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DrivingElectric Launches & Nissan Exec Lauds Drivers at Nat'l Plug In Day

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  • Felix Kramer
    We bring you a quick excerpt from a talk at National Plug In Day in San Franciso by a Nissan Executive confirming what we ve been saying: that plug-in drivers
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 27, 2012
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      We bring you a quick excerpt from a talk at National Plug In Day in
      San Franciso by a Nissan Executive confirming what we've been saying:
      that plug-in drivers are the best people to inspire others to buy
      PEVs, and CalCars & DrivingElectric founder Felix Kramer's speech on
      launching DrivingElectric. Links for both to videos so you can choose
      to watch or read.

      (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.)

      Nissan executive confirms it: PEV drivers help sell cars:
      "more of our sales come from youu guys than come forom our sales and
      marketing efforts"

      At National Plug In Day in San Francisco, Brendan Jones, Director of
      Nissan LEAF Marketing & Sales Strategy, talked for 6 minutes and 40
      seconds. He spent 2 of those minutes confirming what PEV advocates
      have been saying for a while, and drivers have been discovering.
      After describing his own credentials, he talked about the spirit of
      the driver community, their impact on sales, the way the help
      dealers, and the guidance they provide to the company, directly and
      unequivocally, in a way we can only celebrate and pass along. Though
      he works at Nissan, he intentionally broadened his remarks to include
      all PEV drivers and all vehicles.

      We hope everyone in the industry will be inspired by this, and, down
      the road, we look for manufacturers, suppliers, and dealers to
      recognize the value of DrivingElectric as we help the "EV-curious"
      become buyers. Watch the video at http://youtu.be/Hkey12m0xhg and
      we've posted it at DrivingElectric's Gallery
      ; below you can read our transcript of "the good parts." Then share
      it on social media and by email! (Thanks to Gint Federas for
      capturing the event on video; others from the event at
      http://www.youtube.com/gfederas -- and tune in again here soon for
      more about another one.)

      (PIcking up at 2:50 in the video:)

      "I started three years ago on the project. And I'm -- I don't know if
      you can tell by looking at me. I'm just a traditional car guy. I fell
      in love with cars some time before I went into my undergrad program,
      fell in love with them through grad school, and I've stayed in the
      business for over 25 years, 18 of the years with Nissan. I love cars.

      But I will tell you after 25 years of experience in the business,
      I've never found this much energy, enthusiasm, entrepreneurial spirit
      and emotion surrounding one vehicle as I have with the Nissan Leaf
      and all electric vehicles in general. There's more excitement and
      passion about changing the way we move, about doing something for the
      environment, about getting the country off foreign oil, etc., than
      there is around the EV movement. It's something different. And it's
      the first time people can own a car and actually feel good about what
      they're doing with it, and that's outstanding.

      And when you hear that enthusiasm coming from the public it can't
      help but rub off. And what I mean by that is more of our sales come
      from you guys than come from our sales and marketing efforts. And for
      that again I have to thank you, because when you go into a parking
      lot, or you drive through your neighborhood, and you talk about the
      vehicle with so much enthusiasm and passion, that just helps to sell
      cars. It makes my job very very easy.

      And also it makes my job very easy to listen to your stories with the
      passion. Even the constructive criticism, because I'll tell you, you
      guys give the best constructive criticism of any group I've had to be
      associated with. And I can tell you, it's listened to at the highest
      levels of the company. You guys are more important than me. And
      that's the way it should be."

      Why we've launched DrivingElectric: from DE's founder
      6-minute video or transcript: Felix Kramer tells the story

      NOTE BEFORE BLOG POSTING: We explain why we need a way to connect
      drivers and EV-curious people. The photo shows some of the team at
      National Plug In Day, holdling the mini-flyers
      http://drivingelectric.org/resources we've made available for anyone
      to download, print, and keep in their cars or hand out at events:
      Howard Clearfield, Rachel Schapira, Felix Kramer, Marc Geller, Ben
      Jones; also see the photo/video gallery "Speech at launch of
      DrivingElectric" for more pictures and watch video of the speech
      without leaving our site. Thanks to Michael Bender for the transcript
      (edited for readability).


      Introduction by Marc Geller, event MC, co-Founder of Plug In America,
      DrivingElectric advisor:

      Our job is not done when we purchase or lease our cars. And Felix
      Kramer, who most of you will know from CalCars, is launching, with
      the Electric Auto Association and Plug in America, a new effort to
      connect drivers with the folks who need to know how awesome these
      cars are, what they do for us, how convenient they are. Felix --
      tell them about DrivingElectric!

      [Felix trips on the way to the podium, recovers, picks up his papers]

      See video (starting after the fall, and missing the last minute
      that's transcribed below) at YouTube
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PdcBAdJ_EYI&feature=plcp .

      Every start-up stumbles. [laughter]

      I want to tell a couple of stories. We all have EVs in our past --
      for me, I remember bumper cars at amusement parks, and toy electric
      cars. And we've become very comfortable plugging everything
      in! It's not anything weird or new anymore.

      So I first drove in a plugin hybrid -- Andy Frank, at the UC-Davis
      invented them -- and I got inspired about that. Then I drove Marc's
      RAV4 EV and I just realized how great plug-in cars were. I had seen
      the EV1 when it showed up but I kind of passed it by -- I didn't
      really understand all that. I was a little later to the game than
      some of other people. But then, at CalCars we started converting
      Priuses, and you remember this probably, some of you [holding the
      yellow "dongle," which connects the retrofit to a regular 120 socket]
      -- this is the most powerful plug we can imagine -- it helped get car
      makers to build the Chevy Volt, the Prius Plug-in and other plug-in hybrids.

      Every single one of those cars I drove was memorable. What happened
      with every one, when I got in them -- and this is an experience
      you've probably had, too -- you get in the car, you close the door,
      and it's solid, and you sit in there and you say, "This is a real
      car!" It's not a golf cart, it's not some weird kind of thing. And
      you can't get that until you actually sit in the car and drive in the
      car. And you don't just say this is a regular car, you say it's
      better than a regular car!

      So everybody's talked about the "EV grin". We all know about the EV
      grin. Everybody gets the EV grin when they drive in the cars. So
      now, my family has a Volt and a Leaf, and I feel punished when I
      can't drive electric. I feel like I'm in jail somewhere if I have to
      drive another kind of car.

      And you know, it's not just about the cars, it's not just about how
      great they are, it's about this t-shirt ["petrocide" -- a stick
      figure next to a fuel pump blowa his brains out with a gasoline
      nozzle], which is what Ed [Eddie Sher, Senior Communications
      Strategist, Sierra Club's Beyond Oil campaign] talked about
      too. It's about fossil fuels destroying our world, and we have to
      get off fossil fuels. And these cars are a way to get there, and
      there's nothing more important in the world than for all of us to
      find some way to get the world off of fossil fuels [applause]. Thank
      you. Sometimes we forget about it and it's such a big deal that we
      don't want to think about it, but it's out there.

      So a funny thing happened in the last year, the last couple of years
      especially. I discovered that I was selling cars. I never realized
      that I was going to be a car salesman, but people said, "because of
      you, because of CalCars, because of other people showing us plug-in
      cars, I bought a car!" And I thought, Isn't that great? At the same
      time, I saw the carmakers building really wonderful cars, but in my
      opinion and a lot of other people, falling very short in marketing
      and selling the cars. And we could help them, I realized. We can
      help the dealers, we can help the automakers.

      And if we do that we help insure the success of these cars, which is
      not guaranteed, because the $7,500 tax credit -- it's not a sure
      thing that's always going to be there. And if that goes away
      quickly, these cars could be in trouble. We have to build demand for
      these cars.

      I have seen so many drivers enthusiastically, unselfishly, having so
      much fun showing their cars! So we came up with a new idea; we came
      up with the idea of DrivingElectric. And it's really like mixing up
      the Electric Auto Association, Plug in America and CalCars with
      Meetup.com and Match.com. It's basically connecting everybody,
      that's the whole idea.

      So, starting today, what we are doing is we are enabling a site where
      you, the drivers, can sign up, make a profile, upload pictures of
      your car, tell stories -- it's getting better, it's very preliminary
      so far -- it's stumbling a little bit too. You'll see when you go
      to the site: some things don't work that well but we're getting
      there. But what is going to happen is that anyone in the country who
      hears about it, and they're going to hear about it by these little
      flyers you can download and print out -- I have some here -- you can
      have them in the dashboard of your car or the side of your car, so
      when somebody says, "What's that?" you can give them this.

      People will be able to find a map on our website, and they can drill
      down in that map and they can find someone near them who has a
      plug-in car and is willing to do something for them: talk to them,
      give them a test ride, a test drive, maybe lend them the car or swap
      cars for a couple of hours. And I hope, among you drivers, you all
      are going to make a resolution: that this year one of my goals is to
      take one person I find, one person who is interested, and not just
      show them the car and talk to them about it, but go through the whole
      way and get them into a dealer and get them to buy a car.

      And at that point, you will have succeeded that year in taking...
      [there are] 50,000 electric drivers and if every one of those 50,000
      drivers gets one person to buy a car, then we will have doubled the
      demand, in addition to all the other reasons people are buying these cars.

      So we want this service to be your tool. We want it for all drivers
      who love showing off their cars. And I resolve -- that's personally,
      myself -- to sell as many as I can.

      So where are we in DrivingElectric.org? Right now we have people in
      34 states and four Canadian provinces, and you can see it on the
      map. And so, we're getting started, it's going to build, but we want
      everybody to know about it, we want it to be a tool that all of our
      sponsoring organizations are involved in, and we are going to get a
      lot of other partners. We have PlugShare as a great first partner as well.

      And so that's what we're doing -- DrivingElectric.org and I just want
      to thank some of the people on the team are here, and some not:
      Rachel Schapira Ben Jones, Deborah Wong, Marc Geller and Howard
      Clearfield helped a lot [applause throughout]. And not here in
      various parts of the country: Chi Ly Kim, David Herron, Michael
      Bender, Josh Kaplan, Ron Knox [see team at About Us]. So thank
      you. This has been a labor of love, and we're getting there.

      (Thanks to Gint Federas; see his other videos from the event
      http://www.youtube.com/gfederas and his photos

      -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
      Felix Kramer fkramer@...
      California Cars Initiative & DrivingElectric
      -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
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