Chelsea Sexton and other panelists at Plug In 2014 in San Jose

One of the best parts of the Plug In 2014 Conference in San Jose, CA last week was getting to listen in on thoughts about the state of the plug-in vehicle industry from people who have been involved with it for ages. They bristle when you call them the "Old Guard" (learned that one the hard way), but these are the people who have been through a number of ups and downs with plug-in vehicles, so they've got what we call perspective.

Their knowledge was on full display in the three plenary sessions, which the Plug In Conference organizers have given us permission to share with you. Each is at least 90 minutes long, so make sure to set some time aside to enjoy the discussions after you download them (any help with making them streamable would be appreciated). Follow us below to see what we've got to offer.


Opening Plenary (audio link). "The Road Ahead – Delivering on a Vision for Sustainable Transportation." Moderated by Mark Duvall (director of energy utilization at EPRI, the Electric Power Research Institute, and a long-time EV advocate), this panel featured:
  • Jack Broadbent, Executive Officer / APCO, Bay Area Air Quality Management District
  • Pat Romano, President & Chief Executive Officer, ChargePoint, Inc.
  • Aaron Johnson, Senior Director, Customer Programs, Pacific Gas and Electric Company
  • Brendan Jones, Director, EV Sales Operations & Infrastructure Deployment, Nissan North America, Inc.
  • David W. Cash, Commissioner, MassDEP
  • Dan Sperling, Director, Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California, Davis
Highlights: Educating drivers to "get over the gas station" is a key strategy, how Level 2 and DC Fast Charging are really "a new paradigm," that there have been well over 214,000 EVs sold in US as of July 2014 and where Nissan sees huge potential for more EV sales (Northeast US and medium-size cities like St. Louis and Pittsburgh).

Wednesday Morning Plenary (audio link). "Getting to the Mass Market – A Discussion of Ideas for Widespread PEV Adoption." Moderated by John Gartner, research director for smart transportation at Navigant Research. With:
  • Matt Soloman, Transportation Manager, NESCAUM
  • Judy Mitchell, Mayor, City of Rolling Hills Estates, California
  • Justin Johnson, Deputy Secretary, Vermont Agency of Natural Resources
  • Tony Posawatz, President & CEO, Invictus iCAR LLC
  • Mark Duvall
Highlights: Discussion of the gas tax, how one Ford dealer in Vermont made selling C-Max Energi PHEVs a priority and catching up with former Fisker CEO Tony Posawatz. If you just want to hear that second segment, click through to around 1:07 in the audio file.

Closing Plenary (audio link). "The Last Word – A Discussion of Ideas to Advance Electric Transportation"
  • Moderator: Dan Bowermaster, program manager for electric transportation at EPRI. With:
  • Chelsea Sexton, Founder, Lightning Rod Foundation
  • Watson Collins, Manager, Research & Business Development, Northeast Utilities
  • Tom Turrentine, PH&EV Research Center, Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California, Davis
  • Edward Kjaer, Director, Transportation Electrification, Southern California Edison
Highlights: The idea of the EV industry being in a "sophomore slump" right now, how the power grid is advancing faster than the EVs are arriving and the fact that an EV's MSRP is not really all that important since most people lease, and those $199 leases are far lower than the average price of a new car lease in the US. During the Q&A, the audio gets a little low, since people were speaking without microphones, but we think you can get the gist.