Former Intel Chairman Andy Grove says the grassroots plug-in hybrid vehicle movement is like the 1970s-era Northern California Homebrew Computer Clubs that paved the way for the personal computer. The way the early PC-hobbyists kick-started the personal computing movement, plug-in conversion shops will similarly be able to proliferate the electric vehicle technology, Grove told the AP in an interview this weekend.
It’s reassuring to think electric vehicles could follow the same type of grassroots disruptive path. And who better to see the similarities than the old infotech leaders, who all seem to be coming back around to pick their favorite green technologies. (Read our 25 Who Ditched Infotech for Cleantech).
At the age of 71, Grove has become an electric-vehicle advocate, often speaking, writing and teaching on the subject; he penned a recent article on electric vehicles for an issue of The American, is featured in the New York Times today, and will teach a class at Stanford next fall on how to make electric vehicles work.
It’s clear that the former chip executive is taking electric transportation very seriously; he told the AP it “is urgent,” and “everything else is secondary”:
The drumbeat of the electrical transportation is accelerating like nothing I’ve ever seen in my life.
While we applaud Grove’s enthusiasms, we’re not sure his plan of attack is the best method. Grove says the United States should consider ways to convert the 80 million bad-mileage vehicles on U.S. roads to electric/gas hybrids, and tells the New York Times that “converting those should be our first priority.” We’d love that to happen, but the idea sounds unreasonably expensive, and there is currently no infrastructure in place to deliver it. Guess that’s where those plug-in hobbyists come in — to deliver a cheap, disruptive method.