Jill Buck is the Founder and Executive Director of the Go Green Initiative and is also the owner of Buck Consulting. Jill lives with her family in Pleasanton, California. Full Bio
By: Jill Buck
When Sony Pictures released the movie, “Who Killed the Electric Car,” (http://www.sonyclassics.com/whokilledtheelectriccar/electric.html) the U.S. political landscape was much different, and Detroit had a lot more clout than it does today. The movie honed in on a very specific moment in time when the California Air Resources Board (CARB) eliminated the production of electric vehicles in the zero emissions vehicle (ZEV) initiative, and pinned the blame on D.C.-based lawsuits and lobbying in Sacramento as the reasons electric cars failed to achieve economically-feasible market share. I’d be the last person to underestimate the effects of Sacramento lobbying, but in truth, there have been two primary consumer concerns that have inhibited the success of the electric car:
· the cost of the vehicles is higher than comparably-sized gasoline cars; and
· the mileage range of a typical car battery is much shorter than the range of a gasoline tank. For lengthy trips, that would mean having to stop every 150 miles or so, finding a place to plug the car in, and waiting several hours for it to power up.
A new company called Better Place (www.betterplace.com) has the solution to both of these problems, and may be the “enabler” that finally brings electric vehicles into the mainstream. Better Place CEO, Shai Agassi, has led successful beta operations in Israel, Denmark and Australia, but as of November 2008, he started making waves in the Golden State, as he eyes California as the U.S. toehold for his company.
At a press conference in the San Francisco City Hall on November 20, 2008, Governor Schwarzenegger and Mayors of San Jose, Oakland and San Francisco gathered with numerous Bay Area groups and Better Place to announce plans to engage in public-private investments in electric vehicles and ‘green’ infrastructure. Better Place is not an electric car manufacturer, but could provide the necessary infrastructure with their battery “filling stations.”
This week on Go Green Radio, my guest is Jason Wolf, head of North American business development for Better Place. I’ll be asking him… if Warren Buffet’s new investment in electric cars depends on Better Places’ success; …whether or not we’ll need more nuclear plants to facilitate clean electricity for our cars; …how the geopolitical landscape will change if Better Place makes it possible for us to ‘just say no’ to Middle Eastern and Venezuelan oil; and much, much more.
Claudine Jones - Jul 23, 09 - 1:31 pm
Hi there! Just to be clear: my son & I have jointly used all- electric vehicles, including the GM EV1, both GenI & GenII, and the RAV4EV, for 11 years. We have supplemented this use with high MPG vehicles such as Honda Civic for long-distance travel, but for the huge majority of the time, the 100 mile range is more than sufficient. We also have a 16 panel Kyocera solar array on our house which, when combined with a Time of Use meter from our Utility, further reduces our carbon footprint. The startup costs of these items over the last decade factoring in rebates, tax incentives, reduced or zero fuel expenditures, zero standard maintenance--no oil change, filters, etc.--has not been any more than a typical middle class family would spend. Add the unique position of being able to sell our RAV4EV TODAY for more than its ICE counterpart, even with 70K miles on the odometer and we're pretty happy. Can you sit on the pavement behind your car while it's running and still breathe?
Claudine & Sam (no "vroom vroom"--just "mmmmmmmmm")
members Electric Automobile Association and Plug-in America
Jill Buck - Jul 23, 09 - 2:48 pm
This is great information, Claudine! Thank you so much for sharing this with us, and I love the no-vroom mmmmmm. :) There's nothing better than first-hand testimonials to help us understand the practicality of EV's. I appreciate your comments!