The case for electric traction


Date Thursday March 19th 2009
Time 4:00-5:00pm
Venue George E. Pake Auditorium, PARC

PARC Forum

The present fuel crisis is serving to focus unprecedented attention in the developed world on how and why we use motor vehicles. While an increasing number of options beyond petroleum are being explored, the rate of growth in vehicle ownership in emerging economies is expected to carry the number of road vehicles worldwide from 800 million today to two billion by mid-century. If global carbon dioxide emissions are to be stabilized, it will be necessary for these additional 1.2 billion vehicles to be powered in a way that does not produce significant amounts of CO2.

This Forum will present a case for electricity as the superior energy option to serve our mobility needs. The talk will discuss the implications of converting existing vehicles to electric drive on the demand for new vehicles. The talk will also cover how an electric-vehicle world would affect fuel supplies, electricity supply, atmospheric emissions, and geopolitics. The focus of the talk is primarily on the United States; however, its conclusions are relevant to all regions of the world.


Fraser Murison Smith is CEO of ElectraDrive and a twenty-year veteran of analyzing economic-environmental issues using systems theory. Fraser has a PhD in mathematical biology and a BA in zoology from Oxford University. In the early 1990s, Fraser became actively involved in the field of ecological economics, publishing a series of papers and a book on natural resources and economic development. As a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University, he brought ecological and economic methods together to propose a new, dynamically stable management theory for fisheries. Fraser has eight years' experience in the energy sector as a consultant and a utility manager, most recently with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. He has conducted economic analysis to support long-term planning, participated in state regulatory proceedings, and has launched San Francisco's GoSolarSF incentive program.

Fraser's five years' experience in the software and internet industries encompassed product management, business development and investor relations. One software start-up in particular was acquired in 2000 by Interwoven, Inc.

Fraser's automotive passions have extended to three Citroëns and a Th

  • nk City electric car. He is a volunteer member of CalCars, a non-profit promoting plug-in hybrids. A musician since an early age, Fraser studied composition at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music during 2003–04.


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