That Super Sexy Clean Tech Roundtable, Part II of a Greenius Exclusive

If you’re like me you would have found yesterday’s gathering in Santa Monica a very sexy day at the beach.  And by sexy I mean hot and arousing, the way I get when serious people talk serious talk about renewable energy, about the revolution that’s needed to respond to climate change and about the reality of current world situation.  You know, the kind of stuff never discussed on television or in the newspapers anymore.  The kind of stuff that transcends the bread and circuses offered to the masses today.

The Broad Stage at Santa Monica College Parking Lot post Roundtable

But let’s face it, I’ve got a pretty unconventional sense of sexy and as one of the ace marketers of my generation I know what brand of sex sells best to the people.  That’s why I’d always like the features and benefits of any product I introduce to the mass market to be pointed out by someone like the young woman in the sunglasses above.  Having the world’s greatest car is nice.  But knowing how to sell it best is the kind of genius I can appreciate. 

Steve Westly (left) with Jeremy Snyder, General Manager, Tesla Motors (c) 2009 Joe Galliani
Steve Westly (left) with Jeremy Snyder, General Manager, Tesla Motors (c) 2009 Joe Galliani

Steve Westly knows the Tesla Roadster is the hottest car ever introduced to the maketplace all by itself and Tesla’s General Manager, Jeremy Snyder knows much better than Steve how the success of the Tesla Roadster made the Tesla Model S car possible which in turns makes the Tesla commuter car coming next down the line something that’s actually going to happen.

And the brilliance of Elon Musk and the brainiacs he’s put together on his Tesla team is that they’re savvy enough to have made the Roadster a sexy, California, hardbody piece of eye candy in addition to making it 400% more efficient than any internal combustion engine vehicle ever.  And they’re also clued-in enough to know that a 244 mile driving range on a 3-4 hour charge is fantastic, but you need a hot blonde too if you want people to stop, listen and remember whatever fantastic thing you’re telling them.

Don’t forget that the big brains at General Motors used toasters, lamps and electric fans as the spokespeople last time they had a sexy electric car to market.

But the Creative Greenius?  I don’t need any sexy blondes to get my attention.  Like I said, I’ve got a different set of buttons to push.  I like me some really smart people of either sex who come together to offer solutions and who know what they’re talking about.

Bonnie Reiss, Pegasus Capital Advisors and University of California Regent (c) 2009 Joe Galliani

Bonnie Reiss, who in addition to her other credentials has spent four years as one of Governor Schwarzenegger’s advisers had four key points to make when it was her turn to speak and she wasted no time putting things in perspective,

There is no more important issue that we can all be focusing on right now in this country and on this planet.  95% of all the lead scientists are telling us that we’re near the tipping point in terms of parts per billion of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere. And if we pass that tipping point some of the more horrendous consequences of climate change will be irreversible.

Second, recently the NY Times reported a health study equating 300,000 deaths a year to climate change and the impacts of it.

Third, the nations of the world will be gathering in Copenhagen in December to hopefully come up with an agreement that follows up on the Koyoto Protocol.

So for all of that, as important as all the other issues we face – we’re worried about our budget,whether it’s public education, health care, mortgage crisis, unemployment – all of them are very real and very important.  But none of them have a ticking clock with a limited window of opportunity upon which to act, upon a challenge that will impact all of human civilization.

So I guess I wanted to say that’s one of the reasons this is not a bubble – because this is now upon us.

Bob Foster, Mayor, City of Long Beach (c) 2009 Joe Galliani

Mayor Bob Foster of Long Beach was billed as a straight shooter who tells it like it is and he turned out to be exactly that.

He drives an electric car and has for seven years, a Toyota RAV4 EV.  He’s the former President of SCE.  He won me over when he said after only a minute of talking,

I think the future is electric vehicles.  Not only for the environment, but also for national defense.  This is the biggest thing and I think it’s awful important.

I’m the guy in the early 1970s who initiated and drafted Title 24 for energy efficiency.  I believe that in my soul, you HAVE to do those things. LED lighting, sustainable building materials, making sure that we’re doing all that we can to be as efficient in the way that we use energy no matter what it’s form.

He’s dealing with the Port of Long Beach which along with its neighbor the Port of Los Angeles are the largest stationary source of air pollution in Southern California. He initiated a program two years ago to cut that pollution by 50% and it has a lot to do with regulating both the trucks and the ships that come into the port.  Foster’s trying to get those ships to switch from their ultra cheap and dirty “Bunker fuel” to distillate fuel.  The dirty trucks and dirty ships each account for 50% of the pollution at the ports.

You try to do what you can to make sure you have your own house in order.

He also spoke knowledgeably about the need to educate people along with giving them the new technology.  Foster talked from experience about teaching new electric car owners when the right time to charge up their vehicles is.

That wasn’t all Foster talked from experience about.  When talking about green job opportunities and the need for training he also said,

I will tell you, we have a lot of young people who don’t even know that one of the requirements of having a job is being reliable and being on time.

And Foster had an enlightened approach about how cities can help,

First do no harm.  One of the things I looked at the other day was that story on solar energy fees that different cities are charging and even if they’re cash strapped they’re doing the exact wrong thing.  Some of them are charging $1100-$1200 for permits

I spent a lot of time in the utility business, but the future is going to be dispersed and decentralized systems.  For a lot of reasons.  One when you start coupling storage systems with solar it really makes a lot of sense for you as business owner or homeowner to have your own system.  It has not only advantages for the environment, not only advantages in increasing renewables and reducing our national defense risk but think about what it does for security and stability.

One of the things I used to worry about at Edison was getting some of our key facilities knocked out by terrorist attack that would severely damage the economy for a long period of time.  Instead of having four or five or six major facilitates if you had hundreds of thousands of locations where energy was produced think about how much more stable and secure we’d be.

Bobby Shriver, Santa Monica City Councilman (c) 2009 Joe Galliani

We were reminded during his introduction by Harvey Englander, that Bobby Shriver, along with Clint Eastwood, was basically fired by Governor Schwarzenegger  from his job as Chairman of the California Parks and Recreation commission, right after helping to lead the successful campaign – along with activists like me and the Sierra Club – to stop a toll road from being built through San Onofre State Park.

Bill Lockyer, California State Treasurer (c) 2009 Joe Galliani
John Chiang, California State Controller (c) 2009 Joe Galliani

Cara Horowitz, Executive Director, UCLA Emmett Center on Climate Change (c) 2009 Joe Galliani
Jerry Brown, California Attorney General (c) 2009 Joe Galliani

But no matter how smart the speakers or how intellectual the subject, this is still the United States of America and we are in Southern California.  So we know that the only sure way to guarantee the success of our best efforts – no matter what field they may come in – is to always have that hot blonde on hand to focus the attention of every man in the area.

Highly knowledgeable Tesla Motors product specialist commands attention (c) 2009 Joe Galliani

We know it’s not enough to have the sexiest car in the world operating on the sexiest technology on the planet.  We know you’ve also got to have the blonde.  And she’s got to be just as smart and sharp about the product as she is fun to look at and talk to.  That’s the other secret weapon Tesla’s smart enough to employ.

2 thoughts on “That Super Sexy Clean Tech Roundtable, Part II of a Greenius Exclusive

  1. Great post, great writing, fabulous insights…. Thanks for being there on the spot capturing all the pix, video and quotes… Couldn’t find anything in the newspapers or anywhere else that offered this quality of coverage or depth of reporting. I’ll keep reading… hope you keep righting!

  2. Well, congrats all around! The Tesla is the best thing to hit the market in years – no, make that decades – and this from a Michigan resident! Keep pushing the envelope. The rest of the auto industry MUST come into the 21st Century and lower our dependency on foreign oil. So keep it coming.

    (And who is the interesting blond in the sunglasses? She’s got to be a major asset to the company!)

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