Felix Kramer and his fleet: Nissan LEAF, Chevy Volt, Plug in PriusEnlarge Photo
If you’re in the market for an electric car one of the biggest decisions to make after you’ve decided to buy a plug-in vehicle is which one to choose.
For one family in California, however the choice was far easier: Get one of each.
And with good reason. Ten years ago marketing strategist and communicator Felix Kramer founded the CalCars initiative, a Palo Alto-based nonprofit group made up of everyone from entrepreneurs, engineers, environmentalists and consumers.
Charging socket on 2007 Toyota Prius plug-in conversionEnlarge Photo
Its goal for the past decade? To work on public policy and technology development, using consumer demands to help encourage the uptake and commercialization of plug-in vehicles.
During that time, and well before Toyota expressed an interest in providing a plug-in version of its popular Prius hybrid, CalCar members designed, tested and built the very first converted plug-in Prius to belong to a non-technical consumer.
The year was 2006. The car’s owner? Felix Kramer.
Since then, hundreds of Prius owners worldwide have followed CalCars lead, converting their own Prius to plug-in hybrids and illustrating a real and viable demand for plug-in vehicles. In fact, this author’s own plug-in Prius conversion would never have happened without the CalCars initiative.
Alongside the enthusiastic home-converters, a whole new industry sprung up offering professional conversion to anyone with enough money to do so.
With such an impressive resume in the world of plug-in vehicles it was almost a foregone conclusion that one of the new plug-in vehicles now on the market would make it to Felix’s driveway.
2011 Chevrolet Volt test drive, Michigan, October 2010Enlarge Photo
The 2011 Chevrolet Volt was first to arrive on December 22 last year. A little over a month later, the family’s 2011 Nissan LEAF arrived.
While Felix Kramer and his family are not the only people to order both a 2011 Nissan LEAF and 2011 Chevrolet Volt, they are the first customers to receive both vehicles.
“I’ve felt like we’ve taken a time machine to the future”, writes Kramer in an email message to the calcars.org mailing list. “I thought’d I’d be ready for this moment. But now that it’s really here, it’s far better than I ever imagined”