Oct 16, 2007 (From the CalCars-News archive)
You haven't heard from us because I've been overloaded and under the weather. (Thanks for those of you who missed our news and asked!)
Here's a start at clearing up the backlog, including the most important upcoming events and some of the recent media coverage, including excerpts:
ALTERNATIVE CAR AND TRANSPORTATION EXPO
OCT. 19-20 (SANTA MONICA, CA)
http://www.altcarexpo.com/ This Friday and Saturday, CalCars partners with Plug-In Partners to show a PHEV at this second annual show, which last year attracted broad interest among Southern California media, environmentalists and celebrities. Again this year it features a high-powered series of talks and panels.
OCT 20-21 (AUSTIN, TX)
http://makerfaire.com/austin/2007/ This Saturday and Sunday, join tens of thousands of people at this first out-of-the-SF-Bay-Area Maker Faire. You'll see how our "Do It Yourself" Project is almost ready for prime-time, as several new small companies join in to facilitate this open-source project. If you're interested in the technical specifics see http://www.priusplus.org -- and discussions are mirrored at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/eaa-phev
PHEV2007, "WHERE THE GRID MEETS THE ROAD" NOVEMBER 1-2 (WINNIPEG, MANITOBA, CA)
http://www.pluginhighway.ca/index.php By far the most substantial conference yet on PHEVs -- two solid days of policy and technical events. We think you'll be amazed if you look at the "Program/Technical sessions" and "Keynotes" schedules online. This event could help Canada move to the lead in the government/institution race to promote and incentivize PHEVs.
EVS-23, INTERNATIONAL EV SYMPOSIUM AND EXPOSITION
DEC 2-5, (ANAHEIM, CA)
Early Bird Registration ends this Fridady, Oct 19 for this global
event for the electric vehicle industry, by the Electric Drive
Transportation Association. CalCars will partner with Plug-In
Partners to show a PHEV.
WALL STREET JOURNAL: EYES ON THE ROAD
By JOSEPH B. WHITE October 15, 2007 Electric Car Maker Aims For the Top With Sports Car: Tesla Readies $98,000 Roadster And Looks to Expand Downward http://online.wsj.com/article/SB119220246200657368.html The WSJ's Detroit Bureau Chief has been warming up to plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles. His latest story about the Tesla Roadster is relatively positive.
Two points worth noting (it's just as much fun reading tea leaves from small companies!):
- Last May, Mr. Eberhard told a Senate committee that the company's second model would be a $50,000 sedan built in New Mexico, followed by an even more affordable car. Now, Mr. Eberhard is cagier about exactly what Tesla's "White Star" model line will be, and exactly when it will appear. "We are deep, deep into that," he says. "We are planning on building (cars) in Albuquerque. It's possible we might want to do something different." [This echoes the story in Business Week July 30 when Eberhard said the the third generation car could be a PHEV: 'If necessary, the company would be willing to use a small gas engine to boost Blue Star's range and broaden its appeal."]
- What will define success for Tesla? Big car makers have tools, capital and experience in dealing with the harsh environment of the global auto market that Silicon Valley doesn't possess, even with its abundance of rich, smart technology visionaries and venture-capital firms. Mr. Eberhard says selling out isn't the plan, even though "we've been approached by many, many car companies."
http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1669723_1669725_1670578,00.html Thursday, Oct. 11, 2007 Green Motors A two-page story on General Motors begins with filmmaker Chris Paine ("Who Killed the Electric Car?") saying "They were a technological leader, and they fumbled that leadership away," Paine says. Ask him about the U.S. carmaker now, though, and Paine sounds almost admiring. "Their new hybrids are making a difference, and their plug-in technology is a real advance," he says. "GM is making some really good moves now." The story goes on tell how GM missed out on hybrids: "GM took a gamble that hybrids weren't going to be important," says Eric Noble, president of Car Labs, an auto consulting firm. "That turned out to be a very bad bet." It ends with GM's Volt as a "green leap forward" (along with what we believe is its increasingly vestigial fuel cell program), and speculates that GM could be the hero of Paine's sequel, "Who Saved the Electric Car?"
BUSINESS 2.0 CLOSES
Seven years ago, this magazine (then called E-Company) wrote about
Felix Kramer's Internet startup. Now this Time Inc. title has closed,
and many of its staffers have moved over to Fortune. Its final
October issue is the greenest yet. Two stories in particular:
Green power How California's PG&E is transforming itself into the very model of a modern utility company. http://money.cnn.com/2007/09/25/technology/green_power.biz2/index.htm By Katherine Ellison, Business 2.0 Magazine September 26 2007: 9:59 AM EDT In short, PG&E is turning itself into a role model for 21st-century utilities. That means making money by transmitting renewable energy wherever it may be generated - from the water flowing under the Golden Gate Bridge to the batteries of hybrid electric cars - all while managing an interactive power grid. Peter Darbee, CEO and chairman of PG&E Corp., the company that owns Pacific Gas & Electric, describes the sophisticated network that will hold it all together as the energy equivalent of the Internet. Perhaps just as important as where PG&E gets its power - where the wind blows, where the waves crash, where the sun shines, where the cows poop - is how it plans to share it. Instead of generating electricity in colossal centralized power plants and pushing electrons into homes and businesses, energy distribution in the future may be more a matter of give and take, of energy managed over a web that draws electricity from wherever it's abundant and sends it wherever it's needed. [Later in the story, a section on PG&E and PHEVs, Google, and Vehicle-To-Grid.]
The startup king's new gig By Erick Schonfeld, Business 2.0 editor-at-large September 26 2007: 2:43 PM EDT http://money.cnn.com/magazines/business2/business2_archive/2007/10/01/toc.html This story profiles entrepreneur Bill Gross, founder of Idealab, the startup incubator in Pasadena, Calif, and says: His track record includes both winners (CitySearch, Cooking.com, NetZero/United Online) and losers (eToys, Eve.com, Free-PC). But he's best known for inventing the pay-per-click advertising model behind Overture Services (formerly GoTo.com), the pioneering search engine he sold to Yahoo! in 2003 for $1.6 billion. Now, after more than a decade of launching dotcoms, Gross has rediscovered the pleasures - and profitability - of the physical world. Idealab's current lineup is crowded with companies that make actual products: robots, 3-D printers, electric cars, rooftop solar collectors. As Gross puts it, he's much more interested today in "atoms businesses" than "bits businesses." [The interview includes his discussion of Energy Innovations, his concentrating solar company; he is also involved with PHEV startup Aptera and with Stirling Engine technologies.]
P.S. TWO FEATURES ON SOLAR ENERGY INCLUDE PHEVS
FORTUNE MAGAZINE October 3, 2007 "For solar power, the future looks bright" http://money.cnn.com/2007/10/03/news/companies/sunpower_solar.fortune/index.htm Fortune has a six-page story by Marc Gunther on the history and prospects of SunPower, the Silicon Valley photovoltaic panel maker. It quotes CEO Tom Werner as saying the company expects get the price of its panels down to 12 cents/kWh in five years. An accompanying story by Todd Woody (from the just-closed Business 2.0 magazine and the Green Wombat blog, which continues) "This old solar-optimized house" http://money.cnn.com/2007/10/03/technology/solar_house.fortune/index.htm says ""When plug-in hybird and all-electric cars arrive in a few years, your solar panels may even supply you with free fuel."
BUSINESS WEEK October 15, 2007 http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/07_42/b4054053.htm OCTOBER 15, 2007
Solar's Day In The Sun by John Carey This seven-page report brings to public attention Ausra, the solar-thermal company recently transplanted from Australia to Silicon Valley that has gained the backing of Kleiner Perkins and Vinod Khosla. Ausra says that it can scale up now to deliver electricity at 10 cents/kWh, which will compete with new coal or natural gas. In a key early paragraph in the story, Ausra CEO John O'Donnell links solar thermal and PHEVs: He's convinced he has found that something. The idea is to slow global warming and cure the planet's energy woes, not with plasma or windmills or "clean" coal smoke, but with mirrors. Miles and miles of mirrors, to be exact, focusing the rays of the sun onto pipes to heat water to run hulking steam turbines. This so-called solar thermal approach would mean no emissions that cause global warming. No worries about radioactive waste. No need for coal power, which faces increasingly hostile scrutiny. Not even much need for oil, if plug-in hybrid cars like the Chevrolet Volt start to replace gasoline burners. "I want people to have it in their heads that there is a solution--and it doesn't even mean raising their electric bills," he says.