My name is Al Lococo, I am a member of the Florida EAA which is a chapter of the National EAA.  Our membership is varied, with members who have converted vehicles to electric, others who have purchased electric vehicles and some who have only an interest but do not own an electric vehicle.  These are all intelligent people who have made the connections between our reliance on Oil, Economics, Environment, Foreign Policy and National Security.  They understand the relationships between Food prices and Oil prices, the relationship between our foreign oil dependency and conflict in the Middle East, and the relationship between the internal combustion engine and the Environment and Global Warming.


I come to you as an individual who converted my first battery electric vehicle in the summer of 1979.  My second award-winning vehicle, which has appeared in; “Intersection”, the International Magazine and the Winter Haven “News Chief”, was completed on January 2nd of this year.  It currently has over two thousand miles on it.


In the area of Plug-In Hybrid Electric vehicles one of our members, James Parish, who is the first, in Florida, as far as I know to convert a Prius Hybrid to Plug-In and to charge his vehicle routinely with renewable Solar energy.


James and I are among many other electric car enthusiasts working to educate the public about the viability of these technologies for personal transportation.


It is important for you to understand, as we explain the capability of our vehicles, that you realize we are at the lower limit of what is possible.  Our efforts however successful at meeting our requirements, are limited by our capabilities and do not reflect the limitations of the technologies available.  Our engineering and design skills are no match for large corporations like Toyota and GM.


Toyota RAV4-EV


For that reason I want to talk about what is possible, as evidenced by what major auto manufacturers have already done.


The best existing evidence we have of the viability of the Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) is the Toyota RAV4-EV, first produced by Toyota, starting in 1998, in response to the California Air Resources Board Zero Emissions Mandate.  These cars are still on the road today, many of them with over 100,000 miles.  These vehicles have a range of over 100 miles on a charge, reaching distances of 120 or even 140 miles.



We now have companies like Tesla, AC Propulsion, and Phoenix making Battery Electric Vehicles.  These companies are making excellent vehicles in limited numbers.  I used the RAV4-EV in my example because it is proven over an extended period of  time.  These new electric vehicles ar well received by their owners and advance the EV technology abandoned by major car manufacturers.


$47,000 Phoenix SUT

$69,000 AC Propulsion E-Box

$100,000 Tesla Roadster


These new vehicles will have enjoyed several years of use before we can enjoy similar quality vehicles from major auto manufacturers.


Plug-In Partners


Plug-In Partners is a national grass-roots initiative to demonstrate to automakers that a market for flexible-fuel Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV) exists today.


The following institutions: Local Governments, Utilities, Businesses and Non-profits can become Plug-In partners.


In order to show Auto Manufacturers that there is a market for PHEVs, Plug-In Partners make resolutions, make soft fleet orders, encourage petitions to Auto Manufacturers, and publish their efforts through the media and public events in order to educate the public.


Flex Fuel Vehicles


Flex Fuel vehicles use gas, diesel, etanol and biodiesel fuels. The problem is that to use all four of these fuels you must own two vehicles.  A flex fuel vehicle is really only a dual fuel vehicle.  One these fuels is a fossil fuel upon which we are trying to decrease our reliance.  So if you want to solve the problems of foreign oil reliance and pollution, etc., you really only have a single fuel vehicle.  Most of these cars are driven routinely on a single petroleum based fuel.


A Plug-In Hybrid is by definition a true Flex Fuel vehicle no matter which fuel the Internal Combustion Engine uses, because it carries both fuels, electric and gas, at the same time and can switch back forth at any time.  No other so-called Flex Fuel vehicle is this dynamic.  In addition, because one of the fuels, or energy sources, is electricity, the car actually can be driven with electricity generated using any type of fuel or energy including renewable energy sources such as solar and wind.


The Battery Electric Vehicle has the flexibility of using Electricity generated from any energy source also, but is entirely free of  any dependency on any other onboard fuel.


Bio Fuels


Bio fuels are made from bio mass.  Typically in the recent past, corn has been the bio mass used to produce Ethanol in this country and Soy is the bio mass used to produce BioDiesel.  These products consume food and tie up agricultural land so it can not be otherwise used to produce food.  We have all learned that these Bio-Fuels have a deleterious affect on food prices and the economy. 


We do have other second-generation bio-fuel alternatives, such as saw grass and switch grass used to produce cellulosic ethanol.  These sources of bio mass are not food and can be grown on land not otherwise suitable for agricultural production.  The problem is that the process necessary to convert them into Ethanol is currently under development.


Another second generation bio mass, Detropha also know as Jatropha is a plant which produces a high volume of oil when compared to soy and can be grown on land not suitable for agricultural food production, thereby having little or no impact on food production.  The only possible interference with food production is if it diverts manpower from food production to bio mass production.




Mild Hybrid


The choices for vehicles are wide and sometimes confusing.  We have to beware of green washing.  Our goal after all is to reduce our dependence on petroleum.  We have to beware of buying technology that does not reduce our reliance on petroleum.  A true Hybrid provides better fuel economy in the city than on the highway and better economy than a similar model of conventional car.  Any car that is called a Hybrid, but gets poor fuel economy in general or poorer economy in the city than on the highway is not a hybrid and doesn’t address the problem. 


We currently have a so-called green line of “Mild Hybrid” vehicles from GM.  GM has convinced the government, by some technicality, that these are Hybrids, and qualify for incentives.  These cars cannot be converted to PHEVs.


What other Cities are doing


The city of Chattanooga is world renown for their Electric Bus system. A great example of what I think you have in mind for Sarasota.  The city of Chattanooga are manufacturing their Electric Buses locally.  Thus providing a green Bus System and Green local jobs.


The City of Santa Monica has pure electric,  all charged using a solar charging stations.  Santa Monica went green in 1994 and most or all city buildings are self sustaining





In another city here in our own state of Florida, Key West has just begun to convert its taxi fleet to Hybrid Taxi's.


Exploiting Plug-Ins in Cities


Cities like Sarasota have a particular advantage when it comes to exploiting and promoting Plug-In vehicles.  With regard to exploitation, Plug-In vehicles are most efficient in cities on short range trips.


Cities have limited geography when compared to Counties and Businesses whose vehicles tend to have longer average trips.  Cities have higher population densities and pollution and SMOG are more of a problem.  Plug-In vehicles tend to be either Zero Emissions Vehicles (ZEVs) or Low Emissions Vehicles (LEVs).  Emissions created by power plants when generating power for cars, are lower than those created by cars themselves and the power plants are usually removed from population centers.


City dwellers tend to have a sense of location, culture and purpose that facilitates the promotion of ideas like Plug-In vehicles.


Plug-In Operating Costs


A gallon of gasoline contains the energy equivalent of 34Kwh, but the efficiency of the ICE is about 35%.   This means a gasoline car only uses about 12 Kwh of the energy in a gallon of gas.  The rest results in heat, or exits the exhaust manifold, as pollution.


A plug-In vehicle is more than 81% efficient, which is why these cars use so little electricity.  The Toyota RAV4-EV uses 245 watts per mile.  A 20 mile trip uses 4.9kwh.  At 13 cents per Kwh (including all taxes and fees)., that’s 34 cents for 20 miles, compared to $$4.00 per gallon for a car that gets 20 miles per gallon.  That’s a $1.52 for 48 miles when compared to a Prius that gets 48 miles per gallon.


If you improve your fuel efficiency by using a Plug-In Hybrid in your fleet that gets 120 mpg, you use $1.60 for gas and 68 cents for electricity paying the equivalent of $2.28 per gallon when compared to a Prius Hybrid that gets 48 mpg.


48 mpg/120 mpg = .4 x $4.00 = $1.60 + 68 cents to charge a 40 mile battery = the equivalent of $2.28 per gallon.


Car Sharing Using EVs


Car sharing organizations can be cooperatives or private businesses. Cooperatives sometimes receive grants to cover start-up and administrative expenses. Some Car sharing services are established at multi-family residential cooperatives as a service for users. Station cars are often implemented by public transit agencies. Governments can provide various types of support and incentives to help develop Car sharing services, including promotion, funding, favorable parking policies, incorporating Car sharing into public organizations and development projects, and favorable tax policies (Enoch and Taylor, 2006).


Fuel Cells


A Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle is an electric car like any other electric car, except that it does not need batteries to store electricity. Like the space station, it makes electricity from a Hydrogen Fuel Cell. A super capacitor is used to store the regenerative braking energy when slowing the car so it can be used when you need extra power for acceleration (more power than the fuel cell can deliver quickly).

The most common and efficient way to make hydrogen is refining hydrogen from fossil fuel, usually natural gas. This is an energy intensive process that yields a volume of hydrogen containing less energy than the energy used to produce it.

Hydrolysis is often suggested as convenient way to convert water to Hydrogen and Oxygen. This process is less efficient than refining Hydrogen from fossil fuels. Once the Hydrogen is liberated from the water it must be compressed. The combined process yields a volume of Hydrogen with an amount of energy equivalent to about 65% of the energy used to create it. The fuel cell itself is only 65% efficient and the electric motor is 90% efficient. The result is 38% of the energy used to create the hydrogen gets converted back to drive the car.

By contrast, in a battery electric car, charging the battery is over 90% efficient and the electric motor is 90% efficient for a combined efficiency of 81%. The result is that an electric car uses twice as much of the electricity used to charge the batteries to move the car, when compared to a Hydrogen Fuel Cell car.

Charging Stations

Because we live in the Sunshine State, the City of Sarasota should consider public Solar Charging Stations.  You can see examples of them in the movie “Who Killed the Electric Car” Please visit my web site to learn more about electric cars,


Respectfully submitted,

Al Lococo