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Belle of the Ball

With camera in hand as a prop, I got in before the crowd while Channel 7 News was filming in the background, and each car company prepped their vehicle for display.


The EV showcase included cars from Daimler (Fuel Cell), Honda (PHEV seen here), Pi Mobility (eBike), Tesla (pure EV seen here), Toyota (PHEV), VW (Fuel Cell), and an AC Propulsion eBox from PG&E's fleet. Photo of the Fuel Cell cars below.


Interesting talk today from Bob Bienenfeld, Snr Mgr, Environment and Energy Strategy, HONDA, who led Insight vehicle development, the first hybrid in the U.S.:


“How do consumers make choices?

SUVs tried to look rugged, but they weren’t.

These vehicles were our avatars – our representation of ourselves.


How about the Hybrid vehicle brand associations?

April 2006 study. Our Hypothesis: socio-political values differ more than traditional car brand values

Sure enough: Gas car drivers: middle of road, Hybrid owners: liberal

Prius: just more extreme on each of these views


What are you concerned about?

Civic hybrid: 44% said dependence on foreign oil

Prius: climate change


Why did you buy your hybrid?

Civic: 54% answered “access to carpool lane” (!), 39% gas efficiency

Prius: 3% access to carpool lane , 51% gas efficiency


Distinctive look for their car. It’s a Prius. It’s not even a Toyota. Define their identity.


We are not used to developing cars with such a rich array of attributes, such as “ giving a big middle finger to Exxon.”


Cachet – part of a club.


As political issues wax and wane, the interest for these cars do too.


We see an 86% correlation between the sales volume of hybrids and the price of gasoline.


Typical gas car emits a pound of CO2 per mile driven.


Honda Civic CNG is a 25% reduction in CO2. Great. But regulatory direction is an 80% reduction in tons, which requires a 90% reduction in intensity. So CNG is not enough.


We like to talk about technology, but nobody wants to talk about a customer because nobody understands the customer.


We only have 3% penetration of hybrids in the new vehicle market, and much less in the rolling stock.”

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Taken on April 7, 2010