April 6, 2011
Host: Ted Simons
Arizona Technology and Innovation: Mobile Electric Vehicle Charging
- A local company is offering the electrical equivalent of a gas can to drivers of electric vehicles. EV Mobile Charging, a Phoenix-based company, will go out to stranded electric vehicles and provide a charge in 30 minutes that will give 10 miles of driving. Eric Edberg, one of the co-founders of the company, will talk about his new business.
- Eric Edberg - Co-founder, EV Mobile Charging
Ted Simons: When you're driving and you run out of gas, you can if need be, walk to a nearby gas station with a gas can if you have to. But what if you drive an electric vehicle? That's where Phoenix-based company E.V. mobile charging comes in. In tonight's edition of Arizona technology and innovation, we hear from Eric Edberg, one of the cofounders of E.V. mobile charging. Good to have you here. Thanks for joining us.
Eric Edberg: Thank you for inviting me.
Ted Simons: OK, this is the electrical equivalent of a gas can, so to speak?
Eric Edberg: Yes. Where they normally come out with a gallon of gas and a can for you, I bring the equivalent of a bucket of electrons.
Ted Simons: OK. How many volts have you got in this charger?
Eric Edberg: This charger is a 240 volt, the actual generator portion of it will put out about 40 volts. The current generation of cars will only draw about 16 amps at the moment, so there are rather slow charge, full charge on a car takes about seven, eight hours. The new generation of chargers that will be out on the second generation of Leaf and when Ford comes out at the end of this year is going to be twice as fast. They are 6.6 kilowatt chargers. We will probably be able to charge a car fully in about four hours. So currently my unit is set up to go out and put about 10 miles of range in a vehicle in about 30 minutes. With the new generation, that's going to drop it to probably I'll be able toll either put 20 miles in in 30 minutes or give you 10 miles in 15 minutes. Now, they also -- the E.V. project is a large project funded by the federal government of which Phoenix is one of the test centers. They put fast charging ports on the vehicles that are in the E.V. project, and those are large 440 volt three-phase chargers. They will charge a car from zero to about 80% charge in about 10 to 15 minutes. If I can get my hands on one of those, once they are U.L. approved, I'm going to try and build one of those and see if we can run it as test vehicle in Phoenix.
Ted Simons: But for now have you what have you -- how big is it?
Eric Edberg: It's a small unit. It doesn't take up any more than about four square feet, it if its in the back of -- Fitz in the back of any full-size pickup truck. It will also if it on a small trailer. I have some small motorcycle trailers it fits on. So it could be used in fleet services for like a rental company that has a lot of cars, you just park them out in the parking lot. The guy tows it up at night, drops it off, let's them charge up, comes barks moves it down the row so you don't have to spend hours shuffling cars back and forth.
Ted Simons: So you basically are driving out there, and the poor guy in the Nissan Leaf or whatever it is --
Eric Edberg: runs out of charge.
Ted Simons: And you just -- for 30 minutes you can make sure that they can get home if home is within 10 miles -- or at least a charging station--
Eric Edberg: Correct. The current technology that everybody says is -- will send out a tow truck and take to you the nearest dealer of a charge. The dealer may be 20 miles away, depending on where you are. If you are close to home, which you should be if you run out in an electric car if you didn't plan very well, it could be farther, but the idea is to get you back on your way and get you home to where you then can put it on charge, or at the very least the nearest commercial charger, which there will be a lot of them around.
Ted Simons: How many electric vehicles are on the road right now?
Eric Edberg: As of April, we're probably talking maybe a dozen leafs in Phoenix. I understand that there are about 1500 of these that are in the port in Los Angeles. They will be coming along probably in the next three months, we'll see a large influx of vehicles.
Ted Simons: Did you have a development and testing phase for something like this?
Eric Edberg: We did. What happened was my partner and I both drive electric rangers. Mine is a 2000, his is a 1998. These were factory made by Ford back then. The same type that the E.V. 1 was done. They didn't realize that Ford and Toyota and Chevrolet all had vehicles besides the E.V. 1 out there. And these actually escaped the crusher, and we have been driving -- I've had mine for 10 years, he's had his for four years. And we don't have a problem because we have limited range. We've got about 50-mile range, so you really think before you go somewhere. Now that they're extending the range, you're going to get a wider range of people driving the vehicles, and your chance of running out of charge inadvertently is greater. And so we were kicking around one day saying, what if they run out of charge? What are they going to do? There's nothing out there to fix that problem. And so we just kicked it around and came up with an idea, went out, rented a generator, we had the charging docks because the older vehicles use an old version of what is out there now, and so we hooked it up and tried things out, and accidentally it worked the first time. I was very surprised. So we sat down, spent about two months designing what we were going to do for this. Came up with the concept, the prototype is what I'm running in my truck now, and with about a 2½-month development time, we came up with the product. And it basically is a critical use stand-by generator that was designed to run electrical appliances. Because one of the things that the new generations of vehicles do that ours never did is from a smart phone, you can say, I'm going to be taking you out in 30 minutes, air condition this and have it cool when I come out. It's running all of that off from wall power. You don't want to have an old generator for power tools that's running square wave power that will fry your electronics. It's rather expensive.
Ted Simons: No we don't want that.
Eric Edberg: So we've got a critical use generator, it's giving the equivalent or better than the power out of the wall at home.
Ted Simons: We've got less than a minute here. I want to know, what's next for your company? Is this where it goes? What's next down the road?
Eric Edberg: Well, we're in development for trying to do the 440 charger. Past that, I don't know where this is going to go. It depends on how fast the electric car movement takes off. If it really takes off, this could be a big deal making these for tow companies and fleet use out there. So I'm just along for the ride to see where it goes.
Ted Simons: Very good. Thank you so much for joining us and good luck with your company.
Eric Edberg: Thank you.
Gifts to Legislators
- Amid reports that some state lawmakers accepted gifts from the Fiesta Bowl that were not reported on their financial disclosure statements, we learn about Arizona’s laws regarding gifts to lawmakers from Secretary of State Ken Bennett whose office maintains the financial reports of lawmakers and lobbyists.
- Ken Bennett - Secretary of State
Ted Simons: Some state politicians could be in trouble for not disclosing gifts they received from the Fiesta Bowl. But what are the rules for such things, and what are the penalties? Here to help us with the answer assist secretary of state Ken Bennett, whose office keeps records of disclosures. Bennett is also seeing the issue from the other side, he was a long-time lawmaker and former senate president. Good to see you again.
Ken Bennett: Hi Ted, how’re you doing?
Ted Simons: I’m doing alright – I’m a little confused here. So that’s not a first. What is required of politicians receiving gifts?
Ken Bennett: Well, before I answer that, I'd like to make sure everyone is clear as to why -- what role did the secretary of state's office have in this whole Fiesta Bowl thing? And the gifts kind of came out of that. But one of the -- the one responsibility that our office not only performs as a filing office responsibility, but also has some enforcement responsibility, is this whole idea of campaign contributions. That people give to candidates, political candidates. And a complaint was filed with our office over a year ago by a national group that doesn't like the bowl championship series, and they have been tipped off by somebody that employees at the Fiesta Bowl who had given campaign contributions to candidates had been reimbursed by the Fiesta Bowl. So that's the specific complaint that our office looked into. And we asked for some information, and after several weeks we finally realized we needed to go over and actually look at the documents. We spent weeks, in fact, months, I personally was involved in looking through boxes and boxes. And it became clear to us that we never could find the smoking gun, but we could find the gun and we could find some smoke. And so we referred it over to the county -- to the attorney general's office. When that -- when the news story broke that we had referred it on for further investigation, apparently one of the employees at the Fiesta Bowl reported to one of their superiors that this reimbursement had in fact occurred. And so then the Fiesta Bowl invited -- contracted with an accounting firm to come in and do a complete audit of all of their books and all of that. As that report was being compiled, they started to see these expenses for inviting legislators to Fiesta Bowl games, or taking them to other games where they might have had some meetings about how the BCS works, or whatever. So that has given rise to, and I apologize for now just getting to your question about, what happens with gifts? And I think part of what's causing the misunderstanding and the frustration is that there's two main pieces of law in the state of Arizona. One speaks specifically about what can a lobbyist give an elected official. And basically the answer to that is, a lobbyist cannot give anything over $10 in value, nor can a legislator elected official accept anything over $10 in value except this big long list of things that are listed in the state law's exceptions. If it's coming from your family, if the gift is a speaking engagement, food, travel, lodging, flowers. There's actually a legislator that died years ago and lobbyists couldn't even send flowers to the funeral, so they added that in one time. Special events. That's the one that is listed as an exception. And it says if a legislator is invited to a special event, that's not a gift as long as the entire legislature is invited, or an entire committee within the legislature is invited. And so all throughout the year, if they get invited to a Fiesta Bowl or a this or a that, they're being told this is not a gift, because we're inviting everyone from the whatever committee, or the entire house, or the entire senate. So all throughout the year they're being told this is or this isn't a give, and on and on and on. Then there's another section of the law that says at the end of the year all elected officials and candidates have to file a financial disclosure statement. And then they have to list who are my family members, where do I receive income of more than $1,000, who do I owe money to, who owes money to me, do I have any offices, any boards or do I own business, do I have financial interest stocks, bonds, and one of the things in this annual financial disclosure is gifts. And they're supposed to list on that any gifts that they received that were more than value of $500.
Ted Simons: Single and accumulated?
Ken Bennett: Accumulated.
Ted Simons: OK.
Ken Bennett: So -- single but accumulated. If you received $50 11 times, or something worth $50 11 times, by the end of the year you've accumulated over $500. So you have this financial disclosure part of the law that says report gifts over $500, then you have this other part of state law that says, all of these things including special events are not gifts, and I think we have a lot of confusion amongst legislators who have been going all throughout the year saying those aren't gifts, but is it a gift now when I file this financial disclosure.
Ted Simons: OK. The personal financial disclosure statements, lots of folks are amending those. What does that mean? Can I go rob a bank and come back later, I'll pay you back. What's going on there?
Ken Bennett: In our office we don't see the amendment -- at the amendment of a report as an admission of guilt.
Ted Simons: But how long does a lawmaker have the opportunity to do that?
Ken Bennett: Theoretically -- there's no limit that says you can't go back a certain number of years or whatever. I had to amend one of my report as couple of years ago because one of the businesses that our family is involved in, we broke it into two companies, and the first year after that I had been used to reporting that I owned a part of the stock in this one company, and the next year when I reported that, I forgot that we had broken it into two companies, so a year or two later when I realized oh, we have two companies not one, I went back and amended. So in our office, as the filing officer, we don't see amendments as admission of guilt or anything that we see as an enforcement or a gotcha. In fact, we encourage people if they remember something that they forgot, or if they realize that I was told all year that this isn't a gift, but I should have listed it over here because it was more than $500, now intentionally, if they're -- the law says knowingly. If they're knowingly leaving things off of the financial statements, or the financial disclosures, then there's a part of the law where a county attorney or the attorney general could come in and say, no, that wasn't an oversight, that was an intentional --
Ted Simons: let me ask you this -- can a politician accept tickets for free and then later reimburse whoever gave them the tickets for free? Reimburse anyone? Can you basically get stuff for free and later say oops, I better go reimburse. Something about that sounds wrong.
Ken Bennett: Not in an oops thing. If you want to pay for tickets, in my company we used to get tickets and pass them out to customers as rewards and things like that. So people know that this company has some season tickets and whatever. So if a lawmaker is not prohibited from going to sporting or cultural events. If they've got a friend who has tickets, they can say, can I buy your tickets, go to the game? There's nothing wrong with that. It shouldn't be happening in an oops situation, especially from lobbyists, and during most of the last several years, the Fiesta Bowl was doing lobbying, and so it shouldn't be happening too often if ever as an oops situation, but there's nothing to prohibit that a legislator says, joe, I know you got tickets to the D'backs, are you using the ones on Thursday night, and if not, can I buy them from you and go? That's fine.
Ted Simons: Last question, very quickly from where you sit, is there enough here for the attorney general to take a look and see what's going on?
Ken Bennett: Well, I think the attorney general can look in and see what kind of amendments were -- have been occurring. If legislators are coming in and saying, you know, these things they tell me all throughout the year are not gifts, and if it was one of those that was not listed on the annual financial disclosure statement, then they can probably say, that might be an oversight. But if it was a single big nice ticket, if you weren't part of a special event, if you weren't part of the larger committee or group of the legislature, and you were given some pretty nice tickets, and then four years later you're oopsing it, that might be a whole different -- that's left up to the prosecutors, not our office, to decide.
Ted Simons: Gotcha. Good to see you again. Thanks for joining us.
Ken Bennett: Thanks, Ted.
- A weekly update of legislative news with a reporter from the Arizona Capitol Times.
Ted Simons: Good evening, welcome to "Horizon." I'm Ted Simons. Some are still questioning the governor's claim that funding for certain medical transplants has been restored. Here with the latest on that and other goings-on at the capitol is Luige Del Puerto, of "The Arizona Capitol Times." Always a pleasure to see you. Thanks for joining us. What is the confusion other transplant fund something.
Luige Del Puerto: If the question is has the transplant services been restored, the answer is yes. The governor's office has taken a very strong position that the budget bill that the legislature submitted to her gives AHCCCS efficient authority to restore those transplant services. The governor's office is also quite adamant that AHCCCS can find enough money, some savings within its own system to fund those medical transplants. As to the confusion, was the bill confusing? I certainly was confused. And I initially reported the transplant services were not restored based on my own reading of the bill. Here's the reason why. The bill itself did not lift a statute that specifically disallows these transplant services. Also, there was no line item appropriation saying we are giving this amount for the medical services. However, the governor's office sent an email and informed us that there's notwithstanding clause in this bill that basically not with stand that language in the statured that says AHCCCS is not -- cannot provide for those medical services. And in that notwithstanding clause, there are also rule making exemptions, and in addition, that provision also says that this bill is retroactive to April 1st, which means that they can begin providing for this medical services as soon as the governor signs this budget bill.
Ted Simons: And we had the director of AHCCCS here. He said the funds are there, the transplants will happen, the governor authorized AHCCCS to restore with available appropriations -- why such a round about way? What's going on down there?
Luige Del Puerto: Well, is there -- is it possible that there was a clear way to write this bill, to restore those transplant funding? Certainly the answer is yes. I and Matt Benson, who speaks for the governor, lent a discussion about this one. His point is that at the end of the day, it achieves what their goal was, which was to restore this transplant services. And if you look at it, ultimately it's the governor saying this bill gives her the authority to provide for services, and when -- and I guess the only thing we're waiting for is when those services actually will be provided. No one in the legislature or at least no one among Republicans is questioning whether the governor was given this authority to restore those medical transplants.
Ted Simons: OK. Let's get to this birther bill now. Senate looking that this? What's happening here?
Luige Del Puerto: Today the senate debated the bill. It's called a committee of the whole debate. And what they do is it provides for -- it gets over that stage in the legislative process before they can actually vote on the bill. And in this particular cow debate, they amended the bill to essentially allow more documents to be offered and not just a birth certificate in order to prove that a candidate is a natural born American citizen. It makes the bill more inclusive, if you will.
Ted Simons: OK. Real quickly, wasn't there -- they had to show where the candidate was living for the past 14 years or something like that? What's that all about?
Luige Del Puerto: Well, if I'm not mistaken, the U.S. constitution says that you have to be living or residing in the United States for at least 14 years before you can run for president. So they're just taking that language --
Ted Simons: All right, OK. Last point before we let you get out of here, it sounds as though some of these immigration bills that were defeated earlier may be coming back. What's happening?
Luige Del Puerto: Only one of them may be coming back, and that's of course a big if. Representative John Kavanagh, who is an immigration hawk, close supporter of the senate president Russell Pearce, is working to find a way to revise the omnibus immigration bill which the president has authored, and basically he is saying that the Republicans in the senate have voted against that particular bill, did not all dislike all of the provisions in that measure so he's saying we're trying to find some consensus, and see whether we can get a bill out that contains only those provisions that would get enough support.
Ted Simons: It sounds like the ones that aren't going to be included include the ones about enrolling, having hospitals report someone who is not here with proper documentation, having parents and school officials, if a parent tries -- it sounds like schools and hospitals are being left out of it. Is that correct?
Luige Del Puerto: I haven't got then anything specific. What I do know is that he has asked those Republicans who voted against the bill specifically what they wanted in and what they wanted out of the bill. I would hazard to guess anything that's highly controversial and anything that was talked about and people had some heartburn about, those probably would be taken away if the bill were to be revised at all. Now, a caveat, they're nearing in the last few weeks of session, they've got to get this done. It's not clear whether they're going to do a striker or they're going to introduce a new bill or -- they have to go through the process, and of course they run out of time, that's it for the session.
Ted Simons: From what you've seen here, is there enthusiasm for this, addressing these things again?
Luige Del Puerto: You know, it's tough to say. Those bills that died in the senate died with very huge margins of losses. I get the sense that people are not enthusiastic about revisiting another immigration bill in the last few weeks of the session, but this is Mr. Kavanagh's effort, certainly I would presume he has the backing of the senate president and the senate president certainly has shown that he is very persistent when it comes to certain things, bills that he likes, legislation he likes, so we don't know if they would have the time, and we don't know if they can get consensus to get something out in the next few weeks or so.
Ted Simons: All right, thanks Luige. Good stuff.
Luige Del Puerto: Thank you.