Former governor of New York George Pataki visited the Washington Auto Show today and set an ambitious target during the morning's opening plenary session. How ambitious? Um, he called for electric vehicles (EVs) to grow to 40 percent of the new vehicle market by 2020. Yes, 40 percent. In ten years. In other words, way, way higher than anyone else is seriously suggesting will happen. Pataki told AutoblogGreen that:
It is an ambitious goal, but I also think it is achievable. The key here is to end our overreliance on foreign oil, and to do that we need to break the transportaion monopoly of petroleum products providing fuel, which is currently the case. One of the best ways, I believe, technologically and from a market standpoint, to do that is through electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles.
A minor market penetration by EVs, say just three or seven percent, would be a failure he said. Forty percent must be the target because:
It's an aspirational goal. Look as what the iPod did to CDs in ten years to CDs. CD sales have plummeted because a new technology has, in major ways, replaced it. Electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles have the potential to be that disruptive. The opportunity exists for us to do far more than make incremental addition to the non-petroleum-fueled fleets and do something that is truly transformative.
Think that iPods are an unfair comparison? Pataki said that just one company worked on the iPod, but an entire industry is working on plug-in vehicles, in some cases for decades. In fact, the Electric Drive Transportation Association (EDTA) is celebrating their 20th anniversary this week during the show. Where will we be on the group's 30th birthday party? Hmmm.

Last week, it was announced that Pataki would lead a Next Generation Vehicles practice withing the international law firm of Chadbourne & Parke LLP. More details on that after the jump.

[Source: Gov. Pataki, Green Car Congress]

PRESS RELEASE

Chadbourne Jump-Starts "Next Generation Vehicles"
New Practice Reinforces Firm's Status as Leader in Green Initiatives

January 21, 2010

The international law firm of Chadbourne & Parke LLP announced today that it has formed a Next Generation Vehicles practice. The multi-disciplinary team will be led by former New York Governor George E. Pataki and partner Chaim Wachsberger, chair of the Firm's highly regarded project finance practice.

"Chadbourne has historically represented start-up clients in new industries and technologies worldwide and has helped them to grow. Our experience in so many aspects of green technology and what we think of as the 'green' in the firm's DNA helped us to see the potential in this transportation initiative," said Chadbourne Managing Partner Charles K. O'Neill. "We will be able to provide comprehensive advice to clients who want to get involved in building, financing or investing in next generation vehicles and their components."

Governor Pataki and Mr. Wachsberger will spearhead a group that is a natural outgrowth of Chadbourne's relevant green expertise in its corporate, venture capital, private equity, capital markets, renewables, project finance, regulatory, climate change, environmental and intellectual property practices.

For more information on Chadbourne's Next Generation Vehicles practice.

"We expect that the same entrepreneurial and socially responsible spirit and governmental policies that once created the independent power industry and more recently have been building the renewable power industry where, in both cases, Chadbourne is a market leader will also take root in the next generation vehicle business," said Governor Pataki. "Our status internationally as a leading law firm in renewables coupled with our strengths in infrastructure and infrastructure investment and in private equity make us uniquely suited to play a significant role."

Mr. Wachsberger added that the practice will help find a solution to a number of problems that the world is grappling with -- such as climate change and the need for energy security. "Wind, geothermal and solar energy alone will not solve the world's oil dependency problem," he said. "Almost two-thirds of American oil use is tied directly to transportation as is a large percentage in other countries. To really fix this, the world needs to aggressively embrace the next generation of vehicles."

Chadbourne was a sponsor at a recent conference in Detroit, "The Business of Plugging In," where Governor Pataki moderated a keynote panel. The Governor and other Chadbourne attorneys will speak about clean cars and clean tech topics at three upcoming conferences in Washington DC, Israel and San Francisco. The practice will work with manufacturers, parts suppliers, government agencies, power producers, lenders and other financiers and trade associations on a range of legal needs relating to next generation vehicles.

The firm's traditional strengths in project finance, energy, venture capital and private equity, and its involvement in the evolution of the U.S. independent power industry, led Chadbourne to become an early entrant and pioneer of the renewables industry. The firm is widely recognized for its role in the wind energy, ethanol, solar and geothermal industries. Chadbourne has been deeply involved with the U.S. Department of Energy's Loan Guarantee Programs for innovative and renewable energy projects under the Stimulus Act and represents prospective users of the DOE programs. The firm has had a climate change practice since 2008 and assists corporations, insurers and reinsurers, entrepreneurs, investors, lenders and funds in developing and executing climate change strategies
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