EVS23: Things get started

EVS23, the 23rd major symposium on Electric Vehicles organized by the Electric Drive Transportation Association (EDTA) and the World Electric Vehicle Association (WEVA), began Monday morning in Anaheim, California with a series of addresses that set the stage for what will happen here over the next three days.
It is true that there were a series of press conferences on Sunday (and the public ride and drive), but the less said about me traveling out of the Midwest in some nasty, nasty weather, the better. All I'll say is that you all can blame icy roads and a lame taxi company for a lack of EVS23 updates from Sunday.

Anyway, opening remarks for EVS23 were delivered by Rick Kasper, the president and CEO of GEM. He introduced professor C.C. Chan from the University of Hong Kong (and the president of the Electric Vehicle Association of the Asia Pacific (EVAAP) and Robert Stüssi, the president of the European Association for Battery, Hybrid and Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles. I'm not sure how the welcome speakers were selected, but I don't think that it was an accident that Asia, Europe and the US were all represented. The electric vehicle market, which, for the EDTA and WEVA includes hydrogen, hybrids and pure-electrics, is a global one. Fitting for a global problem.

(continue after the jump for more on the EDTA opening session, including audio files)

Chan talked about the first EVS, which was held in Phoenix, Arizona in 1969 and he mentioned that upcoming symposiums will be international (EVS 24 takes place in Norway in May 2009, EVS 25 in China in 2010). Chan believes that the 21st Century will be the Century of the EV. This is not exactly a bold prediction, considering, but does give us a mental image, perhaps even a powerful meme, to take forward.

The highlight of the opening plenary session was the keynote address by James Goldstene, the executive officer of the California Air Resources Board. Goldstene talked about smog in the LA basin and CARB's role in trying to improve the air quality here. One highlight is that by the middle of the next decade, nearly half of the vehicles sold in California will meet PZEV stsandards. Goldstene talked about another revision to the ZEV mandate that is in the works, which will likely be discussed at CARB's meeting in February (we'll have more on this as we get closer to that date). Goldstene said that hydrogen fuel cells are ready for a bigger role in the legislation and that small battery-only cars (i.e., NEVs) are gaining in popularity. Plug-in cars will probably be mixed into the ZEV mandate as well. You can listen Goldstene's comments here.

CARB's 2050 plan, which tries to reduce greenhouse gases by 80 percent, envisions – surprise – a radically different fuel use set-up (only 11 percent of cars will be fueled solely by dinojuice, for example). Goldstene said, but didn't include in his slides, a mention that we also need to reduce driving to reach the emissions goal. Hey, now there's a 21st Century idea.

John Bryson, the president and CEO of Edison International, also spoke about Southern California Edison's plans for a smart grid (regular readers should be familiar with this, but if you need or want a refresher, give his talk a listen here) and confirmed that all of SCE's customers are expected to have a smart meter by 2013. Both Bryson and Susan Cischke, senior VP, sustainability, environment and safety engineering at Ford, mentioned that SCE and Ford would have a ceremony noting the hand-over of an Escape PHEV later in the day (I'll be posting on that event soon). Cischke also gave a rundown of Ford's green moves (are they bold?), again noting the PHEV development.

Terry Tamminen was also on hand (but not speaking) as Honda's third hydrogen-powered FCX retail customer. Tamminen joins the Spallino family and Q'orianka Kilcher in a small group willing to fork over good money for a hydrogen car.

You'll note that I didn't post audio of the entire plenary session. Unlike, say, the Santa Monica Alt Car Expo, where the public is invited, EVS23 is an industry event. Therefore, the EDTA doesn't allow full sessions to be broadcast/posted. The EDTA has given AutoblogGreen permission to post 15-20 minute chunks, and that's what we'll do throughout the week. Stay tuned.

(Click on any slide to enlarge)

slide for James Goldstene's presentation.

Slides for Susan Cischke of Ford (above and below)

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