Focus on Plug-in 2010 and “Green, American Style”
The great electric vehicle race of 2010 was on even before the Gulf oil spill became the worst environmental disaster in US history. The world’s top players will address the future of plug-in hybrid and electric transportation at Plug-in 2010 later this month (26-29 July in San Jose, California.) This preview in GreenBiz.com by Anna Clark, who is the author of “Green, American Style” and president of EarthPeople, a global consulting firm helping clients save money and bolster their brands through profitable green strategies.
By Anna Clark in greenbiz.com (2 July 2010):
San Jose, California — Is the BP crisis escalating the comeback of the electric car? While the promise of petro-free driving is piquing consumer interest, forward-thinking manufacturers have been gearing up for electrification for over a decade.
The world’s top players will address the future of plug-in hybrid and electric transportation at Plug-in 2010 later this month (26-29 July in San Jose, California.).
The great electric vehicle race of 2010 was on even before the Gulf oil spill became the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history. As pundits ruminate over a correct response to this catastrophe, automakers, component suppliers, government agencies, utilities and many others are eschewing skepticism for action.
We still don’t know how long it will take for the internal combustion engine to fall out of favor, but after sputtering along in fits and starts for two decades, all-electric vehicles are finally hitting the highway.
This bodes well for businesses. Electric vehicles have loads of advantages to offer: no fuel, no oil changes, zero emissions, and tremendously low maintenance. With federal tax incentives, buyers save up to $7,500 per vehicle. While individuals may receive up to $2,000 for installation of charging equipment, businesses may qualify for as much as $50,000.
Vehicle purchasers can immediately recoup some of their initial investment on fuel savings; at an average retail electricity cost of $.11 per kWh, it costs approximately $396 per year to drive an all-electric vehicle. Utilities are presently working on pricing models to provide overnight charging for as low as 4 cents per kWh.
Businesses and government agencies are already having some success with the low-speed, battery-powered neighborhood electric vehicles (NEVs). Until this year, NEVs represented the vast majority of electric-vehicle models available for purchase.
Since NEVs work well in communities where the speed limit does not exceed 30 mph, such applications make these cars ideal for fleets. The U.S. Army, for example, has announced that it will lease 4,000 NEVs within three years for transport of personnel, security patrols, and maintenance and delivery services around its bases.
According to Rich Piellisch, editor of San-Francisco based Fleets and Fuels, a bi-weekly newsletter for clean transportation professionals, “Fleets will use electric vehicles as soon as they can get them. At present, fleets are using NEVs around campuses, industrial parks, retirement communities, housing developments, airports, and so on. Dozens of other applications will open up once road-capable electric vehicles become available. For the appropriate application, fleet owners have been extremely content with the performance of these cars.”
Piellisch recalled one pioneering fleet manager in Fresno who even had his eye on the Aptera, pictured above at right. “He thought the car would be great for reading meters. He would love to go electric.” Piellisch added, “Now that we have road capable EVs becoming available from major manufacturers, we’re going to see a lot of fleet managers making the switch to electric.”
Fleet managers will soon have a broader range of choices. For example, Freightliner Trucks is the first trucking manufacturer in the country to offer drop frame hybrid electric beverage trucks and vans equipped with Tesla battery packs.
If the great electric vehicle race has a winner, it appears to be Nissan, the first major automaker to achieve widespread sales of a mass-produced electric car: The LEAF, pictured at left. LEAF “hand-raisers” — the company’s term describing those who’ve indicated they would seriously consider owning or leasing a LEAF – number over 130,000. Sales of the first 50,000 vehicles will begin in December in select markets where public charging infrastructure is most widely available. Nissan will ramp the LEAF up to 400,000 by 2012.
Batteries still remain the largest obstacle to electrification. Research is underway to reduce battery weight, improve the density to weight ratio, and lower the costs. In the case of pure electric vehicles, range anxiety continues to be a concern for drivers even though 77% of commuters travel 40 miles or less per day.
In its own survey, Nissan found that a range of 100 miles would suit the needs of 95 percent of respondents. Automakers must factor in range with a host of other variables in order to find the formula that works for them. “For us,” said Keiichi Kitahara, a senior manager with Nissan North America, “100 miles is the sweet spot.”
Manufacturers across the electrification spectrum will join representatives from utilities, component suppliers, government agencies, the environmental community, and academia to address these and many other issues at the Plug-in 2010 Conference & Exposition in San Jose from July 26 through 29. The conference will cover all critical areas of plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles including batteries, vehicles, and infrastructure. Discussions will be structured around technology aspects, market research, policy initiatives, and commercialization.
“Whether you work for a city that’s preparing electric vehicle infrastructure, for a company developing charging stations, for a firm looking to integrate plug-in hybrids or EVs into its fleet, for an environmental organization — or in any other related area — we encourage you to attend Plug-In 2010,” said Mindy Berman, Plug-In 2010′s media manager. “You’ll have a terrific opportunity to share best practices, advance policies, hear from industry leaders and see the latest plug-in hybrid and electric transportation innovations on the exposition floor.”
For more details about the event, as well as an agenda and companies displaying their EVs at the show, visit the website.
Anna Clark is the author of Green, American Style, released by Baker Books a couple of months ago. She is also president of EarthPeople, a global consulting firm helping clients save money and bolster their brands through profitable green strategies.
Anna began by asking herself the question, “Can one person really make a difference?” In 2005, after launching a consulting firm on the singular idea that sustainability can be customized into a profitable strategy for any-size organization, she now has an international base of clients implementing her ideas to improve the environment while making money in the “eco” economy. EarthPeople clients include clean technology startups such as Evatran, municipalities such as the City of Austin, and companies such as JCPenney and Time Inc.’s Fortune/Money Group.
Anna began her career as a management consultant with PricewaterhouseCoopers and later with IBM. Her fifteen years of professional experience are girded by her outstanding record of achievement in public relations, consulting, corporate training, market research, and sales. Anna holds a B.A. with honors from the University of Texas at Austin. She completed a post-graduate internship with the Department of Commerce at the U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires and has traveled extensively throughout Europe and South America.
Anna continues to write and speak on topics ranging from green living to leadership. She is a featured columnist for Greenbiz.com and has been interviewed by USA Today, Fox Business News, and Entrepreneur Radio. Anna and her family live in a custom-built green home, one of the first residences in Dallas to earn a Platinum LEED-certified rating from the U.S. Green Building Council.
Praise for “Green, American Style”:
Dispelling the eco-hype and celebrating a sustainable model of ‘business better than usual,’ Anna Clark makes going green seem as American as (organic!) apple pie. Read Green, American Style, then pass it along to a friend. It will change your life—satisfaction guaranteed.”
– Matthew Sleeth, author of Serve God, Save the Planet, and Nancy Sleeth, author of Go Green, Save Green
Anna Clark provides a practical guide for those wanting to learn more about minimizing the impact their lives have on our planet, especially as consumers. Clark’s insights, drawn from her personal journey to living sustainably, make this book a joy to read.”
– Jim Thomas, vice president of corporate social responsibility, JCPenney
Regardless of our belief system or worldview, we’ve all asked ourselves, ‘What really matters?’ and ‘How can I make a difference?’ Anna Clark asked herself these questions and took action, embarking on a mission to make the world a better place one step at a time. She invites us into the conversations she’s having with green leaders and friends across America who are seeking a greener way of living that saves money, our health, and our planet. At a time when many of us are experiencing ‘green fatigue,’ Green, American Style inspires us to think smarter, cultivate natural-grown leadership skills in others and ourselves, and use our pioneering spirit to cause a ripple effect that will transform our communities, our country, and our world.”
– Lee Enry Erickson, community manger for SustainLane Creation Care
In Green, American Style, Anna Clark takes the outsized and overwhelming world of sustainable living—from the living room to the corporate boardroom—and turns it into an engaging and detailed look at the green economy that’s rapidly taking root across the country. Through extensive interviews with green leaders ranging from oil tycoons to suburban chicken farmers, Green, American Style makes the case that every individual and every business can play a part in and benefit from the greening of America.”
– Matthew Wheeland, managing editor of GreenBiz.com
Well done, Anna! The more those of us who are helping our planet recover from the ravages to which we have subjected it are made to seem normal and correct, the more ‘Joe and Josephine Citizen’ will be inclined to do their bit without thinking that they’re behaving on the fringes. This is a book everyone should read!”
– Tony Frost, former head of the World Wildlife Foundation in South Africa; author of After the Rain
I have just received a copy of Anna’s book and I’m in the middle of it. It is a very good read and while its focus is obviously on America, it could easily apply to Australia or anywhere in the Western world. Some great business case studies in it, as well as useful tips for the home and office. Great work Anna!” – Ken Hickson, editor of abc carbon express and author of “The ABC of Carbon”