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The Impending Dominance of the Electric Car

And why American motorsports still has their head buried in the sand
Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Fasten your seatbelts, America. The electric vehicle is about to take us on one heck of a ride. So states James Billmaier in his groundbreaking book on the impending electric  vehicle (EV) revolution. He argues that in addition to being a blast to drive, EVs will come to dominate the personal auto market in the coming years because they are cheaper to run and cheaper to maintain. Adopting EVs will also allow America to put the brakes on sending hundreds of billions of dollars a year to OPEC, helping us achieve energy  independence within a decade.

But that’s only part of the story. Billmaier outlines how EVs will propel the coming “electriconomy,” a consumer-driven economic boom that will be ignited as our society is  transformed from an oil-based economy to one powered by electricity. The electriconomy will dwarf all previous technology revolutions—it will be bigger than the computer and  Internet markets combined—and will catapult the economy of whichever nation masters it. It’s a race we need to win for reasons of national and economic security, Billmaier says,  but we need to move fast. China is determined to own the EV space itself, an outcome that would be as detrimental to U.S. national security as our current dependence on foreign  oil is today. In these pages, he describes what we need to do to win the EV race—what America must do to take charge!

This book contains the clearest statement of the facts of what the US's continued dependence on others for our energy is doing to our economy, our politics and our environment. I don't just mean our continued investment as a nation in blood and treasure to prop and waste declining oil reserves. Economy is defense in so many ways and this books shows it.

Billmaier lays out what the current lack of will and direction from many of our political leaders of both parties is doing to our defense and future economic security. This book is not for Greens, Reds or Blues but for all of us interested in our country's future. The data he's collected comes from the all sides of the political and biz spectrum and is sobering. The amount of our taxes that are going to waste and worse the opportunity cost that is being lost due to short term vision is both staggering and depressing.

Maybe he's found some to unite the Red and Blue parts of our country at last, at least I hope so.

This is exactly the subject matter that we as a country need to address to wake us out of our "slumber." Our "moon shot" opportunity has arrived...are we ready to grasp it? Billmaier cogently presents what it will take to propel the USA into a leadership role in the electric car race and why we cannot afford to be left behind, yet IndyCar and NASCAR have announced no plans to include electric propulsion in their race cars - huge mistake.

If you think Jolt is just a book about electric cars being the next thing, think again. Jolt not only gives a great look into the electric car industry but provides a solution for how the United States can establish energy independence from foreign oil as well as points to ways that the electric car revolution can fundamentally turn the US economy around. A very timely book and an easy, enjoyable read that I'd recommend to everyone.

More importantly, I've believed for a few years now that electric vehicles are the "Big Audacious Goal" for transforming our energy sector and the automotive industry. It's refreshing to read a factual, well documented and well researched book that confirms this.

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.

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