hybrid cylinder de-activation and direct fuel-injection systems. Mr. Smyth earned a bachelor’s and Ph. D. degree from Queens University in Belfast.

The final speaker, Bill Van Amburg, discussed early adoption of hybrid vehicles. Mr. Van Amburg is senior vice-president of CALSTART, which Mr. Greenberger described as “a non-profit, fuel–neutral, membership-supported consortium.” He overseas five programs: heavy hybrids, new fuels, technology commercialization, fleet analysis, and consulting and industry services. “He brings 25 years of experience in marketing and technology commercialization,” Mr. Greenberger said. Mr. Van Amburg’s academic credentials include degrees from the UCLA Anderson School for Management, Stanford, and the University of California-Berkeley.


Daniel Sperling University of California-Davis

Because he hails from “that other land, the Left Coast, the foreign country of California,” Dr. Sperling began, “I am going to have a little different perspective here today.”

His presentation aimed to achieve four missions, Dr. Sperling said. They were to emphasize the important role of universities, explain climate and energy policy from the California perspective, promote his book Two Billion Cars,25 and explain “the market for electric vehicles and what that means for battery design, which is the main reason we are here.” His focus, he said, is to address what consumers really want in electric vehicles.

Research by his institute on American consumers has revealed some interesting insights, Dr. Sperling said. “What American consumers seem to want in electric vehicles is quite different from what I have been hearing today” from speakers in the symposium.

The success of plug-in electric vehicles will depend largely on government policy, advances in battery technology, fuel prices, and consumer response to products, Dr. Sperling explained. “There are a lot of ways for companies to fall into the Valley of Death,” he said. “But a lot of it has to do with misjudging and misunderstanding consumer responses and consumer behavior.”

State and local governments have implemented plenty of policies aimed at supporting electric vehicles, Dr. Sperling pointed out. The main policies include zero-emission standards by several states, greenhouse-gas emission and fuel standards for vehicles “that have very aggressive incentives for electric vehicles,” tax credits for consumer purchases of low-carbon vehicles, subsidies


25 Daniel Sperling and Deborah Gordon, Two Billion Cars: Driving Toward Sustainability, New York: Oxford University Press USA, 2009.

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