Saturday, November 23, 2013

BMW i3, 3 men in a bed… A shared journey towards the future of transportation.

Any chances of my running for Mayor of San Diego are officially gone forever. Who could survive a damning picture of three men in a bed together! 

The headlines, the family shame,  we were caught. The sexy scene was captured November 21st 2013 at the Figueroa Hotel in Los Angeles. The party got a little out of control and ya know, we're all experimenting with the future so......

The storyline begins in 2008. An amazing journey of a few hundred people who  signed up to drive into the future, uncertain of the machine, uncertain of success, and uncertain at the motivations of the maker, BMW.

Careless, hopeful, concerned, experimental, risk taking, inquisitive, driven, crazy,  we were dreamers, we were pioneers. 

We weren’t the first pioneers.  That honor goes primarily to the ladies of the turn of the century 1900’s who embraced EV’s rather than manually strong arming an engine to life. In the 1990’s the next wave of pioneers plowed the road to the future with a new generation of EV’s, however that road dead-ended with overturned legislation and ham fisted shortsighted decisions by the few companies involved.  Those drivers just pushed aside by the OEMS, are fiercely determined to never let a car company kill the electric car again.

The pages of history are yet to be written and it is far from certain that this time EV’s will make it as the mainstream choice for transportation.  However we as pioneers and electronauts, we as ev drivers of all makes, models and eras are participating as authors, writing the future of transportation. We are actively engaged in authoring a future that we believe will be better for our families,  and that we believe will result in a better, cleaner, more secure and more equitable world. A future that we believe will result in a better and more enjoyable driving experience. 

Our quest is looking good, but back to the story, the past and 2008. 

A few hundred of us signed up in 2008 to drive the BMW Mini-E at a considerable cost.  We were different people from all backgrounds, ages and beliefs.  A magical first gathering was held on both coast and drivers and BMW execs launched on this effort together as a team.   The early Mini-E pioneers were uncertain what the future would hold as BMW had made no commitment to go beyond letting us drive a prototype for one year.   BMW was uncertain of the future, the technology and the ever-increasing regulatory environment that all car makers needed to adhere to. Were they entering a boondoggle or a prosperous future?

Our collective experience and enthusiasm as Mini-E drivers was a driving factor in BMW diving full on into the pool, pressing the go button on billions of dollars of investments on electric mobility and a brand new division for BMW, BMW i.

Our leases were extended to two years, the die was cast for the future BMW ActiveE, and the path was set for a mass market electric car from BMW that we now know as the BMW i3 in large part thanks to the experience of the Mini-E pioneers.

Along this path, BMW picked three drivers “out of a hat” to appear in four short documentary films.  Todd Crook, Tom Moloughney, and I were asked to participate in the film series on the future of mobility.  I was very excited to be in this series and I recall sharing with my wife Julie over dinner one night that I was going to be in this film with crazy important and famous Americans.  As I rattled off their names, Julie interrupted me and said “honey, do you think they are all having dinner tonight saying to their spouses, I’m going to be in a film with Peder Norby”  Thank god for spouses that can keep us humble.  I’ll never forget meeting Tom and Todd for the first time on that set up in Los Angeles.

That shared experience brought Todd, Tom and I closer as friends and more determined to be accessible and helpful in welcoming fellow Mini-E drivers and  Active E drivers as equal partners and friends in this exploration to the future of transportation.  

Tom, Todd and I were just lucky to share this brief experience of the film together and it has created a bond of friendship and common purpose between us.  We’re different, from different places, with different careers but we share this common place in history recorded on film forever.

We all (Mini-E and ActiveE drivers, all ev drivers) have made contributions as we constantly share our stories, attend events, spend a few moments with a person who asks about the car, advocate for a better future, show up for a government hearing, test pilot prototypes,  user group sessions, and relentlessly insist on this path forward.

So you can imagine how we felt on November 21st  all assembled as pioneers and electronauts and BMW Executives,  several years of shared history, as we drove and admired dozens of BMW i3.   It was priceless, the future had arrived, BMW did it.

Afterward a few dozen of us went to the Figueroa Hotel for a drink or two.  As some began to leave, I wanted to get a picture of Tom, Todd and I to add to my collection of memories of the three of us.   What a bed was doing inside the bar  I do not know, but someone made the suggestion we jump on the bed for our picture.  So we did.

3 men in a bed.

At least that’s the story I’m telling to the pubic.  Tom and Todd, thank you for your friendship.

Heres a link to the film series if your interested in viewing.

Last thoughts,

East Coasters, enjoy your upcoming event and celebrate your shared path together.

BMW, you have created a wonderful car. You have nourished and maintained personal and meaningful contact with your pioneers and electronauts throughout the several years of this effort.   For a car company that makes millions of cars a year, it is impossible to maintain this level of closeness to your customers. 

The several hundred of us that are pioneers and electronauts with BMW are not customers, and we are hopefully, not lab rats to be discarded when the experiment is concluded.  

We are partners in your efforts to prepare for the future and to introduce electric mobility. We are several hundred ambassadors for your company that worked with you as you laid the groundwork in preparation to make millions of electric vehicles of the next few decades.   Please remember us that way, please keep working with us and use us as ambassadors to blaze that road to the future.


85,000 miles powered by BMW and sunshine!