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N.Y. Power Authority and State Parks Help Introduce DaimlerChrysler Plug-in Hybrid-Electric Concept Vehicle - the Sprinter Van

Brian Warner, NYPA
(9/19 only 914-584-5024)

Allen James, NYS Parks

September 19, 2006


NIAGARA— New York Power Authority (NYPA) and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation officials today selected Niagara Falls State Park’s scenic Prospect Point to display the latest advancement in electric-drive technology, the DaimlerChrysler plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV)  Sprinter Van concept vehicle. 

“Under Governor George Pataki’s leadership the Power Authority has advanced a number of green initiatives. In the realm of transportation, our electric transportation program is committed to putting electric and hybrid electric-cars and buses on New York’s streets, and in government and customer fleets.  Now we are working with the Electric Power Research Institute and DaimlerChrysler to pave the way for the next big thing in automotive transportation—plug-in hybrids,” said Carey.

"We are proud to highlight the latest clean energy technologies and projects such as this new hybrid Sprinter Van, as part of our longstanding commitment to pursuing environmentally responsible initiatives here at Niagara Falls and across New York," said State Parks Commissioner Bernadette Castro.  "Together with our many public and private partners, we are grateful to Governor Pataki for the incredible support of these exciting alternative energy programs that will promote a cleaner, greener Empire State."

"DaimlerChrysler is the only manufacturer to build plug-in hybrid vehicles to test with customers," said Nick Cappa, Manager of Advanced Technology Communications DaimlerChrysler. "What we're learning from this proof of concept fleet will apply to future hybrid powertrain and battery technology."

“The plug-in Sprinter Van represents a significant step along a series of important developments that will lead to commercializing Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles,” said Robert Graham, manager, EPRI’s Electric Transportation Program. “Many of the technological advantages are clear—a vehicle operating primarily on electricity is a cheaper ride, air emissions are significantly lower and it reduces our reliance on imported oil.”

Ongoing EPRI studies indicate that fleet applications offer the best opportunity for the early demonstration of plug-in hybrids.

Today’s unveiling is the first  in Western New York  and one of  a series of public events planned for New York State to highlight this plug-in hybrid electric concept vehicle. NYPA has joined an alliance created by EPRI, in cooperation with DaimlerChrysler to demonstrate plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles in various fleets around the country.

In 2006 and 2007, four prototype vehicles currently being tested in Germany will be brought to the United States under a federal waiver and tested by customers for a three-year period. NYPA plans to demonstrate one of these vehicles in the fleet of The New York Times.

Plug-in hybrids can operate in either an all-electric or hybrid mode. These vehicles have larger batteries than standard non-plug-in hybrids, which allow them to travel distances in the all electric-only mode.  The Sprinter plug-in concept vehicle has an electric range of up to 20 miles. On short urban routes, with lots of stop-and-go driving, this vehicle may operate for most of the day in electric mode.

In the hybrid mode, the vehicle performs like a standard hybrid, with significantly lower emissions and fuel consumption than conventional diesel or gasoline vehicles.

Niagara Falls State Park has become a leader in the move to clean-fueled vehicles.  It maintains a diverse fleet of more than 70 alternate fuel vehicles, including natural gas trolleys that transport more than a quarter-million park patrons annually.  Its growing fleet offers electric-drive, hybrid and bio-diesel vehicles.  Annually the park has reduced its gasoline and diesel use over 25,000 gallons and that number is expected to grow to over 30,000 gallons.

Through partnerships with leading manufacturers of vehicles and utility equipment which includes Daimler Chrysler, State Parks is working to convert on-road and off-road utility-type equipment such as light utility vehicles, grounds maintenance, off-road and construction to clean fuel.

NYPA is a recognized national leader in the promotion and demonstration of electric drive technologies. In New York City, NYPA worked with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to introduce hybrid-electric buses.  Over the last 10 years, NYPA has placed more than 800 electric drive vehicles in service with customer fleets.

About NYPA:

 ■    NYPA uses no tax money or state credit.  It finances its operations through the sale of bonds and revenues earned in large part through sales of electricity.  ■    NYPA is a leader in promoting energy-efficiency, new energy technologies and electric transportation initiatives.  ■    It is the nation’s largest state-owned electric utility, with 18 generating facilities in various parts of the state and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines.