One of the best parts of the Plug In 2014 Conference in San Jose, CA last week was getting to listen in on thoughts about the state of the plug-in vehicle industry from people who have been involved with it for ages. They bristle when you call them the "Old Guard" (learned that one the hard way), but these are the people who have been through a number of ups and downs with plug-in vehicles, so they've got what we call perspective.

Their knowledge was on full display in the three plenary sessions, which the Plug In Conference organizers have given us permission to share with you. Each is at least 90 minutes long, so make sure to set some time aside to enjoy the discussions after you download them (any help with making them streamable would be appreciated). Follow us below to see what we've got to offer.

Opening Plenary (audio link). "The Road Ahead – Delivering on a Vision for Sustainable Transportation." Moderated by Mark Duvall (director of energy utilization at EPRI, the Electric Power Research Institute, and a long-time EV advocate), this panel featured:
  • Jack Broadbent, Executive Officer / APCO, Bay Area Air Quality Management District
  • Pat Romano, President & Chief Executive Officer, ChargePoint, Inc.
  • Aaron Johnson, Senior Director, Customer Programs, Pacific Gas and Electric Company
  • Brendan Jones, Director, EV Sales Operations & Infrastructure Deployment, Nissan North America, Inc.
  • David W. Cash, Commissioner, MassDEP
  • Dan Sperling, Director, Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California, Davis
Highlights: Educating drivers to "get over the gas station" is a key strategy, how Level 2 and DC Fast Charging are really "a new paradigm," that there have been well over 214,000 EVs sold in US as of July 2014 and where Nissan sees huge potential for more EV sales (Northeast US and medium-size cities like St. Louis and Pittsburgh).

Wednesday Morning Plenary (audio link). "Getting to the Mass Market – A Discussion of Ideas for Widespread PEV Adoption." Moderated by John Gartner, research director for smart transportation at Navigant Research. With:
  • Matt Soloman, Transportation Manager, NESCAUM
  • Judy Mitchell, Mayor, City of Rolling Hills Estates, California
  • Justin Johnson, Deputy Secretary, Vermont Agency of Natural Resources
  • Tony Posawatz, President & CEO, Invictus iCAR LLC
  • Mark Duvall
Highlights: Discussion of the gas tax, how one Ford dealer in Vermont made selling C-Max Energi PHEVs a priority and catching up with former Fisker CEO Tony Posawatz. If you just want to hear that second segment, click through to around 1:07 in the audio file.

Closing Plenary (audio link). "The Last Word – A Discussion of Ideas to Advance Electric Transportation"
  • Moderator: Dan Bowermaster, program manager for electric transportation at EPRI. With:
  • Chelsea Sexton, Founder, Lightning Rod Foundation
  • Watson Collins, Manager, Research & Business Development, Northeast Utilities
  • Tom Turrentine, PH&EV Research Center, Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California, Davis
  • Edward Kjaer, Director, Transportation Electrification, Southern California Edison
Highlights: The idea of the EV industry being in a "sophomore slump" right now, how the power grid is advancing faster than the EVs are arriving and the fact that an EV's MSRP is not really all that important since most people lease, and those $199 leases are far lower than the average price of a new car lease in the US. During the Q&A, the audio gets a little low, since people were speaking without microphones, but we think you can get the gist.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 14 Comments
      gslippy
      • 4 Months Ago
      Did anyone discuss the wave of EVs now coming off lease at greatly depressed resale values? I'm seeing 3-year-old Leafs with 33k miles at $12k retail - that's about 68% depreciation off MSRP, or nearly 60% if you ignore the government incentive. The reduced range of these vehicles will hurt the EV market if mfrs don't come clean about how batteries degrade. There is no way I'll be buying my Leaf when its lease ends - not for the $18k the contract says.
      Workingman
      • 4 Months Ago
      What's up with the bottled water, Chelsea Sexton?
        Ryan
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Workingman
        They are in a drought... There are plenty of other people that still buy and offer bottled water at these types of events. It is probably not right to go off on them in their face, but the whole culture has changed since bottled water was marketed. And not for the better.
          Spec
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Ryan
          Yeah, they tend to give it out at events like this . . . especially for speakers.
          Ziv
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Ryan
          They are talking about something as important as electric cars and you want to complain about bottled water. OK. It may be overpriced but it is pretty far down the food chain of priorities.
      Spec
      • 4 Months Ago
      Why don't the damn electric utilities do something to encourage adoption? They have much to gain, yet they seem to be doing almost nothing to encourage adoption of plug-ins?
        Ryan
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Spec
        My Dad got a free level 2 EVSE charger from his utility. That is pretty impressive and should happen more.
          Spec
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Ryan
          Yes . . . this! They should ALL do this . . . or at least provide a $400 credit or something. The PG&E site on EVs is lame: http://www.pge.com/myhome/environment/whatyoucando/electricdrivevehicles/pevbasics/
        paulwesterberg
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Spec
        My utility has a bunch of free level 2 chargers around town and one chademo(also free), but I doubt that many people outside of ev owners know that they are free. The company could do a much better job of touting this charging network by giving dealers maps and pamphlets.
        mustang_sallad
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Spec
        Uh, the entire Plug In 2014 conference is organized by EPRI, a non-profit organization funded by utilities, and the conference sponsors include a number of very large utilities that are very active in promoting the adoption of EVs, figuring out innovative ways of supporting the charging of EVs, and simply incorporating large EV fleets into their own operations. A bunch of them offer EV-specific electricity rates that give you a discount over basic rates, provided you charge off-peak. You're valid point that they have much to gain is not recognized by all utilities, but your blanket statement ignores the efforts of some very bright and influential people who are having very positive impacts on EV adoption.
          mustang_sallad
          • 4 Months Ago
          @mustang_sallad
          *your...
          Spec
          • 4 Months Ago
          @mustang_sallad
          Well, if I go to the PG&E web site, there is nothing there to really encourage EV adoption. There is a TOU rate for EVs but that is a bit too complicated for most people to understand and there is an explanation of what EVs are. But there should be something like a credit to help get an EVSE installed at home and a list of contractors that can help you do it.
        gslippy
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Spec
        My utility doesn't offer off peak pricing, and instead sends me monthly notices about how I'm using more electricity than my neighbors (thanks to my Leaf). I don't really car (since the vehicle is so cheap to operate), but they're not very supportive.
        Marco Polo
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Spec
        @ Spec A very valid observation.
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