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Electric Vehicles Roundtable: Global Barriers, Strategies and Solutions: Event Report

12:00AM, 24 September 2009
12:00AM, 24 September 2009
To Be Confirmed
Electric Vehicles Roundtable: Global Barriers, Strategies and Solutions: Event Report

New York, 21 September 2009

The Climate Group convened a group of policy-makers and industry thought leaders at The Harvard Club today to discuss the technologies, financing and policies required to rapidly scale the global uptake of low carbon electric vehicles.

The roundtable discussion - Electric Vehicles: Global Barriers, Strategies and Solutions - was one of several high-level meetings hosted by The Climate Group during Climate Week NYC (20-25 September).

" We need mass EV deployment because by 2016, there will be one billion cars on the road" said Shai Agassi, Founder and CEO, Better Place. He also said that if the world was aggressive and ambitious in its pursuit of an electric vehicle future, costs per mile could be brought as low as 2-3 cents by 2016.

Jonathan Lauckner, Vice President, Global Product Planning, General Motors, said his corporation strongly supported electrification and said that GM's electric vehicle fleet would continue to grow, led by the Chevy Volt .

Christopher Bennett, Executive Vice President, Business Strategy and Policy, FPL (Florida Power & Light) Group - a leading US state utility - said: "If the vehicle fleet migrated to fully electric vehicles, the US could reduce petroleum inputs by two thirds." He pointed out that, even with electricity from coal-fired power stations, electric vehicles are the lowest carbon-emitting form of transportation, but that building an electric vehicle network would require accelerating major infrastructure development.

Discussions over financing requirements for building such an electrical infrastructure were led by Charles Gassenheimer, Chairman and CEO, Ener1, Idan Ofer, Chairman, Israel Corporation and Better Place and Kevin Genieser, Managing Director, Investment Banking Division, Morgan Stanley who concluded that the world is now at an inflection point for investment in electric vehicles because vehicle manufacturing and battery manufacturing will have to happen simultaneously.

Finally, policymakers from Quebec, France and Monaco shared multiple ways that governments could support growth of an electric vehicle market. Options included standardization, government adoption of electric vehicles in their own fleets and creating financial policy incentives.

Group discussion agreed to establish an EV alliance to pool knowledge and collaborative action ahead of the UN climate summit in Copenhagen at the end of the year and the International Renewable Energy Agency's next meeting on 17 January 2010.

All participants agreed that the challenge of scaling electric vehicles is immense. However, given that 20% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions could rest on an EV solution, they also agreed that the debate around advancing and concerting a portfolio of technologies, policies and financing to address this was about to gather speed.

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