Electric Road Trip

EV innovation hits the West

This week, the Electric Road Trip wended through Washington, Oregon and Northern California — wine country! — seeking out the spirit of experimentation.

And we found it. Electric vehicle innovation in Washington and Oregon often goes unnoticed, overshadowed by California. We found examples in Seattle and Portland of bold policies. Some programs succeeded. Others offered hard lessons for other cities.

Then we made it to Silicon Valley, home of Tesla and a birthplace of the EV. They are thriving while also becoming part of a much bigger narrative, which is the focus of this week's spotlight story.

— David Ferris

Silicon Valley is exerting a gravitational pull on global auto companies. For this story, we sought out veterans of the Detroit auto industry who moved to startups in Silicon Valley. What differences do they see? Where are the automakers heading? Their answers are a riveting look at how America's center of innovation is reshaping one of the nation's oldest engines for industrial growth: car manufacturing.

See the full-length story in Energywire.

TOP STOPS

FREMONT, Calif. — Robots were everywhere during our visit to the Tesla factory. But after a federal ruling last month that Tesla managers had illegally undermined a union effort there, we're keeping our eyes on the humans. We're also curious about third-quarter earnings.

SEATTLE — Our visit to the Emerald City yielded two great stories about regional efforts to tackle car and bus emissions. Seattle's plan to build curbside EV chargers turned into a bureaucratic morass and a cautionary tale for other cities. Meanwhile, the King County Metro system is testing out electric buses and ruminating on ideas for a new depot with a giant charging system.

PORTLAND, Ore. — In a small city that embraces lots of quirky things, a nearly decade-old public charging network called Electric Avenue and programs to boost EVs outshine many of Portland's bigger urban brethren to the south.

RICHLAND, Wash. —- Reporter Peter Behr's visit with the advanced battery team at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory offers a glimpse into the future of electric car charging.

ROADSIDE ATTRACTIONS

Bozeman, Mont., is an emerging hub for innovation. If the mountain city follows Palo Alto, Calif., and Boulder, Colo., down the technology path, will it also become a magnet for EV ownership, as those cities have become? E&E News

Interior Secretary David Bernhardt is greenlighting electric bicycles in parks, on trails and on land run by the Bureau of Land Management. E&E News

Rhodium Group research shows that revoking California's federal waiver to set its own auto emissions standards would lead to soaring carbon emissions and cut into EV sales. E&E News

Car ownership in the United States has increased in the past decade, undercutting the predictions of whiz kids at Uber and Lyft. Wired

Rio Tinto Group is piloting a lithium project in California. Top suppliers say they want more exposure to the coming EV market. Bloomberg

NEXT TURN

Next we light out for Southern California. We're going to learn about some surprising projects in the Central Valley flats and meet personalities in the glitter zones of Los Angeles.

Until the next newsletter, keep it tuned to our Facebook page, where we gin up some controversy, and visit the blog for your daily dose.

Electric Road Trip

E&E News reporters take a 6,000-mile road trip in an electric vehicle to explore how the switch from gas to electric transportation will change the economy, environment and daily life of America.
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