Dec 23, 2006 (From the CalCars-News archive)
Marc Geller, co-founder of Plug-In America, has been writing a fearless blog, "Plugs and Cars" http://plugsandcars.blogspot.com, for several months. Geller is also featured in a chapter of Sherry Boschert's book, Plug-In Hybrids: The Cars that will Re-Charge America (order at http://www.sherryboschert.com. And CalCars owes him thanks for driving my car to the Alt Fuel Expo in Santa Monica.
In this posting, he draws attention to the announcement of Dave McCurdy as new chairman of the American Auto Manufacturers -- a former Congressman who might help evolve the AAM's strategies. For McCurdy's political background, follow the links in Marc Geller's story; we reprint the AAM announcement below the blog posting.
At the link, you can also watch former CIA Director James Woolsey's speech (about 45 minutes including questions) at the Santa Monica event. The whole talk is great and situates PHEVs within the larger picture of energy policy and foreign policy strategy. Around 30 minutes, he holds up the "dongle" we gave him to demonstrate what's needed to connect PHEVs to the nation's electrical infrastructure. (Also see a photo of Woolsey and Andy Frank with dongles at http://www.calcars.org/photos-people.html.)
Auto Lobby Deals a New Card
Plugs and Cars By Marc Geller
Changing of the guard at the auto makers' industry group the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (AAM). Former Democratic Congressman Dave McCurdy takes his lobbying skills from Electronics to Autos. As reported at the Washington Note, just seeing a Democrat in this top spot once held by Andy Card, who went on to become Bush's Chief of Staff, is a positive sign of the times. Still, this is the industry group (and its predecessor) that has opposed every attempt at auto sanity passed by the people's representatives - from seat belts to the ZEV Mandate to the California Greenhouse Gas bill. No reason to believe that stance will change.
But with change in personnel comes change in personal networks. As Steven Clemons points out in his report, McCurdy and Clinton's CIA chief Jim Woolsey, two guys from Oklahoma, go way back. Woolsey is one of the higher profile advocates for plug-in cars. Woolsey's gasoline-only Prius has a "Bin Laden Hates My Car" sticker, but he knows the only way to cut the cord in the near term is cars with an electrical plug. (Woolsey, pictured right, holding the plug for Felix Kramer's Plug-in Prius.) See his presentation at the Santa Monica AltFuel Auto Show below this post.
Here's to hoping Woolsey and McCurdy sit down for a nice lunch real soon. Perhaps their relationship can help break down the wall the auto industry has constructed to postpone the inevitable, electric future for cars.
DAVE McCURDY NAMED PRESIDENT OF AUTO ALLIANCE http://www.thewashingtonnote.com/archives/McCurdy%20Release121906.htm WASHINGTON, D.C., December 19, 2006 - The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers today announced that Dave McCurdy will become the new President of the Alliance beginning February 12, 2007.
"We are grateful to have someone of Dave's experience, stature and knowledge of Washington issues lead our association at such an important time in history," said Jim Press, President of Toyota Motor North America and Chairman of the Alliance. "Dave is a proven bipartisan leader who has demonstrated his ability to build consensus and cooperation on key policy issues. We look forward to working with him," said Press.
McCurdy is currently President and CEO of the Electronic Industries Alliance and a former Democratic Congressman from Oklahoma. He will replace Fred Webber, who is retiring after serving as Alliance President and CEO since 2004.
"I'm excited to be working in an industry with so much innovation, advanced technology and that plays an integral part of our society," said McCurdy. "I look forward to addressing the challenges and opportunities facing this great industry."
McCurdy has served as President of the Arlington-based EIA since 1998. As president, he helped promote the market development and competitiveness of the U.S. high-tech industry through domestic and international policy efforts for EIA's nearly 1,300 member companies. During his distinguished career, McCurdy has served as Chairman and CEO of McCurdy Group L.L.C. of Washington, consulting and investment practice. He served 14 years in the U.S. House of Representatives from the fourth district of Oklahoma from 1981-1995.
While in Congress, he served as Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Chairman of the Military Installation and facilities Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee and Chairman of the Transportation, Aviation and Materials Subcommittee of the Science and Space Committee.
"I'm proud of this industry's achievements and its commitment toward fuel efficiency, safety and advanced technology," said Fred Webber. "I'm delighted to have had the opportunity to work with the leaders of this important industry."
The Alliance is a trade association of nine car and light truck manufacturers including BMW Group, DaimlerChrysler, Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Mazda, Mitsubishi Motors, Porsche, Toyota and Volkswagen.