Symposium Plugs in to Hybrid Automobile Future

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Hot on the tire tracks of announcements that Volvo is road testing its V60 Plug-in Hybrid, Volkswagen will soon have plug-in Golf and Jetta hybrids and Toyota will offer plug-in options for all Priuses by 2014 comes an all-day symposium in Irvine today dedicated to the hottest automobile market.

CleanTech OC, the trade association of Orange County green businesses, presents the event from 1:30-5:30 p.m. in the UC Irvine Student Center's Pacific Ballroom. That's immediately followed by a reception and expo from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Speakers include: Diane Wittenberg of the California Plug-in Electric Vehicle (PEV) Collaborative; Orange County Supervisor Bill Campbell; Ernst & Young's Matt Sapp; the creator of UCI's hydrogen fueling station, Scott Samuelsen of the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department in UCI's Henry Samueli School of Engineering; and Dave Mazaika of Quantum Technologies, an Irvine-based corporation that creates products and support for propane-, hydrogen- and gas-electric-powered vehicles.

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Millenworks' LUV (Light Utility Vehicle) has a hybrid powertrain.
Panels composed of these and other speakers will discuss the opportunities and challenges our state and local communities face as plug-in electric vehicles become more common. It's not a matter of just dumping these cars in showrooms. Recharging stations, an adequate electrical power grid and government funding and/or tax credits for cities, buyers and developers must be in place, experts will argue.

Among the electric vehicles scheduled to be on display at the expo are: the Chevy Volt, Nissan LEAF, Ford F-150, the much-buzzed-about Tesla Roadster and six other vehicles, including an all-electric military vehicle that's similar to the Hummer and manufactured by Tustin-based Millenworks.

These are the future. When it comes to the past, you can park your current ride for free in the Student Center Parking Structure adjacent to the facility as long as you are among the first 200 attendees. For more information, visit cleantechoc.org.

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