One Kennedy's EV Legacy
By EV World.Com
It was my first Electric Vehicle Symposium and it was -- in my view -- the high water mark for battery electric vehicles in the closing decade of the 20th century, a century that began with one-third of all motorcars powered by electricity.
It was difficult not be excited about seeing and driving my first EV1, Honda EV+, Ford Ranger EV and several others including the newly introduced Toyota Prius, the car that would change the direction of EV development.
And that was the year Bill Ford, Jr., still just a member of Ford's board of directors, announced the historic partnership with Ballard and DaimlerChrysler to develop fuel cell EVs. How far we've come since then and how little progress we've actually made in weaning America and the world off of petroleum.
It was also at EVS 14 in 1997 that I got the opportunity to meet Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. He had just delivered the closing keynote speech and I approached him to ask his permission to make his speech available to EV World readers. A surprisingly tall man, he genially gave me permission, but contractual issues with the EVAA prevented me from doing so at the time, much to my frustration.
Well, it's been five years since that memorable meeting. Battery EVs continue to languish and carmakers' enthusiasm for fuel cells has slipped somewhat according to a recent auto industry poll. The head of the EVAA at the time has since taken on other roles and the organization has merged and changed its name to Electric Drive Transportation Association.
So, with my apologies to the EVAA/EDTA, I thought it might be time to finally webcast Mr. Kennedy's 1997 speech. We've digitized it into three, approximately 15 minute-long sections. Sadly, in the intervening five years, we've lost the very last few minutes of his address, which as one another tape. However, we think you'll find his message compelling, nevertheless.
To listen to the speech, click on the Audio links in the right-hand column.
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