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AP Interviews Andy Grove on PHEVs; PBS Newshour on Plug-In Cars

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  • Felix Kramer
    More below from Intel s former CEO Andy Grove: this story is now running at the Chicago Tribune s website and should get broad distribution Sunday and Monday.
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 27, 2008
      More below from Intel's former CEO Andy Grove: this story is now
      running at the Chicago Tribune's website and should get broad
      distribution Sunday and Monday. See also our June 10 report at

      Before that story: On Wednesday, the daily PBS Newshour ran a
      9.5-minute story on plug-in cars. Watch/read transcript at
      . Veteran reporter Spencer Michaels traces back the story to the ZEV
      Mandate in the 90s, and looks at PHEVS (CalCars' Felix Kramer and
      Luscious Garage's Carolyn Coquillette appear) and and EVs, focusing
      on Tesla. Mary Nichols of the Air Resources Board is interviewed as well.
      The story spends a good bit of time on hydrogen fuel-cell cars. (It
      continues to surprise us that journalists who zero in on higher
      initial costs in the thousands of dollars for plug-in cars, are
      blinded by hydrogen promises. For instance on June 16, Honda showed
      off its fleet of 100 Clarity hydrogen vehicles, each costing hundreds
      of thousands of dollars, and said the price could fall under $100,000
      within 10 years. This didn't stop the Wall Street Journal the NYTimes
      from treating them as news about today's automobile choices! See
      http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121364017994578203.html and

      AP Interview: Ex-Intel head pushes electric cars
      By KEN THOMAS | Associated Press Writer June 27, 2008

      WASHINGTON - Former Intel Corp. chairman Andy Grove has a knack for
      sensing when larger circumstances should force changes at a company
      or an industry -- and how to respond.

      He even has coined a term for it: the "strategic inflection point."
      Now the retired chairman of the world's largest computer chip maker
      thinks the term applies to energy and transportation, where
      record-high gasoline and oil prices have renewed interest in
      alternative energy sources and advanced vehicles.

      During the past year and a half, Grove has created his own crash
      course in electric power, plug-in hybrid vehicles and finding ways of
      shifting the nation's fleet of vehicles from gas. His goal: To draw
      more attention to electric vehicles.

      "The most important thing I would like to do is light that almost
      half-assumed truth up in neon lights. Electricity in transportation
      has to be done. It is urgent. It is important that everything else is
      secondary," Grove said during a recent phone interview with The
      Associated Press.

      "The drumbeat of the electrical transportation is accelerating like
      nothing I've ever seen in my life," Grove said.

      Grove, 71, who was named Time Magazine's Man of the Year in 1997, is
      the latest industry and government heavyweight to push plug-in
      hybrids and electric cars. Former CIA director James Woolsey, former
      Secretary of State George Schultz and Google Inc.'s philanthropic
      arm, Google.org, have touted the benefits of cars that could plug
      into a standard wall outlet to recharge the battery.

      Several automakers are testing plug-in prototypes that would allow
      the vehicle to run on electric power for the first 40 miles. The
      technology hinges on the development of advanced lithium ion
      batteries and companies such as General Motors Corp. and Toyota Motor
      Corp. hope to have an extended range plug-in available in limited
      quantities by 2010.

      In the latest edition of The American, published by the American
      Enterprise Institute, Grove writes that the beauty of electric power
      is its ability to be produced through multiple sources such as coal,
      wind and nuclear, and its "stickiness" -- it can only be transported over land.

      Oil, by contrast, "flows to the highest bidder," making the United
      States more susceptible to large demands for petroleum from growing
      economies such as China.

      While car makers have been developing plug-ins, Grove says the nation
      should consider ways of retrofitting the 80 million low-mileage
      pickups, sport utility vehicles and vans on the road to make them
      capable of running on both gasoline and electric power.

      Giving these vehicles "dual fuel" functions would be similar to
      changes made in other technologies. DVD players, for example, were
      often combined with VCR tape players when they were first introduced
      to help consumers make the transition.

      To push the technology along, Grove suggests tax incentives to take
      the risk out of battery development and help offset the costs of
      conversion kits. Utilities, he says, could subsidize the early
      adopters of plug-ins by providing free electric power to the vehicles
      for the first year to 18 months.

      "I think it is a legitimate place for the government to fund, to
      accelerate it," he said.

      Automakers have urged the government to provide more consumer tax
      incentives and research aid to develop advanced batteries, but they
      have questioned efforts to retrofit the vehicles.

      Any changes to the engine would void the warranty, and the
      alterations could undermine the vehicle's reliability and safety
      functions, automakers say.

      "We strongly discourage consumers from retrofitting vehicles," said
      GM spokesman Greg Martin.

      Grove says the fledgling plug-in hybrid movement offers parallels to
      the Homebrew Computer Club from the mid-1970s that helped electronic
      hobbyists in northern California set the stage for personal
      computers. Plug-in hybrid conversion shops could spread the
      technology in similar ways.

      "The personal computer ... went to individuals first before it went
      to corporations. The conversion goes to individuals," Grove said.
      "Electric cars ... the corporations are sitting, wishing this whole
      friggin' thing to go away. Which is exactly what the computer
      companies' attitude was to personal computers."

      Grove has battled Parkinson's disease and devoted millions of dollars
      and work to support research into the disease. He has taken to
      alternative energy issues with a similar intensity, tapping into a
      network of plug-in enthusiasts and experts. Grove says he even bought
      a textbook on electric and hybrid vehicles written by a University of
      Akron professor.

      "They are all enthusiastically tutoring me," he said.

      Grove co-teaches a Stanford University business school seminar, and
      will devote the class next fall to examining ways of making the
      electric car possible.

      He acknowledges that the shift to electric transportation will be a
      daunting challenge, but notes that President Franklin Delano
      Roosevelt worked with Detroit's automakers during World War II to
      quickly retool their plants to supply the war effort. At a time of
      $4-plus a gallon for gas and the dangers of oil politics, those
      lessons shouldn't be lost.

      "I think technologically it's doable. I think the logic is pretty
      compelling," Grove said. "Somebody better drive it and play Roosevelt."

      Biographical info on ex-Intel head Andy Grove
      By The Associated Press June 27, 2008

      NAME: Andrew S. Grove.

      AGE-BIRTH DATE: 71; born Sept. 2, 1936, in Budapest, Hungary.

      EXPERIENCE: Senior adviser to executive management, Intel Corp.,
      2005-present; Chairman of the Board, Intel Corp., 1997-2005; Chief
      Executive Officer, Intel Corp., 1979-1997; one of the founders of
      Intel Corp. in 1968; joined the research and development laboratory
      of Fairchild Semiconductor and became assistant director of research
      and development in 1967. Grove is a lecturer at the Stanford
      University Graduate School of Business.

      EDUCATION: Bachelor's degree, City College of New York, 1960;
      doctorate degree, University of California, Berkeley, 1963.

      BOOKS: Physics and Technology of Semiconductor Devices (1967), High
      Output Management (1983), One-on-One With Andy Grove (1987), Only the
      Paranoid Survive (1996), Swimming Across (2001), Strategic Dynamics:
      Concepts and Cases, co-authored by Robert A. Burgelman (2005).

      FAMILY: Wife, Eva; two daughters.

      QUOTE: "The drumbeat of the electrical transportation is accelerating
      like nothing I've ever seen in my life."

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