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Plug-In 2009 conference brought EVs to the public arena

August 12, 2009 |  4:10 pm


O brave new world, that hath such vehicles in it.

On Tuesday in Long Beach, a small horde of enthusiastic and curious people gathered to take a look at what is being billed as the future of automotive transportation.

Plug-In 2009 is a conference open to the big names in the world of the plug-in hybrid and the fully electric car.  For one night, the doors opened at the Long Beach Convention Center and for a $10 admission, any member of the public could come in and interact with the pioneers of the battery-powered vehicle industry.

Lauren Dukar works at the American Lung Assn. and said her concern about pollution led her to the conference. “I already drive a hybrid, and I think electric cars are the next step,” Dukar said. “There is a lot of interest in the public, they want to see and touch this stuff and talk to the people who are exhibiting,” said Mark Duvall, Director of the Electric Power Research Institute, one of the conference organizers.

Products on display were from a wide array of electric vehicle companies, including manufacturers Nissan and General Motors, and electric vehicle specialists like eTec and Raser. The city of Long Beach even showed up to display the plug-in additions to its fleet.

One of the highlights of the night was a panel that included "Who Killed the Electric Car?" director Chris Paine, and Bill Nye the Science Guy. The panel talked for a short while and then took questions from the audience about the future of the electric car and the environmental movement.

The Chevrolet Volt and Nissan LEAF are set to be released in a little over a year’s time. The infrastructure needed to run the cars is in the process of being designed and installed. The grid is being improved.  The ads are going out. Ready or not, these battery-powered vehicles are coming. The fate of the ‘Car of the Future,’ though, will be up to the consumer. Will the revolution be electrified? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think. 

--J. Mark Sternberg

Photo of Nissan Leaf
Photo credit: EPA