operate on a combination of gas and electricity, but can be driven exclusively on electricity at low city driving speeds for up to 30 miles.

An HEV that gets 60 mile per gallon can get the equivalent of 100 mpg after its converted to a PHEV, with the additional miles at a cost equivalent of a dollar a gallon, Letendre said.

Dan Mackey, CVPSs garage fleet supervisor, said although mass-produced PHEVs were still a few years away, CVPS wanted to offer the program now to give customers a new choice, demonstrate PHEVs value, and provide environmental benefits.

We also want to gain experience with the vehicles ourselves to see how they can benefit the electrical system by using idle capacity in the electric system at night, using low-cost service, and potentially even providing back-up power to consumers or even backup to the grid, Mackey said. CVPS also plans to convert numerous CVPS fleet hybrid trucks to PHEVS. There is tremendous potential, and we want to be on the forefront of those capturing that potential, he said.