My parting line included a reference to alternative energy and environment. Some of you know that I have been taking part in the World Economic Forum efforts around climate change, where I focused mainly on topics revolving around transportation. In particular I am interested in a framework for wide deployment of electric vehicles.
The assumption that I am working under is that electric vehicles will become a reality within a short time frame, and will be cheaper to operate within a short time. The cost of acquisition which is higher than a normal internal combustion car, will offset with various operational costs, taxes and emissions credits. The question remains - how do you build a complete solution for all constituencies related to the electric vehicle:
- The consumer needs to feel comfortable driving an electric car with a ubiquitous charging infrastructure.
- The grid needs to support the new load from this moving electrical appliance.
- Municipalities need to get a ready made package for city and regional wide deployment of electric vehicle.
If you followed the history of the introduction of electricity through the first appliance - the electric light bulb - you know that there were three main players in the story: Edison, Tesla and Westinghouse. There is a great book about the topic called Empires of Light you might want to read even if you are not an electricity buff. In any case, Tesla invented most of the essentials for the common grid we know and love today. The guy who deployed it in mass scale though was Westinghouse, which is the role we need in this new electric revolution - the business guy who deploys with the highest efficiency and best business approach. If Tesla Motors are the modern day Tesla, my hope is to play the role of Westinghouse, or some small part of that role.
In any case the framework is a fascinating issue to deal with. It is a problem of immense proportions, and lots of current consumer inertia to overcome. No one said I don't like big challenges. If you have any relevant ideas, know of some innovative companies in the field, we are looking at one of the most massive deployment efforts and would love to hear of any new idea.