Electrifying Times Book Review
"Building the E-Motive Industry"
by Scott Cronk
For anyone seeking a job in the Electric Vehicle industry this is the ultimate employment resumé. The text uses in-depth interviews and published material from 16 individuals who are senior or chief officers in business and government agencies. Some of the interviews include Amory Lovins, Rocky Mountain Institute; Paul MacCready of AeroVironment; Mary Good, Undersecretary of Commerce; Bob Stempel, retired chairman GM; Richard Cope of the Hybrid and Electric Vehicle program, ARPA; Arvind Rajan of Solectria; Ted Morgan, past president and CEO of U.S. Electricar. I have met four of them so it is interesting to compare notes.
The published interviews were done during 1993-4, only a few made it to the final work. A supplement including the unpublished interviews would be most revealing and of interest to me.
After reading the long Acknowledgement, I put off reading the book for a month. It is an easy read once started. The Editor has done an effective job in organizing the text in to a cohesive discussions of where the EV industry has been and future projections as to where it might go.
Ted Morgan's prophecy was a truism as he is quoted "If you make pronouncements and then don't deliver and your stock goes to pot, it's going to be virtually impossible to raise money. So we're very careful about that". U.S. Electricar's stock fell from $8-10/share to 42˘. Law suits have been filed by creditors and will probably by filed by irate stockholders for insider trading.
Scott Cronk was still at U.S. Electricar as VP of Business Development when I phoned him last month. I told him I would read with great interest a Harvard Business type case study of what went wrong to U.S. Electricar. I have my own idea. I think the computer industry is the early days showed that a CEO in an emerging industry must be a person who understands engineering and scientific considerations to get the company going by getting good products to the door. When you have many outstanding orders for DC drive EVs, stop production for 11 months as US electric/r did and tell your customers you will substitute unproven AC drives, whatever customer base you had is reduced significantly, not to mention your sales income.
It is nice to imagine being in Cronk's position to be able to phone top government, business and scientific people in the EV world and have them return you phone call because they know this 32 year old (at the time, I am sure he has aged quite fast at US Electricar.)
Scott Cronk is founder and CEO of Electric Motor Bikes, It is the best design I have ever seen. I have stopped at his shop in Sebastopol near Santa Rosa CA several times.
Published by the SAE 1995