Customer Reviews: JOLT!: The Impending Dominance Of The Electric Car And Why America Must Take Charge
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Showing 1-3 of 3 reviews(4 star). Show all reviews
VINE VOICEon October 20, 2010
Comprehensive, updated, well-written, and overoptimistic. A truly call to arms for Americans to embrace electric vehicles (EVs) asap. Mr. Billmaier covers everything you need to know about battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), and by the last third of the book he actually begins to repeat the arguments ad nauseam. There is no question Jolt! is the legitimate heir of Sherry Boschert's Plug-in Hybrids: The Cars that will Recharge America , but without the conspiracy theories.

Throughout the book Mr. Billmaier timidly presents EVs as a significant step towards climate change mitigation, and even though Chapter 5 is devoted to the subject ("Emissions Overload"), he cleverly recommends the skeptics and those "just sick of hearing about climate change" to skip this chapter. Why? Because the key argument of the book is the urgency of achieving energy independence, the need for Americans to kick their addiction to oil. Following this approach, the author not only makes a very good case for the cause he is advocating but also palatable for Americans of all political creeds.

I highly recommend Jolt! as a crash course introduction for those who have missed the rationale and developments behind the upcoming wave of plug-in electric vehicles. Nevertheless, for a more balanced down to earth discussion of the subject, I do recommend Plug-In Electric Vehicles: What Role for Washington? and Two Billion Cars: Driving Toward Sustainability. There are indeed real barriers to the adoption of BEVs and PHEs which Mr. Billmaier decided to minimize or plainly overlook (and that explains the four stars instead of five).

Finally regarding other oversimplifications, omissions, and general biases in favor of electric cars, I will just mention a few more to illustrate:

* He says that China has more than 10 million electric vehicles on the roads today, but to the best of my knowledge what China indeed has is more than 120 million electric bikes, and manufacturing more than 20 million a year. The only commercial electric car is the not so successful BYD F3DM, and fleet testing of the all-electric BYD e6.

* Regarding the BYD F3DM, indeed it was launched in the Chinese market in December 2008, but this plug-in hybrid sold less than 100 units during its first year in the market. Despite its apparent low price of $22K by U.S. standards (effectively beating the Prius, Chevy Volt and the Nissan Leaf), Mr. Billmaier omits to mention that its gasoline sibling sells in China for just $9K, and despite of the government subsidies put in place in 2010, the F3DM plug-in price still costs $6k more than the best selling gasoline-powered F3 model (not to mention that there has been reports of battery unreliability).

* About his cooked numbers to show that electric cars make economic sense today, well, just read the short essay Going Green with Electric Cars - Energy Policy or Just Sexy?. This e-book not only shows that electric cars are an expensive investment that makes economic sense only in the states where you get a $5,000 rebate in top of the $7,500 federal tax credit, but the book also shows the real prices of the clean energy sources that would make electric cars really green (full lifecycle not just tailpipe emissions).
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on December 22, 2011
Here is an outline of what you can find in this book:

Foreword: Robert Cumberford, of Automobile magazine, explains how analysis of his personal one-year driving log persuaded him that an electric car with limited driving range can still be satisfactory for 90% of driving needs.

Introduction: The author tells how a conversation with colleagues in Silicon Valley led to two years of study about how electric vehicles can contribute to energy independence and a prosperous new "electriconomy".

Part I: Driving the EV Highway

1) Sputnik Redux: Calls for a national drive toward electric transportation comparable to the space race.
2) National Insecurity: US oil consumption is way out of proportion to our share of world reserves.
3) Gas Costs What? True cost of maintaining our oil-based economy is more than we can afford.
4) Running on Empty: Discovery of new sources of oil cannot meet projected world demand.
5) Emissions Overload: Electric cars themselves produce zero emissions.
6) Electrons vs. Molecules: The Economic Smackdown: Electric cars cost less to run and maintain than gas cars.
7) Trading the Oil Barrel for the Watt Bucket: Existing electrical grid can easily provide overnight charging for millions of electric cars.
8) Zero to Sixty: The EV as the Economic Turbocharger: US must lead in electric vehicle technology or it will fall behind China in economic development.
9) So Who Wants to Buy a Texaco Station? Jobs in clean energy will increase as use of oil for transportation declines.

Part II: Out in Front

10) Life in the Fast Lane: Bob Lutz,a global warming skeptic, is a strong proponent for the General Motors Volt, which he describes as an electric vehicle with a 40-mile range, with a generator to extend the range when needed.
11) Success is a Team Sport: Mike Tinskey, of Ford, and David Cole, of the Center for Automotive Research, see battery techology as a promising field for US manufacturing.
12) Smart Money: Ray Lane, who oversees EV investments at a Silicon Valley venture capital firm, believes that national security issues justify government subsidies to promote clean energy technology, which has tremendous potential for economic growth.
13) The Electric Fuel Tank: Bart Riley and David Vieau, of A123 Systems, a leading battery development company, believe that US innovation can lower costs of lithium batteries and ultracapacitors, but political support may be needed to stay ahead of China.
14) Plugged In: Richard Lowenthal, of ChargePoint Network, sees the need for public charging stations for drivers of electric cars without a home garage.
15) Charge America: David Crane, of NRG Energy, Inc., plans to install Level II and Level III charging stations in the Houston area to provide fast charges for drivers without a garage housing a Level I charger for use overnight.
16) The Smarter Grid: Charlie Allcock, of Portland General Electric, is confident that electric utilities can respond to customer demands for charging electric vehicles at home and at public charging stations.
17) National Energy: Steven Chu, US Secretary of Energy, sees the transition to electricity for our personal transportation as inevitable.
18) Houston, We Have a Solution: Annise Parker, Mayor of Houston, sees her city as a a good place to show the public how the all-electric Nissan LEAF can improve air quality.
19) China's Charge: Wang Chuan-Fu, of BTD Auto, has a joint venture with Daimler AG to develop all-electric cars for China, and has significant government support.

Part III: The Road Forward

20) Free Gas: Roger Brent uses a five-kilowatt photovoltaic on his California rooftop to power his home and his Tesla Roadster.
21) Back to the Future: A brief review of how previous generations of electric vehicles lost in competition with gas-fueled cars during the era of cheap oil.
22) Energize Your Motors: Predicts rapid growth in market share for electric cars in the near future with the adoption of appropriate policies leading to energy independence.
23) Electric Overdrive: More predictions of lower battery costs leading to electric vehicles winning in features and costs when compared to cars with internal combustion engines.
24) A Tale of Two Cars: Comparison of two "composite" cars, the "Foyonda" based on traditional gas-powered models (Ford Focus/Toyota Camry/Honda Accord) versus the "Volteacus" based on plug-in electrics (General Motors Volt/Nissan LEAF/Ford Focus). [First paragraph names top-selling US models in 2009 as Camry, Accord, and Fusion, so I'm wondering if the Ford model in the gas-powered group should have been Fusion, not Focus.]
25) Now What? Presents an action program for adoption of policies leading to US energy independence and leadership in clean energy technology.


Roadblocks and Speed Bumps (Frequently Asked Questions): 11 pages with 23 questions and answers.
Websites for More Information: 3 pages listing web addresses under 5 headings.
Glossary of Terms: 3 pages defining 19 terms and abreviations.

Acknowledgments (single page)

There is no index, leading me to rate the book with four stars rather than five.
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on September 4, 2013
some aspects are a bit blindly positive about adoption, but overall a good work in support of the EV and the likelihood of adoption in the future
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