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July 24, 2008


Brendan Dunphy

Good summary Joel. But there is a danger that by trying to solve all the EV problems before we start we will never start at all. We can only answer many of the questions raised by trial-and-error as consumer behaviour (and corporate too) is unpredictable. Lets ensure that the EV industry gets off the ground as soon a possible and recognise that EV's will be niche to start but standardisation will emerge with experience and feedback, in the USA and elsewhere.


These are all very interesting roadblocks to get to where we want to be, and some I have never thought about.

However, as Brendan mentioned, I don't think these are truly valid reasons to keep us from executing - nor do I think they WILL keep us from getting to where we want to be.

It is great to think through these issues, but we don't need to perfect the process before we implement it. It will evolve, much like the rest of the 'stuff' we have in this world.

I would even argue that some of these technical challenges don't even need to be addressed initially to get things rolling. Selling energy back to the grid, for example. While this would be nice, it isn't a deal stopper and it could easily be phased in with newer models.

I think the important thing is to start moving and while figuring out all of our challenges is important, at some point we just need to take our next right step.

Felix Kramer

I echo the first two comments. This is a great summary of the issues involved in what's broadly called "the electrification of transportation." Since I and CalCars.org are situated somewhere along the spectrum of hobbyist-fanatic-entrepreneur-promoter, I'd point out several things:
* The challenges here are about integrating technologies we already have with an existing infrastructure. That's doable.
* Companies like V2Green and Coulomb Technologies are already showing management and control systems and distributed plugging infrastructures.
* The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and others are working diligently to ensure broad standards on physical and electronic interconnections.
* The utilities are making clear that we need to do this step-by-step: first get the carmakers and the utilities talking to each other about designing the vehicles, then move to first implementations of cars linked to "smart homes," then go on to early "demand-response" systems (similar to those we have where utilities can remotely control large industrial power use), with full "vehicle-to-grid" (V2G) integration much further away.
* I recommend listening to a few talks from the recent Plug-In 2008 conference-- video sreams at The Auto Channel http://www.theautochannel.com/news/2008/08/03/095252.html especially: * Mark Duvall, Program Manager, EPRI * Nancy Gioia, Ford Motor Company * Steve Specker, President & CEO EPRI
-- Felix Kramer, Founder, The California Cars Initiative http://www.calcars.org


Good post - I wonder if GM is really the company, alongside utilities, to drive the necessary innovation and integration. Some of the good ideas are clearly valid, like selling power back, but extraneous to the core goal of enabling a new energy distribution network. Innovators can see this, but mature industries, and struggling auto manufacturers, are unlikely agents of change. Instead of focusing on simplest solutions, they layer complexity as a way of stifling change.


Joel - Your article is a load of clap trap. Before you speak or write again, please take a trip to North Dakota. The infrastructure is already in place. And its very easy to install. Anybody can do it.

Emil Möller

my research indicates that by far EV's are the best opportunity of mankind to make bold steps towards untangling the current systemic predicament (conflict, refugees, climate, leadership; fill in your daily news feed)

this is so, since consumers/voters/parents _want_ to be a part of the solution. As long as it doesn't trigger sentiments of regressing in creature comforts, social status, etc.

now with (i) gas prices and emissions, (ii) the viability of the technology of EV's, (iii) corporations seeking a green edge and (iv) governing bodies for various reasons wanting some progress on green / fossil dependency / economy issues, there's a case

the technological hurdles are there, like with anything rather large. But with the clout humans are able to muster and the gains on all fronts ahead, there's a window of opportunity wide open

when we enter this one, we'll regain moral ground with cleaning up our burned fossil mess, supplying the world with low cost alternative sustainable energy and water (a by product of CSP)

and new models that head to the root of the matter: geo politics based on who offers the greenest solutions cheapest, soonest (rather than access to fossils induced, fear generating based politics). Urban sprawl / [car] mobility, tax what you burn, re evaluation of our conceptions of what constitutes a good life,
who am I and what is my work

etcetera, etcetera

for starts: tell your city council to join SF's mayor initiative to soft order PHEV's and EV's. Do this on both sides of the Atlantic and aim at, say, 500.000 vehicles.

deliver this succes to http://www.cop15.dk/en

be sure to allow the attendees at this summit to have asked themselves the questions 'who am I' and 'what is my work'

see http://www.ottoscharmer.com/ on how this could be done

join me on the next on line course at MIT: http://www.presencingglobalclassroom.com/courses/

Emil Möller

Great Ways to Make Money Online

I am glad to hear that at least 1 of the BIG 3 are trying to help us all figure out ways to save the planet, but like you said, how do they expect everyone to be able to plug these machines in? If they start mass producing these buggys and actually selling them, we would see dead cars everywhere (dead battery powered cars). I'll stick to my Tahoe with it's 350ci motor that guzzles gas like theres no tomorrow.

James Wittington

Now that both running mates have been chosen and the presidential election heats up American's are left to sort out which candidates will better address the ever burdening issue of the energy crisis in America. The energy crisis is directly linked to our economy. Foreclosures are on the rise as well as unemployment. With all the technology available it is incredible to believe we have not come together as a nation to devise a plan. We have become so dependant on foreign oil that we have neglected to fully utilize such natural sources of energy such wind power & solar power. Along with modern technology such as plug in cars, hybrid cars, v2g technology , regenerative braking, and Kwh/gal, MJ/gal technology we still seem to be floundering as a nation as to devising the best plan utilize all that is available to us and lift ourselves out of this mess we are in.

Some interesting sites to share should you be interested...

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