Andy Frank is the inventor of the plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV a.k.a. REEV or EREV). His vehicle research programs have been instrumental in the development of the hybrid vehicle as a viable commercial technology. Other programs under his watch have included the Human Powered Vehicle (HPV) team, and several super mileage vehicles that set world records of 3300 mpg on gasoline and 2200 mpg on M85 Methanol gasoline blend. Dr. Frank and his students produced record winning Plug-In Hybrid Vehicles, including a Ford Taurus PHEV that got 68 mpg and a Chevrolet Suburban PHEV that got 32 mpg. Both of these vehicles got 60 miles of All Electric Range. Andy has also worked closely with the late Paul MacReady of AeroVironment, a Monrovia, CA based company responsible for the development of the GM EV-1, as well as various human and solar powered aircraft. It is rumored that he has, or once had, the world's only Porsche pick-up (a modified Porsche 914.)
Andy Frank is also Chief Technology Officer at Efficient Drivetrains Inc (EDI). They have licensed Andy's patents on invention of the PHEV from UC Davis and are working on their commercial development.
Andy Frank's PHEV Lifestyle
Andy Frank received Chevy Volt number 30, the first one purchased in Davis in December 2011. Andy drives the Volt plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) as his only car. He goes to work every day in Dixon 15 miles from his house in Davis along I-80 at speeds sometimes topping out close to 80 mph. In addition, daily errands to the grocery, hardware and drug stores are run in the Volt. Andy recharges his Volt at home and at work with a simple, inexpensive 110 volt Level 1 EV battery charger. With an electric range of 35 miles, Andy's Volt runs purely on electricity on most work days, but automatically switches to running on gasoline whenever a longer distance is driven. There is no sacrifice in the utility of the PHEV compared to the conventional car.
Andy's Volt now has traveled a total of over 60,000 miles, 70% on electricity and 30% on gasoline. The Volt has traveled about 50,000 miles on electricity. The electric use is about .300 kiloWatt-hrs/mile. At a cost of electricity of $.13/kiloWatt-hrs in California the Volt costs $.04 per mile when running on electricity. The Volt has traveled about 10,000 miles on gasoline and used 300 gallons of gasoline at a fuel economy of 130 mpg. With recent gas prices of about $2.50/gallon fuel costs for the Volt are $.07 per mile when running on gas. The fuel costs are dramatically lower for the Chevy Volt PHEV than for a conventional gasoline engine car because the engine is seldom used and when it is used it is a lot more efficient.
In the US our electricity is generated mostly from domestic power sources, so powering our cars with electricity reduces our dependence upon imported crude oil. If everyone were to buy PHEV's like the Volt, this country could become energy independent, using mostly solar and wind power to generate the electricity to run our cars and trucks within about 15 years. As we modernize our electric power grid to use more renewable, green power sources in the future this will also reduce the pollution and greenhouse gases that we produce from our vehicles. Andy is planning to add photovoltaic solar panels to his roof at home in the near future. The best place to add solar, however, is at your place of work where you normally park your car during the daylight hours. Andy will try to convince his employer that it would be to the company's advantage to have 400 square feet of solar panels in the front of their south facing building!! Then the electric cars owned by the employees can be efficiently charged on green, renewable, non-polluting solar power.
Featured in the book "Eco Barons"
Andy Frank and his work on engineering of plugin hybrid electric vehicles is featured in chapter 11 of the book" Eco Barons, The New Heroes of Environmental Activism by Edward Humes (2009)."
Author Interview with Edward Humes from HarperCollins Publishers "Q: One of the Eco Barons you showcase, Professor Andy Frank, has been working for decades to perfect a plug-in hybrid car. Why has Detroit been so ambivalent about this innovation, and will their current financial woes finally force them to embrace it? A: As Andy Frank sees it, Detroit has been slow to embrace electric and plug-in hybrid cars out of fear of change, out of arrogance, and because selling a clean, zero-emissions electric car that really works would make all their other products look dirty and inefficient. This is why the Big Three has continually claimed that electric cars were impractical, even though Frank has been building great prototypes for years (sometimes under contract with the same Detroit automakers). The truth is that technology is no longer a barrier, and that practical electric and plug-in hybrid cars could have long ago been the standard had Detroit put is marketing muscle behind the idea."
- Using the Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle to Transition Society Seamlessly and Profitably from Fossil Fuel to 100% Renewable Energy - Green Car Congress (17 July 2015) Storing electricity in the batteries of PHEVs could help the electric utilities to manage the intermittent nature of renewable power sources such as wind and solar. This would help speed up our transition to the clean, renewable power sources of the future.
- Andrew A. Frank, Carla Peterman get Cool Davis 2014 Eco-Hero awards for transportation - Davis Enterprise 15april2014 "The Cool Davis Foundation 2014 Eco-Hero awards for transportation go to Andy Frank for producing cars that use fewer and cleaner energy resources and Carla Peterman for her efforts to build the statewide infrastructure needed to support cars of the future." “Using plug-in hybrid electric and electric vehicles (PHEV, EV) is key to meeting current and future climate challenges related to transportation,” says UC Davis professor Andrew A. Frank.
- Simplified, low cost, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) engineered by Andy Frank at Efficient Drivetrains Inc. 30jan2014
- Are PHEVs The Future or Just a Transition Vehicle? - C-MaxChat 07dec2012 Dr Frank said, “I think the end-game is plug-in hybrids — not hydrogen, not electric,” he said. “Why? Because it’s dual fuel. … If you get a plug-in hybrid with 40 to 60 miles of EV range, you can displace 90 per cent of the fossil fuels with no loss of performance,” he said.
- Andrew Frank, PHEV - Experts on climate change and sustainability - UCD News & Information 14aug2012 "Andrew Frank ... has pioneered the development of "plug-in" hybrid vehicles. A plug-in hybrid can recharge its batteries from a domestic power supply. For short, everyday journeys the vehicles can operate almost entirely on battery power, reducing fuel costs and emissions. Widespread adoption of plug-in hybrids could also have implications for energy distribution, as the vehicles could act as an "energy store" when plugged in and not in use."
- How the father of plug-in hybrids still has a race to finish | Motoramic - Yahoo! Autos 04may2012 "What does Frank drive? Perhaps not surprisingly, it's a Chevy Volt, plugged via a long extension cord into a simple 110-volt outlet in his spartan office. The license plate: PHEV DAD. Not that the patriarch of plug-in electric vehicle technology doesn't still have a piece of that Pasadena hot-rodding kid inside. 'I'm working on some tweaks,' he says, a mischievous smile. 'I like to burn rubber.' "
- Hybrid vehicle innovator helps Ford build for the road ahead - Davis Enterprise 01march2012 "Professor Andy Frank of UC Davis is the 'father' of a new generation of engineers in the hybrid vehicle field."
- Learn about electric vehicle transformation - Davis Enterprise 17feb2012 Andy Frank speaks about the Chevrolet Volt after receiving one of the first models at Hanlee's Chevrolet in December 2010.
- 2012 Detroit auto show: The rise of the mainstream plug-in hybrid - ConsumerReports 11jan2012 "Among the central themes at this year’s Detroit auto show was the rise of the mainstream plug-in hybrid ... (and) the resurgence of American automakers in their hometown, with Detroit brands making the biggest splash ... Plug-in hybrids were first promoted by Dr. Andrew Frank, a professor in the engineering department at the University of California at Davis."
- Check out electric vehicles at Friday cruise and Sunday festival - Davis Enterprise 12oct2011 Andrew Frank, a Volt owner and an expert on plug-in hybrid vehicles, will attend the festival. He has worked on the development of these types of vehicles for more than 25 years and is considered as the father of the modern plug-in vehicles. “The plug-in hybrid is a potential solution because it leads directly to the creation of more renewable energy from solar and wind,” Frank said. “This will (be a) benefit not only transportation but for the entire society.”
- Newsmaker - Andrew Frank - Sacramento Business Journal 25march2011 "Andy Frank thinks he’s getting closer to the objective he’s been trying for 40 years to achieve, a high-performance automobile that will average 100 miles on a gallon of gas. He already is recognized as the “inventor” of the modern plug-in hybrid electric vehicle."
- Andrew A Frank donation to CAA Fund Society - Cal Alumni Association 2011 "... acknowledges the generous support of the donors who contributed $1,000 or more to The CAA Fund between January 1–December 31, 2011."
- CalCars, Prof. Frank Get Plug-in Hybrid Chevy Volt - Plug In America 19dec2010 "Chevy Volts get delivered to Kramer and Gremban. Prof. Frank's should arrive a few days later. ... Prof. Frank, Kramer, and Gremban helped propel a huge change in the auto industry that will benefit our national security, the environment, and consumer pocketbooks."
- Energy independence in 15 years? - smartplanet 05aug2010 Not only is it possible, says Professor Frank, who teaches in the Department of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering at UC Davis, but it’s simple. See also: A Fifteen Year Roadmap Toward Complete Energy Sustainability.
- Low-Carbon Cruising is Here - The Davis Voice 14jan2010 "Prof. Andy Frank of UC Davis, the internationally known inventor of the plug-in hybrid technology ... is now spending much of his time in the private sector as chief technology officer of Efficient Drivetrains, Inc., a Silicon Valley firm which is improving plug-in hybrid technology."
- Car of the Future - NOVA 22april2008 "Join "Car Talk" hosts Tom and Ray Magliozzi as they take a look at plug-in hybrids, all-electric roadsters, biofuels and more in this lighthearted but shrewd take on America's four-wheeled future."
- NOVA to feature Prof Andrew Frank and Car of the Future - California Aggie 21april2008 "Frank believes that energy-efficient cars, such as his plug-in hybrid, can mitigate the current dependency on oil. 'The value of the dollar has been going down internationally because we’re shipping so much of our money abroad to buy oil,' Frank said. 'The plug-in hybrid gives us a chance to stop using oil and start using domestic energy sources.' He also adds that these innovative breakthroughs can pave the way for global change. 'Once we shift from using oil to using electricity, we can start supplying the electricity by solar and wind,' Frank said."
- Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles for a Sustainable Future - American Scientist March-April 2007 "Appropriately designed hybrid cars will help wean society off petroleum. The necessary technology is available now."
- Hybrid Vehicles Gain Traction - Scientific American april2006 "... plug-in hybrids, will offer motorists still better fuel efficiency as well as other perks: low-cost battery recharging overnight by simply connecting a 120-volt plug to an electrical outlet at home or work, very few trips to the gas station each year, and even the chance to sell surplus power back to the electric grid. "
More About Andy Frank
- Andy Frank at Electric Vehicles Wiki
- Andy Frank's videos, Andy Frank's video playlists.
- Andrew Alfonso Frank at LinkedIn
- Andrew Alfonso Frank at Google+
- Prof. Andrew A. Frank Faculty page at Dept. Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering, UC Davis.
- Andrew A. Frank publications and conference presentations