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USA: Electric Vehicles Visit D.C. for Earth Day

Could 2011 be the year of the electric car? Less than 15 years after the electric car was famously — but erroneously — claimed to be dead, there is new consumer and public-policy interest in electrics and electrically driven vehicles. The Electric Drive Transportation Association (EDTA), the trade association that represents battery, hybrid, plug-in hybrid and fuel-cell electric-drive vehicles, certainly hopes that 2011 will be the year that electrics really catch fire — at least figuratively. To grease the skids, it will hold its annual conference and convention from April 19 to 21 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. The event will also offer the opportunity for attendees to ride, drive and charge a variety of electric vehicles.

As you may surmise, the EDTA annual conference attracts automakers, battery, charging and other electric-drive infrastructure companies. Electric utilities, policymakers, media and nongovernmental organizations also attend in robust numbers. This year’s event will kick off with keynote addresses from U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood and Edison International Chairman and CEO Ted Craver. In addition, the CEOs of Ener1, ECOtality, Coulomb Technologies, Envia Systems, Enova Systems, Dow Kokam, and Volkswagen North America will speak at the conference.

“With our nation at an energy crossroads, this year’s conference will demonstrate how electric-drive technology will be an essential part of the solution to the economic, energy and environmental challenges created by U.S. foreign oil dependence,” says EDTA President Brian Wynne.

To showcase electric-drive vehicles, the conference will feature an Innovation Motorcade: Ride, Drive and Charge event on April 19, starting on Capitol Hill. The motorcade parade will make key stops throughout the district, including at the U.S. Department of Transportation. The conference will also include more than 50 electric-drive industry and policy leaders discussing the key issues and newest technology advances. Among the topics discussed will be governmental regulations and policies, the market for electric-drive vehicles, the infrastructure to support electrics — including the so-called “smart grid” — and the rare earths that are so critical in battery manufacture.


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