WVU team wins award for promoting alternative fuel vehicles

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April 21, 2005 –

Morgantown, W.Va. – Frustrated by gasoline prices but feel like you don’t have any choices? Recognition of that frustration drove a team of experts at West Virginia University to tell people that options do exist. Now that team is being recognized for its efforts to promote the nation’s largest ever event focusing on advanced technology and alternative fuel vehicles — 2004 National AFV Day Odyssey.

The brainchild of Al Ebron, the executive director of the National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium headquartered at WVU, the one-day public awareness event reached more than 24,000 people across the nation coupled with a media campaign that reached an estimated 24 million individuals as documented by Burrelle Clipping Service, VMS monitoring service, site media reports, and others. The team that developed the media relations will be honored next month with two awards from the Association for Communication Excellence, a gold award in the media relations class and a second gold award as “best of the best” for the broader integrated communications program category.

The media team was headed by Meg Baughman, lead for integrated marketing and creative services for WVU Extension Service, and included Trina Wafle, associate director at the WVU National Research Center for Coal and Energy, Wes Nugent, web master for the WVU Extension Service, and Kathleen Kennedy and Erich Lipphardt both formerly of the NAFTC.

AFV Day Odyssey featured not only natural gas vehicles and hybrid electrics such as the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight that are available today, but also prototype hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles for tomorrow. Hundreds of advanced technology and alternative fuel vehicles were on display in the 54 cities in 34 states nationwide where Odyssey events were conducted.

An overwhelming majority of those who attended an event said they would consider test-driving these new vehicles. Local event coordinators agreed that Odyssey created greater awareness that consumers have choices beyond traditional gasoline vehicles.