Five years ago, this motley crew known as "DontCrush.com", fresh from protests to stop the crushing of the Ford Think, Ford Ranger, GM EV1 and the Toyota RAV4 EV, met for a celebratory weekend retreat at the Mariposa County ranch of Dave Raboy and Heather Bernikoff. We needed to relaunch what had been a grassroots protest group, grown from the burning desire to prevent thousands of great electric cars from being destroyed by the very companies that built them, into an advocacy group that could help rebirth the modern EV. We really didn't know how we were going to do it, but we knew it had to be done. With the addition of a few key board members with very good strategic skills, we earned some serious clout within the federal and state legislative process, created a very effective outreach and education program, and to some degree, we convinced the car makers themselves that plug-in cars were part of their future.
Shown here are Ron Freund, Linda Nicholes, David Lane, Heather Bernikoff, Jennifer Krill, Sherry Boschert, Paul Scott, Ted Flittner, Lisa Rosen, Dave Raboy, Paul West, Mike Kane, Marc Geller, and Kevin Lyons. Not shown is Chelsea Sexton who unfortunately could not attend that weekend, but was Plug In America's first Executive Director.
We endured many frustrations along the way, but eventually, there were successes.
Of singular importance was the premiere screening at Sundance of "Who Killed the Electric Car?". Exiting the hot crowded theater into the freezing Park City night, the realization that we had such an amazing tool to use in getting the word out about electric cars gave me shivers above and beyond the cold air.
(This picture was taken minutes before we saw WKTEC? for the first time. Shown Left to right: Sherry Boschert, Marc Geller, David Lane, Howard Stein, Dave Raboy, Heather Bernikoff, Paul Scott, Zan Dubin Scott, Mike Kane, Ted Flittner, Jennifer Krill, Linda Nicholes, Colette Divine, J. Karen Thomas, Alexandra Paul, Dave Freeman, (?? Please help??), Butch Pash, Chelsea Sexton, Lynda Pash, and Earl Cox)
We knew this film would change things, but we didn't imagine it would become one of the most popular documentaries of all time. The EV movement owes Chris a lot for creating such a fine film, and we'll no doubt go deeper in debt when "Revenge of the Electric Car" releases in the spring.
Through Chelsea Sexton, we found a donor from the east coast who paid for hundreds of WKTEC? DVDs to be sent to all 50 Governors and all of the members of the House and Senate, including the staff of George Bush's White House. This was a significant donation that no doubt contributed to some key Representatives and Senators supporting plug-in vehicle legislation once Obama got elected. Jay Friedland's strategic legislative work helped seal the deal on $14.1 billion dollars in federal support for plug-in vehicles.
This is some of what Plug In America has done for the movement.
We continue to focus our efforts on dispelling myths about plug-ins and educating the public on the importance of this technology.
Virtually all of the reasons we need to make the transition to electricity and away from oil fall into three areas.
From the point you get your EV, unless you drive a lot of long distances, you will never give the oil companies another dime of your money.
Let that sink in.
Consider that you spend between $2,000 - $4000 every year for gas. Sixty percent of that money leaves the U.S., and 90% leaves our respective communities. We spend a billion dollars every day for foreign oil. This constitutes 45% of our national foreign deficit. A thousand million dollars every day, leaving our country instead of staying here, creating jobs and wealth for us.
When you get your EV, your part in that ends.
Think what good your money will do when it is instead spent on local goods and services, creating jobs for your friends and family instead of helping some freaking Saudi Prince buy a freaking palace.
When you get your EV, your part in that begins.
Health and the Environment.
Now, I know there's a lot of "controversy" over climate change, but the science is very clear that our atmosphere is warming, and energy (heat) added to the atmosphere causes more frequent and more intense storms. The only "scientists" in opposition to this position are paid by those who are heavily invested in maintaining the status quo - staying dependent on dirty carbon-based energy.
The costs of Katrina-type events, combined with record heat waves and snowfalls, will only increase.
With global population increasing by 85 million each day, the pollution problem grows right along with it. India and China are rapidly industrializing, building millions of cars and hundreds of coal plants. Peak oil is pretty much here, and its effects will likely be felt within two to three years. You can argue those time lines, but you'd be a fool to not plan for the worst.
According to the National Academy of Sciences, for every gallon of gas burned, there are 28 cents in health and pollution costs generated. University of Southern California Cancer Center published a report that documented thousands of cancer cases along the freeways and downwind of the refineries in Southern California.
None of these costs are paid by those who buy the gas.
According to a recent RAND study, we annually spend about $75-$80 billion to protect and gain access to foreign oil. This figure is exclusive of the war in Iraq.
When you buy a gallon of gas, you pay nothing for that.
We have never fought a war over electricity and we never will.
Broadly speaking, these are the reasons we have to transition from oil to electricity, the sooner the better. Making this happen is Plug In America's central focus. All of our efforts are geared toward expediting this transition.
This is why you need to support us by coming to our party and helping us celebrate the historic moment when the transition begins. We want to share this moment in history with our friends and supporters who have been there to help us when we needed you.
We have a great evening planned with several examples of the first wave of new electrics, including the Volt and LEAF situated next to the pool, the Ford Focus EV, Think EV and Chris' Tesla in front as guests walk in, and fresh from winning its category at the Automotive X-Prize is the super efficient, and super fast 200 mph E-Tracer. We'll have it in the interior courtyard where Stefano Paris will be keeping a close eye on this one-of-kind world's best electric motorcycle.
For tickets, go here.
And best of all, the long awaited debut of the seven mysterious Plug In America PSAs. Based on the popular Mac vs. PC ads from Apple, our "Gas Vs. Electric" spots are the ultimate in "edutainment" for the EV world. You don't want to miss these.
Our creative team of director, Eric Swenson, editor, Jeff U'ren, along with producer Alexandra Paul will be showing these slick and funny public service announcements for the first time anywhere. Our entire board is anxious to see them as even we have been kept in the dark. We're told to expect greatness:~)
Sorry for the length of this post, but today was a rainy Sunday in Santa Monica, and so I couldn't go to the rings. It was a perfect day to plop down on the sofa and crank this out while playing with the kittens.