US: CEOs launch electrification 'coalition'

By just-auto.com editorial team | 17 November 2009

More than a dozen business leaders - including Carlos Ghosn, President & CEO of Nissan Motor Company; David W. Crane, President & CEO of NRG Energy; and Frederick W. Smith,  Chairman, President & CEO of FedEx Corporation - have come together to form the 'Electrification Coalition'.

The coalition is described as a non-partisan, not-for-profit organisation committed to promoting policies and actions that will facilitate the deployment of electric vehicles on a mass scale in order to combat the economic, environmental, and national security vulnerabilities caused by dependence on petroleum.

As its first official act, the coalition released the 'Electrification Roadmap', a report detailing the dangers of oil dependence, explaining the benefits of electrification, describing the challenges facing electric cars, and providing specific policy proposals to overcome those challenges.

PRTM, a global management consulting firm, provided market analysis and technical input for the Roadmap, including detailed modeling on vehicle costs.

"It is time for business leaders and policymakers alike to step up," Smith said.

"Our unrelenting dependence on oil has threatened our nation for too long. Up to now, electrification seemed like a pipe dream. But we are offering a realistic, practical, achievable plan to build a transportation system that will enhance our national security, propel economic growth, and reduce carbon dioxide emissions."

The Electrification Roadmap presents a specific vision: By 2040, 75 percent of light-duty vehicle miles traveled in the United States should be electric miles. As a result, oil consumption in the light-duty fleet would be reduced by more than 75 percent, and US crude oil imports could effectively be reduced to zero.

"The first electric vehicles will be delivered in 12 months," Ghosn said.
"The widespread acceptance of zero emission cars will require more than the efforts automakers can provide on their own. Public and private collaboration will be the key to mainstream acceptance."

Among its recommendations, the Roadmap proposes the creation of electrification 'ecosystems,' geographic areas in which all of the elements of an electrified transportation system are deployed, thus providing a crucial first step toward moving electrification beyond a niche product into a 'dominant, compelling, and ubiquitous concept'.

"It is absolutely crucial that all of the key elements of an electrified transportation system are introduced in a highly coordinated fashion and in a way that is effective, affordable, and appealing to actual American consumers," Crane said. "Introducing all of the separate elements, from cars to infrastructure, simultaneously in select communities across the country will move electrification beyond the early adopters; policymakers will witness the national benefit derived from a new kind of transportation system while consumers will benefit firsthand from a new kind of driving experience."

In addition to electrification ecosystems, the Roadmap proposes specific policies in the following areas: Batteries and Vehicles; Charging Infrastructure; Electric Power Sector Interface; and Consumer Acceptance

                Members of the Electrification Coalition

 Timothy E. Conver, Chairman, President & CEO, AeroVironment, Inc.
 Peter L. Corsell, CEO, GridPoint, Inc.
 David W. Crane, President & CEO, NRG Energy, Inc.
 Kevin Czinger, President & CEO, Coda Automotive
 Peter A. Darbee, Chairman, CEO & President, PG&E Corporation
 Seifi Ghasemi, Chairman & CEO, Rockwood Holdings, Inc.
 Carlos Ghosn, President & CEO, Nissan Motor Company, Ltd.
 Ray Lane, Managing Partner, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers
 Richard Lowenthal, Founder & CEO, Coulomb Technologies, Inc.
Alex A. Molinaroli, Chairman, Johnson Controls-Saft and President, Johnson Controls Power Solutions
 Reuben Munger, Chairman, Bright Automotive, Inc.
 Frederick W. Smith, Chairman, President & CEO, FedEx Corporation
 David P. Vieau, President & CEO, A123 Systems, Inc.