Transcript: We Look Back and Forward at EAA Annual Meeting
- In addition to being its own organization, CalCars.org is a chapter
http://www.eaaev.org/eaachapters.html of the Electric Auto
Association, found at http://wwweaaev.org or the easier to remember
http://www.electricauto.org , a 43-year, old international membership
organization. Felix Kramer and Ron Gremban have talked and shown our
vehicles at EAA's annual meeting since 2004. This year, in Palo Alto
Feb. 27, Felix provided a report and update about our progress. You
can find that colloquial talk below -- it's a quick read that brings
you up to speed on our activities, and it ends with a personal note.
(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.)
This presentation was accompanied by a few slides, viewable as part
of the EAA's combined 2MB PDF for the meeting
http://electricauto.org/files/AnnualMeeting/eaa-2010.pdf . In the
lightly edited transcript that follows, we include the slide numbers
if you want to follow along:
(36) It is really a pleasure to be here and it's really fun to follow
Marc (Geller of Plug In America) and all his enthusiasm. I couldn't
do better than to just echo what he says. On a personal level, I hope
that a year from now, my converted Prius will be a Chevy Volt and my
Camry Hybrid will be a Nissan Leaf. I can't wait until that moment comes.
(37) So this really is our year -- we've had a lot of victories. This
is a short version of a 20-slide presentation that's at
http://www.CalCars.org/downloads -- you can take a look there.
I came to EAA in 2002 for the first time saying, "You've been talking
about all-electric vehicles, but let's look at plug-in hybrids." And
since then, it's just gotten better and better in terms of the close
relationship between the organizations. We got the Keith Cronk
Technical Achievement Award in 2004 for converting a Prius. We became
a chapter of EAA. We worked very closely with you folks, Plug In
America, with Friends of the Earth, VoteSolar, Project Get Ready, and
the utilities. We need MORE cooperation among all these groups --
much more, plus information sharing about who's doing what because
there's a lot to do and we can all benefit from that.
In October, we declared victory on plug-in hybrids! We wanted to put
them on the map and we wanted to get them mass-produced -- and it's
happening. There are going to be cars on the road. That doesn't mean
we don't have a lot to do, but we were really happy to be able to
say, after seven years, "We've won!" A small group of people changed
the whole auto industry -- that's an incredible accomplishment.
(38) This is our slide showing the cars
http://www.calcars.org/carmakers.html -- we have a vehicle tracker
which focuses only on plug-in hybrids; Plug In America has a great
vehicle tracker on all vehicles of all sizes -- both plug-in hybrid
and all-electric. There are so many people covering this area now
that we don't have to do everything anymore. We used to do
CalCars-News once or twice a week and now we do it a couple of times
a month. We're really getting there.
You can see what's happening with all of these cars. The Chevy Volt
and the Fisker Karma will be the first plug-in hybrids, following the
BYD car that's already on sale.
(39) You can start digesting [our market penetration slide] while I
talk about a couple of other things. One of them is that I suggest
that anyone who is so motivated, Breathe California (the former
American Lung Association) has the Clean Air Award coming up on April
16th. Until March 12th, I encourage you to consider nominating EAA,
Plug In America or CalCars for that award and you can do that at
So, we won, OK? So what's next? First, we wanted to ensure
commercialization, but we wanted to ensure a SUCCESSFUL
commercialization. As you all know, we've had unsuccessful
commercialization in the past. And that means a lot of work to go on
now, which all three organizations have been talking about a lot, to
make sure those cars meet people's expectations, that their
expectations are calibrated to what they're getting, that the
infrastructure is available and that, in general, all resources
needed get to those cars.
It's really important to deal with all of the misinformation --
that's a continuing concern of all of us. We did a lot of work over
the last month in combating the misinformation by the National
Research Council about the prospective cost of batteries. We got some
of the battery makers to state in public that their projections for
2020 and 2030 -- the best case projections in this National Research
Council's report -- were actually the numbers that they were either
experiencing now or expected in the next three or four years. And
you'll see some more news from the battery makers coming out about
that. Because they need to stand up themselves and say, "this
industry is viable right now," and they're not doing enough about that yet.
Then we come to the issue of this slide. We need to accelerate
plug-in penetration. I want to encourage EVERYBODY to get this
report, the "Electrification Roadmap" from
http://www.electrificationcoalition.org . These are the people --
Securing America's Future Energy -- they did the first simulations on
what happens if we have oil disruptions. That's the place where
famously Jim Woolsey and Chelsea Sexton first met. They've done a
tremendous job with this -- if you look at the people, the sponsors.
It's a huge document -- ask for it and they'll send you a URL to
download it. You can request a print copy.
It is the best report there is in terms of production values, and it
also talks about what the most aggressive scenario going to result
in, in the next ten years of getting plug-in cars on the road. They
state the numbers pretty well and, if you look at them, you'll see
they're not good enough. These numbers on our chart here show that
plug-in cars are such a small percentage of the fleet of vehicles --
250 million cars on the road in the U.S. -- that they'll be a TRICKLE
for the next 10-15 years with little impact on petroleum reduction,
CO2 reduction and energy security.
And that's why we're calling what's next for us "The Big Fix." That
means taking existing vehicles, especially the big, heavy-duty
vehicles -- pickups, SUVs, vans and so forth -- and converting them
to all-electric or plug-in hybrid. This is in the tradition of what
we did on the plug-in hybrid conversions, but there we were
converting a fuel-sipper into a twice as good car. And if you can
take a 10-mile-per-gallon vehicle and make it a 20, you're much
better off than taking a 50 and turning it into a 100.
We've been talking about this for about a year or so, and we've come
to realize that the advocacy model for it is not going to work --
it's going to take too long. I'll talk a little about that in a few
minutes. Basically, I really encourage everybody here to start
thinking about this. I'm really glad that Marc talked about it in the
context of the Postal Service bill, but the awareness that we
actually have to do a lot more with the vehicles on the road --
equivalent to what we're doing with our buildings, fixing them -- is
really important. We have been the sole advocates for that perspective so far.
(40) Here's an example -- an F-150, the world's most popular vehicle
U.S. for the last 30 years, turned from a 15-mile-per-gallon gasoline
car into a vehicle with a 30-mile range, all-electric, and then it
becomes a 21-mile-per-gallon hybrid. From HEVT, a small company in
Chicago, which needs investors.
(41) REV in Vancouver, converts SUVs into pure-electric vehicles,
working with Ford dealers in Canada and making some sales in
California. (42) The Rocky Mountain Institute spinoff Bright
Automotive, they haven't gotten their federal grant yet, their
federal loan yet, so while they wait, they're taking a VW
Transporter, a world vehicle not in the U.S., and converting it into
a plug-in hybrid. (43) This is everybody's favorite, Neil Young's
vehicle, a Lincoln Continental -- in Woodside and Kansas.
On our website we have right on the home page a link to Internal
Combustion Engine Conversions
http://www.calcars.org/ice-conversions.html , and we're eager to
highlight all of the companies that are doing things about this. That
vehicle out in the parking lot with the Capstone turbine -- that's a
conversion. If that were a company, we'd like to help them succeed.
That's the end of my presentation, but I just want to talk about a
couple of other things. We announced a couple of days ago our search
for a serial entrepreneur. To take this to the next level, we need to
find somebody to start a company and roll up some of these small
companies or get them to cooperate to create a global business
opportunity, a global industry. Someone like Shai Agassi, what Shai
has done on EVs. I urge you to read that on our website at
http://www.calcars.org/calcars-seer.pdf . And if you know any people
who meet the bill, you can send them to us And anybody here who
thinks they ARE that person or who knows someone, I have a couple of
copies of the "Electrification Roadmap." I can give it to you to read
and you can pass on to that person so that they can understand this
So spread the word on this serial entrepreneur goal. Take a look at
BigThink.com http://bigthink.com/ideas/18785 for a half-hour
conversation, at what's called the "Charlie Rose of the Internet"
website, where I talk about our whole perspective on where we go from
here. And if you can support CalCars at
http://www.calcars.org/sponsor.html , it would be great.
ON A PERSONAL NOTE, for me, I feel like I'm starting to say, "thanks,
good bye," ultimately in some ways, because this has been a great
experience for me the last seven or eight years. I'm NOT a car
person. I lived in Manhattan and didn't own a car for 25 years. And I
have loved every minute of what I've been doing here and it's the
best thing I've ever done in my life.
There's still a lot to do, but fundamentally what we really have to
do -- all of us, as we get to this next stage -- we have to take this
lesson and broaden it to the whole world. We have to take every
device in the world and run it on electricity and clean the grid. And
in vehicles we have to reduce the miles traveled, and we have to find
ways to get freight delivered by train instead of by truck.
We have to do all those kinds of things. We have to do a lot of other
things like eat less meat. And we have to celebrate our earth and
find ways to save it. And the success of the plug-in car movement, we
need to make that an inspiration for the world for how people can
make a difference in everything they do. So thank you. (Applause)
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Felix Kramer fkramer@...
Founder California Cars Initiative
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