SmartPower visited the Newseum on Tuesday, March 13, for a conversation about electric vehicles. The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES), formerly the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, hosted the Plug-in Electric Vehicles (PEV) Dialogue featuring a dynamic panel of energy experts, each with their own unique perspectives. Participants at the event discussed the many barriers consumers face as electric vehicles seek a stable position in the marketplace.
Mike Robinson, Vice President for Environmental, Energy and Safety Policy at General Motors, alluded to the Chevy Volt’s initial struggles, comparing them to those the Toyota Prius faced back when the hybrid car was introduced in 2001. The Prius has since bounced back, last year eclipsing the one million sales mark. Robinson expects the same to happen with the Volt, as soon as consumers recognize its potential to save drivers big bucks at the pump.
Though gridlock in Congress has slowed momentum for electric vehicles, it doesn’t mean we have to stall our engines waiting for the answers, at least not according to expert panelist Ed Kjaer, Director of Plug In Electric Vehicle Readiness at Southern California Edison. Kjaer and the other panelists stressed the importance of expanding public-private partnerships to ensure charging stations move beyond consumer’s homes — something Arizona SmartPower is already pursuing with its Electric Vehicle Stakeholder Meetings.
Using tactics discussed by panelists and attendees at the C2ES PEV Dialogue, American drivers will soon witness the vast opportunities created by the transformation of the automotive industry. And with more Chevy Volts and Nissan Leafs on the road, the U.S. can enter a post-petroleum economy — one that’s cleaner, safer and smarter.
For more information on the group’s findings, visit the C2ES website or read the report, An Action Plan to Integrate Plug-in Electric Vehicles with the U.S. Electrical Grid.