Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Plug-In 2009

Must look at tracker of the electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles in development now: here. Lots of cool cars in the pipeline!

On Tuesday evening I attended the "Plug-In 2009" electric vehicles (EV) conference public night at the Long Beach Convention Center. Carrie met me there (hooray for an interested friend!) and we got to the exposition floor with about 30 minutes until the discussion started. It ended up being busier and a bit larger than I had expected. AV had a large booth set up showcasing charging stations and a hybrid drive test system. I ended up chatting with the AV sales rep for awhile and didn't leave much time to check out the cars on display. So in the last few minutes I just quickly snapped pictures of anything that was shiny. (slide show at the bottom)

The discussion was interesting and exceeded my (kinda low) expectations as far as being engaging. The panelists were: Chris Paine the documentary director of "Who killed the electric car" Chelsea Sexton an EV activist ever since the EV-1, and of course Bill Nye is "The Science Guy" who has one of the Mini-Es. The first question was very technical, about the P1772 connector. But the panel wasn't really there to debate engineering specifics so the discussion mercifully was directed back towards broader themes. There were some colorful characters and Bill Nye raised the ire of the dirty hippies (unbathed) in the room when he suggested that dirty hippies have unrealistic goals about what the environmentalism movement should try and achieve. Bill Nye comes off as genuine and likable as you'd expect. He appears to possibly have a bit of a love/hate relationship with his self proclaimed D list celebrity status. My arm chair psychoanalysis is that while he loves his career of promoting all things science he may feel a bit like a fraud, constantly being portrayed as an expert on subjects when really while he is a remarkable jack of all trades, he's not really an expert or accomplished 'scientist' in any given field. (perhapds accomplished engineer but not 'scientist') Anyhow, he's still out making science fun and easy for people to understand, and he was on TV when I was 13 and that's awesome.

Something else that I found kind of interesting about the EVs on display is that their installs were a little bit ... kludgey. As in not very different at all from what I helped wire up at Anuvu Inc. in 2003. The installs are just square boxes packed full of electronics wedged in where a gas engine used to be. The built from the ground up plug-in and 100% electric vehicles will hopefully have much more elegant integrations of the drive systems. (After a short search I found the obituary for Anuvu. I'm glad I went to work for Cliff instead of taking the job there full time after the internship! Interesting comments)

The Tesla Model S - WANT!

Hydrogen is really on the back burner these days.
(gotta love how you can find a headline that matches any point you're trying to make) With nearly all research money going into plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles, hydrogen fuel cell cars will not arrive any time "in the next 10 years" that they were talking about 10 years ago. The point was made that this doesn't have to be an either-or proposition however. And that people adopting electric cars in large numbers would only help the hydrogen technology when it comes finally becomes available.


  1. Totally should go for the motorcycle:

    Mission Motors
    Mission One EV

  2. Haha $70k for a motorcycle that looks like it came from a Will Smith movie? I'll take the Tesla S and 6kW of photovoltaics for my $70k thank you!