- Hardcover: 236 pages
- Publisher: Advantage Media Group (October 1, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 159932220X
- ISBN-13: 978-1599322209
- Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.8 x 9.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
#1,849,582 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #144 in Books > Engineering & Transportation > Automotive > Repair & Maintenance > Electrical Systems
- #364 in Books > Engineering & Transportation > Engineering > Energy Production & Extraction > Electric
- #525 in Books > Engineering & Transportation > Engineering > Energy Production & Extraction > Alternative & Renewable
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JOLT!: The Impending Dominance Of The Electric Car And Why America Must Take Charge Hardcover – October 1, 2010
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About the Author
James Billmaier has devoted his professional life to predicting how emerging technologies will impact our lives in the future. To his credit, he has been astonishingly accurate.
He is a founding partner of Charge Northwest, an electric vehicle infrastructure advisory and software integration company. Most recently, Billmaier served as chairman and CEO of Melodeo, Inc., the leading cloud-based media platform company, which was acquired in June 2010 by Hewlett-Packard. A 30-year technology veteran and inventor, he holds more than 80 granted and pending patents.
Billmaier has served as chairman and CEO of three companies, including Asymetrix, which he led to a successful IPO in 1998, and Digeo, Inc., which he started with Microsoft legend, Paul Allen. While CEO of Digeo, Billmaier became the only entrepreneur to win back-to-back EMMY awards for technical achievement. Prior to moving to the Pacific Northwest, Billmaier was vice president and general manager of Sun Microsystems’ Networking Software Division, where he led the development and marketing teams behind Sun’s first Internet offerings. Billmaier has made a lifelong career out of studying American ingenuity and innovation. All that he has learned about technology’s effect on our lives and society informs this important and timely book.
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Top Customer Reviews
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).
Jolt! is an easy read and helps to dispel some myths. For example, one myth I've heard is that cars weigh what they weigh and the laws of physics tell us that it takes the same amount of energy to push them down the road. It's true that a battery system the size of a gasoline tank holding 20 gallons of gasoline has a fraction of the energy density of the 20 gallons. On the other hand, Mr. Billmaier dispels this myth in Chapter 6. He shows us that the efficiency of EVs and the system for delivering electricity to the battery for use in powering the vehicle flips the comparison dramatically on its head.
There are so many examples like this in the book dealing with other important and relevant topics such as trends in battery costs, range anxiety, recharging infrastructure, emissions data, the "Watt Bucket" that stabilizes grid capacity and the driver experience. Mr. Billmaier, as he does in Chapter 6, deals boldly and head on with each topic and usually flips the common perception by 180 degrees. The FAQ section at the end of the book is a quick way to gain full appreciation for this.
The ultimate point of Mr. Billmaier's book is to stress the importance of EVs for US national security and economic interests. We import 5 billion barrels of oil annually which leads to $500 billion at $100 per barrel going outside the US economy. "Jolt!" is a valuable book that brings significant clarity to a vision which contemplates redirecting that flow of dollars back into the US "electriconomy".