Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

February 10, 2010


Host: Ted Simons

Electric Cars


  • Jonathan Read, the President and CEO of Scottsdale-based Ecotality, talks about his company‚Äôs involvement in the largest roll-out of electric vehicle infrastructure in U.S. history.
Guests:
  • Jonathan Read - President and CEO, Ecotality


View Transcript
Ted Simons: PHOENIX COMPANY IS LEADING THE CHARGE TO PUT MORE ELECTRIC VEHICLES ON OUR NATION'S ROADS. LAST YEAR, E-TEC WAS AWARDED A NEARLY $100 MILLION FEDERAL GRANT TO CONDUCT WHAT IS BEING CALLED THE LARGEST ROLL-OUT OF ELECTRIC CARS AND CHARGING STATIONS IN U.S. HISTORY. JOINING ME WITH THE LATEST ON THAT EFFORT IS JONATHAN READ, PRESIDENT AND CEO OF SCOTTSDALE-BASED ECO-TALITY, THE PARENT COMPANY OF E-TEC GOOD TO HAVE YOU HERE. THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.

Jonathan Read: GREAT TO BE HERE, TED.

Ted Simons: I KNOW HE-TEC WAS THERE FOR THE STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS. SUBSIDIARY, SUBSIDIARY. THAT'S QUITE THE HONOR.

Jonathan Read: IT WAS GREAT. IT REFLECTED THAT DON CARTER AND HIS TEAM WERE WORKING ON THIS FOR THE LAST 18 YEARS AND THE PRESIDENT AND HIS ADMINISTRATION COMMITTED TO ROLLING OUT GREEN JOBS.

Ted Simons: THE PRESIDENT ALSO MENTIONED THE STIMULUS BILL IS HELPING SMALL BUSINESSES, GREEN BUSINESS LIKE ECO-TALITY, LIKE E-TEC.

Jonathan Reed: ABSOLUTELY. STIMULUS PROGRAM IS A WONDERFUL PROGRAM BECAUSE IT DOES BUILD JOBS, LONG-TERM JOBS IN AN INDUSTRY WE THINK IS HERE TO STAY. WE'VE HIRED LOTS OF FOLKS. WE HAVEN'T RECEIVED OUR SINGLE FIRST CHECK YET FROM THE GOVERNMENT BUT WE'VE HIRED WELL OVER 20 FOLKS IMMEDIATELY IN THE AREA AND LOOK TO HAVE OVER 750 NEW JOBS DIRECTLY AFFECTED BY US OVER THE NEXT THREE YEARS.

Ted Simons: IT'S A STIMULUS CHECK BUT IT'S ALSO A STIMULUS KICK IN THE REAR END A LITTLE BIT, TOO, RIGHT? YOU GUYS NEED TO GET INTO ACTION?

Jonathan Read: ABSOLUTELY. WE NEED TO COMPLETE THE ROLL OUT OF THIS BY THE MIDDLE OF THIS YEAR TO THE MIDDLE OF NEXT YEAR. THAT'S A TIGHT SCHEDULE TO ROLL OUT 15,000 CHARGERS AND IN FIVE STATES. PLUS, ANOTHER THING PEOPLE DON'T RECOGNIZE IS THAT THE STIMULUS MONEY IS MATCHING FUNDS. WHILE WE GET $100 MILLION FROM THE GOVERNMENT, WE ALSO HAD TO RAISE $100 MILLION TO MATCH THE STIMULUS FUNDING IT STIMULATED US QUITE A BIT.

Ted Simons: SOUNDS LIKE IT LET'S TALK ABOUT THE PROJECT. WHAT EXACTLY IS IT? WHY ARIZONA'S INVOLVED. HOW YOU GOT INVOLVED.

Jonathan Read: E-TEC IS A LEADER IN THE ELECTRIC ROLLOUTS. WE ACQUIRED E-TEC AND HELPED PROPEL IT TO A POINT WHERE IT COULD BE A NATIONAL PLAYER IN TERMS OF PROVIDING ELECTRIC VEHICLE INFRASTRUCTURE. ARIZONA IS A GREAT STATE THAT'S USED TO TESTING VEHICLES, MOST EVERY CAR COMPANY HAS HAD A TEST TRACK HERE. IT'S A NATURAL THING TO STIMULATE THE ELECTRIC VEHICLES.

Ted Simons: BASICALLY THE IDEA IS THAT WE'LL SEE INFRASTRUCTURE, CHARGING STATIONS ALL OVER THE PLACE AND THE ELECTRIC CARS ALL OVER THE PLACE. THESE NISSAN LEAF CARS, CORRECT?

Jonathan Read: INITIALLY, THEY'LL BE NISSAN LEAF CARS. WE'LL BUILD OUT THE PUBLIC INFRASTRUCTURE WILL ALLOW YOU, THE BUYER, TO BE ABLE TO CHARGE IT WHEREVER YOU GO. IN FRONT OF A STARBUCKS, SAFEWAY, MOVIE THEATER AT A MALL, PLACES WHERE YOU NORMALLY GO TO PLAY AND SHOP IT REALLY IS A PROGRAM THAT'S GOING TO MAKE THE ELECTRIC VEHICLE AND THE CHARGE STATION AN EASY PART OF YOUR LIFE.

Ted Simons: AND THE IDEA AS WELL, I'M JUDGING FROM WHAT WE TALKED TO DON CARTER ABOUT THIS, YOU CAN HAVE THIS AT YOUR HOUSE AS WELL?

Jonathan Read: BSOLUTELY. EVERY CAR WILL HAVE A CHARGER BUILT INTO THEIR HOME SO THEY CAN CHARGE IN TWO TO THREE HOURS AT HOME. SOME OF OUR CHARGE STATIONS COULD CHARGE A CAR IN UP TO 10 TO 15 MINUTES. THAT'S REALLY GOING TO CHANGE THE DYNAMIC OF HOW PEOPLE PERCEIVE ELECTRIC VEHICLES.

Ted Simons: YOU CAN ALMOST SEE THE COFFEE SHOPS WITH CHARGING STATIONS OUTSIDE. YOU GO INSIDE, GET YOUR LATTE OR WHATEVER YOU'RE GOING TO GET, COME OUT AND GO TO WHERE YOU NEED TO GO.

Jonathan Read: WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU COULD GET A LATTE IN 15 MINUTES AT STARBUCKS?

Ted Simons: SOME IF SOMEONE IS WATCHING RIGHT NOW SAYING I WOULDN'T MIND A CHARGER IN GARAGE OR DRIVEWAY, I WOULDN'T MIND GETTING A NISSAN LEAF, HOW DO THEY GET INVOLVED?

Jonathan Read: EVPROGRAM.COM IS THE WEB SITE TO FIND OUT MORE. YOU CAN SIGN UP FOR THE PROGRAM. NISSAN AND OURSELVES WILL CONTACT YOU AND PROVIDE YOU WITH THE INFORMATION ON THE VEHICLE. IF YOUR HOME COULD FIT IT AND YOU'RE SORT OF SUITABLE IN TERMS OF YOUR ELECTRIC LOAD, WE'D INVITE YOU TO BE PART OF THE PROGRAM.

Ted Simons: THAT'S EVPROJECT.COM.

Jonathan Read: CORRECT.

Ted Simons: OK. WHEN YOU'RE PART OF THE PROGRAM THOUGH, YOU HAVE TO COOPERATE IN TERMS OF GIVING INFORMATION AND LETTING PEOPLE KNOW YOUR HABITS, WHAT WORKS AND WHAT DOESN'T, CORRECT?

Jonathan Read: CORRECT, BUT REALLY THAT'S ALL DONE BY JUST MONITORING YOUR CHARGING HABITS. THAT'S ALL DONE REMOTELY. WE KNOW WHERE YOU CHARGE, WHEN YOU CHARGE AND WHAT -- HOW YOU'RE TREATING THE BATTERY OF YOUR CAR SO THE INVOLVEMENT -- YOUR INVOLVEMENT IN THE PROGRAM ISN'T MUCH GREATER THAN JUST DEALING WITH YOUR CAR AS YOU WOULD ON A REGULAR BASIS.

Ted Simons: KIND OF TIME FRAME ARE WE LOOKING AT HERE? FIRST FOR THE INFRASTRUCTURE AND THE NISSAN LEAF CARS?

Jonathan Read: WE ROLLING OUT INFRASTRUCTURE LATER THIS YEAR IN THE SUMMER. FIRST CARS WILL BE ON THE ROAD IN THE FOURTH QUARTER OF THIS YEAR. WE'LL HAVE ALL THE INFRASTRUCTURE UP BY THE MIDDLE OF NEXT AREA. WE EXPECT TO HAVE 5,000 VEHICLES JUST IN OUR PROGRAM IN FIVE CITIES OUT BY THE MIDDLE OF NEXT YEAR.

Ted Simons: WE'RE TALKING AGAIN MOSTLY ABOUT E-TEC HERE AND THIS WHOLE EV PROJECT BUT ECO-TALITY IS INVOLVED WITH OTHER PROJECTS. TALK ABOUT THE CHALLENGE OF GROWING REVENUE. YOU RUN A BUSINESS. THE IDEA IS TO MAKE MONEY HERE. TALK ABOUT THE CHALLENGES OF DOING THAT WITHIN A GREEN TECHNOLOGY ENVIRONMENT.

Jonathan Read: I'M PASSIONATE ABOUT BEING GREEN. I'M ALSO PASSIONATE ABOUT BEING PROFITABLE, BECAUSE GREEN IS A WONDERFUL CONCEPT IF YOU CAN -- IF YOU CONTINUALLY HAVE THE GOVERNMENT PAY FOR IT. THAT WON'T WORK. IT'S GOT TO BE PROFITABLE. WE'RE REALLY PUSHING TO SHOW THAT ELECTRIC VEHICLE INFRASTRUCTURE AND ELECTRIC VEHICLES WILL BE PROFITABLE AND POSITIVE FOR THE CONSUMER. IF SOLAR DOESN'T WORK AND IT'S NOT PROFITABLE FOR THE BUSINESSMAN, IT'S GOING TO FAIL. RELIANCE ON GOVERNMENT FUNDING IS A VERY SHORT-TERM STIMULUS. WE EXPECT THAT ALL OF THE PUBLIC CHARGE STATIONS THAT COME OUT HENCEFORTH ARE GOING TO BE PAID FOR BY THE PRIVATE SECTOR BECAUSE IT ENTICES CUSTOMERS INTO THEIR PLACES OF BUSINESS AND FOR A HOST OF OTHER REASONS.

Ted Simons: TIME LINE FACTOR HERE. AT ONE WHAT POINT SHOULD YOU START SEEING SOME OF THESE NEW REVENUE COMING IN? SOME OF THIS NEW REVENUE COMING IN AND SHOWING THE KIND OF PROFIT OR AT LEAST BREAKING EVEN THAT YOU'RE EXPECTING?

Jonathan Read: WE EXPECT TO BE PROFITABLE IN 2011. SO WE SEE A NUMBER OF OTHER COMPANIES IN OUR SPACE THAT ARE REALLY LOOKING TO HAVE HIGH REVENUES AND BE PROFITABLE WITHIN THE NEXT TWO YEARS. SO IT IS A SHORT FUSE BUT IT'S A HUGE INFRASTRUCTURE THAT'LL BE BUILT OUT NATIONWIDE.

Ted Simons: SO WE'RE LOOKING FOR INFRASTRUCTURE IN THE SUMMER AND LOOKING FOR THE NISSAN ELECTRIC CARS, THE LEAFS BY WINTER TIME, SOME MAY BE COMING OUT IN THE WINTER AND THEN WE'LL SEE HOW THE WHOLE THING WORKS.

Jonathan Read: WE'LL SEE REALLY EXCITING VEHICLES AND CHARGING AT PLACES YOU WOULDN'T NORMALLY THINK OF.

Ted Simons: VERY GOOD. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US. WE APPRECIATE IT.

Jonathan Read: THANK YOU, TED.

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