Electric vehicles and smart grid at Green:Net 2010
I was able to attend the Green:Net 2010 conference on thursday. The conference is about clean technology, and is held yearly by the company that runs the earth2tech website and has a staff of analysts doing analyst reports. This conference is targeted to industry leaders and venture capitalists. They have a focus on silicon valley and the entrepreneurial stuff going on here.
Most of the presentations were on the smart grid - and the investing/business opportunities there. There's a huge potential, they say, in developing technology whose goal is to eliminate waste from the system. There's a lot of waste going on, and each form of waste is a business opportunity to build a better gizmo. In any case all the smart grid presentations discussed electric vehicles in passing.
I've written up two articles about these presentations:
I came away from this pretty alarmed. There was a panel discussion where a couple utility companies discussed their vision of how electric vehicles would be recharged. It's a rather different model than how we recharge gas cars. Rather than having kiosks where you directly pay for recharge, the model would be to put the recharging costs on your home electricity bill. And they went on to discuss complications if you're recharging your EV outside the utility service area that your home is in, and that there might have to be roaming arrangements.
I found that model alarming. I'd rather there was a system where you could park next to a kiosk and pay a fee right then and there to recharge the EV. This would be the same model we have with gas cars, and that's a model which works pretty well. Why should it be different for EV's?
FWIW the California Public Utilities Commission has some rulemaking proceedings going on about this issue: