EV's will need infrastructure before they succeed.

Infrastructure is coming soon than you may think. Thousands of chargin units are being installed across the county as more companies start up and other move in with their strategy and answers to rolling out networks.

"The U.S. automobile industry of the 20th century flourished based on a gas station infrastructure that at one point numbered in excess of a quarter-million locations. For electric vehicles (EVs) and, to a lesser extent, plug-in hybrid vehicles (PEVs) to succeed, three different networks outside of the automakers’ control are required: communications, charging, and smart/electric grid infrastructures.
The wireless infrastructure is in place for communications with the vehicle. Cars simply can take advantage of the existing cellular companies’ widely distributed cell towers. The Ford Focus, the Nissan Leaf, and the Chevy Volt all have a telematics solution with an embedded modem as well as smart-phone apps. Drivers can link to their vehicles and read the charge status and stop and start the charging cycle whenever they please.
“Once the car has a modem in it, you can have an app on your computer or on your phone or anywhere you are,” says Mark Fitzgerald, associate director of automotive electronics at Strategy Analytics. “As long as the car is connected, you can be connected to the car.”
It seems like embedded modems and smart phones will be an integral part of carmakers’ strategy to give vehicle owners more control and access to critical information about their vehicles. “The idea is that you can’t launch successfully a purely electric vehicle without telematics in it of some sort,” says Fitzgerald.
Still Required Infrastructures......see link to read full article. by Randy Frank

for Engineers Who Hate Networking


"Hello, I'm Gary Perman. I'm a headhunter; an industry insider in the fields of electric vehicles, alternative energy, and electronics. Technology companies hire me to find their next executive, manager or engineer."

Sometimes it seems like I hit two or three networking events a week. One might think that since I do so much networking, such events would come natural to me. Some might even think I have the "people gift." Not so. There are times I dread going. At times I even search for ways to get out of attending them. So, even a guy who makes his living networking and matching people with people can get the networking jitters.

Personally, I am much more comfortable behind a phone and a computer than meeting new people face-to-face. Perhaps you are more comfortable innovating new products and solving problems? Yet face-to-face networking is essential today. Networking provides opportunity for collaborations, improving relationships, building trust, growing your business, and yes, even future employment. The market has proven time and time again that you never know when you will become unemployed. The more people you know, the sooner you may be able to rebound from a layoff. Nothing can replace face-to-face interaction.

Most engineers I know share a common dislike for networking. However, it is not so much "dislike" as it is fear. Remember high school? Getting up the nerve to ask someone to a dance? Or standing in line during gym class waiting to see who picks you for their team? That is the same kind of fear that many of us carry with us as we approach a networking event. Well this isn't high school; it is real life and your career depends on networking.

I've read the networking books, attended workshops, and asked a lot of people who are good at networking to share their secrets. I have collected traits and practices that have made me better at networking. I still face those initial jitters during the first moments at the registration table, but now they dissipate with the first handshake. I am here to tell you that you don't have to be a master at networking or have a "Type A" personality to succeed. All it takes is a little planning and some strategy, and after all, isn't that what engineers do best anyway?

Have a Plan

When I attend a networking event, I typically plan to meet one to three people I picked out in advance. If they are not there or not available, I have a backup plan. I pick a number of new people I want to meet, usually five to 10. My goal is to ask them two questions and swap cards with them. Once I reach my goal, I am off the hook. I can go home, see a movie or catch the end of the game at the bar. I have set a goal and reached it. Networking events are not a prison sentence — if you don't make them one.

Kathy Condon, author of "It Doesn't Hurt to Ask," has some great advice on networking. She is a consummate networker and lives by what she teaches. One of the best tips I ever learned was from her many years ago: When you first enter a room, step to the side and assess the room and the people in it. Look for the person who is standing alone. That is target number one. Most likely, that person would love to talk with someone. Personally I have met some of my best contacts that way; people who have turned out to be executives and engineering leaders. Some of them are just not very good at schmoozing, but get them one-on-one and they will talk your ear off.

It's Not All about You

Keith Ferrazzi made this important point in his book, "Never Eat Alone." When it comes to networking, it's not about you. When you spend time meeting people, try and see if there is a way that you can help them. Putting this priority first in your mind makes networking easier. Why? You might not be a great networker, but you are a great problem solver. If you can help someone else with an issue, solve a problem, generate an idea, or make a contact, you are working in the sweet spot of your skill set. Not only will you help someone else, but along the way good things will happen to you, too.

Ask Good Questions

Get to know people by asking good questions. Boring questions get boring answers. What do you do? Tell me about your company. How long have you been with company X ? All are examples of typical openers that get typical results. They are boring and the answer usually involves the other person looking over your shoulder in hopes of finding a more interesting person to talk to. Instead, try these questions (it’s okay to write them down and carry them in your pocket):

"What business problem does your company solve?" Follow up with, "How are you doing that?"

"What has been the biggest win for you (or your company) in the last six months?" Follow up with, "What do you think it will be in the next six months?"

"What is the most interesting initiative you have planned at your company this year?" Follow up with, "How will that change your company?"

"Do you know anyone who might be able to help me…?" Ask for names of people who might be able to help you find the person you are looking for, or solve a problem you are dealing with.

"My favorite approach," says Condon, is to "walk up to someone with your hand extended and smile and say, 'So tell me what great thing happened to you recently.' The key here is to really listen to the answer — then you'll be given the information you can use to ask the next question. People love to talk about themselves — get to know the person standing before you on a personal level. Then set up a coffee date and you can talk about your work at that meeting. People hire people, collaborate with people and refer people they know and like."

You want to ask questions that initiate a conversation out of the norm, and these questions will do that. Once they have answered your questions, there is just one more to ask: "Is there some way I can help you?"

I have a good friend who always ends every conversation with, "What can I do for you?" He is seriously asking if I might need a referral, a new contact or a solution to a new problem. At first my response was, "Oh nothing. I'm fine." Until I wised up. Since his business takes him into contact with many companies, I started asking questions like, "Well, yes. Do you know anyone who works at XYZ company?" When I ask, I often receive a positive reply, something I appreciate and remember him for.

It's The Little Things

In networking, business and in life, it is the little things that people remember. After I network with someone I jot down a note on the back of their contact card. It might be something special about them, how I might help them, or what I thought of them. I use that information when I write them a follow-up email the next day. Want to make an even bigger, more positive impression? Send them a handwritten note the next day. It's the little things that make a great impression.

Maybe they gave you a great idea or helped solve an engineering problem you were stuck on. Perhaps they provided a referral to a potential client. Thanking them goes a long way toward creating a long-lasting relationship. I often meet people at networking events who are unemployed. If I can't help them professionally, I can offer to send them a copy of "Doug's List," an extensive list of networking events, groups and job boards in the area. Though it costs me only a few seconds of my time, it might mean a lot to them. Those are the kind of "little things" that people will remember about you.

Exit Gracefully

Recently, I watched a real networking pro work a room. She would introduce herself, ask a question or two, and ask if she could help them. Then she would exchange contact cards with them, put out her hand to shake, and say, "It has been so nice to spend a few minutes getting to know you. I hope you have great success with your new product launch." Then she would smile graciously and just move on. She took the initiative to introduce herself, she controlled the conversation with a few questions, and then she exited gracefully. Not monopolizing a person's time is a real courtesy in a networking situation.

The rhythm that she set was exactly the right tempo to accomplish what a networking event should accomplish. Finding that rhythm can be a challenge for many of us. When we find someone willing to engage in a conversation, we are in our comfort zone. Being comfortable with someone feels safer than making an exit and trying to find another person to talk with, yet by using these methods, you can move from one person to another, meet a variety of people, and plant the seeds for future business relationships.

Strategy for Networking

Plan to come away from your next networking event with these three things:

Contact cards. These cards provide the contact information you need to stay in touch. The notes you made on the backs of the cards will be used when you follow up with an email or a note the following day.

Names of prospective contacts. These contacts may lead to future collaboration or future employment.

Knowledge. Plan to leave an event with more information about your industry, competitors and clients than when you went in.

Checklist for Networking Success

Before the event, rehearse what you are going to say: who you are, what you do, and how you solve people's problems.

Check that you have your contact cards with you. Always. No exceptions, no excuses. If you want to appear unprofessional, show up at a networking event without cards.

Smile. It sounds trite, but people who are nervous often project a message that says, "Stay away." Be conscious of your smile. It is your invitation to others to step up and say, "Hi."

Unplug your phone. Engage with people in the room. If you must have a phone, put it on vibrate and carry it out of sight. If you receive a call, excuse yourself from the conversation and step out of the room before taking it.

Be the first to introduce yourself every time. Put your hand out, smile and follow your plan.

The day after the event, send a quick email to every person you have a card from. Thank them for their time and the opportunity to meet them. This step pays huge dividends.

Don't complain. Just because networking isn't your thing, no one wants to hear about what you don't like. You are there. Do what you came to do with a smile on your face.

Condon says, "Social media networking (e.g. Facebook and LinkedIn) has to be a part of your personal and professional marketing wheel, but face-to-face networking will never be replaced.”

For some people, networking comes naturally, and I envy them. For others like me, we have to work at it. Following the plan outlined above takes almost all of the stress out of networking, and I've even learned to enjoy it. I hope to see you at a networking event soon.