Thursday, August 19, 2010

Leaders in the Automotive Industry Gather at Leadership Summit to Discuss Future of Alternative Energy Vehicles

Written by Stephanie Schneider, Associate, Sponsorship

On July 27 & 28, suppliers, public sector energy experts, academics, and other automotive value chain participants met in Michigan to discuss how best to accelerate the commercialization and widespread adoption of advanced vehicle technologies in order to meet growing consumer demand and ambitious national goals for reducing oil dependence and combating climate change. Following the speaker session, attendees were able to view the vehicles and meet the teams in the running for the Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE at the Closing Ceremonies event at the Michigan International Speedway.

Here’s what some of the attendees had to say about the Leadership Summit:

“I was energized by the connections with innovative thinkers, technology and market developers pushing the limits on how we responsibly transport ourselves. I did not view the event as the completion of the challenge, but rather as the beginning of the next stage of change - and I came away more committed than ever to driving that change.” – Bill Van Amburg, Senior Vice President, CALSTART

“For me, the Leadership Summit was both inspiring and practical. I had the opportunity to learn from so many others, from various sectors, who are also working toward sustainable transportation. I gained perspective I couldn't have gained so quickly without the Leadership Summit.” – Maggie Striz Calnin, Program Manager, Kuntzsch Business Services/Greater Lansing Area Clean Cities

“The Leadership Summit was an excellent exchange of information from a diverse group of experts.” Rick Woodbury, Commuter Cars Corp.

Two days of very engaging conversations at the Leadership Summit resulted in these initial 10 actions that vehicle innovators and industry leaders should take to bring advanced vehicle technologies to market:

1. Find your focus and identify niche markets that match the capabilities of your technology with the use-case and consumers that can best leverage those technologies.

2. Consider being a car complement, not a car replacement. Adjust your expectations and strategy to position yourself as an “alternative form of mobility.”

3. Engage in ongoing consumer education to help consumers understand their role in the industry and as a part of this broad societal shift in how we transport ourselves.

4. Recognize the value of physical demos and creating opportunities for customers and partners to experience the technology in a tactile way. Suggestions included getting these vehicles into rental and car-sharing fleets where consumers would have a chance to drive the cars in real-world scenarios.

5. Pursue partnerships. Now more than ever, companies, suppliers, and public sector institutions are eager to partner with innovators. Collaboration is key.

6. Actively involve the supply-chain throughout the process, including the use of open infrastructure and the development of a parts bin.

7. Work with universities for their research and development capabilities, as well as their knowledge of potential research and development funding sources.

8. Push for performance-based regulations, rather than solution-based.

9. Use launch points and deadlines to speed your development cycle.

10. Look to other industries for ideas about consumer adoption and alternative go-to-market strategies.

X PRIZE Foundation would like to thank our sponsors for their support of this event:

Progressive Corporation


U.S. Department of Energy

Michigan Economic Development Corporation

Michigan International Speedway

MultiTech Systems

Bryan Cave

BT Global Services

DTE Energy


Consumers Union


Snap-on Tools


Ray Sidney

Jeffrey Shames

Gil & Elyssa Elbaz

Jack Hidary

Nadine Weil

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