Finding the Serial Entrepreneur to Lead a Global Gas-Guzzler Conversion Industry
- GETTING THERE ASAP: CalCars 2.0 aims to convert tens of millions of
gas-guzzler vehicles now on the road to run partly or entirely on
electricity. What will it take to reach that goal? How can we turn a
game-changing idea and a few prototypes into a scalable global
solution? If we replicate our CalCars 1.0 strategies, it may take
seven years. If instead we mesh our advocacy and partnerships with an
effective, profitable business enterprise, we can start this
extraordinary transformation in two or three years. That's our plan.
Below we outline how to get there, how a new company will pair its
efforts with the nonprofit CalCars, and how we define success. We
wind up with ways you can help us identify and inspire an
extraordinary leader and business team to jump into this opportunity ASAP.
(Shortly after it goes out on email, this posting will also be
viewable at http://www.calcars.org/news-archive.html -- there you can
add CalCars-News to your RSS feed.)
YES, WE'VE WON STAGE ONE These days, we and our partners are feeling
gratified and optimistic. PHEVs and EVs will go on sale in the U.S.
late this year, and we're witnessing a global stampede toward plug-in
cars. Last October, we joyfully declared victory for our goal of
mass-produced PHEVs -- see
http://www.calcars.org/calcars-news/1078.html . (Of course, much
remains to do to ensure their successful commercialization.) Now we
aim to build on that victory. Our "Big Fix" Campaign for volume
retrofits can advance transportation electrification's benefits by a decade.
HERE'S WHY WE NEED TO DO MORE: We simply can't wait around to see
improved energy security and CO2 reductions as new vehicles trickle
into the marketplace. New plug-ins, both as a percentage of the 250
million U.S. and 900 million global vehicles, and in terms of their
fossil fuel reductions, will be a drop in the bucket for over 15
years. That prompted us to come up with the fast-track conversion
strategy. At http://www.calcars.org/ice-conversions.html we analyze
the problem, link to news, and profile small companies that show
SHAI AGASSI AS ROLE MODEL: You've watched the rapid rise of Shai
Agassi, Founder of Better Place. He walked away from the co-CEO job
at a global software company to make a difference. By his sheer
audacity and ability to enlist governments, investors, and employees
to his vision, he has turned an imaginative concept into promising
projects in several countries. (Better Place's business models are
somewhat controversial. We happen to believe PHEVs will predominate
for a decade or longer for a range of reasons, but that's another
story.) We're rooting for Shai -- if he wins, we'll get more plug-ins sooner!
WHAT'S THE LINK? Why talk about Shai and Better Place? He's an
effective serial entrepreneur with valued attributes, style, skills,
network, and drive. We want to identify someone like him. While Shai
focuses on new EVs, this serial entrepreneur -- call him or her SEER
-- will put together the pieces that become a profitable global
conversions company for existing internal combustion engine vehicles.
THE CHALLENGE: SEER will start and fund a company, building the
alliances, supply chain and private and public support that enables
it to grow rapidly. SEER will build a big business, while winning
over skeptics or going around them.
QUALIFICATIONS: SEER needs the personal assets or access to others
who, because of SEER's track record, will provide seed funding. SEER
needs the savvy to develop the business plan, plus the connections to
bring in large investors quickly. Ideally, SEER has business
experience in, or at least familiarity with, the auto industry and
related technologies, though we're open to all capable candidates.
The SEER can be based anywhere if willing to travel as needed. (What
if more than one great candidate steps forward? That's a problem we
would love to have -- and work to ensure that everyone wins!)
JOB VISION: SEER will bring together a consortium (or a "rollup") of
the small companies working on distinct conversion designs, plus
larger integrators and component suppliers. SEER will focus on the
"low-hanging fruit" -- vehicle types that sell in the millions, run
for decades, have room for batteries, and are found in fleets. Former
Intel CEO Andy Grove calls them "PSVs" -- pickups, SUVs, RVs, vans --
to which we add big and small buses, military vehicles, other
people-movers, and large sedans.
SEER WILL BUILD A TEAM THAT WILL:
* rapidly design and build proofs-of-concept to demonstrate multiple
* deliver test vehicles to national labs, utilities, and others for analysis;
* protect patents and trade secrets, and eventually license design solutions;
* develop scalable production designs;
* develop channels to supply custom components globally;
* partner with an energy services company for financing to reduce or
eliminate high first costs.
PARTNERING WITH NON-PROFIT CALCARS WILL LEVERAGE OUR NETWORKS TO:
* showcase these early prototypes to build awareness and support;
* gain government approvals for safety, drivability and other requirements;
* secure regulatory changes to facilitate the scaling of the business;
* promote public incentives for conversions, CO2, and black carbon credits;
* identify first fleet and early-adopter customers.
INITIAL SUCCESS WILL COME when the team succeeds in negotiating deals
with one of the world's automakers. That company will cooperate
technically with these efforts and then "bless" them. It will sign on
to partnerships and payment structures that will bring it and its
dealers revenues and kudos for rounding up the cars to be fixed. And
as happened for PHEVs in 2006, ICE conversions will be broadly
recognized as a central way to electrify transportation.
OTHER FARSIGHTED CARMAKERS WILL FALL IN LINE: The global opportunity
and the "end of business as usual" imperatives can impel them to see
how fixing their vehicles will bring benefits that surpass negative
impacts on new car sales. They can begin to realign their businesses,
evolving from selling (and saying goodbye to) cars to providing
"mobility services" -- while receiving public appreciation and
incentives for doing so. Their businesses can expand to include
upgradeable products, access to car-sharing, and partnerships in
making homes, workplaces, and public areas friendly to more effective
ways of transporting people and goods.
HELP SPREAD THE WORD: TO HELP IDENTIFY A SERIAL ENTREPRENEUR, PLEASE
FORWARD THIS MESSAGE TO YOUR NETWORK OR POINT YOUR CONTACTS TO
http://www.calcars.org/calcars-news/1093.html or send them the
readable 2-page flyer at http://www.calcars.org/calcars-seer.pdf .
Send this to people you know in automotive and technology industries,
cleantech, venture capital, executive search firms, business schools,
media, in penthouses and on yachts and mountain slopes around the world.
IF YOU MIGHT BE THE SEER: Please send us a cover letter with your
vision and your take on CalCars' strategy. Write to jobs@....
Paste your background info into the email or point to a URL. To keep
things simple and avoid viruses, we don't open email attachments.
-- Felix Kramer, Founder & Ron Gremban, Technology Lead
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Felix Kramer fkramer@...
Founder California Cars Initiative
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