Public Release: 

Senator, former CIA director, FERC commissioner to speak at plug-in hybrid electric vehicles event


WASHINGTON (11 September 2007) -- Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), former CIA director James Woolsey and federal energy regulatory commissioner (FERC) Jon Wellinghoff will deliver keynote addresses at a plug-in hybrid electric vehicles symposium at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington on Sept. 19.

Plug-in Hybrids: Accelerating Progress 2007 will bring together leaders in the manufacturing industry, electric utilities, universities, national laboratories and nonprofits to explore the technology and policy challenges of commercializing plug-in vehicle technology. Demonstration vehicles will be on display.

The symposium's four panel sessions will explore: Electrification, Fuel Economy and the Environment; Plug-in Vehicles and the Electric Grid; New Technology Challenges and Opportunities; and the Need for Federal Action Now.

The registration fee is $200 for industry and $100 for IEEE members, government employees and students. Continental breakfast, lunch and coffee breaks are included.

Cantwell, a member of the Senate Finance and Energy and Natural Resources committees, co-sponsored a bipartisan bill with Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) last June to promote plug-in hybrid vehicles.

"Our nation's current electricity grid has enough capacity to power the majority of the cars, trucks and SUVs on our roads today at a fraction of the cost of gasoline," Cantwell said when the bill was introduced. "It's time we made plug-in electric vehicle technology available to more Americans."

Woolsey served as CIA director from 1993 to 1995. The Set America Free Coalition he founded believes that plug-in electric vehicles can help the United States reduce its energy dependence on foreign oil.

Wellinghoff was sworn in as a FERC commissioner on July 31, 2006. He is an energy law specialist with more than 30 years experience in energy efficiency, distributed generation, renewable energy systems and utility regulation. FERC is an independent agency that oversees the reliability and efficiency of the interstate transmission system.

Wellinghoff has been a staunch advocate of the "vehicle-to-grid" use of plug-in hybrids to increase the efficiency of the U.S. electric grid.

"Plug-in hybrids can not only help to reduce oil dependence, urban pollution and global warming, but they can also be of tremendous benefit to the electric grid by making it more efficient, reliable and less expensive to operate," Wellinghoff said. "Plug-in hybrids used as support for the grid have the potential to save consumers billions of dollars annually."

Unlike gasoline-electric hybrids in current use, which charge their batteries from an on-board engine while the vehicle is running, plug-in hybrid batteries can charge from an ordinary electric outlet.

By getting power from the electric grid, plug-in hybrids can increase the security of the United States by reducing foreign oil dependence. Drivers can save money by purchasing off-peak electricity and using less gasoline, and the environment benefits from reduced carbon emissions.


IEEE-USA is co-sponsoring the event with the IEEE New Technology Directions Committee, the Set America Free Coalition, the Electric Vehicles Association of Greater Washington DC, the IEEE Power Electronics Society, the IEEE Industry Applications Society, the IEEE Society on Social Implications of Technology, the IEEE Vehicular Technology Society, the IEEE Computational Intelligence Society and the IEEE Power Engineering Society.

Go to for more on plug-in hybrid vehicles. A conference on the subject is planned for late 2008, early 2009.

IEEE-USA advances the public good and promotes the careers and public policy interests of more than 215,000 engineers, scientists and allied professionals who are U.S. members of the IEEE. IEEE-USA is part of the IEEE, the world's largest technical professional society with 370,000 members in 160 countries. See

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