Electric vehicle show sparks Silicon Valley interest

Published Jul 29, 2010 — 39 views

With Nissan and GM set to deliver new all-electric cars to U.S. consumers later this year (pictured at left), Californians are agog at the prospect of the exhaust- and noise-free vehicles swishing around on their highways and byways. Nowhere was that more apparent than at this week’s “Plug-in 2010” conference in Silicon Valley.

The aim of the July 26-29 event, according to its organizers, was “to provide attendees with the latest insights from experts on the technological advances, market research, and policy initiatives shaping the future of plug-in hybrid and electric transportation.” Conference attendees included automotive manufacturers, component suppliers, electric utilities, government agencies, academia, and the environmental community.

The event attracted more than 700 attendees and 42 exhibitors. Additionally, around 1,300 people showed up for an open-to-the-public Tuesday evening session featuring a lively panel discussion, conference organizers said.

The conference featured three plenary sessions, plus 21 breakout sessions and mini-panels devoted to topics such as “driving, connecting, and launching all the technologies required to move from the drawing board to the marketplace,” its organizers said. Additionally, there were two pre-conference workshops: one on battery, vehicle costs, and production; and the other on plug-in readiness for communities.

Naturally, the plug-in EVs and hybrids grabbed the spotlight like Captain Kirk visiting a Star Trek convention. These included the Chevrolet Volt, Ford Escape Hybrid, Mitsubishi i MiEV, Nissan LEAF, and 2010 Toyota Prius Plug-In.

Chevy Volt, Ford Escape Hybrid, Mitsubishi i MiEV, Nissan LEAF, Toyota Prius Plug-in
(click each image to enlarge)

In addition to showcasing these EV superstars, the event’s expo also featured the latest batteries, as well as other innovations associated with plug-in EVs, such as charging systems and their electricity infrastructure.

The highly popular open-to-the-public Tuesday evening panel discussion explored the challenges of crafting educational and entertaining messages about plug-in technology, and how the public can help shape a plugged-in future. Panelists included Mark Duvall, a director of the Electric Power Research Institute; Martin Eberhard, co-founder of Tesla Motors; Bill Nye, “The Science Guy”; Jessie Deeter, producer of “Who Killed the Electric Car?” and “Revenge of the Electric Car”; and Chelsea Sexton, former GM EV1 specialist and founder of The Lightning Rod Foundation.

Next year’s event, “Plug-In 2011,” will be held in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina, July 18-21 of 2011. Further details should eventually be available here. In the mean time, an announcement of next year’s event may be found here (pdf file).

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