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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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This 2010 book is different. The author is a firm believer in the EV and extrapolates from what he can see of the upcoming Leaf and Volt (and of course Tesla) to give us his view of the future. Thankfully, I don't think he wastes a single page on hydrogen fuel cells, an obvious dead-end even to a lay person like me. No, he takes what is known about improvements in battery technology, and driving experiences with the available EV's to predict with certainty that the internal combustion engine is obsolete and the future belongs solely to the EV!
In brief, he argues that EV's have better performance, less maintenance, range is increasing, prices will drop, and you can charge it in your garage. Guess what? As a Volt owner I can attest to all of this. He totally sells the proposition that the EV will take over the world on it's own merits and there's nothing that can stop it. I think if you go test drive an EV you'll be inclined to agree.
He explains with charts and graphs, how this future is inescapable, and the role the US should play in it. And for an evangelist he doesn't repeat himself *too* much.
Chapters 10-19 cover the points of views of other commenters on the EV scene. While these folks didn't actually write chapters for the book, he quotes their views liberally and explains what they are saying about EV's.
I really enjoyed this book! As of 2017 his predictions are already off, but just a little premature. All the indicators are pointing in the direction he espouses in Jolt!
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".
The author was a little too complementary of current EV's such as the LEAF and volt, he over states their performance and characteristics. I did find the authors governmental background very illuminating when talking about energy policies and direction.
An essential read, for both the EV evangelist and skeptic.
His predictions will come true...it's just going to take more time than he thought when he penned the book.