New Groundbreaking Book About the Electric Car to Hit the Market October 1, 2010 – JOLT! The Impending Dominance of the ELECTRIC CAR Why America Must Take Charge
I had the pleasure of being sent a fascinating book written by James Billmaier that I could not put down! I’m not a technology person, nor that interested in the auto industry other than I like driving a fuel efficient safe car. But when I began reading the book -Jolt! The Impending Dominance of the Electric Car -I felt a sense of optimism and excitement about educating the typical car consumer about the crucial importance of the Electric Car. Yes, we have all heard about them, we have seen them demonstrated on TV, but our image is that of the old glamorized golf cart that you need to plug in and you will not have the capability of going a far distance. Yes, we all understand that we as a nation we have too much dependence on foreign oil. Yes, we will understood the ecological and financial damage caused by the BP oil spill.
But, how many of us are running out to put in our orders for an electric car. Not too many. I had never even considered it
until I read Jolt!
This book explains in terms we all can understand why the electric cars being developed today makes ecological , political and financial sense. Why we need to push our car manufacturers and political leaders to make our highways accessible to them.
We don’t have to sacrifice comfort to do so.
The author James Billmaier sheds light on so many crucial issues that I contacted him for this Q and A.
I thank him for his time and for publishing a book that will undoubtedly be a best seller, but more importantly will have a major impact on our country!
Q: Explain a little about your background
A. I was born and raised in “Silicon Valley” CA. Graduate of Santa Clara University. Originally a math teacher but quickly jumped aboard the computer revolution. I have held many strategy and executive roles in high-tech systems and software companies including Digital Equipment Corporation (now part of HP), MIPS Computer Systems (worked with MIPS founder John Hennessy who is now president of Stanford University), was VP/GM of Sun Microsystems Networking Division working for Ed Zander (recent CEO and Chairman of Motorola), was recruited by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen to run Asymetrix, the company Paul founded after leaving Microsoft. As CEO, I built Asymetrix to the point of taking it public (IPO-1998). Started a second company with Paul Allen, Digeo and built and ran it for 5 years, winning two EMMY awards for technical excellence. For the last 5 years I ran (Chairman and CEO) Melodeo a venture backed software company that built the leading cloud based streaming media platform for web and mobile. Melodeo was recently acquired by the Hewlett Packard Corporation. I have been interested in alternative energy related solutions for 30 years and have been working on the JOLT project for over 2 years.
Q: When did you get inspired to write about the Electric Car and why America needs to ‘take charge”
A: A few years ago some colleagues and I, all computer-technology veterans from Silicon Valley’s earliest days, were discussing the state of world affairs. We agreed that while we had helped build technologies and industries that have provided a transformational foundation for the planet and its people, we sure had left our kids with a lot of daunting challenges.
Wouldn’t it be nice, we asked, if we could actually do something to eliminate at least one of these problems?
But where would we start? What could we do?
After much discussion, we agreed energy independence was the biggest threat to America’s national security. We agreed that the United States could no longer afford to rely on overseas oil to power its economy. Dependence on foreign petroleum is simply too expensive—from a strategic perspective, an economic perspective, and a national security perspective. The U.S. sends hundreds of billions of dollars overseas each year to support our insatiable need for oil, much of which comes from countries that despise us. We also spend hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars annually to protect that oil—and not just for us, but for the rest of the world as well.
But we couldn’t do anything about it, could we?
I am pretty sure it was somewhere around the second bottle of wine that we concluded that yes we could. And yes we would.
How? We would do what we have always done. We would find a better technology.
Lucky for us, that technology appeared to already exist—in the form of the electric vehicle. We decided to check it out, to see if the technology met our expectations. If it did, we would work to transform the nation’s transportation system from one based on oil to one based on electricity, which is made here in America. Replacing the cars we drive would go a long way toward helping the U.S. achieve energy independence and increased national security—not to mention boosting our economy and helping the planet along the way.
So after 30 years in the computer systems and software technology industries, I changed tack. I had always been interested in energy issues. Even before leaving my post as a math teacher and entering the computer industry in 1980, I had followed early-generation electric vehicle advances, hydrogen fuel cell research, and battery and other energy storage developments.
But after that night I dove in headfirst. For the past two years I have spent much of my time studying all aspects of the next-generation electric vehicle (EV). And I have come to understand that we’re looking at a technology and economic revolution bigger than the computer and Internet revolutions combined.
The internal combustion engine is dying. Its death throes may take 20 years, but make no mistake: the end is coming. And that’s an excellent thing, since as you’ll read in JOLT!, EVs represent a better, faster, and cheaper mode of transportation. Ending our nation’s reliance on foreign oil and helping the planet along is great. But the real reason EVs will come to dominate the personal transportation market—cars, SUVs, vans, and pick-up trucks—over the next couple of decades is that they make financial sense to the consumer. Bottom line: they are cheaper to operate and maintain than gas-powered vehicles. (And as you’ll learn, they’re an absolute blast to drive.) Just as consumers ultimately powered the computer and Internet revolutions, consumers will propel the EV revolution as well. Americans will adopt EVs in overwhelming numbers—in the process driving yet another paradigm shift of massive proportions.
Electric vehicles also offer a phenomenal business opportunity. While the Internet represents an annual $1 trillion market worldwide, legendary Silicon Valley venture capitalist John Doerr has projected that EVs and the associated energy market will be six times bigger, accounting for $6 trillion a year worldwide. Speaking before a Senate committee in 2009, Doerr told members that energy technology “is the mother of all markets, perhaps the biggest economic opportunity of the twenty-first century.”
And the electric vehicle is a Dream Car. EVs are good for us individually. They’re good for us as a nation. And they’re good for the planet.
Q: What are some of the highlights from your book that you feel are crucial for the average American to be aware of?
A: The Electric Vehicle as the mode of personal transportation is happening whether we like it or not…and we will like it very much. Electric Cars are better, faster, and cheaper. They are a blast to drive…some call it addictive. I have seen and experienced these paradigm shifts before in both the computer and internet revolutions…when a technologies time has come, it is unstoppable. Consumers grab on and its off to the races. And the EV and its associated clean energy technologies are bigger than both the computer and internet revolution combined. The question for America is; are we going to lead this technological, financial and social revolution as we have with all of the others? This time China will be a formidable competitor. The US can and should lead…it is up to us…I believe we will.
Q: How do you feel the ‘political’ world will react to your book?
A: The shift and opportunity that JOLT identifies transcends party politics…its an American issue and opportunity. I believe the observations this book makes and the opportunities it identifies will be embraced by leaders from both/all parties.
Q: What tangible changes are you seeking by publishing this book?
A: I want Americans to embrace this technology shift as we have done so well with previous technological shifts. I want Americans to demand that our leaders put policies in place that encourage, not just the adoption of Electric Cars, but also that the research and innovation and manufacturing of this technology be lead by the United States. The Electric Car is the “Killer App”…the leading edge…that will ignite the entire alternative energy revolution thereby ensuring US national and financial security for generations to come.
Q: Why do you feel it has taken car manufactures and govt policy so long in moving in this positive direction of providing alternative energy sources?
A: With all technological revolutions there are years, usually decades of work that precede the initial market impact…the tipping point of acceptance. The computer and the internet were 25+ years in the making before they enjoyed “over-night success”. When the necessary technologies cross the acceptance threshold of price, performance, reliability, and safety, it becomes unstoppable. This is now the case for the Electric Car, the batteries, motors, materials, and infrastructure are all superior to the internal combustion alternative. And the comparative rates of improvement will cause the superiority gap to widen at a rapid pace.
Q: Since Europe is better equipped for consumer electric car use, how long would it take America to catch up and provide electric car re-charging stations along our major highways? People fear that they will only be able to go limited distance?
A: I don’t think Europe is better equipped. It turns out that the vast majority of motor vehicle trips in the US are under 40 miles, well with in the 100+ mile range of the pure Electric Cars coming to market starting this fall. Additionally, consumers who still have “range anxiety” can always purchase an extended range plug-in vehicle like the GM Volt, which can go 40 miles using the electric motor (90%+ of their driving) which is far cheaper and cleaner to operate and maintain. After the 40 miles of electric energy are used up, the gas powered generator kicks in for longer range. As for the charging infrastructure, our current electric grid is one of the best in the world and can accommodate up to 185M cars without adding any new capacity. Those 185M cars would use energy MADE in the USA, instead of importing oil from countries who fund terrorism. Some public charging infrastructure has already been deployed and much more is being built as we speak with many cities and states installing thousands of stations now. With a concerted national effort and not at a huge expense, we can have a US wide public charging infrastructure built out in less than 3 years.
Q:Would the taxpayer be charged to have these stations placed across the country?
A: No. Charging stations, like gas stations, pay for themselves through consumer usage. The consumer gets a great deal because electric miles are WAY cheaper than paying $50 every time you fill up your tank with gasoline. Today, American taxpayers are funding over $100B a year in military expenditures to protect oil and gas pipelines and to fund oil and gas exploration. If you add this hidden taxpayer cost to your next fill-up, you will realize your actual cost per gallon is more like $5.28 per gallon. To level the playing field and ultimately eliminate this subsidy, I am proposing that we put an import tax on the oil we buy from OPEC nations. This single act would fund every aspect of America’s transition to electric transportation including consumer vehicle purchase incentives, providing business incentives for those who build out charging infrastructure or build batteries, and University and National Labs alternative energy and electricity storage research. Once we have converted to electric transportation, we can use energy MADE in the USA to power our vehicles and we will no longer need to buy oil from countries who don’t like us very much.
Q: What percentage of our dependency on oil would be reduced if we were a country where at least 40% of Americans drove electric cars?
A:If 40% of the American automobile fleet of 250M cars were replaced with Electric Cars, we could completely eliminate the need to buy oil from the Middle East.
Q:Why do you feel most politicians have not pushed this alternative?
A: In fairness to politicians, and the seven previous US presidents who made speeches about creating a secure energy future for America, the technology was not ready. The technology is now ready and our leaders from all sides of the aisle should rapidly chart a course that boosts our economic future and frees us from of dependency on foreign oil…if our local, state and federal leaders do not seize this opportunity at this time for our country, they should be held accountable. That being said, lets not just leave this to our elected officials…every American can help in this effort. If you are considering the purchase of a new car, make sure it has a plug.
Q: Can you describe the ‘cost savings’ of the typical driver if they owned an electric car
A: JOLT! the book has some very good charts and graphs on this. An Electric Car is much cheaper to own and operate. “Fueling” an Electric Car costs about the same as running your refrigerator…its equivalent to getting about 150 miles per gallon…and that is if gasoline stays below $3 per gallon. As far as maintenance is concerned, an Electric Car never needs an oil change or a tune up or a smog check and the brake pads last about twice as long (an Electric Car uses the motor to slow the car instead of the brake pads…braking an Electric Car actually creates electricity and puts it back into your batteries.)
Q: How reliable are the cars being manufactured today?
A :Electric motors are far more reliable than internal combustion engines. That is why locomotives, cruise ships, submarines, and other systems that require the highest reliability use electric motors. Electric Cars have about one-third the number of moving parts as compared to an internal combustion engine car…moving parts equal maintenance costs.
Q: Who do you feel the leader in the car industry will be for electric cars over the next decade?
A: Right now Japan, Korea and China combined are outspending the US by 5 to 1. China, in particular, as a nation has a laser focus on this industry. China’s stated goal is to be the worldwide leader in the design and manufacture of Electric Cars. They believe that this is their chance to elevate their country from a recognized leader in manufacturing to a leader in innovation, providing the next generation of cars and associated technologies to the world…at the expense of America’s position as the innovation leader. America has a culture of innovation and creativity. America knows how to design and build things. We have relinquished some of this over the past few decades…now its time to take it back. I predict by the end of this decade that the United States of America will be the leading innovator AND manufacturer of Electric Vehicles, advanced batteries and other energy storage devices, and alternative electric energy production. The American Dream Team is back.
Q: Do you ever envision that one day all consumers will own at least 1 electric car?
A: Absolutely. It is not that far away. Children being born on this day will take their drivers test in an Electric Car. When those children enter college in 2030, they will take a history course that will scoff at those old timers who used petroleum to power their cars.
Q: Describe how this will not only significantly cut back on our oil dependency but on the environment?
A: 97% of US vehicle transportation is powered by gasoline. Two-thirds of the 21 million barrels of oil we consume each and every day is imported from beyond our boarders. Automobiles are the single largest contributor to the greenhouse gases that effect our planet’s climate. Every transportation mile we replace with electricity, reduces our need to import oil. Even in the worst case scenario in regions of the country where much of the electricity being generated is from coal, electric cars still produce less CO2 than their internal combustion counterpart. However, as we replace our energy production methods from coal to natural gas, nuclear, wind or solar, Electric Car miles get cleaner. Internal combustion engines only get dirtier and less efficient with as they grow older.
Q: Do you feel car manufactures are placing enough R and D into the electric car?
If no- why do you feel that?
If yes- explain
A: Nissan has essentially bet their company on battery powered Electric Cars and by the way, they are going to build many of those cars in the US. Tesla, a very impressive American start-up car company only builds Electric Cars. Ford and GM have their A-Teams working on their Electric Car projects. That said, if I were CEO of one of Ford or GM, I would put every R&D penny I could afford into the research and development of Electric Car (and truck) technology.
Q:How is legislation concerning the electric car doing on “The Hill”?
A: Every US president since Richard Nixon has called for our nation to chart a course for energy independence. We now have Republican, Democrat, and Independent Congressmen and Senators calling for the same. The motivations are varied; some want it for national security reasons, some for economic stimulation and some for environmental reasons. The stage is set and the technology ready. Even in this political climate, I believe the Electric Car represents a unifying issue for our country.
Q: Is there any pending legislation?
A: There is a federal tax incentive in place that can return up to $7,500 in a tax credit to the buyers of Electric Cars. Some states have additional incentives of up to $5000. Non-cash incentives are also in place such as allowing Electric Cars to drive as a single occupant in the HOV lanes. The DOE has given grants to encourage states and municipalities to install charging infrastructure. Stimulus money and other DOE grants have been targeted at advanced battery research and Electric Car product development and manufacturing. This is all good, but the fact remains that we are being outspent 5-to1 by China…10-to-1 when you adjust for the wage differential. JOLT! outlines several other business incentives that the country should deploy.
Q: Do you own or plan to purchase an electric car?
A: I have a Nissan Leaf on order and I am on the interest list for a Tesla Model S 4-door sedan. My 92 year old father was, at last report, the oldest American to have reserved a Leaf. And my brother is planning to buy a GM-Volt so we can do side-by-side comparisons. If you have not driven an electric car…you have to take a test drive. The Electric Car is to a gas powered car what an iPhone is to…well, maybe a rotary dial phone.
Q: Who are others who contributed to this book?
A: Many, many people helped with this project. My brother Dave, two years ago helped with the original Power Point presentation that served as the basis for this book…and he was a trusted advisor and editor throughout the entire process. Almost three years ago, my good friend and long time business colleague, Joe DiNucci re-introduced me to the state of the art in Electric Cars. Joe made many introductions and conducted some of the interviews and acted as a sounding board all along the way. Jon Broadus, an amazing graphic designer, took my rough sketches and created clear and concise charts and graphs. Richard Cumberford of Automotive Magazine kindly wrote a wonderful foreword. Dozens of people were interviewed for the book and lent me their significant domain expertise. The people at Azipan, Kate and Atiya helped in keep the project on track. And Lauren Cutherbert, a person with remarkable skills and attention to detail was indispensable throughout the writing to this book.
Q: How long did this book take to write?
A: Two years of research and noodling and 8 months of actual writing.
Q: Can you as one author make change through this book?
A: The Electric Car will dominate personal transportation regardless of this book. However, I believe this book can and will be a catalyst for a new American energy, ensuring our national security, boosting our economy and helping the planet along the way.
About the Author:
Thirty-year technology veteran and inventor James Billmaier has over eighty granted and pending patents to his credit. Jim currently sits on the Board of Directors of two venture-backed companies and is both an angel technology investor and limited partner in a Seattle based Venture Capital firm. He has served as Chairman and CEO of three companies, including Asymetrix, which he led to a successful IPO in 1998, and Digeo, Inc, which he started with Microsoft legend, Paul Allen. With Digeo, Jim became the only entrepreneur to ever win back-to-back EMMY awards for technical achievement. Jim acted as an advisor to Paul Allen, sitting as one of four members on his “President’s Council” for ten years.
Prior to moving to the Pacific Northwest, Jim was Vice President and General Manager of Sun Microsystem’s Networking Division, leading the efforts of Sun’s first Internet offerings, the development of TCP/IP (the backbone protocol of the Internet), and the introduction of the JAVA programming language to the world. He also held executive leadership positions at MIPS Computer Systems and Digital Equipment Corporation.
Published by: Advantage Media Group
Release Date: October 1, 2010
JOLT! will be available in hardback at most retail and online stores. The eBook version for Kindle, iPad, etc will be available at Amazon and Apple.
For More Information Contact: Karen Ammond- Publicist- KBC Media- email@example.com