Green Car Summit 2010

By Alleyn Harned | January 25, 2010 at 04:59 PM EST |
As a prelude to EDTA, on Monday 1/25/2010 Green Car Journal hosted a Green Car Summit on Capitol Hill to discuss realistic strategies to advance commercialization and adoption of next-generation clean fuel vehicles. This policy discussion highlighted and re-emphasized that green vehicles are more important today than ever.

The discussion included several Virginia players, as VW’s CEO Stefan Jacoby was on the panel, and Congressman Wolf attended in the audience. One general consensus items were that the U.S. and all countries realize we need to end our addiction to oil through improved vehicle technology.

Some basic items supported by the discussion were the advancement of shared standards, home charging, and that the automotive industry has a number of technological enhancements to be made.

While there was consensus on the real need to displace oil, and the real improvements in technology over the years, there was a wide range of opinion on electric drive vehicles as the solution among the manufacturers on the panel. From the vehicle manufacturers, Volkswagen sees improvements to the internal combustion engine, and alternative fuels in their TDI clean diesel engines as the realistic path forward and did not emphasize electric technology. Ford was an intermediate stage, with a realization that an electric-hybrid marketplace is a way to define growth. Nissan was a significant proponent of electric, with their LEAF Electric Car coming to market in the US in Q4 of this year, and expecting mass market electric cars to reach a 10% market share by 2020. CODA Automotive represented an “all in” for electric approach, although they reflected that the vehicles would impact, but not dominate the market in the short term.

The panel brought up imagery of the Zach Morris brick cell phones compared with today’s svelte internet enabled devices. Once market drivers such as cost, quality, and safety reach a certain level, the electric vehicle market share will likely expand rapidly. EV’s are more viable now than ever because of battery and microprocessor enhancements made over the last decade.