This week I attended the Electric Drive Transportation Association's (EDTA) Conference & Exposition in DC.
Fuel cell, hybrid, battery and plug-in technologies were exhibited
along with vehicles of every size. A few industrial electric vehicles
slightly larger than golf carts were present along with Smith Electric
Vehicle's 19,500 lb. GVW, all-electric, plug-in delivery truck. It's
hard to imagine a vehicle the size of a UPS truck with zero emissions,
virtually no noise and a range of 140 miles.
The breadth of the development effort in this space is impressive. In addition to the heavily reported Chevrolet Volt and Tesla's sports coupe, there are very advanced Mitsubishi and Nissan all-electric cars in development along with Miles Electric Vehicle's five-passenger car built on a chassis from China.
Better Place reported on their efforts to deploy electric recharging sites and pre-charged battery swap facilities that function as service stations for electric vehicles. Hawaii and several Bay Area communities have committed to the deployment of recharging facilities. Internationally, Israel, Denmark and Australia are moving forward with electric vehicle recharging facilities.
By recharging electric vehicles at off-peak hours, the carbon footprint and cost of vehicle operation are dramatically reduced versus internal combustion engines.
On December 2nd, EDTA hosted a Ride & Drive Event on 9th Street for conference participants to drive and ride in these vehicles. The irony is that the Drive & Ride took place just blocks from the Capitol — as the Big Three automakers pleaded their case for a bailout, again, before Congress.