The Electric Generation

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I’ve previously posted about how I’ve been helping the Edison Electric Institute (EEI -an association representing the shareholder-owned electric utilities in the US), plan and launch a community-oriented campaign to generate consumer interest about the benefits of plug-in vehicles and using electricity as a transportation fuel. Over the last several months, I’ve asked for input from you all on various fronts in order to shape the effort in ways that authentically reflect the voices of enthusiasts, and really appreciate everyone who’s participated so far. 

The resulting campaign, The Electric Generation, represents the electric utility industry’s commitment to the widespread adoption of electricity as a transportation fuel. It is meant to amplify and add to existing efforts, not to compete with or replace them. So, much of the content is driver or community generated (including articles written by folks in this forum), the faces in the logo and on the site are actual drivers and enthusiasts, etc. We also aim to vary that content – basic information for the “EV curious”, along with tips and information that will appeal to those who already have EVs- recognizing that along the way, the utility industry is learning from all of you as well. 

The site has now been up for a couple months, and we’ve been thrilled to see many of you join. If you haven’t yet, you can do so here. Pretty please? :) 

In addition, I’d love your feedback about what you see, and what you’d like to see. How else can this effort help what you all are already doing, and encourage more folks to join our collective choir?

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14 Comments »

  1. Great Job Chels! I’d like to see utilities work with employers to help offset the cost of installing chargers where people work. Workplace charging is VERY important and second only to home charging in my opinion. The big hurdle is getting employers to spend the money on the initial installation. If utilities could help offset that cost that would be a huge boost. Perhaps they could allow the company to tap directly off utility poles in parking lots and install a separate meter there so the company wouldn’t have to trench hundreds of feet from their building to the parking area? Anything to help lower the cost of workplace charging would be a huge help.

    • Paul C from Austin said

      Hi Tom! I would like to alter your list a bit- yes, home charging is by far the most important place to start- chargers at work and at retail stops- much less important, I believe- not that they are not needed, or important, just not so much, beyond alleviating the ‘range anxiety’ of new EV drivers. Even today’s EVs, with a range from 70 miles on up, just don’t need public charging very often- most, rarely. In fact, cars like the Volt, who don’t ‘need’ to charge, are making more use of public chargers, because those drivers want to extend their all-electric range rather than have the gas engine kick on.

      I would alter the second need to be for public chargers between cities! I think Tesla has this part right, and is reaping the benefits, from a practical point of view and as an advertising benefit. Most EV owners don’t need to publicly charge for in-city driving- almost all, however, do need a public charging system to go from city to city. Hopefully, the collaborative effort of utilities to set up this site will translate to joint inter-city charging systems as well.

  2. Glad to see this effort. I think it all starts with getting the various utilities excited about this huge opportunity. Unfortunately it seems only a handful forward-thinking utilities “get it.” The rest are fearful or want to repeat studies already done by other utilities.

    • evchels said

      Agree, Jim. We have some who are fully on board. Others are still cautious about engaging for a variety of reasons, and I’m hopeful this effort will help with that too.

  3. luc336 said

    The Electric Generation seems like just another boring Corporate website. I don’t get it. The photos of people in the logo should image link to their profiles. Other wise they just look like stock images.

    The links menu are typical Corporate useless, too many clicks to find almost useless info. Click on Electric Power you get a map of the US, then you have to click on a state to get useless factoids. e is for Fuel, really… Unlimited Energy, from what! It reeks of Corporate BS.

    Voices of The Electric Generation bio’s are too short and need more images. In other words useless like the rest of the website.

    Chelsea, I love your work as an EV advocate and your honesty even when politically incorrect. I still believe that you are the Star of Who Killed The Electric Car, even if you don’t think so. But The Electric Generation website sucks, looks pretty but completely useless. If convincing the general public that EV’s are great, they lost the point with me.

    When talking to the uninitiated about EV’s I always recommend Who Killed The Electric Car and the Tesla Motors website. Sadly The Electric Generation wouldn’t make my top 100 list.

    Don’t take this constructive criticism as hating the idea of this site, just the site itself.

    • evchels said

      Thanks, Luc, I appreciate it. So…what would you consider useful to see instead?

      • luc336 said

        More real numbers like at http://www.teslamotors.com/goelectric comparisons between EV and ICE in efficiencies. Amount of kwh to produce 1 gal of gas, energy per mile comparisons.

        Both of us know all these things, but most Americans don’t, I hear people using the extended tailpipe nonsense, or how gas is more efficient than electricity… Or how these left wing environmentalist in government are cramming EV’s down our throat with tax payer money. We here know that is BS, but the general public doesn’t.

        More and longer EV enthusiast bio’s with multiple images of their EV’s and Solar set ups. Simpler navigation, Community Members is hidden under owning, which is hidden under Driving Electric. Image links to more info for all images. Less marketing BS like e is for Fuel, and Unlimited Energy, and more.

        The bio for Kim Rogers doesn’t even scratch the surface of her real EV accomplishments. Adding more words for longer more in-depth bio’s is almost free.

        • Paul C from Austin said

          Ouch! A bit harsh, dude! Yes- storage space is extremely cheap for all those words and pictures- writing it, editing it, uploading it and maintaining it, however, is not- and this site was probably done a very small budget, with one person working part-time on it. Of course, if you’re volunteering…

          Not that some of your sugestions are not good- site navigation is always a hard thing to get right- though why you don’t like the ‘e is for fuel’ is beyond me- it’s a good way to differentiate from fossiel fuels, to start others on thinking of electricity as a fuel. And, like the Tesla site geared to selling Teslas with its infomation, you can hardly expect a site for Utilities to do less- it does not make the information any less valid.

          Perhaps, also the site is trying too much to be all things to all people, so you get a broader approach, but sometimes not enough of any one thing. Perhaps the site needs to narrow its focus.

          Then again- the site is new- maybe it just needs time to grow into its message.

          Suggestions are good, Luc! But so is delivery. I will end on this old adage- you attrack more flies with honey than you do with vinegar;-)

          • luc336 said

            I thought this was about honest feedback for a new website, not a sweet endorsement for EV’s. The Electric Generation website is a good idea that needs improvements that honey will not fix.

            • Paul C from Austin said

              LOL! Of course honest feedback is always a welcome guest- but not when that guest stomps on your toes and spits in your eye. The ‘brutally honest’ approach does not appeal to most. Look how you reacted to my much more moderate response to your post?

              And while honey itself does not fix a website, it does help convince those who do the fixing. If you get pulled over for speeding, are you rude to the patrolman, or polite?

              I am really not trying to argue with you- it sounds like you want the same things, after all. All I am suggesting is that folks are more amenable to listening and to change if you say the same things in a nice way. Especially when it is those folks that have to do the work.

              • evchels said

                Thanks, both of you- it’s all good. :)

                • Paul C from Austin said

                  I am only responding to see how narrow the text gets- a self-limiting reply system- ingenious!

  4. Chad Schwitters said

    Hi Chelsea,

    I don’t have a bright idea for a way to make the site more compelling. I think you have a good start with the idea of community focus, and trying to start conversations. Here are a couple of random thoughts that may or may not help:

    1. The biggest EV adoption roadblock BY FAR is that most people – even people that “support” EVs, just like they support buses but don’t ride them – think that driving electric is an inferior driving experience. The dozens of false arguments they repeat about EVs are largely excuse-seeking – they realize they “should” get one because of the social benefits, but they don’t WANT to get one because of the lack of perceived personal benefits. We should all really, really, really push the fact that EVs are a blast to drive. This is hard to do convincingly without a test drive (so we should encourage those); in fact I don’t really think it can be done adequately with text. Video might work. Can TEG get some short video clips produced showing how much fun people are having driving their EVs?

    2. #1 (above) must be addressed, and in fact to make a sale I think it must be addressed first for the majority of consumers, because they won’t pay attention to anything else until they want one. But #1 is not sufficient, because people don’t buy everything they want. They still need to be convinced that it is practical and inexpensive. There is lots of data on this; Luc gave some good examples and I agree that some simple interactive tools could help. My only caveat: try to address assurances that EVs are convenient and cheap to people that already are convinced they are fun to drive. If you lead with arguments about how cheap and practical they are, that just reinforces misconceptions about how they are no fun to drive (it’s almost as bad as telling people how good they are for the environment. Don’t get me wrong, I bought my EVs for their environmental benefits. But very few people buy cars for that reason; and in fact even environmentalists often assume that environmentally friendly cars are no fun).

    3. Although this is an advocacy site, given that it is backed by utilities, Tom makes a great point that they are in a good position to help with infrastructure. And I completely agree with him that home is most important, and work is second, and nothing else is close to those two in terms of influencing buying decisions. If TEG could somehow work to streamline procedures, reduce costs, or even just give information and point people at local resources, that would be great.

    –Chad

  5. Reblogged this on A Perfect Fit.

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