Interview with Russell Lefevre
In this interview, Russell Lefevre discusses the roles electric vehicles play in the Smart Grid, the benefits they provide to the environment and national security, and the technical, commercial and regulatory challenges that influence EV deployments and acceptance.
Question: Why are electric vehicles important to the Smart Grid?
There are plenty of reasons, but one of the key things is that they appeal to major but dissimilar communities.
Electric vehicles appeal to environmentalists because most studies show there is a "plus" with respect to the EV carbon footprint. The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has examined nine scenarios examining the impact EVs will have on the environment and all showed a significant reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, even when the required increase in electric power needed to supply energy to these vehicles was generated in large part from coal-fired power plants, which have inherently high GHG emissions. Long-term, environmentalists see an even better situation for EVs as utilities move into renewable power generation.
Another community consists of those in major developed countries such as China, Australia, Western Europe and the United States that are concerned about importing oil that that has inherent price fluctuations and that comes from many unreliable countries. To the extent that Electric Vehicles (EV) are deployed, the dependence on oil is reduced.
Question: What is the most important message that utilities should communicate about the adoption of electric vehicles and their impact on the Smart Grid?
The most important message is, basically, don't worry. I’ve got a few quotes I'd like to share with you that underscore this message.
Here's a quote from the Department of Energy National Renewable Energy Laboratory: "Large scale deployment of plug-in electrical vehicles will have limited, if any, negative impact on the electric power generation requirements."
From EPRI: "If plug-in electric vehicles displace half of the all vehicles on the road by the year 2050, they would require only an 8 percent increase in electricity generation or a 4 percent increase in capacity."
What these quotes say, what utilities are telling us, is that if you look at the four elements of the grid—generation, transmission, distribution and consumption—it is very hard to find anybody who has any concerns about generation and transmission. There are significant questions about distribution, and I'll talk later about that and the consumer perspective.
Question: To spur adoption of EVs, consumers need to believe that the Smart Grid will be able to maintain adoption of EVs on a mass adoption scale. What would you say are the top concerns about widespread adoption?
The question of mass adoption of course is always a question of how much penetration there is, and I've looked at several utilities that promote EVs— PG&E, Southern California Edison, Sacramento Municipal Utility District, and others—and none of them appears to be particularly concerned about mass adoption.
But let me say what concern number one is, and all the rest of them are lower-level concerns. The concern is not about the potential impact at a large, aggregate scale, but at the neighborhood level. This is where you might have problems.
Here's what the deal is: The transmission system transmits power at very high voltage levels to a local distribution network, which takes that high voltage down to 120 volts to go to a small number of houses. Well, if you go to certain neighborhoods, let's say upscale, affluent neighborhoods where the residents are first adopters, you might get two or three PEVs (plug-in electric vehicles) in a neighborhood. That could be a significant problem.
At the "EV Charging Infrastructure USA 2011" conference, the people who spoke there were all from utilities or commissioners who deal with utilities and virtually all of them talked about this clustering issue. IEEE has some pretty important researchers and one of them, Saifur Rahman from Virginia Tech, has studied this issue. It turns out it is very scenario dependent, but if you take two PEVs in a neighborhood with three houses and these PEVS are charging at Level 2, which uses a 240-volt outlet with a current of maybe 20 to 30 amps, and you start a clothes dryer, you put a significant stress on the transformer. That can be a really serious problem that pretty much everybody recognizes. In fact, it is the kind of thing that everybody has different solutions for. One solution has to do with Smart Grid: the grid will sense when the transformer is on the verge of being distressed and send signals back that will slow the charging, turn it off for a while or do something else to relieve the stress on the transformer. This is referred to as Demand Response. With the Smart Grid it is possible to also affect household electric elements. At a Society of Automotive Engineers workshop, it was suggested, for example, that a swimming pool heater could be turned off. There are other possible ways to do this that involve time-of-use charging, charging at night, and those sorts of things.
PG&E estimates that PEV charging at Level 2, 240 volts, is comparable to the average peak summer load of a single home. There are some other estimates that equate the average load of a house in the summer months with two plug-ins. But you get the picture: When you add a PEV you add a lot of demand to the transformer.
There is a difference between air conditioning areas and non-air conditioning areas. If you look at the estimates to indicate if PEV charging will force a utility to trade out transformers, it is less of a problem in Fresno than it is in Berkeley, because Fresno is air conditioned and Berkeley is not. Fresno transformers are built to deal with the increased load caused by air conditioning.
One of the things people are depending on when they plan for widespread adoption is employing load management techniques such as time-of-use tariffs to motivate people to charge these electric vehicles at night. Well, it turns out that if you actually have very widespread adoption and a lot of charging at night, the demand on the grid changes. Many transformers are designed to cool at night. If you put a significant load on these transformers, the equipment can’t cool at night and its useful life becomes quite a bit shorter. This level of deployment is unlikely to take place for a long time, but it is another item utilities are looking at.
I've been talking about the top concern, clustering. The rest of the concerns are somewhat lower in importance.
For example, electronic communications with EV users will introduce some privacy and billing concerns. Utilities will need to identify EV users in order to bill them, because you can't have a user driving around a city's streets, deciding that they need to charge their EV, pulling up to a charging station, taking out their extension cord, and plugging it in. How does the user pay for it in this scenario? For any billing solution to work, you have to know who the user is. This is not an insignificant concern. For example, the state of Washington is installing charging stations along Interstate 5 north of Seattle to the Canadian border, and south of Seattle to the Oregon border. Electric car drivers will ultimately be able to drive on I-5 from the Mexican border, up through California, Oregon and Washington to the Canadian border. All along this route, they will need to recharge their batteries and pay for the recharge.
Southern California Edison is working hard on this, and its experts say that between 2012 and 2015, the company will have separate metering for charging systems in residences, which will be different than metering used for the rest of the house. And they will have public charging and a lot of other services by 2015. Between 2015 and 2020, they will introduce "pay at the charge point" options. They're going to figure out exactly how to charge a person who plugs into a public charging station. Beyond 2020, they envision a whole suite of other services and conveniences that they’re going to introduce to bring electric vehicles into the utility environment.
The smart home, which is related to the Smart Grid, will introduce some concerns because the smart home will need a local energy management system and the ability to activate time-of-use tariffs to support EVs. Utilities need to worry about how to implement these properly.
Utilities will need to determine how to implement smart charging, which is integrated with the Smart Grid to reduce the charging rate or change the charging time to help alleviate the perceived clustering problem.
Another concern is integrating EV charging with renewable energy sources. This is a big deal, because the environmentalists believe that in the long term, EV charging will take significant advantage of renewable energy. Utilities are still developing a vision and methods to make these approaches effective and practical.
Question: How do we move forward to get consumers to believe that the Smart Grid will be able to maintain the adoption of EVs on a mass-adoption scale?
The consumers, the people I know who even have a glimmer of buying a PEV, are not really concerned about whether the grid can handle it or not. They have no real understanding of how power gets to their house. All they know is that you plug in a lamp and turn it on and it works. It's a lot like water. They just accept it. It's there, and if it goes away during a power outage, they're not particularly concerned about it because they know it will come back on sooner or later. The potential impact of EVs on the grid would probably not enter significantly into their decision to buy a car.
What they're worried about is cost, conveniences and range anxiety. As for cost, the industry is working on that: Consumers get tax breaks and other kinds of incentives. But surveys have been conducted that tell us a lot about customer attitudes. Customers aren't willing to limit when to charge. They don't want utilities to tell them that they have to plug in at night. They want to come home at 6 p.m. and plug in. That's one of the things that concerns people in the industry who worry about clusters, because at 6 p.m. customers still have air conditioning on and could be drying clothes. It's a concern.
One of the things people talk about for maintaining the charge in the car is battery swapping. One goes into a battery swapping vendor and exchanges a depleted charge battery for a fully charged battery. Consumers in the U.S. reject that at a very high level. However, in China where a large portion of the population lives in high-rise units that do not provide assigned parking spaces, battery swapping is viewed as necessary. Another interesting thing that consumers tell us is that they only want to plug in when they need to. It's like gas. If they go to their electric car and turn it on and see how much charge is left, if it's half charged, they don't feel much like plugging in. They're going to wait until it gets down to a quarter charge and then plug it in.
Consumers have other concerns as well: They say there aren’t enough charging stations and that the charging times are too long. Let's talk about the charging levels. Level 1 is 120 volts, 5 to 15 amps. That is the kind of charge level used by somebody who took a Prius and made it into a plug-in hybrid. They come home, take their extension cord out, plug it into the wall and let it charge for 8 hours and everything is fine.
Level 2 is 240 volts, 20 to 30 amps, and that's much faster. Depending on which battery you've got, it can charge in two, three or four hours, but it’s still a fair amount of time.
The thing about Level 1 and Level 2 is that there are standards for these approaches. The Society of Automotive Engineers has created the standards and vendors know how to meet those standards. The fact that Level 1 and Level 2 standards exist is a very big deal.
Level 3, which means a very fast charge, will be of vital importance, yet at this time nobody knows what Level 3 is. There are no standards out there but fast chargers are being deployed. The charging stations on I-5 mentioned above will have both fast charge stations and Level 2 stations. Fast chargers will not be installed in home situations these will be provided at an outside location somewhere, as along I-5. People are expecting that a fast charge will charge an EV in a matter of minutes similar to the time it takes for a consumer to fill up their gas tank at a gas station, although even a fast charge will likely take longer than the time it takes to fill a gasoline tank.
So what would one recommend for utilities to help gain the confidence of consumers? There are a lot of things you can do. You can reach consumers by making partnerships with automobile distributers that offer the Nissan Leaf or Chevrolet Volt or EVs from other manufacturers. Utilities can work with these automobile distributers to educate the consumer about their concerns surrounding range anxiety, for example, or batteries. The Electric Drive Transportation Association, the preeminent US industry association dedicated to the promotion of electric drive, maintains a portal. GoElectric Drive that has a tremendous amount of information that is very useful for consumers.
Question: What regulatory and policy issues must be addressed in order to successfully provide power to EVs once adoption begins to ramp up?
Earlier this year I attended a two-day meeting of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) in Washington D.C. The meeting had two sessions on the Smart Grid. But there was only a glancing discussion about electric vehicles. Hardly anybody is concerned about EVs. There was a quote in some of the documentation that said, "The electric vehicle problem will have a much smaller impact than air conditioning."
So the regulatory people aren't particularly concerned. What they are concerned about are issues like transmission lines. You may remember that T. Boone Pickens had a concept for running a whole set of wind farms from Texas to North Dakota. The problem with that concept is that you can generate all the wind energy you want in North Dakota, but the question is, how do you get it from North Dakota to San Diego? Transmission lines don't really exist yet to fully integrate renewable energy into the grid.
On the policy side, China has a national strategy to be the largest supplier of electric vehicles in the world. The country expects to have 25 million cars on the road in 2015 and they want 10 percent of those to be electric. The European Commission has a Green Cars initiative, funded with 5 billion euros, to accelerate the development of EVs. The United States has devoted $3 billion from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) to promoting electric transportation. The U.S. funding has been used in several ways. Of particular importance is the support of battery research. The funds have also been used to deploy charging stations in many places throughout the US.
In addition, within the past few weeks, there have been two major legislative events in the U.S. House of Representatives and in the Senate.
In the House, legislation was introduced by Judy Biggert, R-Ill., who comes from a high-tech area, home of the Argonne National Laboratory, that is a center for research on electric vehicles, and Edward Markey, D-Mass., who was chair of the House of Representatives Energy Committee last year. And they had two other co-sponsors.
The proposed legislation is called "The Electric Drive Vehicle Deployment Act of 2011 (H.R. 1685)." The major element of the bill is that the Department of Energy should select ten deployment communities to put up electric vehicle infrastructure, e.g., charging stations. There will be tax credits for people to buy electric vehicles and grants to develop some of this infrastructure. The communities will have to put up matching funds, but there will also be bonds, loans, and loan guarantees. It's going to be a fair-sized deal.
The bill called for $300 million to develop these 10 deployment communities. This legislation was inspired by a document, called "The Electrification Roadmap," which came out in November 2009 from a number of very high level corporate people at companies that include PG&E, Nissan, the battery manufacturer A123 Systems and the charging system deployer Coulomb Technologies. The point of these deployment communities is that electric vehicles will probably come into the field some time; the problem is if you just let them enter the market naturally, it will take decades to get to anything like a significant level of deployment. So "The Electrification Roadmap" recommended putting a fair amount of money into deployment communities to encourage people to buy electric vehicles and to use all the infrastructure. They hope to get two things out of this: One, they hope to get data on consumer behavior; and two, they hope that the take-up by the early adopters will motivate the rest of this community to buy electric vehicles. They'll see their neighbors get all this good stuff out of electric vehicles and they will buy electric vehicles to take advantage of the infrastructure. Further, the hope is that other communities who see the success will emulate the deployment communities using private capital. So the idea is that this is going to be a driver to get electric vehicles deployed much more rapidly.
In the Senate, a very similar bill (S. 948) was introduced by Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Jeff Merkley, D-Ore. Alexander is one of the biggest promoter of electric vehicles in Congress. Until two months ago he owned a Prius that he modified into a plug-in hybrid, and he just bought a Nissan Leaf and sold his Prius to his son. A few months ago, there was one of these periodic spikes in gas prices, and on one of those Sunday morning talk shows Candy Crowley asked Sen. Alexander what the Congress is going to do about gas prices. The first thing out of his mouth was, "I don't know, but I own an electric vehicle."
I don't know what the prospects are for passing these bills into law but it is encouraging that they have been introduced in a bipartisan manner.
Several clean energy bills were approved by the Senate Energy Committee in July. The Clean Energy Financing Act of 2011, sponsored by Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), which creates a $10 billion Clean Energy Deployment Administration (CEDA), was reported out by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, along with the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act of 2011 (S. 1000), which is broad energy efficiency legislation that was introduced by Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) in May. The committee also marked up S. 948, referred to above, establishing a three-year program promoting the use of plug-in electric vehicles in model communities across the country.
Question: What technological challenges must be addressed to successfully provide and store power for EVs once adoption takes place?
Batteries: Battery technology is one of the long poles in the tent. The price of a battery right now is $900 per kilowatt hour. The industry wants to get it down to $500 per kilowatt hour by 2015. The thing about batteries is that electricity has been around for a long time and people have been working on batteries for all that time. There simply isn't anything like Moore's Law for batteries. According to Moore's Law, you can double the number of transistors on an integrated circuit every two years. But battery improvements are very incremental. There is no history showing that technology will be able to double the energy density every two years.
However, there is some headway out there. Something happened in July that is potentially important. There was a press release issued by a company called 24M Technologies. 24M is a spinoff of A123 Systems, a highly regarded battery company that sells batteries all over the world. A123 uses intellectual property that was developed by an MIT professor, Dr. Yet-Ming Chaing. His most recent research has resulted in an apparently new way to do a battery. If 24M is successful, they hope to get the price down from $900 per kilowatt hour to $250 per kilowatt hour with the battery performance parameters approximating the highest level of performance offered by Lithium-Ion batteries. If the battery can do that, it will be a huge advancement. And Dr. Chiang has a record of accomplishment, so there is some hope.
Intelligent on-board power management: The IEEE Control Systems Society had an interesting article about this, called "Battery Management Systems," published in Control Systems Magazine in June 2010. This is another piece of intellectual property that IEEE is working on that will help improve EV and EV battery performance.
Storage: Storage is another big deal for renewables. Among other things, the industry talks about having stationary batteries that grab solar energy during the day and feed it to the electric vehicle at night. Think about that: Solar energy is DC and batteries are all DC, so this should be relatively easy to do. You don’t have to convert AC electricity, which comes out of your wall plug, to DC to charge the battery. Everything is very nice and efficient.
Wireless Charging: At this point is interesting to bring out one piece of research that is going on, which is wireless charging. It is possible to charge batteries wirelessly and there are some people who think that it will be possible to wirelessly charge these batteries while they are in a moving vehicle. It sounds fantastic, but some R&D folks are looking at it.
Power Electronics: We need to work on things like power electronics, motor drives, and other electric machines. For example, as you go to more electric kinds of vehicles, you might combine the alternator and the starter into one unit, making it smaller and more efficient. Then you could think about electromechanical power trains and vehicle controllers. There is a company called Hybrid Electric Vehicle Technologies, Inc. (HEVT) that makes electrical control units that are based on artificial neural networks. Think about that. We're talking about some very high-tech stuff. Ali Emadi, a founder of HEVT and a member of IEEE, is recognized as one of the best researchers in the world on Hybrid Electric Vehicles.
Question: What standards work is underway to realize these technologies?
There are a lot of standards. The Society of Automotive Engineers is working with EPRI on standards and they've been very, very active. The most important things, from my perspective, are the charging level standards. We'd be nowhere if those standards didn't exist or were not accepted.
There are two other things that are going on that I want to mention.
The first is that IEEE has an electric vehicle standards working group, P2030.1. What they're working on is guidelines for utilities, auto manufacturers, infrastructure developers and end users of electric vehicles. They work on things like terminology, methods, equipment, planning, and they're developing a road map for electric vehicle deployment. IEEE does a lot this type of standards, and P2030.1 is working on these guidelines for electric vehicles.
The second point: In March, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), which is considered one of the most important standards organizations in the world, started an electric vehicle standards panel. This is a really big deal. They've got industry and academics involved. I volunteered to be a member of their charging station working group. They have Excel spreadsheets charting out all the standards they need and another spread sheet for standards that exist. This panel is an important one to the industry.
Question: How will those standards impact vendors?
If electric vehicles are going to deploy, they're going to need standards, for example, for communicating with the Smart Grid. They're going to need standards for how to build a charging station that will work with 30 different types of EVs. There might be 30 by the end of 2012.
Question: Can you highlight any examples of cities or states that are amply prepared for the adoption of EVs in the near future? Please elaborate.
The Department of Energy, under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), which is the stimulus bill, has put out a number of contracts to companies including ECOtality, Coulomb Technologies, and General Motors and others, but these are the big three. They expect to have more than 22,000 charging points by 2013. That's going to be a very, very big deal.
There are many cities preparing for the adoption of EVs including Austin, Los Angeles, New York City, Orlando, Redmond, Sacramento, San Francisco, and Washington, DC.
Austin is a good city to highlight: The IEEE-USA held its annual meeting in Austin this year and they had a full-day electric vehicle workshop. An Austin Energy executive talked about what the company is doing. It has a program called "Plug-in EVerywhere." It is going to put in 100 to 200 Level 2 or Level 1/2 charging stations around Austin so that nobody is ever more than 5 miles from any charging station. There are concerns about how to deal with handicapped parking places, how to deal with multiple cars trying to charge at the same time, and locations--you want the stations to be near malls or theaters or places where people go so they can charge their car while they are at the theater or shopping. And in addition, Austin has a program called "Plug-in Partners," which aims to encourage Level 2 charging in homes. There are several elements to that, but the biggest is they have a rebate of $1500 for a home that puts in a Level 2 charging station.
And I would be remiss if I did not raise this one point: When it comes to infrastructure, I like to point out that North Dakota already has the infrastructure for electric vehicles everywhere. If you go to any motel or hotel in the state of North Dakota, all of the parking spaces have electric outlets that the guests use to supply energy to the head bolt heaters in their cars so when a driver gets in the car after a night of -40 degree weather, the engine will turn over. When I was in college at the University of North Dakota, I lived in a fraternity and at night the cars would be parked in the back of the house and there would be an octopus of cords going out to the cars in the parking lot. There would be one outlet and all the extension cords were going off that outlet. I have no idea how safe that was, but it was funny to see that string of cords.
Question: In President Obama's State of the Union speech in January 2011, he set a goal that the United States would deploy one million electric cars by 2015. Do you think the Smart Grid will be able to manage the energy demands this will place on it?
One million vehicles is actually pretty trivial.
According to research highlighted at the "Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure USA 2011" conference, the industry has to sell one million PEVs per year for five years to reach three percent penetration. If you think about five million vehicles by 2015, or 3 percent penetration, there will be no problem dealing with that unless you get into the cluster issues mentioned above.
The Department of Energy has done an estimate to determine if we can build a million vehicles, and the answer is yes. If you just go to the public information that is available about Nissan, Volt, Fisker and Tesla, you'll see that there will be in excess of one million cars manufactured by 2015. And that doesn't even count Ford, Honda, Toyota and others that have announced electric vehicles to be introduced in 2012.
Question: What can/should industry do to help?
Something else that is important is that cities and counties have got to make sure that building codes are OK for adding Level 2 chargers. And it might be really important to create building codes stipulating that if you do construct any new homes or perform renovations, that the ability to put in Level 2 chargers would be included.
Question: That's a sizeable task, dealing with municipalities, is it not?
Representatives of both PG&E and Southern California Edison have recently mentioned that they have been working with municipal people to do those building codes. When you think about it, it's not an easy job, because San Francisco's building codes are different than those of Los Angeles, they're different than San Diego's, Sacramento's, and they're significantly different than those of Austin, Texas or Detroit, Michigan. So it's not an inconsequential task to make that happen.
Question: What will be the ultimate value to the end consumer of EVs?
Well for environmentalists EVs will help reduce the carbon footprint and they will offer tremendous potential for using renewables. People, certainly the early adopters, can put photovoltaic solar panels up on their roofs and charge their cars using solar, and if there are enough people to do that, it's a huge thing for reducing the carbon footprint. I already mentioned that those concerned about oil imports are in favor of EVs. Everybody in the country ought to think about reducing dependence on oil from unreliable suppliers.
Regarding the value of EVs to regular consumers, well, they will enjoy long-term cost savings. And that is especially true if gas goes up. It's going down a bit now, but I've heard that at some point it's going to go up to $5 per gallon. That would make EVs into really a good thing. People who have driven Chevrolet Volts and Nissan Leafs get on the blogosphere and can’t say enough good things about those cars so consumers will own a really cool automobile. And another thing that is important is that these cars are very low maintenance. So those are the kinds of benefits you get.
Question: Are there any other items or key points that you would like to cover?
There is one. The conventional wisdom is that electrical vehicles are cheaper than gasoline vehicles to operate. I'll throw that out as a question and then answer it: Why?
The conventional wisdom is that electricity is a lot cheaper than gas. And it turns out that that's very questionable. A gallon of gas has about 33 kilowatt hours of energy, and so that costs somewhere between $3 and $4 a gallon depending on where you live. Suppose you want to use electricity to get the equivalent amount of energy. How much would that cost? Well, the average cost of electricity is about 11 cents per kilowatt hour. Multiply 11 cents by 33 kilowatt hours and you get $3.63. That's right in the ballpark of how much a unit of energy costs for gasoline.
So, then, why is it so much cheaper to operate an electric vehicle? The answer is because electric drive trains are tremendously more efficient than internal combustion engine (ICE) drive trains. The difference is that electric drive trains are about 75 percent efficient, or more, and internal combustion engine drive trains are about 25 percent efficient. So if you think about it, for example, a Chevy Volt can get something in the ballpark of 120 miles per equivalent gallon of gas, whereas a car gets about 25 to 30 miles per gallon. I drive a Prius and I get in the ballpark of 35 to 40 miles per equivalent gallon, but I don't get 120 miles per equivalent gallon. And that brings me back to why it is so important to deal with power electronics. If you can make the electric drive train even more efficient, you can make that difference even bigger. And one thing to remember about Internal Combustion Engines (ICE) is that people have been driving internal combustion engines since Model As and Model Ts, and they've been working on improving the efficiency ever since. They’ve done a tremendous amount to improve the efficiency, but you're up against fundamental problems. Physics isn't going to let you do much more with ICE drive trains, but there is still more benefit in electric drive trains and more potential to improve them.
Finally, one think I think is important to address is the value that IEEE brings to the electric vehicle community. One major element is that IEEE is the repository of a significant amount of EV intellectual property. To prepare for this interview, I searched Xplore which is how the IEEE Digital Library is accessed. I entered "electric vehicles" as a search term and received 11,074 results. These articles are contained in IEEE journals, magazines, and conference proceedings. And all of this information doesn’t even count the panels that are convened in various settings, such as those held during conferences supported by IEEE's Reliability Society, Industrial Applications Society, Power Electronics Society, Vehicular Technology Society and others. I also note that in addition to our standards activities, the Standards Association is supporting the Smart Grid Vision-ElectricVehicles activity that will project what the field will be in the future.
IEEE members are recognized as experts in most technology fields associated with electric vehicles. They are researchers, engineers and entrepreneurs. The organization and its members are also involved in outreach to society to indicate how EVs will impact peoples' lives. For example, the 2012 International Electric Vehicle Conference to be held in Greenville, S.C. on March 4-8, 2012 will have sessions on technology, standards, policy and business. Further, IEEE's Electric Vehicles Committee and Spectrum Magazine are sponsoring an Emerging Technology Forum on electric vehicles on October 4, 2011 in Mountain View, Calif. at the Computer History Museum to promote and publicize electric vehicles and IEEE involvement in the field.