When a former CIA director and hawk speaks out on our country's oil addiction and endorses plug-in hybrid vehicles, I tend to sit up and listen. James Woosley, CIA director from 1992-'94, has quite a resume. In 1963 he received his undergraduate degree from Stanford University (With Great Distinction, Phi Beta Kappa) an M.A. from Oxford University where he was a Rhodes Scholar from 1963-'65, and an LL.B from Yale Law School where he was editor of the Yale Law Journal. So...we've established the guy is bright. He's "wicked smaat."
So what's he got to do with plug-in hybrid vehicles? Woosley endorses the PHEVs as "a here-and-now technology to answer the nation's needs." The CS Monitor points to a growing group of diverse individuals, corporations, public utilities, energy companies, non-profit organizations, environmentalists and local governments who are doing more than talking about what to do with the sudden energy crisis: they're pluggin' in.
Hybrids, after going through a quick modification (includes more batteries, a circuit board, a charger and a power cord) are plugged in at night which taps the cheap off-peak energy from power plants and allows the cars to be driven around 50-60 miles without using a drop of gasoline. At that rate, you wouldn't need to fill up but 3 times a year. Hows that for cheap gas?
Some concern from enviros say that using energy from coal power plants to power efficient vehicles is dangerous. I agree. The ultimate setup will be with individuals who have solar panels on their roofs and will be drawing from completely efficient energy source. Granted if you needed to drive 125 miles you'd have to gas up...but how often are we all driving 125 miles at a time?
James Woosley may be enocouraging this move for different reasons (getting us off foreign oil which he argues is what funds terrorism). But isn't that what makes this coming together of diverse groups and individuals that much more exciting? We're arriving at a common agreement of what the end result needs to look like, regardless of "why?" Kudos to Mr. Woosley and his guts in standing up for something not many would in his cadre of suits and shiny cufflinks.