With all the dismal environmental news of late–from the nuclear crisis in Japan to the Republican attacks on EPA in Congress–it will be a pleasure this week to turn my attention to one of the most exciting developments on the sustainability front: the arrival of electric cars in the U.S.

To be sure, the sales figures so far for the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf are tiny–Chevy sold 281 Volts in February and Nissan sold fewer than 100 Leafs–but both vehicles are, for now, available only in limited quantities and locations. What’s more, there are few places outside of their homes for owners to charge the cars.

On Thursday, I’ll be moderating a free webinar on the charging issue for The Energy Collective. It’s called The eMobility Challenge: Electric Cars and How to Keep Them Charged, it’ll be held at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT, and your can sign up here. We’ll take questions from listeners throughout the hour. Here’s info on details and panelists:

Electric vehicles offer a major opportunity for more energy-efficient transportation, as well as reduced dependency on carbon-producing fuels. However, the cars themselves are only half the solution. We must create a new charging infrastructure to get those cars the power they need. 

In this webcast, The Energy Collective explores the challenge and opportunity of widespread EV adoption. Our expert panelists will discuss the various charging network options and their impact on the electric grid. Join us as we tackle these essential questions:

  • Will charging infrastructure precede EV adoption, or will adoption drive demand for infrastructure?
  • Is standardization of charging systems needed, or are clear “winners” emerging?
  • How will charging infrastructure be financed?
  • What changes to electric grids are necessary to accommodate EV charging?

Jim Greenberger is the Executive Director of NAATBatt, a trade association of companies in the advanced battery industry working to grow the market for advanced batteries in the United States, primarily in automotive and grid-connected energy storage applications. Prior to leading NAATBatt, Mr. Greenberger practiced law in Chicago for more than 25 years, most recently as a partner at Reed Smith LLP, where he led its cleantech practice group. He serves on the Executive Committee of the Illinois Wind Working Group and is the founder of the annual Midwest Energy Forum at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

Steve Rosenstock is the Manager of Energy Solutions at the Edison Electric Institute. For EEI, Steve works with member companies on the issues of appliance energy efficiency standards, building codes, national key accounts, Smart Grid, and Electric Transportation. He holds a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Maryland and is a registered Professional Engineer in the State of Maryland. He is a member of the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), and the Association of Energy Service Professionals.

Rob Peterson is the manager of Chevrolet Volt and Electric Vehicle Technology Communications for General Motors. His responsibilities include the creation and execution of the strategic communication plans for building awareness and acceptance of electric vehicles, such as the Chevrolet Volt, among consumers, industry stake holders, policy makers and NGOs. Peterson joined the Volt Development Team at its onset in May of 2006 and has remained a key member of the Global Electric Vehicle Development Leadership team since. Prior to his current assignment he was a Global Product and Brand manager in which he supported the cross-regional launches of several Cadillac and Hummer vehicles.

Luis Giron is responsible for Electromobility marketing at Siemens Energy’s Smart Grid Applications business in Raleigh, NC. Giron received an MBA from Duke University and a BS in microbiology from North Carolina State University. His prior experience includes marketing, research and development and manufacturing positions within Lenovo Group Limited and Diosynth Biotechnology. Siemens’ Electromobility group focuses on bringing smart solutions to the utility, industrial, municipal, fleet, automotive and residential customer markets.



Photo by designkryt.