I am thrilled to be co-hosting the GRID Alternatives Plug In To Grid party featuring none other than electric cars and plug-in hybrids at the famed Google Solar Carport. You are invited to join us for an exclusive afternoon event that will undoubtedly leave you charged up about the future of clean cars and solar energy for all.
GRID Alternatives presents
Plug In To Grid Party
Sunday, May 31, 2009
1 pm - 4 pm
Mountain View, CA
- Hors d'oeuvres and cocktails
- EVs, plug-in hybrid conversions, and scooters
- Sports cars like the Tesla Roadster
- Ride and drives
- Prototypes by Stanford and PG&E
- Silent auction
- Remarks by industry experts
- Mingling with the who’s who of solar energy and clean cars
Space is limited. Reserve your ticket online or by calling:
Tracie Troxler at (510) 652-4730 x316
All proceeds benefit the nonprofit GRID Alternatives and their work to bring
solar energy to low income families.
Robyn Beavers, Hill Blackett III, Karen Decker, Loretta Gallegos, Mardina Graham, Kent Halliburton, Emilie Hung, Joseph Karp, Shuja Keen, Ron Lloyd, Ric Lucien, Gillian Moxey, Anthony Ravitz,
Special Thanks To:
Google, 3Prong Power, Electric Motorsport, Ethical Approach Electric Vehicle Center, Green Wheelin Scooters, Green Vehicles, CalCars, Lloyd Wise Motors, Make Mine Electric, New Belgium Brewery, Pacific Coast Motors, PG&E, Parducci Wine Cellars, Tesla Motors, Stanford Solar Car Project, Heart of Green
Google & Clean Cars:
Kudos are due to Google for their long-time support of clean cars, including giving employees an incentive to purchase hybrids, installing EV chargers at their campuses early on, and launching the RechargeIt program to further plug-in vehicle research.
About GRID Alternatives:
Since 2004, GRID Alternatives has been bringing solar electric systems to low-income families throughout Northern and Southern California. They have also trained over 2,030 community volunteers and job trainees on solar electric installation and provided them with opportunities to gain hands-on experience with real-world solar projects. www.gridalternatives.org
Back in the Day in Detroit:
My dream green car is a plug-in hybrid vehicle that I can charge up via solar panels. Now that would be living off the sun in a futuristic way. Allow me to go fast and far on battery power alone. No token battery assisting please. Enable me to sell stored power from my car battery back to my local utility too - Vehicle To Grid or V2G this is called.
I view the plug-in as a wonderful bridge car, a bridge from the world of gas-powered to electric-powered transportation. For most trips around town, you could scoot on pure electric power. Then, when you would need to drive to Vegas suddenly, you could flip to the internal combustion engine. This is the best of both worlds. My experience at GM showed me that you have to offer this drive-to-Vegas-ability, even if a consumer is never going to use it. Range matters, especially if a car is going to cost at or above the market price of a similar non-EV model.
You also have to give consumers the ability to charge up the car anywhere, not just at fancy rapid EV-charging stations that sound good at press conferences. A household plug has to work as well. Extra extension cords would be nice. Any new garage should be built with sockets near every parking spot. This will help us avoid the infrastructure chicken-and-egg. Make sure the car has 4 seats plus trunk space, emphasize the rapid acceleration due to instantaneous torque (an unrestricted EV can beat a Ferrari any day), and provide a government tax incentive for purchasing one – and we will be well on our way to whirling around town.
Of course, the car has to look darn good, and it is all about the batteries ultimately. Battery technology will determine the future of EVs, and I am still holding out hope for a cost-effective, lithium-based, large-scale automotive battery. Weight and drag also matter. To get the best range performance for our batteries, we need sexy aerodynamic cars made from high-strength, lightweight materials.
On the upcoming clean car front, two vehicles I am particularly excited about are the Mini-E EV and the Aptera 2e. The third generation 2010 Prius model is rumored to have both an Eco Mode that reduces acceleration (less fun) and an EV mode that allows drivers to go up to 25 mph via the battery electric motor alone. The Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE also has 111 teams registered from 25 states and 11 countries, all competing to exceed 100 MPGe and win a $10 million prize.
In five years, we should be able to buy a plug-in version of every car on the market today. This just makes sense. Raising average American fuel economy standards to 35 mpg by 2020 is nice, but let’s make and drive plug-in models that get 100 mpg each. See the cool real-world results of Google’s RechargeIt test drives here. 93.5 mpg is the average high to date. China is already requiring fuel economy standards of 43 mpg in 2009.
Modular production at car companies would be a partial panacea for current ills. Build cars from a consolidated number of global platforms and be able to swap out body styles and propulsion systems, such as battery electric motors, plug-in hybrid technology, and more. This would enable consumer choice and economics of scale, which are critical to economically-viable automobile manufacturers. To generate funds, small car companies can have aggressive technology licensing plans in place to sell their cleantech to the big car companies who need it the most.
I look forward to the day when I can drive my plug-in vehicle around the San Francisco Bay Area. In the meantime, come to the GRID Alternatives party on May 31 at Google and experience the best of breed in action. Don’t forget your G-force-suit just in case an EV shows off and goes 0 – 60 mph in 3.6 seconds.
For related posts, please see Clean Cars - Heart of Green