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Plug-In 2008: Quotable Moments

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  • Felix Kramer
    Plug-In 2008, the first International Conference on Plug-In Hybrids and Plug-In Electric Cars http://www.plugin2008.com , was a stunning success. Over 650
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 4, 2008
      Plug-In 2008, the first International Conference on Plug-In Hybrids
      and Plug-In Electric Cars http://www.plugin2008.com , was a stunning
      success. Over 650 people attended, and over 1,000 came to the Public
      Night. In this posting are some excerpts of notable statements from
      the conference. Because there were overlapping sessions and we missed
      many, it's selective (and we hope accurate) but we hope helpful. We
      also that the conference organizers will make the Powerpoint
      presentations available to the public in some fashion, since they are
      important contributions to a rapidly-changing dialogue and new
      developments weekly, if not daily.

      After we completed these mini-transcriptions, we found that
      AutoChannel has made available streaming video of most of the
      speakers, starting at
      http://www.theautochannel.com/news/2008/08/03/095252.html -- so you
      can use these excerpts as a partial guide to ones you may want to watch.


      JONATHAN LAUCKNER, Vice President, Global Program Management, General
      Motors: Defining the automobile industry's course going forward, in
      terms of priorities, choices and actions, we think it's an open
      field. As GM prepares to enter its second century, we will continue
      to refine the internal combustion engine, and step-gear automatic and
      manual transmissions, improved diesel technology, and expand the use
      of biofuels such as ethanol. However, we increasingly believe that
      the ultimate solution involves the electrification of the automobile
      as soon as possible. In fact, there is now a clear shift in the
      debate from if this will happen to when this will happen.

      The large market is how we ultimately make a sizeable dent in our
      petroleum dependency. We as automakers need to take the lead, no
      question. And we are, by developing responsive, relevant technologies
      and then driving down their cost. We understand this. But there are
      important roles for others as well. There's no question that our
      government has to play a significant role. One of the things that
      government can do, and I'd argue must do, to promote energy
      independence for our nation, is proactively to support the
      development of advanced technology. Our nation must fund a major
      effort to strengthen domestic advanced battery capabilities if we
      hope to ride the firs wave of the plug-in revolution. Governments of
      other countries, most notably China and Japan, are pouring millions
      and millions of dollars into support for advanced batteries and other
      advanced propulsion technologies.

      Together with our coalition partners in the utility industry, GM is
      working to transform automotive transportation as we know it. We must
      get our nation and the world past oil dependence and get on the road
      to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions , heading towards a
      future that's electric. We're making the choices and taking the risks
      that we believe are critical to doing plug-in vehicles right, and
      doing them first. Ladies and gentlemen, that's what GM is thinking.


      JAMES BOYD, Vice Chair and Commissioner, California Energy
      Commission: Plug-in hybrids offer clear compelling fuel savings,
      petroleum reduction, greenhouse gas emission reduction benefits for
      Californians, In our 2005 Integrated Energy Policy Report, the
      California Energy Commission took the unprecedented step of
      recommending a single transportation technology for development. That
      technology was plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. The 2005 Integrated
      Energy Policy Report notes that "plug-in hybrids are the on-road
      electric vehicle technology option that can bridge the gap between
      today's hybrids and the zero emission vehicles of the future."

      The need for alternative transportation technologies such as plug-in
      hybrids is urgent. It was urgent then, it's doubly urgent today. At
      this exposition, we're all going to see the promise of this
      technology. A technological promise that has the attention of
      policymakers certainly in this state and I think most other areas of
      the United States. The dual benefits of phenomenal vehicle efficiency
      coupled with the increased us use of our most environmentally benign
      alternative fuel, California's electricity, is a great realization for us.

      One of our presidential candidates even proposed a $300 million prize
      for the right battery for transportation. How might this conference
      inform such a prize? Well I'm hoping it will be a very strong message
      that says, "Hey, we have the battery, we have the right application,
      so let's move it." So over the next two days let's all explore the
      applications and see how tantalizingly close we are to delivering on
      the promise of plug-ins to reduce carbon, improve air quality, reduce
      petroleum use. We've come to the right place, California and Silicon
      Valley, at the right time. There's a convergence in California of
      government policy and public attitude, and believe me that doesn't
      happen all the time. So to me the planets and the stars are aligned,
      so let's move this issue.


      DAN SPERLING Automotive Board Member, California Air Resources Board:
      The relevant [questions] are moving to the next generation of
      batteries. We need fundamental battery research because there are not
      going to be that many batteries sold in the next ten years, and no
      matter how successful this is, they will be mainly after that, and
      they're not going to be the kind of batteries we see now or even in
      the early next generation, so the real need is on the R&D side.


      DAN REICHER, Director, Climate and Energy Initiatives, Google.org:
      Our vision is millions of vehicles plugging into a green grid.


      GENEVIEVE CULLEN, Vice President, Electric Drive Transportation
      Association: What's important to notice is that between 2005 when we
      previously passed an energy bill and 2007 when this one passed, we
      went from almost no interest or understanding or stakeholder support
      for plug-in programs to a pretty universal support, if not
      understanding. These significant authorizations for research
      development and deployment are really an amazing progression of the
      debate in a short amount of time. In Congressional time, that's
      lightning fast.


      BILL BOYCE, Supervisor of Electric Transportation, Sacramento
      Utilities District: The projected capacity from wind and solar as we
      can see 71% when you add that up but due to intermittency we can only
      utilize half of that, so 43%, and what you really get into, more than
      anything a benefit: is it possible for PHEVs to provide that energy storage?

      PHEVs, battery electric vehicles, anything with energy storage,
      effectively becomes that cost-effective mechanism

      There are people trying to develop business cases just around energy
      storage for those aspects. And the plug-in hybrids really offer that
      potential if the two-way flow of electricity from some of those
      things like inverters can have the controllability designed in.
      Battery warranty will be an issue. We recognize that the automakers
      are definitely not going to want to warranty a battery used in an
      application for energy storage all the time. That's where we come
      back to looking at that application for 10 cycles a year, that's not
      a high cycle life factor.


      JIM KELLEY, Vice President of Transportation and Distribution,
      Southern California Edison: [Comparing this moment to the lunar
      landing and the fall of the Berlin Wall] Now here's the cool part.
      I'm of the view that on this day and in this place we are witnessing
      a tipping point that's very powerful. After decades of diverse and
      siloed ideas, some of them pretty crazy, we're part of a convergence
      that I believe will almost certainly change the world forever. If you
      look around this room and I've had the chance to meet some of you,
      not enough, what a strange bunch of bedfellows. Zealots, early
      adopters, greens, CFOs, bankers, corporate behemoths, electric
      utility people, all coming together driven by the force of a vision
      and a commitment to sustainability, efficiency, environmental
      stewardship, these are part and parcel of this conference and are
      becoming part of the global fabric. And things I believe will never
      be the same.


      MARC DUVALL, Program Manager, Electric Transportation, EPRI: The
      people that have strategically looked around have determined that we
      have never successfully commercialized an alternative fuel for
      transportation. And at this point there really is no turning back ,
      there are no alternatives to wait for. This is absolutely disruptive,
      this change must absolutely be managed, it must absolutely be
      executed to the fullest.

      The automotive industry that makes a 50-state, highly sophisticated
      product that has processing power that would put computers of just a
      few years ago to shame has to talk with these advanced smart grid
      technologies that are being deployed roughly at the same time. So
      you're going to see the plug-in hybrid or the electric vehicle and at
      roughly the same time you're see the rollout of the smart grid,
      they're both in development, they're coming together, you're building
      railroad track from the west coast and the east coast and you're
      trying to meet in the middle. And we absolutely have to get that
      right. It won't be simple but it will enable simplicity.

      The only way that can happen is if the utility industry that will
      provide the fuel and the automotive industry that will provide the
      products are absolutely at the same table and get this right. That is
      the only way.

      Within our collective industries and in the general public there is a
      tremendous amount of misinformation -- myths. Many people do not
      actually believe that hybrid electric vehicles pay off right now. $4
      a gallon gasoline, 50% or better fuel economy. Many people still
      remember the original Consumer Reports article or some other that
      said, "This can't work." There are still articles being published
      today about fuel economy technologies not being worth the effort. So
      we have a lot of work to do, because ultimately until the people who
      go out and buy these cars and the industries that both make them and
      support them have fully internalized why we need to do this and all
      the reasons we need to do this, then we could never be successful.


      TOM TURRENTINE, Director, PHEV Research Center, University of
      California at Davis: In 1993, I saw my first plug-in hybrid and it
      was this moment -- it's like going up and down a stream up in the
      mountains and trying to find a place to cross, looking for a place,
      and you got out two rocks and you look at the next step and say, "oh
      man, I'm going to fall in that creek," and you keep looking up and
      down the stream. Well when I first saw this technology, I thought, it
      looks like, step by step, we might get across that creek. And Andy
      Frank saw this many years ago, he saw a lot of it, before a lot of
      us, and many of us all in our way have started feeling that.

      -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
      Felix Kramer fkramer@...
      Founder California Cars Initiative
      http://www.calcars.org
      http://www.calcars.org/news-archive.html
      -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
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