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IEEE: The expertise to make smart grid a reality

Electric Vehicles and Personal Transportation Workshop

On March 4, 2011, IEEE USA, held its “Electric Vehicles and Transportation Workshop” in Austin, Texas. This workshop was designed to stimulate discussion on Electric vehicles. Electric Vehicles are a reality. But how far can they go with current batteries? How far can they travel on future batteries? What are the issues and solutions for connecting these vehicles to the electric grid? Where and how will they get charged? This forum examined many of these challenges and opportunities. Participants heard from leading technology, market, and policy experts and had the opportunity to share their perspectives with speakers and colleagues.

This one-day workshop brought a number of critical issues and challenges to the forefront, with insight and expertise offered by speakers during two keynote addresses, sessions, and hands-on exhibits. The attendees had an opportunity to see, touch and discuss a Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf  plus a variety of electric scooters and bicycles.

The opening keynote speech was provided by Karl Rabago, Vice President of Austin Energy.

Mr. Rabago gave an overview of Austin Energy’s roadmap for the introduction of electric vehicles in their marketplace. He highlighted that climate change is real and that it is unlikely that society can Identify or justify the return on investment for the future of our grandchildren. He highlighted the details of Austin Electrics commitment to such an investment.
Mr. Rabago’s keynote talk can be viewed at

The luncheon keynote speech was conducted by Dr. Robert Hebner, Director of the Center for Electromagnetics at the University of Texas at Austin

Dr Hebner began his discussion with a summary of a recent session with regulators. Dr. Hebner discussed the regulators’ view of emerging technology versus the developers’ view of emerging technology.  He emphasized that the two views are sometimes quite different and that regulators will need to embrace change and innovation. Dr. Hebner discussed the implications of electric vehicles and air pollution and the innovation taking place at the University of Texas at Austin and the Pecan Street Project. The Pecan sStreet Project is a reuse and redevelopment, mixed use project of the old Austin airport. This is a consumer-centric project that requires consumer / community input for development. Suppliers benefit from the early knowledge provided by the community. Dr. Hebner highlighted the potential for this one-of-a-kind experiment to facilitate the growth of smart grid in Austin and across the nation.

Dr. Hebner’s keynote can be found at:

Among the session topics covered:

The Electric Vehicle Market

Moderator: Bill Williams

Featured Panelists:
    Craig Eppling – General Motors, Regional Communications Manager
    Mark Perry – Director of Product Planning Nissan America
    Dr. Ali Emadi – Founder and President of Hybrid Electric Vehicle Technology, Inc.
    Harris Perlstein Endowed Chair, Professor, Illinois Institute of Technology.
    Rob Ferber – Chief Technology Officer, KLD Energy Technologies

Charging Infrastructure

Moderator: Dr. Russell Lefevre

Featured Panelists:
    Justin Merrill – AMD, Electric Vehicle Charging Station Models / Solutions
    Blake Dickinson – Director of Customer Satisfaction, AeroViroment
    Rachel Proctor May – Senior Research Analyst, Austin Energy Emerging Transportation Technologies

PEV’s and the Electric Business

Moderator: Dr. Mayer Sasson

Featured Panelists:
    Harold Adams – Senior Planning Engineer, Downes Associates, Inc
    Dr. James Gover – Kettering University,
    Dr. Chris Mi – University of Michigan, Dearborn

Customer Acceptance

Moderator: Doug Taggart

Featured Panelists:
    Dave Goldstein – Electric Vehicle Association of Greater Washington
    Dr. Veronika Rabl – Principal, Vision and Results
    John Voelcker  – Editor of High Gear Media.

Managing PEV Loads

Moderator: Russ Harrison

Featured Panelists:
    Mark Kapner – Senior Strategy Planner, Austin Energy
    Paul Wattles – Demand Response Supervisor, ERCOT
    Dr. Saifer Rahman – Professor, Advanced Research Institute, Virginia Institute of Technology

Electric Vehicle Policy Issues

Moderator:  Erica Wissolik

Featured Panelists:
    Jess Trotten – Director, Competitive Markets, Texas PUC
    Austin S. Librach, P.E., AICP – Director of Emerging Technologies, Austin Energy
    Chuck Harder – Director of Regulatory Policy and External Relations, CenterPoint Energy

PEV’s and the Electric Grid – Technology Challenges and Opportunities

Moderator: Dr. S. Hossein Mousavinezhad

Featured Panelists:
    Dr.  Don Hillebrand – Argonne National Lab
    Joe Redfield – Southwest Research Institute
    Dr. John Goodenough – University of Texas at Austin

Personal Electric Transportation

Moderator: Kenny Rice

Featured Panelists:
    Dave Wilson – Director of Corporate Marketing and Academic Programs, National Instruments, Labview e-Bike
    Alexis Kwasinki – Assistant Professor, Electrical Engineering, University of Texas at Austin
    Mark SZE-To – Electric Avenue at Austin

Additional information on the IEEE USA Conference Website: