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Finding the Serial Entrepreneur to Lead a Global Gas-Guzzler Conversion Industry

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  • Felix Kramer
    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
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 25, 2010
      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
      what's possible.

      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.

      * rapidly design and build proofs-of-concept to demonstrate multiple
      technical solutions;
      * 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.

      * 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.

      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.

      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

      -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
      Felix Kramer fkramer@...
      Founder California Cars Initiative
      -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
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