Subject: Questions about "players" involvement in Vision Fleet Lease
I have been conducting research into various companies and connected Indiana individuals involved with Indy Vision LLC since questions were raised at the April 29th PSCJ meeting regarding the $32 million electric vehicle contract the city entered into with Indy Vision/ Vision Fleet. It appears the underlying objective of the $32 million lease/purchase program, done in apparent collaboration with ESN(Energy Systems Network) and Central Indiana Corporate Partnership(CICP) is for the city to be used as an instrument to provide positive economic benefits to all of Indiana through jobs and new electric vehicle, smart grid, and lithium battery related business enterprises located here in the state. The plans by corporation executives, the former Governor of Indiana, heads of educational institutions for the city of Indianapolis to participate as part of a "launch market" for electric vehicle only cars, dates back to at least 2009 and most likely, as early as 2008. Please remember that Mark Miles once headed CICP, served as a board member of ESN, along with Paul Mitchell, CEO of ESN and David Johnson of CICP and ESN( and Biocrossroads,part of ESN's consortium) and are listed as partners of Cleantech Systems Solutions , the registered agent for Indy Vision LLC. The involvement of ESN and CICP is noted in this CICP annual report of 2014:"ESN served as strategic partner to Vision Fleet which is leading the transition to adopt 425 plug in vehicles in the city's non-police pursuit fleet."
There are several ways the state's corporate, government and civic leaders planned for Indy's $32 million lease program to jump start electric vehicle and lithium battery companies doing business in Indiana as well as provide a "successful example" to present as a selling tool to other potential customers. If only the administration had been upfront about the why's and where-fors of the program. It is now clear and all the more troubling that city officials sought means to bypass legal processes- to skirt the law to enable these long established plans to unfold and be put in place in our city. It is disconcerting that community, business, civic and non elected stakeholders long ago decided that Indianapolis taxpayers should bear the burden for their business goals. The plans and decisions were made years ago and were on the path to implementation without thought for what the future budget situation of the city might be, and how the city's priorities might shift from what "they" thought should be the city's priority spends should be in the time periods between 2009 and the present. The decision makers and the Mayor did not involve public safety officials or Council members to seek input on whether the electric cars would be safe and a workable solution for our police officers. The fix was in, and whether police officers and the public were ultimately put in danger, due to the previously established plans, so be it. If Marion County taxpayers, who already supply so much more in taxes to state coffers than they proportionally receive back from the State, are unduly burdened to benefit the rest of the state, so what. After all, Mayor Ballard issued an executive order in October,2012 that by 2025, the entire municipal fleet would employ electric vehicles only.
The executives of the failed Indiana electric car and lithium ion battery corporations need their high level jobs, and it appears they will be taken care of and appointed to head the new companies that have replaced the bankrupt ones. Pardon my drama and my tin foil hat, but must I ask the question if a shadow government of civic, business, and education leaders are making decisions that elected officials, voted into office by the people of this county should be making? The question must again be asked, how some of the usual political and business insiders might be profiting from our city's status as guinea pig in the electric vehicle market. Miles, Mitchell, and Johnson have been integrally involved in implementing Indianapolis's use of electric vehicles as well as the incorporation of Indy Vision,LLC. As previously mentioned, some of the businesses originally connected to the city's plan and the State's economic development initiatives, have failed. Some of the enterprises that filed for bankruptcy still have subsidiaries that are healthy or have somehow evolved into different companies with the same goals and objectives. The same can be said for some of the CEO's of the failed firms. They have had their careers revived as CEO's of the newly emerged firms. Some of the llc's formed, contracts entered into, and who all the individuals are who are somehow tied into the businesses involved with this contract raises more questions than I am equipped to answer. I hesitate even trying to connect any dots. I simply wish to supply some information to you. Perhaps you will have more questions to be asked that will lead to some solid answers as to how and why the city entered into this questionable contract. If I am providing information everyone else already has, and I am not aware of it, I apologize for taking up your time.
1. "Electric Vehicle Demonstration Projects in the United States Prepared for The Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation" This paper was published March 4, 2011. It discusses ESN, CICP and their project partners launch of the 2010"Plug-In Electric Vehicle Demonstration Program in the Indianapolis area. The paper states that with the start of "Project Plug In", govmt. officials started using plug in hybrids made by several manufacturers. One of these was Think Global. THINK cars were to be manufactured-actually assembled in Elkhart. Think went bankrupt,but before they did, the company Ener-1, manufacturer of lithium ion batteries to be used in electric vehicles tried to rescue THINK. Ener-1 also later went bankrupt. The research paper also states that Indianapolis was to be the launch market for the Nissan Leaf for all of North America . This was Nissan's first electric only vehicle . About 50-100 plug in vehicles were placed in city and state governments before the cars were brought to market in 2011. The paper also discusses Project Plug-In's phases, starting in 2010 and ending in 2013 with at least 1,000 AEDV's sold in the Project Plug Ins Indianapolis markets.(note-mentioned are Bright Automotive EV's to be sold. Bright Automotive, Indiana manufacturer of EV's, went out of business in 2012).
2. Green Car Congress Article "RMI launches Project Get Ready to Help Communities Prepare for Plug Ins". Rocky Mountain Institute(RMI)is mentioned as having launched a 2008 program to help communities prepare for battery electric and plug in hybrid vehicles. Indianapolis is mentioned as one of the cities. The company, Vision Fleet/Vision Ridge, is an offshoot of RMI and provides alternative financing for EV/public fleets.
3. ESN(EnergySystems Network) 2009 power point presentation given at Purdue University. ESN, address, 111 Monument Circle, same address as CICP and Cleantech Systems Solutions is a consortium of Indiana companies and educational institutions formed "to promote cleantech industries and businesses". ESN is also listed as an "implementation partner for Bollore".
In its 2009 power point presentation, ESN states it seeks to sustain interest in electric cars through corporate and political support. The information in this presentation parallels the mission/objectives/goals of what Jeremiah presented in his DPW presentation to us when he gave us the background for Mayor Ballard's October 2012 Clean Energy Initiative Executive Order for the city. Upon reading this particular presentation, one might conclude that Mayor Ballard committed Indianapolis taxpayers to financing ESN's plans for "Project Plug In", the first commercial scale pilot program for PHEV's.
ESN's member companies are listed- Duke Energy, IPL, Cummins, Rolls Royce, Purdue,Biocrossroads, Itochu Group, Toshiba,Tom Wood Automotive, Ivy Tech, GM, and a variety of other tech companies. The $32 million lease and the city's cooperation with ESN and its partners might also have helped a company called Ener-1, a former ESN member, recoup some of its losses when it filed bankruptcy in 2012. Ener-1, maker of lithium ion batteries, operated in Greenfield, Indiana. It had received $118 million in grants from the federal govmt. for the manufacture of batteries tied to electric vehicles. The CEO of Ener-1 was Charles Gassenheimer. The company, Ener-1 merged with ESN, at a time when Mark Miles served as one of its board of directors, along with Paul Mitchell. Though Ener-1 went bankrupt, Enerdel, one of its subsidiaries is still functioning. Just as an aside, when Ener-1 went bankrupt, it was compared with the other energy company debacle, Solyndra, that went upside down on the taxpayer's dime. Ener-1 executives were investigated for having awarded bonuses to its executives, including Gassenheimer, at the time bankruptcy was filed. He received a $450,000 bonus.
Returning to the ESN power point presentation-the 4 phases of electric vehicle fleet introduction in the city's fleet presented in DPW's report, mimics that proposed by ESN-all the way to the city's phase 3-use in snow plows. Included in ESN participation is Hoosier Heavy Hybrid-a company, which I believe is owned by GM or Allison. That company is working on manufacturing electric vehicle heavy duty equipment.
Even without reading the power point presentation mentioned above, the press release below about Ener1 joining ESN gives quite a bit of information.
Also as an FYI- BIC-Battery Innovation Center, mentioned at the bottom of the press release. This battery manufacturing company located at/near the Crane Naval base just might possibly make the batteries used in the city's electric vehicles. The company's Board Chair is Chad Pittman, who once served as Chief of Staff and VP of the Indiana Economic Development Corp. under Mitch Daniels. BIC's CEO is David Roberts, who was ousted as CEO of Enerdel, the subsidiary of bankrupt Ener-1. The construction company selected to build the BIC facility, by the way, was Ersal Ozdemir's Keystone Construction Group.
Some other individuals who have been part of ESN, CICP, corporations tied to Indiana's clean tech, electric vehicle, lithium battery manufacturing and Vision Fleet: Enerdel Board Member:
- Ivy Tech's Tom Snyder-also serves(d) on ESN,
- CICP Mitch Daniels-an ESN board member as Governor, Purdue is also part of ESN's participating members
- Reuben Munger-once with the 2012 bankrupted Bright Automotive Electric Vehicle Company, also formerly with Rocky Mountain Institute(RMI)-Board of Trustees, which has ties to Vision Ridge Partners. Rueben now works with Vision Fleet.
- Michael Brylawski-former CEO of Bright Automotive, once with RMI, now CEO of Vision Fleet
- John Waters-founding CEO of Bright Automotive, once worked with RMI, Enerdel, GM-designer of battery packs for GM electric vehicles, now with Sagamore Institute(think tank) and Echo Automotive in Anderson, IN.