Advanced Vehicles: Driving Growth Part 2

So before we get started, I
just want to remind all of those folks that are watching on the
live feed and anybody here in the audience that our hashtag
for Twitter is #drivethefuture. And for the second panel,
we will be taking questions on Twitter. So if anybody out here
has questions via Twitter, via live feed,
please go ahead and tweet that to #drivethefuture. To moderate our second panel,
Clean Energy Innovation, we have two fantastic folks, the
first of which is Tim Warman. Tim’s the Vice-President
for Climate and Energy at the National Wildlife Federation. Them leads the NWF’s
climate and energy work. And Tim has a group of policy
and program specialists working on both land based,
forest and farm based, and energy based solutions
to reduce carbon pollution, halt climate change, and advance
development and use of renewable energy and energy waste
reduction technology. So thank you, Tim,
for joining us today. And the second one is our
friend here at the White House, Jason Miller. Jason is a Special Assistant to
the President for Manufacturing Policy at the National
Economic Council. And he leads the
administration’s efforts to coordinate policy in federal
activities supporting U.S. manufacturing. He joined the Obama
administration in April of 2010. And prior to joining
our administration, Jason was advising global
companies as a management consultant with the
Boston Consulting Group. So Jason, take it away. Jason Miller:
Great. Thanks. I think this is going to
be an excellent discussion, a good follow up on
the previous panel. In the previous panel, we talked
a lot about where we’ve been, how we got here, and a little
bit about where we’re going. And the focus of this discussion
is really about what do the years ahead look like and how
are we positioned for — really how are we positioned for
innovation in the American auto industry. Now, a lot of the remarks before
were about the centrality of the automobile to this country. And I think you can see that
a number of different ways, both in terms of its economic
importance but also in terms of who we are as Americans,
our independence, our ingenuity. But it also highlights a lot
of the challenges that different types of innovation have
been trying to address, from the energy that our
vehicles use and the impact on our environment and the demands
that consumers constantly have for how they interact with
their vehicles going forward. I think — and I hope that this
comes out in this discussion — where we’re sitting right now is
at a pretty unique moment where a confluence of consumer needs
and policy needs have really enabled and put us in a position
for a leap forward in terms of innovation in the
American auto industry. In addition to, you know,
the fuel efficiency standards that a lot of the previous
panelists talked about, this administration has taken a
number of different steps to try and support innovation
in the auto industry, starting with major investments
in The Recovery Act that included standing up a broad set
of manufacturing capabilities, particularly around vehicle
electrification technologies, launching new programs like
ARPA-E at the Department of Energy that have funded some
incredible groundbreaking technologies, one of which
we’ll talk about today, new programs like the EV
Everywhere program at DOE that was launched last week in
Detroit that is really about getting electric vehicles
to a point where they are as affordable and as convenient
as current internal combustion engine vehicles and a broad
set of policies that we propose across a number of
different technology areas. And I think that challenge is
some of what I hope comes out of our discussion today. So let me start just
by introducing the different panelists. And I’m going to turn it over to
Tim to frame some of the topics for this conversation. So I’m going to start down on
my right here with Atul Kapadia. Atul is the Chairman and
CEO of Envia Systems. He was the founding investor
and board member of Envia which, in partnership with
Argonne National Lab, received $4 million from ARPA-E
in December 2009 to develop lithium-ion batteries with
the highest energy density in the world. Next to Atul is Jules Toraya,
the Program Manager for the Center for Transportation
in the Environment, Clean cities Atlanta. Jules is a decorated U.S. Army Captain with extensive
experience supporting multifunctional operations. He currently serves as a
project manager for the Center for Transportation
in the Environment, Clean Cities Atlanta,
and the city of Atlanta. He is leading the development
of Atlanta’s plug-in electric vehicle readiness strategy and
is developing a plug-in electric vehicle readiness template for
municipalities throughout the Atlanta metropolitan
region to implement. His next project is to repurpose
veterans to gain employment developing sustainable
transportation systems in conjunction with the
renewable energy market. Next is Al Ebron. Al has been the Executive
Director of the National Alternative Fuels Training
Consortium and Division Director for the National Research Center
for Coal and Energy at West Virginia University
since October 1999. Al has over 23 years of
extensive experience with alternative fuel and advanced
technology vehicle projects, including but not limited
to biofuels, gaseous fuels, hybrid electric and
electric vehicle, hydrogen, and fuel cell vehicle projects. A short list. Next is Ryan Harty. Ryan has been Manager
of Environmental Business Development at Honda since 2011. Ryan is responsible for
developing environmental product and business plans
across Honda’s auto, motorcycle and power equipment
businesses to minimize Honda’s environmental footprint while
providing customers in society with innovative products. This year, Honda announced
it will build its new Acura NSX sports car as a hybrid at
a new plant in Central Ohio. Last but not least,
Mike Gammella from UAW. Mike started at Ford Motor
Company in Brooke Park Ohio as an engine assembler. He now serves as the Council
President for the UAW Local 1250 in Brooke Park, Ohio where Ford
has invested heavily in its EcoBoost technology. EcoBoost is Ford’s term for
turbo charged engines that it’s offering in a wide
variety of its vehicles. Mike said the EcoBoost engine
saved Ford engine plant in 2009 when the company launched the
product for specialty cars such as the hot-rod Taurus
SHO and the Lincoln MKS. So I think we
have a great panel. I want to turn it over to
Tim to frame the discussion. Tim Warman:
Thank you very much, Jason. It’s a great pleasure
for me to be here. And I really appreciate that
so many of you have taken this afternoon to really spend
some time talking about and understanding our
success stories. Often we don’t spend enough time
recognizing how and what it took to achieve success. So I am Tim warman. I’m the Vice-President for
Climate Energy at the National Wildlife Federation. And you’re sitting there
wondering what is the National Wildlife Federation doing
at a meeting on automobiles? So we see three
major threats to wildlife. The first is
the lost of habitat. The second is the fact that
we’re in the process of raising a generation of kids
that don’t go outdoors. They have no love of nature
because they spend all their time in front of some
kind of electric screen. And thirdly, climate change
driven by the way we use energy is a major threat that is
changing habitat and threatening wildlife today. The solutions to climate
change will inevitably involve automobiles, transportation,
how we use energy. So I’m really
pleased to be here. I’m convinced that
advanced vehicles, the automobile industry,
innovative companies across America, American workers,
they all hold that key to solving the climate
energy challenges facing us and the world. Climate and energy is not
just a challenge for wildlife, by the way. It’s a challenge for all of us. I grew up in the 1960’s. And my first car
was a 1969 Camaro. I know something
about cool cars. But the coolest thing of
all is that the best, safest, the most efficient and the most
capable cars and light trucks ever made are being manufactured
right now in America. As a result, we’re
seeing a renaissance in the automotive industry. I think that’s amazing. We are living at the time
where you can buy the best cars ever made. But I think even
better is yet to come. Today’s panel members from
across the country represent innovative car companies
and suppliers, cities, education and training,
R&D, and labor. And they have some really
compelling stories to tell, stories that will help us all
see the breadth of innovation sweeping the auto industry
from fuels to infrastructure to design and globally
competitive manufacturing, innovations that are causing
us to rethink the very basics of automobiles. For example, consider
batteries that we’ve already heard a lot about. They’re now fuel tanks. And electricity is a fuel. And American consumers will have
better choices and more choices in the marketplace as we
rethink the basics of cars. Innovation or change for
change’s sake is not a goal. The goal is to reap a host
of benefits for consumers, for the environment,
for companies, for workers, and the economy
for all Americans. Our panelists will give us their
unique perspectives based on their work to achieve one
or more of these elements. Today we also want to gain a
better understanding of what is needed to accelerate innovation,
strengthen our successes, and lead the world to a clean
and safe future with improved quality of life for all. A couple of weeks ago,
NWF hosted a conference where we looked at the social
drivers for change. And one of the things that came
out loud and clear was that people have to perceive that
the change is going to lead to a better quality of life,
to improvements in and over the way they’ve done
things in the past. Well, I think what we’re
starting to see now in automobile innovation is that
consumers really do have better cars that meet
all of their needs. So without any further adieu,
what I would like to do is ask a question and let each of the
panelists answer that question and share some of their story. So for each of you, how do
you see innovation changing your industry? What’s different today? And what’s your role in the
dynamic new automotive sector? We can start with you, Mike,
and work our way to the right. Mike Gammella:
Thank you very much. Well, first off the people. We don’t need as many
people to run a plant. To give an example, we build
the EcoBoost engine currently. It would take 5500 people back
in the 70’s to get that kind of production out. At this point, we’ll probably
utilize between 12 and 1400 at far better quality and a lot
more efficiency obviously. The people are a very
big part of that. Where it used to be many years
ago, you were just brought in, this is your job, you do this,
now you’re actually a part of the process. At the point of impact,
it’s very important that that worker building that product
understands why he or she is building that product and what
the final destination of that product is. It’s very important. It’s critical. Understand, the people that
actually touch the product on the assembly lines,
who machine the products, who manufacture the products
are just as important as the machinery that produces them. For many years, the
corporations and the companies, they’ve invested a great deal
in technology and machinery. They had not done
that with their people. And this is a huge resource
that we’ve missed for many, many years that currently we’re
finally starting to nurture. And it’s starting to show. Again, if you look at the
products that the auto industry is building today,
it’s a revitalization of the auto industry. The automobiles, the technology
are so far superior to what they were a few short years back. To give you an example,
the engine we’ll produce in Cleveland, the EcoBoost engine,
20% more fuel efficiency, 20% more environmentally
friendly. That’s the type of thing that
we need to do in America, not to lead just this
country but the entire world. And that’s what we have to get
back to doing, making things, manufacturing things,
and being a world leader. Ryan Harty:
Thank you. I think the story for innovation
in the automobile industry today is that we have no clear idea,
you know, out beyond 2025, what kind of power plant
is going to be powering our vehicles. We don’t clearly know how
our customers are going to be fueling them. Will it be with, you know,
advanced internal combustion vehicles relying on gasoline
or ethanol or natural gas or advanced diesel engines? Or will it be electricity
with battery electric vehicles or hydrogen fuel
cell electric vehicles? So frankly, this is a
very exciting time to be an automotive engineer in this
industry because it’s a very clear and unknown path forward. The race is on for us to meet
the challenges of air quality, climate change,
and energy security. And we have to do it as
automobile companies by meeting the rigorous customer demands,
on top of fuel efficiency, of quality, safety,
reliability and performance, and doing all of that
at a reasonable price, such that we can continue
to sell cars to customers who want them. I mention there’s no clear path
forward how to do this where we can meet the needs of
all of those customers. So Honda is proceeding with kind
of an all-of-the-above strategy. And it’s entirely based on
that kind of innovation. If I can give some concrete
examples of what we’re doing here, earlier Luke said that
he believed that we could have mobility while preserving
our natural world. And Honda deeply
shares this belief. We have a rallying cry for
the development engineers in our development centers called
Blue Skies for Our Children. And this kind of sums
up the essence of that. You know, every engineer in our
organization wants to pass on a better world for their children. So this is why Honda has
historically been the fuel economy champion. But you know, as Gary noted
earlier, others have caught up. And we want to take that
back within three years. That takes innovation. Every other company
wants to catch us. And that drives innovation in
the spirit of competition in this race to do it. So in the next couple of years,
Honda will unveil four new engines based on direct
injection of variable valve timing, downsizing, a whole new
set of transmissions including CVT and dual-clutch
transmissions, new hybrid system,
the most hybrid efficient yet, also improving aerodynamics
and reducing vehicle weight, reducing vehicle rolling
resistance and applying technologies such as
electric power steering, improved brakes that we
were talking about in the earlier panel. But finally, new technologies
that are completely unknown, like the new Fit electric
vehicle that’s just being unveiled this week has
the highest fuel economy of any vehicle ever
tested by the U.S. EPA, 118 miles per
gallon equivalent. Now, all of that innovation
results in investment and jobs. We’re investing $800 million
into our auto plants in the United States in order to build
those new engines and build those new transmissions and
build those new hybrid power train parts for vehicles like
the new Acura ILX Hybrid in the Greensburg, Indiana factory
and the Natural Gas Civic, also at that factory. And I think that is the
future of innovation in the automobile industry. Al Ebron:
Well, thank you for the
invitation to be here today. We’re very excited to be here. And I’m so excited to hear all
the discussion in the previous panel about training because
training never comes up first. It always comes up at the end. It should come up at
the beginning, of course. Well, I direct the
National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium. And we are a program of
West Virginia University. And we’re basically the only
nationwide organization that is dedicated to
promoting, supporting, and expanding the use of
alternative fuel vehicles and advanced technology vehicles. Through our mission,
we do a lot of things. And one of our things is to
educate the country on all of these new technologies in
the automotive world that’s coming out. We do a lot of
things at the NAFTC. But some core things we do
is we develop the curriculum, we turn that curriculum
into training programs, and then we also turn those
activities into outreach and education programs. These are all
extremely important. And we do this through a
nationwide consortium of schools who are members
of the consortium. We have our national
training centers which are post-secondary schools. Macomb Community College
is in our consortium, that was on the previous panel. And also associate training
centers which are high schools. And it’s extremely important
that we go down to the high school level, which the previous
panel mentioned as well. There are a lot of career
opportunities for young people. And if you get them early, they
have of lot of opportunities and a lot of paths to go down. And in high school, we have
some programs, hopefully, that help with that. Now, on the innovation side, the
automotive industry is changing. So training has to change
as quickly as it changes. Two exciting programs that
we have are with the U.S. Department of Energy. And I just want to touch
of those very quickly and, depending on how the panel
goes, maybe talk about them more later. But the first was part of the
ARRA funding of the entire electrification awards. And they actually carved out
a major — not a major but a portion of those
funds for education. And we were fortunate enough
to get the largest award in that area. And through that award, we are
going to be developing — and are pretty well three quarters
to finishing all of this. We are going to be developing
training all the way from the high school to the
post-secondary schools at the community college level, the
infrastructure training and for first responder safety training,
all in the areas of electric drive vehicles. So it’s going to be a total
package to support all of our member schools across the
country and others that want to use this training to help move
the electric drive industry forward with the
automobile manufactures. The second program we
have is our Clean Cities Learning Program. And we work very closely
with the U.S.DOE Clean Cities Program. And we’re developing training
and education for their 90 to 100 coalitions across the
country in the area of first responder safety training
as well as petroleum reduction technologies. And this vast array of the Clean
Cities Program will then take this training and go out and,
of course what they do is implement AFE programs
all across the country. So what our program is doing is
developing a lot of training for the electric drive and
alternative fuel industry that is going to move out
all across the country. And it’s going to be up to date. And it’s going to also be
utilizing and dealing with the current technologies. Tim Warman:
Thank you. Jules? Jules Toraya:
Thank you, Tim. I would just like to thank
you and the White House for this opportunity. This is amazing. A little bit of context
for me, back in 2009, during the State
of the Union address, the President was talking about
some of these initiatives we’re here today talking about. The only difference was I wasn’t
sitting and figuring out how we were going to employ advanced
vehicle technologies. I was sitting in a tactical
operations center in Iraq in NACUBO. And I remember I was
just like being so motivated. I wanted to get
home and get started. I would have never
thought that, you know, we would be here today
doing what we’re doing. So innovation. What’s it mean? I think it means change,
change for industry. And in particular, it represents
hope for veterans that continue to be deployed overseas
to secure America’s oil supply chain. I know they’re
tired of the mission. They can’t say it. I’m in the inactive
reserve, so I can say it. We’re tired of
the mission, guys. We need to deploy these
technologies and stop having to secure this oil. But anyway, what I do in Atlanta
is I maintain a public-private partnership that really
tries to help ease this change. What’s change mean? To an executive
leader, it’s great. Oh yeah, sure,
I’ll sign the paper. Change. But to a worker, it means
I have to go get training, some more skills. It’s a whole bunch of
extra work but the same pay. So what the Department of Energy
has done is they have provided overhead to, you know,
major regions in Atlanta. We’re one of the lucky
recipients of one of these funding grants to essentially
have extra people on hand to be able to figure out, well how are
we going to ease the deployment of these technologies
in these communities? And there’s multiple
stakeholders. You’ve got the property
managers, the fleet managers. You’ve got the actual
governments themselves. And the list goes — the
electrical contractors. There’s a lot of different
stakeholders involved. And so a lot of times, it means
extra work having to go in and, you know, update these
processes so we can deploy this technology. And that’s really where the
Department of Energy and the Obama administration have
stepped up for us to be able to do the work that
needs to be done. So innovation, moving
forward, to me means change and then hope. Tim Warman:
Thanks, Jules. Atul? Atul Kapadia:
Thanks, Tim. Thanks, Jason. And it’s a privilege for me
to be here and represent the Envia team. Envia is a small company
based in California. We were founded in 2007. It was founded by two gentleman. One is Dr. Sujet Kumae who is a
brilliant battery scientist and Michael Sinkula who is a young
business icon like people hear about them in California. I was the founding
investor in this country. And it’s still a small company. 80% of the employees
are all engineers. And about 50% of the
employees are Ph.Ds. Envia’s business is developing
battery materials for the next generation. Well, today I’m here
to tell you that the next generation is here. The future is
here right now today. And I’ll describe to you a
little bit why this matters, why batteries matter,
why battery materials matter. Well, if you think about it,
let’s look at the highest level of metrical energy density. Energy density is the amount of
energy you can encapsulate in a particular gram of materials. So today, the electric cars
on the road, for example, the Chevy Volt or the Nissan
Leaf or the Honda Fit have material in there or batteries
in there where the energy density is about between 100
and 120 watt-hour per kilogram. At 100 or 120
watt-hour per kilogram, the economics
simply does not work, and let me walk through
some of the economics for you. If you think about an
ordinary sedan on the road, it’s about $25,000, and if you
think about gas that is required for six years,
it’s about $18,000, I mean, take it or leave,
depending on your driving habits and the price per gallon. In my calculation
which I just did here, I assumed about $3 a gallon
and about 200 miles a week. So you have a total cost of
ownership for six years to be about $43,000. Fifty percent of the cars,
50 percent of 250 million cars on the road today in America
have a median life of about seven years. So this is a fair
assumption, about $43,000 total cost of ownership. And you can get 300 miles in
each tank of gas that you fill. Now if you go to an electric car
you’re going to pay for a 300 mile car at least 65,000,
if not more, probably $75,000. So the economics
just simply doesn’t work. Forget about the climate and
forget about the other things, if you have a $43,000 car that’s
300 miles per gallon and you pay $70,000 for an electric
car for a 300 mile car, it simply does not work. Because, number one, you have
less miles because you can’t afford a 300 mile car so you’d
have to buy a shorter range car. You’d have less
miles, number one. Number two, it costs a lot more. And number three,
you’re prepaying the gas cost when you go buy the car. So these are the three
reasons why electric cars are just simply not affordable. Now let’s think
about the battery. What is a battery, really. As somebody pointed out,
a battery is a gas tank. Well, the chemicals that go
inside the battery is the gas. And that gas can only be
filled in the battery once, when you make the battery. You don’t keep changing the
chemicals inside the battery again and again. You fill the chemicals and then
the chemicals move from anode to cathode, which are the two
main components of the battery, and create electricity. And that electricity is
what’s going to power your car. So in this case, you’re
prepaying about 25, $30,000 for the battery cost
when you buy the car, and you’re getting less miles. And that’s mainly because
the amount of energy you can encapsulate in the chemicals
is only 100 to 120 watt-hour per kilogram. What Envia did, Envia received
about $4 million from ARPA-E as a grant in 2009 December,
and we have doubled up a world record energy density battery
of 400 watt-hour per kilogram. And this is really a
moon shot in our business. Our business is
electrochemistry material science battery business. Why is this a moon shot? Because today’s cars are
about 100 to 120 watt-hour per kilogram. The strongest competitors in
our space that we respect a lot think that the limit of
lithium-ion batteries is approximately 250
watt-hour per kilograms. Well, for electric cars, Envia’s
technology starts at 250 or 220 watt-hour per kilogram, and
it extends all the way to 400 watt-hour per kilogram, as we
demonstrated in March of 2012. Now, we didn’t just
show it in a small cell, and we didn’t just say
this is a proof of concept, we drew some graphs and we said
tomorrow when somebody does this right, it will actually
measure to be 400 watt-hour per kilogram. I wish I’d brought
a cell here today, but we actually made automotive
grade cells and gave it to the Naval Surface Warfare
Center in Crane, Indiana, and they tested our claims,
and we achieved the recorded energy density of 400 watt-hour
per kilogram, number one. Number two, the program said in
2009 you’ve got to achieve this by December of 2011,
and we did that. We achieved this
by 2011 December. So, what does this really
mean for the auto industry? Well, I think that good
news is on the horizon. I don’t think that in a couple
years we all get together again here, we’ll be talking about
lithium-ion batteries as a futuristic technology, and I
think there’s a huge leap of innovation that is happening at
Envia which you will soon start seeing propagating in different
vehicles around the world, in electric cars and plug-in
hybrid electric cars. And I think that a 150 mile
to 200 mile car for $30,000 or less is not too
far on the horizon. So, to summarize, Envia’s
mission when it was founded in 2007 was to be the battery
materials innovator to only do one thing, which is to make the
electric car mass market real, which means that 25 to $30,000
car with 150 to 200 mile range. And that’s what innovation
is, having 50 percent of my workforce who has a Ph.D. from the most prestigious
universities in the U.S., and making these disruptive
changes in energy density is what I construe as innovation. Thanks. Tim Warman:
So thank you to
all the panelists. I asked them in advance
to tell compelling stories, and I think we just heard five
really compelling stories about what they’re doing,
and we started to hear some stories about where they
think we might go next. But my final question
for the panel, and it’s, you know — we’re cognizant
of the fact that Ryan made a really good point. You know, the future, once you
get out a few years, is unknown. But the future is what
we’re going to influence with innovation. And so I would like the
panelists to take just a minute to, you know,
look at a crystal ball, look at those things
that give you hope. We heard about hope from a
couple of the panelists here, and tell me what you would
really like to see or think we will see sort of
as Atul just did. He painted an amazing story
of what appeared to be an insurmountable problem, and
showed us how we can solve that problem in the next couple of
years in a way that will make a dramatic difference
for the consumer. So I’m asking each of you
to take a minute or two, if you want to contribute to
sort of what you see in the future and what you think will
be sort of really exciting in terms of outcomes from
the innovations that are occurring today. Let’s start back with Mike. Mike Gammella:
Well, when you
talk about our future, obviously you haven’t looked
at the Mayan calendar, so — [laughter] However,
I do believe there is a future. The end of the
world will come one day, but it’s not going to be soon. As I tell my kids, the Mayan
calendar had to end somewhere. I think that, you know,
the future’s very bright, but before I go any further,
I think I’d be remiss if I didn’t say, had it not
been for Barack Obama, we would not be
sitting up here today. The man literally saved the
auto industry in this country, and understand, I work
for Ford Motor Company. Ford was fine,
we didn’t need a loan. However, if that parts
supply would have went down, those auto parts makers
would have went down with General Motors, Chrysler,
we wouldn’t be here having this discussion today. We’d be talking about the
auto disaster instead of the auto revitalization. So I want to give credit where
credit is due to the President. I know he doesn’t already
get it — always get it. [applause] He’s had kind of
a tough time today on Capitol Hill, but he’s a good
man to have at the helm. That said, I think
again the future, we have to reduce our
dependency on foreign oil, it’s absolutely critical. Not just for the environment,
but for the economy as well. The internal combustion energy
has been around for a hundred plus years, and when you look at
the leaps and bounds that we’ve made in technologies, the engine
just has not kept pace with that, the internal
combustion engine. However, the news now
is it has, and it will. As I spoke about the
EcoBoost earlier, we’ll also have a four
cylinder version of that coming out later on. I’m not at liberty to say,
but there’s something after that coming that
will really, you know, fuel economy wise and
as far as environmentally, will be absolutely astounding. And again, I’m not at
liberty to talk about that, but take my word
for it, it is coming, and it will be built right
in Cleveland at the Cleveland engine plant. When we talk about the
future, as far as, you know, what’s going to happen, I think
the biggest thing is, again, I can’t emphasize this enough,
is the training of the people. We have a partnership with the
Cuyahoga Community College in Cuyahoga County in
the State of Ohio, and that’s been really very well
as far as training our people. And it’s important, again,
that we train people for the new technologies. But what’s just as important,
when we train these people, we have to have a job for them. If we train them and
there’s no job for them, we’ve just wasted our money. We’ve got to make sure we
continue manufacturing in this country, and again,
we have to be a leader. We can’t be a follower. We can’t be
concerned about China, we can’t be
concerned about Korea, we can’t be
concerned about Europe. What we have to be concerned
about is the United States of America, the people
in this country, and the welfare of the
people in this country. There’s a whole lot of people
out there right now who don’t have much hope. They don’t have much hope in
this country or the government or what’s going
on with the economy, and we’ve got to give
these young people hope. You know, I’ve heard many
times on this panel today, our kids are just
on these video games, they’re just on
these computer games. Well, why is that? Because there in almost an
alternative reality because they don’t want to deal with
what’s happening today. We have to give them hope. We have kids graduating from
college right now who can’t find a job. That’s absolutely
appalling in this country. We have to bring it back. We have to bring it home. We have to bring the jobs. We have to manufacture here,
we have to produce here, we have to be the high
technology leader here. That’s what America’s all about. Thank you. Ryan Harty:
That’s a tough speech to follow. [laughter] Jules Toraya:
I can try to do that
as one of the younger folks on the panel. I think it’s important for the
younger generation to understand that we have to demonstrate
and make our own value, and so I think most of the
successful entrepreneurs that are out there
today are doing that. There’s a lot of big vehicle
manufacturers out there, they’re doing a great job,
there’s also a lot of small ones. I actually met a young
man about a month ago, he made an electric
skateboard company. You know, I think the Department
of Transportation published a statistic that said 30 percent
of people travel less than a mile to work and back. So why can’t I take
an electric skateboard? I don’t need to take a car. You know what I mean, and so I
would say that there are young people out there doing it today,
and actually I’m buying that skateboard, so hopefully I
can start doing that soon. [laughter] Atul Kapadia:
Well, I like one of
the things that you said there, which is
technology leadership. That’s absolutely critical. And I don’t think this
money that we’ve spent on claiming technology
leadership is a waste. If you allow me I’m going to
cite an example from another sector, which is the
human genome project. The federal government invested
about $3.8 billion between 1990 and 2005 in the
human genome project. Well, at that point of time
because of the computing power it was estimated that it would
take 15 years to get the human genome decoded. Well, I have good news for you. Today it takes about $1,000
and 20 minutes to get it done. So, but most importantly, it
just created $796 billion of economic activity over
the last 15 to 20 years. And it has created 310,000
jobs just in 2010 alone. So this was a $3 billion
investment or $3.8 billion investment that created an
unprecedented amount of economic activity and jobs
for the country. Well, the real benefits of
the human genome are still not even realized. In the next 25 years you’ll see
an enormous amount of cures for different disease
like cancer, et cetera, so these have
far-reaching implications. Well, as a country, we just
have to make a decision, is energy important or not. I think President Obama,
to give him credit, has made that decision that
energy’s really important, and our priority was
a conception of that particular priority. South Korea and
China are investing, growing their R&D budgets 10
percent year to year and have the largest percentage of GDP
investment in the energy sector. The U.S. has been declining
over the past 45, 50 years, it’s a loan-term decline
in terms of the amount of money invested. Just taking an example
from the human genome, if we can do the
same kind of results, either by ARPA-E or by whatever
vehicle it is on the energy side, I am convinced that
we won’t be only identifying problems on this panel, but
we’ll be discussing what different electric cars and how
many amount of soldiers have you saved protecting our oil, and
how much dollars have we saved without exporting them to the
Middle East, the oil dollars, and we’ll also be discussing
how much have you saved the environment in the
next, ten, 20 years. Ryan Harty:
If I can add,
so I think the future of automobile technology will
be decided by retail customers who buy these cars. We can have all the ideas we
want and introduce them into the market, and if nobody
buys them, it will not be a successful product. And so we have to make
sure that every product that we develop will be better
than the one that it replaces. When I was a
university student, my, I led a team that designed
and built a solar-powered car, and it was part of actually the
DOE-sponsored project and we drove in a race from Chicago
to Los Angeles on sun power, on sunlight. And we could maintain about 45
miles per hour the entire way, so we had the entire freeway
backed up behind us, and, you know, it only seated one
person and it was really big so we had this big
solar area on top. But we had this
big team of people, a bunch of college engineers who
were passionate about making the world a better place and
demonstrating something new for the environment. I think we at Honda,
still, I mean, fundamentally I got hired
based on that kind of vision. So I think we at Honda still
share that kind of vision, and there’s three parts to that. And this is the
long-term vision. One is better electric
vehicles such as what Atul was talking about. If we have a battery that can,
you know, be small enough, inexpensive enough, high
enough energy density, high enough power density, if
it can work at high temperatures and work at low temperatures and
we can recharge it quickly and it can be produced
at a low enough cost, and those are all technical
goals and technical targets that, you know, we can set out
for our engineers to achieve, then we can build a battery
electric car that will be better than the cars that it replaces. We can refuel those cars on
electricity from renewable resources, from sunlight. Another vision of that is the
hydrogen electric fuel cell cars, and last week Heather
Zichal attended a conference and she recognized that this has
a big part of the future of automobile technology. Again, hydrogen can be made
from renewable resources, from sunlight and electricity,
it can also be made in the near term from natural gas, of
which the United States has an incredible abundance right now. It’s, again, a zero emission
vehicle technology that can propel larger vehicles that
customers might choose to drive, minivans and larger vehicles. You want to tow your boat from
Los Angeles up to Lake Tahoe, you know, and take
the kids water skiing, you might need to choose that
kind of power plant technology. It can also be something
like cellulosic ethanol. Honda has a project
now with the U.S. Department of Energy’s National
Renewable Energy Lab, NREL. We’re working
together with NREL, and NREL has a unique technology
to break apart the cellulosic part of plants, the parts
that our bodies can’t digest. Honda has unique technology,
a type of bacteria that can eat the sugars, the xyloses
and — xylose and glucose, eat it faster and more
completely than any technology that’s been shown so far. And so if we can make ethanol —
which is essentially, you know, solar powered, a solar
powered crop — again, we can achieve that kind of
long-term vision of automobiles fueled by a supply that
comes from renewable energy. Now, all of those things
are risky and uncertain, and there would be nothing
innovative if we knew what the answer was. And so in the meantime, we still
have to invest heavily in those steps of, you know, improving
the internal combustion engine, improving the hybrid
vehicle systems, and investing in those
technologies as well in order to get us to that
point in the future. Al Ebron:
Well, I agree that you, well, the automotive industry
is moving forward and it’s moving fast. The technologies
are moving fast. And we in the training and
education industry have to try to keep up with that. You create some
training and education, and the day you’re
finished there’s a new thing that’s come out. So we try to be nimble and be
able to move with the industry, but education doesn’t move at
the speed of industry sometimes. And I’ll give you some examples. In the high school programs,
which we really need to look at, it takes some of the automotive
training programs that are out there are still talking about
the internal combustion engine the same way we were talking
about it 40 years ago. Well, we have electric drive
vehicles now, we have ethanol, bio-diesel,
natural gas vehicles, which have been
mentioned up here. These are all new technologies
that aren’t getting exposed to some of our young people, and
they need to know about these technologies and how they
relate to our regular vehicles in the same way. So, I mean, one of the programs
that we’re doing is we’re developing electric drive
vehicle training to go in career and technology education
programs in high schools. And I’m so excited about this
because after we do several pilots, one of which
will be in West Virginia, we hope to pilot this in other
states to start getting this new technology into
the high schools, which then can move into the
community colleges and so forth. So that’s starting very young,
at the postsecondary level and at many institutions. We also have to
retrain our trainers, and a lot of people
don’t think about this, because a lot of our
instructors and our teachers, we’re going to have a huge
turnover in this country. I forgot what somebody said
earlier, the Silver Tsunami. I can tell you
at our university, half of our university
is going to turn over. It’s like this
in a lot of places. And the ones that are here
were taught previous things. So we have to retrain our
instructors for these new technologies as well. And one thing I’ll follow
up on is the education of the general public. I’ve been around these alt fuel
vehicles for over 20 years now, and I remember when we started
back in the early ’90s and late ’80s, early ’90s, mid ’90s,
and we were talking about the same things that
we’re talking about today. The difference is the
technology’s better today, I believe the automotive
industry is more behind it today, and government’s
more behind it today. So I really think it’s
going to stick this time. But, what we really need to
do is get the general customer, the consumers out there to
understand this new technology. And you may say, well, yeah,
we see the hybrid commercials, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Well, I can tell you,
we were just at the career and technology, huge conference here
in D.C. for high school — well, for K through 12 kids,
it’s about 500,000 people there
and their teachers. And we have, one of our trainers
is a cut away Toyota Prius which we’ve cut away,
we’ve put barcodes on, and you can scan it with your
i-Pad and it tells you different things about the vehicle. A number of people that came
by were Toyota Prius owners. And I just played a game
and I asked each one of them that came up, I said,
so you own a Toyota Prius. They said yes. I said, “Explain it to me.” There wasn’t a single person at
that show that could explain it to me in a full way. My point of the
thing is, you know, we have to let
the general public, we have to educate them as well. A lot of people are trying
to do that across the country. And I’ll give up
one other example. I personally was in
the market for a car, and I narrowed it down to three
vehicles — I won’t say which three — but I eventually
bought a Chevrolet Volt. And I bought it because there
are different driving habits that people have, and I drive
less than 30 miles a day, and I can drive on pure EV and
I’ll never have to buy gasoline again in Morgantown,
West Virginia, unless I go on an extended trip. Then I can go anywhere I want. But that car was perfect for me. Everywhere I drive that car,
somebody comes up to me and asks me, “That’s one of those
Chevy Volts, isn’t it.” I say, “Yes, it is.” I say, “You know how it works?” “Umm, why don’t you tell me.” My point is, is the education
out there from the high school to the education levels
and to the general public, we have to change with
these technologies. And it’s just as important
to, in my opinion, to train the general public so
they understand and will accept these vehicles. Because like he said, if they
produce the cars and they don’t buy them, the marketplace will
determine that we won’t have these vehicles. Atul Kapadia:
Al, I just want to,
with due respect, I’m okay if they buy the cars
but they don’t understand it, I just want them
to buy the cars. Al Ebron:
I understand. I’m trying to get more
people to buy the cars. Atul Kapadia:
And I think that
that’s only going to become true if it
makes sense to the wallet. And today it doesn’t
make sense to the wallet. It’s just a cool factor today. Jason Miller:
So I think we have
heard a broad set of, you know, of this opportunity,
and what I’d like to do is open it up to questions so that
we have, as we said before, a microphone on the side,
questions for the panelists as well as for the
folks watching online. Again, if you could,
before you ask your question, introduce yourself and the
organization you represent, and make sure that your question
ends with a question mark. [laughter] Ken Brown:
Great job to the panelists. My name’s Ken Brown, I’m with
Transportation Energy Partners. We’re an umbrella group for the
Clean Cities Coalitions around the country. And my question is, in
terms of federal policy, what do you see are the most
important things that are needed to continue the innovation
moving forward in the future? Jules Toraya:
Well, we’ve got to get our $7500 tax credit to be a rebate. It would be nice if we could
bump it up to $10,000 or more, but it’s got to
be point of sale. And then in the future,
some of the stakeholders in the Southeast in
particular have identified, with some of the grant funding
you have to be very careful about how you use the funds. But if we could use funds to get
the sales staff working at the dealerships to get incentives,
I get a hundred bucks to sell an electric car, then people are
going to want to learn about electric cars and they’re going
to be enthusiastic about it. So those I think would be
two things that would be very helpful, moving forward. Ryan Harty:
I think also, you know,
in terms of like stable, long-term incentives
such as Jules mentioned, those are very important. What’s also important is like
long-term, stable regulation. Also performance-based
regulations. For instance, right now we have
a $7500 tax credit for a vehicle based on the size
of its battery. But what society cares about
is how much climate change emissions it reduces and
how much petroleum is saved by doing it. Hybrid electric vehicles,
natural gas vehicles, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles,
other similar answers that can also address the problems of
climate change and petroleum dependence don’t
have similar incentives. So if we can make
performance-based regulations, such as the CAFE target, saying
you need to hit, you know, 54 and a half miles
per gallon by 2025, the auto industry
can react to that. It’s difficult for us to
anticipate something like a specific technology incentive,
because, A, that’s challenging, it changes the direction
of the engineers. And we also don’t know if
that’s going to start, stop, go up or down, and it becomes a
very — a big challenge for us to develop technologies
to address those needs. Mike Gammella:
I think — Speaker:
Go ahead. Mike Gammella:
Thank you. I think on a lighter front,
as well, the Cash for Clunkers, as was stated earlier, a good
many of the cars on the road are ten years old or older,
they’re not very fuel efficient. The Cash for Clunkers was a
great way to get the economy rolling and to clean up
the environment, as well. So something as simple as app
bill by Betty Sutton was really a great thing for this country. And even though some people
laugh, Cash for Clunkers, it really did a
lot of good for us. Jason Miller:
I think one thing
that we have tried to do in terms of federal policy is
think about approaches that are performance based. You know, there are many,
to include — myself included, who believe vehicle
electrification is an enormous opportunity, particularly
for light duty vehicles. But, again, as Ryan said, and
as a lot of the other large companies are doing, there’s a
broad — there’s a portfolio of vehicle technologies that
companies are investing. So, you know,
we have, in this year, put in place two things
or proposed two policies. One, reforms of the existing EV
tax credit to try and make it, one, scalable for a broad set of
advanced vehicle technologies, based upon performance. And, two, put in place what
we call a national community deployment challenge,
which would be a billion dollar program that really focuses
on some of the challenges that Jules and Al and others
were highlighting, both in terms of providing
local consumer experience with new technologies,
which is incredibly important for adoption,
even when the economics work. But solving some of the local
challenges through local leadership, where a set
of communities can aim for a strategy at scale for the
technologies that work for them, whether that be
electrification, biofuels, natural gas or whatnot. So I do think
it is a good point. One thing on this topic of
a broad set of technologies, a question from
the Twitterverse. And maybe this is a question
for Atul looking at this is, you know, how do some other
technologies fare against electric vehicles,
the individual Daniel Gray highlighted carbon sequestration
drop in renewable fuels. How do some things like drop-ins
and others fare against EVs in how you look at the
market going forward. Atul Kapadia:
No, I think that
large companies in government has a responsibility
to adopt a portfolio theory in which they explore many
different aspects of how to solve the problem, all of the
above is what it’s called today. I think that for a
small company like ours, which lives and dies by
its first and second product, we are very committed
to lithium ion batteries, and you have to make sure that
that particular economic and wallet argument works best. The other problem
with new technologies, especially the renewables that
this gentleman talks about, is in automotives,
as we all know here, it takes about three or four
years to innovate and then it takes about five
years to qualify. So you are look at an eight-year
cycle from the day a company is founded to the time a technology
makes it into the car. The automotive companies are
extremely — have an extremely high build of quality
and qualification process, and some of these new
technologies that we are hearing about that’s coming up in the
last year or two will take another decade to get in. Lithium ion batteries
are nothing new. You are using them in your
iPhones and your Blackberries that you have here. They’ve been around. It’s just that they’ve been
a minuscule of what will be required in automotives. And Envia’s claim to fame
is that we have increased — decreased the cost by increasing
the density and made it safer for it to be in cars. So I personally think that
lithium ion batteries is the only viable solution until 2025
for rectification of the cost. Al Ebron:
Can I add, there are
many technologies out there right now that are
alternatives to foreign oil and foreign petroleum. All of these vehicles,
as I discussed with my personal decision a while ago, all these
vehicles can be utilized in different manners and
have different niches. I think personally we need to
use everything that we have in this country as a whole to
get us off of foreign oil. But I would be remiss if I
didn’t say that an example of that, besides the electric
drive vehicles is natural gas vehicles. In the state of West
Virginia where I’m located, and in Pennsylvania, Kentucky,
there is a vast amount, and it is a huge
thing right now, of the supply of natural gas
that we have in this country. And I don’t see any reason why
this country could not displace a ton of foreign oil
with natural gas to utilize these vehicles. The technology in all of these
different — the gaseous fuels, the biofuels,
the electric vehicles, they’re all tremendously
accelerated from what they were just, you know,
10 or 15 years ago. So we have some resources in
this country that I believe we should be utilizing all of them. And we’re fuel neutral
at our organization. I happen to have bought
an electric drive vehicle, but there are other technologies
out there that are extremely valuable to this country right
now and we have resources that we need to be using. Atul Kapadia:
Since Al has
declared his automotive affiliation, I’ll do
that, too, and pleased to, of the panel members here,
I drive a natural gas Honda. [laughter] Al Ebron:
And you work for an
electric drive company, so — Atul Kapadia:
Yeah. Al Ebron:
— what do you say? Atul Kapadia:
I want my technology to get in the car before I buy the car. Al Ebron:
There you go. Atul Kapadia:
But I think you
made an important point. We have to use whatever it
takes to make this thing real. And I think that two of the
things that we have the best, we are still the largest economy
in the world and we are still the best intellectual
property machine in the world. You look at national labs like
Argonne, Brookhaven, Sandia, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab,
these are absolutely the premier institutions in the world. Our Ph.D. programs,
graduate study programs, are bar none the absolute best. That’s why people
like me travel 10,000 miles and migrate to this
country is because of the opportunity for education. I think that I want to close
with sort of most important concerns in my head. Obviously there’s a lot of other
things that we talked about, but two concerns. One is, R&D spending. It absolutely cannot go down. You’re not talking
about billions of dollars. We are not talking
about picking winners. We’re just talking about
calculated specific investments like the [ inaudible ] vehicle. The second more
important one, I think, is intellectual
property protection. We have thousands
of fighter pilots, thousands of nuclear missiles
guarding our homeland property, guarding our continent,
guarding our country. While we don’t have much of
those defenses for intellectual property and we really need
to think about this for the next century. Because the next century battles
are not going to be fought on land, sea and air. They’re going to be fought
in the computers and in intellectual property,
in the patents. China is already filing
more patents than U.S. We cannot afford for our
national labs to license our valuable taxpayer paid
intellectual property to foreign countries, to our
competitors, like Germany, South Korea, China. We have to protect our
intellectual property and that’s going to a very important
issue for the next decade, for us to make sure that we win
and create the jobs that we need to create in this country. Jason Miller: I want to touch
on this point of a portfolio of potential technologies and what
that means at a local level. And Jules, wanted
to see if you could, if you could talk about how
you think about that challenge. Jules Toraya:
Yeah, well, I’ll lead
off that thought with quoting our Clean Cities Atlanta
executive director, Don Francis. He always tells people that come
out to our events that we’re going to win this fight
with silver buckshot, not with silver bullets or
a silver bullet, rather. But yeah, how we’re moving
forward in the Atlanta area is really just trying to
communicate with all the local stakeholders,
understand, you know, what’s coming to them
from being successful, understand what they need
to become successful, and then really how I function,
how Clean Cities have been functioning is just as a broker
of information to try to keep people moving forward and to
keep the technology in the Metro Atlanta area. Mayor Eto always says that we
want to keep the smart — get all these smart people to come
to Atlanta to go to college, we want to keep them
there when they’re done. So unless we can encourage
manufacturing to come to the Atlanta area, we’re not
going to be able to do that, as much as we’d like. So anyone who wants to come, any
manufacturing company, you know, who wants to come to the
Atlanta area, we’d love it. Jason Miller:
Great. On this topic,
so I want to — Ryan, I was wondering if you
had thoughts on, you know, Honda’s looking at building — I
talked about in the introduction for you, Honda is looking
at building a new hybrid vehicle in Ohio. You know, how does Honda as a
company think about operations in the United States and how are
some of the companies like Envia and others influencing decisions
that Honda might make on where to locate production
and where to locate R&D? Ryan Harty:
That’s a fantastic question. I think it’s important to know
like 88% of the cars that Honda sells in the United States
are manufactured in the United States. And we have auto plants all
throughout the United States. And what is, you know, key to
the decisions to siting plants here are kind of what we
discussed about before is, you know, stable,
long-term policy. We — you know,
things aren’t going to change too terribly quickly. Low cost — access to low
cost and stable electricity. And we also have opportunity
here in the United States with the natural gas resources that
are here, I think, you know, we’ll see over the next
couple of years some reindustrialization of the
United States through the use of natural gas. And that will help
with plastics, glass, steel manufacturing, being able
to get access to lower cost raw materials for
manufacturing cars. Now, as far as, you know, new
technologies such as, you know, batteries and whatnot,
that’s beginning now. So the Acura ILX is being
built in our Greensburg, Indiana plant today. The battery is
coming from Japan. But that’s okay,
that’s how things start. Honda has a history of
building where we sell. And, you know, that
history will move forward. So as the United States builds
its capability and resources, that will be — the access
to those resources is what we want to see. Jason Miller:
Great. And one last question
for Mike, maybe, and others may want to
comment on this, as well. I mean, you know, if you
think about a lot of modern manufacturing process, started
with Ford beginning in the last century and we’re seeing a
broad set of new technologies. Ford’s done a lot to think
about how to put different drive trains into different kinds
of vehicles on a single assembly line. How should we think about all
the innovation that we’ve been talking about, the broad set of
technologies impacting what we think of as auto manufacturing
and its impact on jobs in the United States? Mike Gammella:
Well, it’s interesting. A lot of the technologies
that Toyota employs came from Henry Ford. Henry Ford was a big proponent
of making your own parts in-house, keeping things
in-house so you could control the quality. And we’ve gotten away from that,
and I’d like to say due to the accountants and bookkeepers. My wife happens to be an
accountant so I can’t say that. But I think that’s
a lot to do with it. It seems like the final
cost always comes down. But I think we’ve got
to get back to that, making things in-house,
keeping things here in America, making the products
here in America. And Henry Ford did
something else, too, that was pretty revolutionary
back in the day. He started a $5 work day. And back then, $5
was a lot of money. People told him he
was out of his mind. It was probably twice what
other people were being paid. But he paid his employees a
fair wage for one simple reason, so they could afford the
product they were making. And we can sit up here and
talk about selling cars, talk about electric cars,
talk about ecoboost engines or whatever. If people can’t
afford to buy them, they’re not going to buy them. And that’s one of the biggest
things we have to look at is the economy. And that’s why I think the
government can help somewhat as far as with the Cash for
Clunkers or with some kind of tax incentives to buy more
fuel efficient vehicles. Because the bottom line is this:
We all breathe the same air. We all live in the same world. We’ve got to protect the
environment, first and foremost. And the biggest way to do
that, we have to get off of our dependency on foreign oil. And we can do that, ladies
and gentlemen, in this country. We have the
wherewithal to do it. And to me, that should
be the next big war. Jason Miller:
All right. Thanks. Jules Toraya:
I have to recognize
Tesla’s leadership. They’re the only vehicle
manufacturer I know of that has the word “awesome” in
their emissions statement. They want to make
electric vehicles awesome. I think that’s very
powerful and it’s reflected in their leadership. They make pretty
incredible cars. They’re just a
young car company. But I think that kind of
visionary leadership is something that will help, you
know, move us forward faster. I think it was a Johnson
Controls person who said we need to fail fast and keep moving. I get it, you know,
they’re expensive today, but let’s continue to move
forward and fail fast and get these vehicles out there. Mike Gammella:
I happen to be a
very big admirer of Nikola Tesla himself, a brilliant
man, who never got his due, an absolutely brilliant
man, Nikola Tesla. However, a Tesla, I believe,
goes for over $100,000. The average American just
can’t afford that kind of car. I agree with what you’re saying,
but we have to make it efficient for Americans to be able
to afford it and buy it. Jules Toraya:
Definitely. The model — the base
model it has is 57,400. In Georgia, with our tax
credits plus the federal, that takes it down to 47,500. That’s comparable to most
SUVs and Americans drive those. Atul Kapadia:
That was my punchline, which is we want to make
them awesome but affordable. That’s really key. But I think that if you go back
to the fundamental where we see this market going, by 2025, if
you have 10% of the cars on the road electric driven, you are
talking about creating 7 million jobs in the U.S. just based on battery
manufacturing and the associated supply chain. That’s a really powerful jobs
climate and economic argument which we have to
sort of win this. There’s no other options. Tim Warman:
So thank you all for coming. I constantly look for
signposts for the future. And earlier this month,
there was one of the most incredible signposts
for the future. The 24 hours of Le Mans,
the most rigorous automobile race on the planet,
was won by a hybrid car. Jason Miller:
Great. Thanks, everyone. I think we’ll
close the panel there. I think this is —
thank you to the panelists. I think really highlighting
that not only have we made a lot of progress in
the last couple of years, seeing the opportunity with the
resurgence in the American auto industry, but the promise
of new technologies, both in terms of addressing
the internal combustion engine, as well as the breadth of
advance in alternative fuel technologies offers an enormous
opportunity for us to grab hold of the leadership of
global auto manufacturing, because of its central place
in, really in our ability to maintain economic growth to
drive the strength in the manufacturing sector and to
continue driving innovation going forward. So thank you all for coming
and thank you, again, to the panelists. Rohan:
Thanks, Jason and Tim. [applause] I do want to — we want
to close out with a very special guest, Jay Williams. Jay just joined us here at
the White House to serve as a liaison to state
and local communities. And prior to that, Jay was the
executive director of the Office of Recovery for Auto
Communities and Workers. Before he joined
the administration, Jay was the mayor of Youngstown. So he knows a thing or two about
auto communities and recovery. Jay Williams,
ladies and gentlemen. [ applause ] Jay Williams:
Thanks for the
introduction, Rohan. I will be very brief. I understand that there
are two precarious positions to speak from. One is being the
speaker just prior to lunch, and the second one is being the
speaker just prior to everyone getting to go home. So the fact that I’m occupying
that second position, I will be brief. But I certainly appreciate the
opportunity just to come for a very few minutes to express
how excited I am about the conversation that’s going on and
how important that conversation is to manufacturing communities. As Rohan talked about, I was the
mayor of the City of Youngstown, Ohio, until about a year ago. I served — I was in my sixth
year in my second term when I stepped down to accept an
appointment to run the Auto Recovery Office. And having been in Youngstown
my entire life and as a kid remembering the steel mills
and the collapse of those steel mills in the ’70s, what that
did in terms of devastation economically, emotionally,
psychologically and culturally to a city like Youngstown. And then to see that replicated
when the auto industry went through its very difficult
restructuring to cities across the country, certainly in Ohio
and Michigan and Indiana and you name it, not just the
auto cities themselves but the manufacturing,
the supplier communities. So to have this discussion in
terms of the recreation of jobs and bringing manufacturing
back to those communities is exceptionally important. And I’m personally and
professionally excited about it. And we’ve heard the story that
when the President took office, the automotive industry in this
country was on life support. And certainly, particularly
acute with GM and Chrysler. The President made
that decision to invest, and it’s been called a bailout,
but it was an investment, an investment in
the American worker, an investment in the
American manufacturing. Because had that
investment not been made, had that calculated decision
not been accomplished, while it was directly
affecting GM and Chrysler, it is inarguable that Ford would
have been irreparably harmed. Because as you all know,
there’s an interconnected network of suppliers. And creditable economists talk
about the loss of over a million jobs had GM and Chrysler been
allowed to fail or go bankrupt without government
intervention, as some suggested. Because, again, Ford
would have been harmed, and that would
have harmed Toyota, and it would have harmed Honda
and all the other suppliers and original manufacturers
here in this country. But the President
did make that decision. That decision has paid off. We are making progress. As a matter of fact, GM last
year in its 100-year existence as a corporation reported
its most profitable year. Chrysler reported its most
profitable quarter in over two decades. We have seen the American
automotive industry add over 230,000 jobs in
the past two years. We have seen manufacturing add
over 495,000 jobs since 2010. That is the strongest growth
in manufacturing in well over a decade. And that is directly relevant
to these communities. Because these communities were
the communities that decades ago built the infrastructure
of this country, they produced the infrastructure
or the steel that helped win the world wars that made this the
super power that it is today. But those communities
fell on hard times. So when we talk about
remanufacturing of America, it is really happening in our
cities, in our communities, many of those communities
that were written off. This economy is recovering. It’s far too slow. The President has
made that very clear, that he is nowhere near
satisfied with the rate of recovery. But the fact it had been over
4.2 million jobs created in the past 27 consecutive months
after 25 months of job loss, I think speaks to the commitment
of this administration. I’ve had the opportunity
over the past several months, so I served as Mayor of
Youngstown and then for the past ten months I was director of the
Auto Recovery Office and I had an opportunity to travel across
the country to communities, many of which I was very
familiar with in terms of their recovery efforts. The President created that
office because he understood that while the recovery and the
restructuring of the industry itself was happening and
was necessary and important, these communities had a long,
tedious road to recovery. So he wanted to make sure that
there was a coordinated federal response to the restructuring
of this industry. There was not a coordinated
federal response to the collapse of the steel
industry decades ago. And as a result,
many communities like Youngstown have just now found
ourselves in recovery mode. But as a direct result of the
policies and the position of this administration, we’re
seeing many of these automotive communities on a faster
road to recovery. That’s not to say that
there isn’t pain out there, because there is. But my direct experience
with these local officials, I’ve been extremely impressed
by the collaboration of stakeholders coming together,
whether it’s groups like the Suppliers Partnership for the
Environment or the Automotive Communities Partnership. They are bringing together
stakeholders from the public sector, from the private sector,
from the philanthropic community to make sure that these
communities are supported as they move toward
their road to recovery. And the commitment to this
sector shouldn’t be a surprise, and I can tell you that it was
most evident to me earlier this year when I went to
the Detroit Auto Show. I was literally like
a kid in a candy store, and it was hard to convince my
wife that I was going to the auto show and I was working and
I was doing serious work and not just being, again, enamored by
the products that have been put forth, certainly by the
big three automakers, but by all of the automakers
who have invested here, those foreign companies who have
been here for a number of years. But it’s clear that the big
three are making world class automobiles that are
in demand by the world. They are making automobiles that
are technologically advanced, that are fuel efficient,
and they’re able to compete in any platform in any country. So it was extremely gratifying
just to literally be able to see and hear and see the
excitement and the buzz, particularly around the
Ford Focus — I’m sorry — the Ford Fusion. It was exciting to see the
unveiling and just to hear the excitement that
people have about that, and the fact that these
automobiles have more advanced technology than
many American homes, and really have more
technology than, you know, those brave pioneers who
traversed space a decade or two or three decades ago. More technology in our
automobiles than we had in our early space flights. So I’m pleased to be able
to continue to engage local communities on the issues
that are important to them. This administration has laid
the foundation for recovery. We are seeing that recovery. Despite the headwinds
that are out there, we are seeing recovery. There are bright spots in this
economy that will continue to push forward. But we are nowhere
near satisfied, and that’s why it’s important
that we continue to have a partnership with groups, with
individuals such as yourself, to make sure that the policies
that the President is pushing and pushing and pushing
and putting forward remain, that we don’t lose any ground,
because it’s far too critical for the well-being
of these communities. It was President Kennedy
who said we neglect our cities at our peril. Because when we neglect
the nation’s cities, we neglect our nation. So the President
has taken that up. I am pleased to just be a very,
very small part of it in my role. And, again, coming from a
place like Youngstown, Ohio, is very similar to Flint,
very similar to Pontiac. You name the city that
manufactured something, and I can tell you that it’s a
story that relates very deeply to me on a personal and
a professional level. The solutions aren’t easy. You know that. The conversations are necessary. But I am thoroughly
convinced that because of the conversations, because of
the level of engagement, because of the talent that we
have in this room and certainly within this administration
working together, that we are putting a glide path
forward that these communities will be much better off. And while in Youngstown it’s
— I’m pleased to say that Youngstown is now, of all
the lists we’ve been on, we are now on the list of
leading the economic recovery of Rust Belt communities. But it’s a direct result of the
commitment that this President and this administration has
shown to those communities. And I’m hopeful that the
communities that are going through recovery now don’t have
to follow that 25-year path that Youngstown had to follow
before we finally figured out, you know, steel is not going
to define us like it did. Manufacturing is important. Diverse manufacturing
is important. But we have to be a player
in this global economy. So that being the case, the
investments that we’re seeing in these communities from
the big three, from Honda, from the suppliers, from
Toyota, you name it, it is really redefining
these communities. And I’m pleased to be
able to connect that. So, again, thank you for your
time, thank you for your talent, and we very much look forward
to your continued support. You know, as the President
moves these things forward, we are going to see how
important it is to these — I call them second or
third tier cities, not because they are less
important but just because of their size, how important a
role they play in the ongoing economic recovery
of this nation. So thank you very much. Appreciate your time. [applause] Rohan:
Thanks, everybody. And that concludes our event.