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Transcript: We Look Back and Forward at EAA Annual Meeting

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  • Felix Kramer
    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
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 5, 2010
      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-news/1093.html or
      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)

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