State News

Easley Announces New Energy Program for Plug-in Hybrid Cars

Posted February 12, 2008 12:27 p.m. EST
Updated February 12, 2008 12:53 p.m. EST

— North Carolina State University will soon be home to a technology program aimed at advancing the use of plug-in hybrid vehicles.

Gov. Mike Easley announced the creation of the Advanced Transportation Energy Center on Tuesday. University officials will partner with Duke Energy Corp. and Progress Energy Corp., and Easley said General Motors Corp. may also join the program.

In  a passionate speech, Easley talked about the creation of the Wolfpack Power Pack, a reference to the WolfPack mascot of the NC State Unniversity.

“It is our patriotic duty to free ourselves from dependence on foreign oil and become leaders in developing the technology to make our nation energy independent,” said Easley. “Just as we have done in the biotech field, we can position our state to be a hub of activity, expertise and a magnet for the new jobs that will emerge as this sector of the economy grows.”

The ATEC will focus on three things:

1. A battery that is lighter, stronger and cheaper.  This will be a lithium ion technology hopefully going from a current $10,000 price to around $3,000

2. Set up a grid power system for people to recharge their cars along the highway system

3. Building a safer and lighter and more aerodynamic car

Easley said the program will focus on developing better batteries and lighter vehicles so that cars can run only on electricity. Duke and Progress will help develop a grid so that people can plug in their cars while away from home.

Easley said the effort will make North Carolina a leader in eliminating the nation's dependence on gasoline.

“We must face the challenges of global climate change together and this partnership will lead the way in alternative energy innovation,” said Bill Johnson, Chairman, President and CEO of Progress Energy Inc. “We are proud to be a key partner in supporting this cutting-edge research center that will seek to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, secure our energy future and bring new jobs to our state.”