Plug-in Hybrid Technology Promoted by Coca-Cola and Duke Power ~ Hybrid Car Review
Hybrid Car Review: Plug-in Hybrid Technology Promoted by Coca-Cola and Duke Power

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Plug-in Hybrid Technology Promoted by Coca-Cola and Duke Power

Coca-Cola BottleWhen companies like Google promote Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV), they aren't doing it to promote their own ability. But when Coke co-sponsors a research intiative into PHEV technology, they're hoping for a long term gain.

Coca-Cola recently bought a fleet of hybrid trucks, which to me indicates they can see how hybrid technology can save them money.

Duke Energy in Charlotte will work with Coca-Cola to convert three of their hybrid vehicles (Prius) in their fleet to plug-in hybrids using aftermarket kits.

Sponsoring a PHEV study is a long-term investment. Companies like UPS work with the government on hydraulic hybrid technology because they can see some obvious benefits in the long run. I have no doubt that's why Coke is doing the same here.

Press Release Follows:

CHARLOTTE, N.C., March 13 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK) and Coca-Cola Bottling Company Consolidated have launched a joint research initiative to promote plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHEV) technology.

"Through this collaboration, we hope to increase the awareness of plug-in hybrids, demonstrate the viability of the technology, and evaluate performance parameters," said Mike Rowand, director of advanced customer technology for Duke Energy.

As part of this initiative, both companies will convert some of the hybrid vehicles in their transportation fleets to plug-in hybrids by using aftermarket kits.

A PHEV kit extends the efficiency of a standard hybrid vehicle by increasing the size of its battery, which can be charged through a normal 120- volt electric outlet. PHEV technology has enabled vehicles to travel 100 miles or more on a gallon of gas.

"We believe plug-in hybrid technology could play an important role in further reducing our fleet costs while addressing environmental concerns," said Lauren C.

Steele, vice president of corporate affairs for Coca-Cola Consolidated. "We are excited about participating in this pilot program."

Charlotte-based Coca-Cola Consolidated currently operates more than 400 hybrid vehicles, one of the nation's largest corporate hybrid fleets, and plans to convert three Toyota Prius hybrids into PHEVs.

"Plug-in hybrid technology offers real advantages in a number of areas," Rowand said. "In addition to higher mileage in the face of rising gasoline prices, plug-in hybrids produce much lower emissions and can help our nation achieve greater energy security while providing the overall performance drivers expect.

"This is really just the start for what we hope will be the broader use of plug-in hybrids," he added. "Through this collaboration with Coca-Cola and other Duke Energy initiatives, there will be more than a dozen plug-in hybrids operating in the Charlotte region in early 2008.

"As more people begin to see the advantages of plug-in hybrids, we believe market demand will increase, which will encourage automakers to move forward with their plans to produce plug-in hybrids commercially," added Rowand.

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