Safety And... Electrification: Lauren talks with Scott Barrios, Electric Mobility Catalyst and Senior Account Manager at Entergy. Listen as they discuss customer-centric innovations within the energy sector, what electrification is, common misconceptions about electrification, and Scott paints us a picture of what the future could look like with an imaginative game of seven things.
This podcast is sponsored by LAPCO Manufacturing. LAPCO: premium workwear since 1989.
0:00:28.3 Lauren Brizendine: Hello listeners, welcome to "Safety And... ", a laughing and learning podcast where we talk about safety and whatever else is on your mind. I'm your host, Lauren Brizendine, and y'all, today, we have got such a great episode. I am with Scott Barrios, and we are talking about safety and electrification. Welcome, Scott, to our show.
0:00:53.0 Scott Barrios: Thanks, Lauren. Thanks for having me.
0:00:54.5 LB: Yes. Now, before we get started, I do wanna tell our listeners, you're gonna have to pull over. Because Scott and I actually know each other, we go a little far back. We used to be in band together back in the day playing baritone. And the way we kinda came across each other was through a different podcast where you were talking about electrification, and we were kind of able to connect again. So, it's a wild story that... Who would have guessed we would be here, how many year, 20-ish...?
0:01:29.7 SB: 20-plus years.
0:01:30.6 LB: Plus, oh dang.
0:01:31.1 SB: We won't say the exact years, but yes, 20-plus years.
0:01:33.7 LB: Yes, and shout out to Thibodaux, Louisiana, and high school friends. So yeah, it was kind of interesting coming across you and looking at some of the great things that you've been working on.
0:01:49.3 SB: No, thanks, Lauren, I really appreciate [inaudible] here. I definitely won't tell stories from that far back, but there's some, not good. Well, I won't, for safety reasons, I won't, absolutely...
0:01:58.2 LB: Right, and same, definitely same. And yeah, maybe we'll do a bonus content for a minisode at another time. But thank you for agreeing to this. I am really excited to talk about this topic. And before we really get into the nitty-gritty of what electrification is, I'd like you to tell us more about the journey that you've had in your career path. What are you doing now and the steps that you've taken to get to this role that you have?
0:02:31.2 SB: Sure. Again, everyone, thanks for having me. My name is Scott Barrios. I've been with Entergy for two and a half years now. My title with the company is Senior Account Manager, but like many people in different roles, I wear a lot of different hats. So, as a Senior Account Manager, I manage our electrification portfolio. And what electrification is, and I'll kind of get into this more later, is just finding solutions to electrify things that weren't electrified before. I wear a lot of other hats in the company, I also have the title of Electric Mobility Catalyst with our innovation group. The name of the innovation group within Entergy is KeyString Labs, and we're very fortunate to have our own group of innovations, product managers, marketers to look at new, exciting, customer-centric ways we can innovate the energy industry.
0:03:26.6 SB: So, I wear the hat as the EV electric car expert, looking at these new solutions, so that's pretty exciting as well there too. Now with kind of before this, I don't have a background in utility, I don't have a background in the energy sector. I was in the military for 20-plus years, and worked for the Federal Government as a consultant for a while but it was a lot of the managerial skills, the leadership skills that I brought from a career and from what I did before that I could bring to this. And it's talking to people, it's being confident, it's developing networks, developing those relationships that I really excel at. And that's really what any business is looking for these days, and I'm very, very fortunate to be working with Entergy, a great company and I'm very happy with them.
0:04:22.0 LB: What made you decide to make that switch?
0:04:25.3 SB: So, I was living all over the world, and then we were looking to settle down in Louisiana. So, we moved from North Carolina, kind of after living in California, Washington DC, Virginia, and then finally down to North Carolina. And then when I retired, we were looking at... What's important for me is working in a profession that has an impact. So, looking... I knew about Entergy; I've had friends and family that worked with Entergy. For those not on the podcast, not familiar with Entergy, Entergy is an energy company, fully integrated in electric utility, natural gas utility in some areas, serving a little over... Sorry, under four million customers.
0:05:16.5 LB: Oh, wow.
0:05:16.8 SB: Between Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Texas. Headquartered right here, we're in New Orleans right now.
0:05:23.6 LB: Yes, we are.
0:05:23.9 SB: Headquartered right here in New Orleans and we're part of the community. Where we live, we are customers ourselves, we contribute to the company, everyone who lives here is a customer. I see our poles out the window right now. It's bringing electricity, which is essential to everything that we're doing. From having lights on to powering the things that do our everyday life, and Entergy's motto is, "We Power Life." And my role in the company is exciting because it's gonna power more and more things that we never thought about in life before such as electric cars, electric buses, electric boats one day, electric planes one day. It can go on and on, it's gonna get very exciting.
0:06:11.3 LB: Okay, I'm like... Alright, just thinking about it, I'm so excited. And I'm also excited that you said Entergy powers life because I don't wanna say you take for granted electricity and just how important energy is sometimes, but you really feel it when it goes out. [chuckle] That's when you're really like, "Oh, it does power my life because it's not on and I don't know what to do with my life." So, it's an interesting point that you bring up there. [chuckle]
0:06:39.9 SB: Yeah, it's... But before... Until you work for a utility or work in the energy sector, you take for granted when you flip that light switch on, the things that happen to make that happen. The electricity is generated at a power plant, moves across transmission lines to the distribution network, which is right here, and then into the building to flip those lights on. That electricity is generated just milliseconds ago, that's coming to you right there. And it's a fine balancing act of get this electricity everywhere it needs to go and to do it safely as well. Always... For this podcast, I always bring it back down to safety as well too. In Entergy, safety is one of our core values. I won't say it's a priority, 'cause priorities can shift. Safety is in front of everything that we do at Entergy. It is a main core value that we hold dear. So, everything we do because we do very dangerous work. Now, I'm very fortunate I'm not one of the people who's doing dangerous work at a plant or climbing a pole, or hanging from a helicopter, we got guys that are fixing transmission lines like that. But I work with them daily. The most dangerous thing I do is driving, and I'll probably come back to that later as well too. But safety is in the core of everything that we're doing as Entergy for our community because our employees are part of the community that's important to us.
0:08:04.0 LB: Yes. And we talk about that at LAPCO too. We design PPE so that we can bring those workers back safely as well. So, when you and I were talking prior to the podcast and we saw that we had those synergies, I was like, "Oh, this is gonna be a great episode in addition to how much I'm already learning," which I want you to talk a little bit more about. So, you mentioned innovation. So, I wanna talk a little bit more about some of the projects that you may have worked on specifically with regards to innovation that maybe we use in our everyday lives.
0:08:41.9 SB: Yes. So, the great thing about my team, the project, we're very innovative thinkers. We're trying to be very aggressive in everything that we do, you mentioned everyday lives, though what's driving everything is customer-centricity, and I'll kinda go back to larger scope of energy. When we look at our values of what makes us while we're driving to become the premier utility is it's... Yeah. So, what's driving Entergy in everything that we're doing is the customer-centricity. So, in our innovation process, we have a process [inaudible] innovation. It's like, "Oh, here's a great idea, but let's test it out, let's... " Everything that we wanna do is because there's a customer need driving what we're doing.
0:09:24.7 LB: Yes.
0:09:25.6 SB: The world is changing; the way people use energy is changing. There's new demands being put on us as a utility from... We're a regulator investor-owned utility, so there's demands coming from our regulators, from the national, local, the state-level on what we do, how we provide the services to customers. Customers are changing. Let's look at the way Amazon has changed the market, when you can order things off your phone, and they show up at your house. People expect it that on everything that they do now. I can go to an app, and if you don't have the new Entergy app on your phone, make sure you get it.
0:10:02.2 LB: Oh, I'm downloading it right after this.
0:10:04.7 SB: [chuckle] So that will give you... And that's greater for Entergy, but that's... I say that for everyone if you're an Entergy customer in the Southeast or South Gulf Coast, get the Entergy app. You can pay your bill on it, monitor your energy usage.
0:10:18.0 LB: Love it.
0:10:18.5 SB: The other great thing that's important, again, we're in hurricane season right now. We are living in hurricane season, and I'm having PTSD from last hurricane season, having lived through Hurricane Laura and Delta in Southwest Louisiana.
0:10:33.0 LB: Yes, oh man.
0:10:33.7 SB: I say that because we push notifications through that. You can monitor storm data, like outages. Lauren, you mentioned outages during... It happens. But it's important as the utility that after a storm, we would get out there, assess the damage of the storm, and then we don't wanna put people in bucket trucks going down the road in dangerous conditions to make repairs. So, the app... I'll go back to the technology, the innovation that we learned from what customers want, to communicate what our teams are doing.
0:11:09.0 LB: Yeah.
0:11:09.4 SB: So that's kind of one of the hats I wear too. During storm seasons, everyone at our company at Entergy, the four... Sorry, the 11,000 employees we have in at the company, everyone has what's called a storm role. So, my storm role is customer communications during a storm. I go out there and I work with our line crews that are in the bucket trucks and driving around, and they come back at the end of the day, I'm like, "Hey, where were you at today? What did you do?" And then I put that in messaging, and that's what we put out through text messages, through alerts, through the apps, through email, any kind of message that we can get out there. I help translate the technical speak to put it into customer speak. And again, I'll stress that the safety involved with that...
0:11:49.2 LB: Oh, definitely.
0:11:49.4 SB: With making sure that our crews are taken care of.
0:11:52.5 LB: Okay, so you are being innovative, even when you talk about the storm role, right? I listen to that, and to me that's innovation right there, just that every person in the company has a role, that you're innovating through people and being proactive. Because like you said, we are in the midst of hurricane season, it's a very unexpected thing and this is a way to get ahead of it if you can even do that, right, because I mean it's like I said, you can't really predict mother nature, but it sounds like you're innovating even through your people with this storm role. So, you're answering the question. I know you might have wanted to have something different in mind, but...
0:12:38.1 SB: I could talk all day long, so... [chuckle]
0:12:39.4 LB: Well, and then when it comes to innovation, I could ask questions all day long because that is something that I'm just interested in as a person. I know in a previous episode I've kinda joked about who needs science? That was a joke. But I really do like the idea of innovation and new things, and I can't wait to talk a little bit more about those things. So, you did mention safety and wanting to tie it back to safety. What type of risk do you come across as you were...? I don't even know what role to choose, but in your many hats, where do you see some risk in safety, I don't wanna say issues necessarily, but how do you encounter that in the roles that you play here at Entergy?
0:13:29.8 SB: So, I'll go back to the... Some of the electrification projects, and I'll tie this to kind of my regular job on the new innovative projects we're working at electrification. So kinda to set the stage to, if you're not familiar with what electrification is, you might hear the term beneficial electrification, strategic electrification, these are finding solutions to use electricity as the primary fuel, where it wasn't being used as the primary fuel to power whatever that process is. Now this could be something as simple... We're an agricultural community here in Louisiana.
0:14:07.1 LB: Right.
0:14:09.5 SB: We work with our farming community and then they have... They've traditionally like in South Louisiana, think about the rice fields. In the Lafayette region, you're driving down the road, you see these large fields flooded with water.
0:14:25.1 LB: Yes.
0:14:25.7 SB: So historically, for... Our farming community has used diesel to power the pump pulling the water out of the aquifers, to flood the water, to keep the vegetation down, so they can grow their rice. However, the big trend over the past decade or so is they want to... The farmer community wants to use electricity as the fuel provider for those communities to provide the power to the water pumps to flood the fields. So, we've been helping them outreach converting over to electric. So, we're looking at the dangers, the risk associated with that. So, I go out in the field sometimes, work with our engineering groups on, "Okay, where are we gonna put the poles?" "Here." Or going back to the safety team, or talking to the farmers, because we can provide overhead service, it's poles and wires running over the head, or we can go underground too. We can have electricity under the ground, so we're looking at how they're using their tractors. Is this a... Are you gonna clip a pole, where it wasn't a poll before?
0:15:30.1 LB: Exactly.
0:15:30.7 SB: So, we're making sure we design the poles properly, where they're going, do we need to go underground here to pop up to where your service drop will be, or the meter point where we're providing the new electricity to where your well is.
0:15:43.4 LB: Yes. This is wild. I am just sitting here hanging on every word because again, now to come back to taking things for granted but like you said, you pass by these rice fields or whatever, and you may not think that all of this is going on, that they're innovating, everyone's trying to turn things electric and just the level of... Like you're explaining to me, detail and planning and I'm just kind of... I hate to sit here kind of starry-eyed and deer faced, but it's a little... It's very interesting, actually.
0:16:20.7 SB: And it cut it out to a plug, support Louisiana rice growers and go by Louisiana Rice and Crawfish, because when they're not growing rice, they're growing crawfish.
0:16:30.6 LB: Yeah, and they really do taste better, if I'm just like... I'm not trying to plug anything either, but taste-wise it's superior. Now, I wanna talk a little bit more about some of the misconceptions people might have about electrification. I have here in my notes, specifically electric cars, but you did mention some of the work that you guys are doing with some of the farmers as well, so I'll open it up to just in general, what are the misconceptions people have about using electricity as a primary fuel source?
0:17:05.9 SB: Yeah. And so, everyone... If we would've had this conversation two years ago, Lauren, about electric cars, people are very dismissive of the future of electric vehicles. In the past few months, the game has changed. And it's something... It's my area of expertise. I drive an electric vehicle, I love driving my electric vehicle, I absolutely love it and convinced my wife, her next car is gonna be electric vehicle as well too, and that's my job. My expertise is really look around electric vehicles. I talk to customers, I'm a customer facing person in our business development group, and I work with customers all day long, both residential, business, governmental and talk to them about electric vehicles, and there's so many misconceptions out there. Some of the cons are true, but there's ways to mitigate them.
0:17:57.6 LB: Yes.
0:18:00.3 SB: And the big thing about driving an electric vehicle is... The number one customer complaint and again, everything we do is customer-centric, so we have a team of researchers and we've actually done in the past two years, had our team of researchers do round after round of research and we hear from customers, we want to hear from this, it's not just like, "Let me go do this, let me figure this out", but no, we wanna hear from what our customers are doing and what they're worried about, what their frictions are and how us, as the fuel provider can help fix those frictions. Some of the main misconceptions, I would say the biggest reason is range anxiety. I'll be honest when I drive... Do long road trips in my car, I have range anxiety.
0:18:43.2 LB: Yeah, I feel like there's a lot of planning that has to go in, right?
0:18:45.6 SB: Yes, it's not as simple.
0:18:47.2 LB: I need to know where... You can't just get up in your car and go drive, right?
0:18:51.7 SB: Absolutely. If I'm in the town, yeah, I can just go drive around town. No problem, I'm leaving from my house. So, with electric vehicles, 80% of all electric vehicle charging takes place at the house. So, this is very different from the traditional gasoline market, where you know you can drive anywhere you want. If you want to take a road trip and get in the car and head to Canada right now, you know for a fact, any route that you take, you'll be able to fuel your car on that route.
0:19:22.2 LB: Right, and there'll be signs that'll show me, right? 'Cause I don't know... Are there electric signs?
0:19:27.7 SB: No, no, we're working on it. I'll come back to that.
0:19:29.0 LB: Innovation. Okay.
0:19:30.9 SB: That is a big project that I'm working right now. I'll come back to that.
0:19:31.7 LB: I'm getting too excited. I'm getting too excited.
0:19:36.1 SB: I'll put it this way. The market in the United States, it's at 80% of all charging takes place at home and it's a different way to plan. But when you look at the types of cars that are out there, the other big thing after range anxiety is market availability. So, when you look at what's out there on the market right now... We live in the South. We have an industrial client place, we have fishermen, we have people who wanna get out and be self-reliant. They like trucks. The Ford F-150 is the most popular car in the United States.
0:20:03.7 LB: Yes.
0:20:04.6 SB: If you didn't also miss it in the news, just a month ago, Ford announced the F-150 Lightning. They are marketing an all-electric and it's gonna be awesome. I should have a call with Ford next week to talk about their new exciting F-150; and the trucks are coming. Their... GM has announced an all-electric Silverado, Ford announced the F-150. Tesla, and I'll come back to Tesla in a second. Tesla announced the Tesla Cybertruck. If your listeners have not looked at a picture of the Cybertruck before...
0:20:34.8 LB: Yeah, it is next level. I have seen it, and I was like, "This is the... This is... " It was a lot to take in. I don't wanna say it was unusual.
0:20:44.8 SB: From a design...
0:20:45.3 LB: Yeah, from a design perspective, it is... It makes you look twice; it makes you think, and it makes me excited about the future, but also I'm not quite ready with where I'm at in today's life, but yeah, it's pretty wild.
0:21:01.5 SB: Yeah. And then there's another company, Rivian. Rivian's also coming out with a truck. Now, all these are gonna be on the road within the next year.
0:21:09.4 LB: Yes. Oh, wow.
0:21:10.1 SB: So, it's gonna be pretty quick. We're pretty excited about that. And I'll come back to that. The people want trucks.
0:21:15.7 LB: Obviously.
0:21:16.7 SB: I like cars. I like driving cars, but there's some cars, SUVs on the road right now... So again, solving that customer friction, we're not here to help the manufacturer. We're not gonna be solving that customer frictional availability, but it's the education piece that comes along with it, right? If you can... I'll give you an example. I don't... So, there's two kind of cars. There's Tesla and there's everything else.
0:21:38.4 LB: Okay. Is Tesla like the Apple of...
0:21:41.4 SB: Yes.
0:21:43.1 LB: Of electric cars?
0:21:43.5 SB: It's exactly how that feels.
0:21:43.7 LB: Okay, that's kind of what I'm feeling.
0:21:45.7 SB: In two ways, I'll tell you one. Tesla makes up 79.5% of the market share of electric vehicles in the United States. If I drive a Tesla, I could almost go anywhere I want and not have to worry about charging. Tesla has done great things. That's why it's the most valuable car manufacturer in the United States. They have done great things with deploying what they call their supercharging network. Just a few miles from where we're sitting, Lauren and I are sitting right now, we helped Tesla install a supercharger up on the... Not too far from here, but it's 12 stalls. There's one... If you look at where we're at, there's along the I-10 in Louisiana into Texas into Mississippi, they have them every 50 miles. You can charge those. They're super-fast, but the only thing is they only work with Tesla vehicles.
0:22:32.8 LB: Yeah. And I know how we feel about it as consumers, but come on, guys. From an entrepreneurial perspective, it's pretty smart.
0:22:40.2 SB: Yes, absolutely.
0:22:41.2 LB: From a consumer perspective, it hurts my heart but...
0:22:44.4 SB: So, if I wanted to drive the car that I have, a Chevrolet, if I wanted to go... And I had to do this a few weeks ago. Leave New Orleans, go up to Jackson, Mississippi and back in one day, I cannot physically do that.
0:22:54.5 LB: Oh, wow.
0:22:55.1 SB: I had to go with other people that are going with, and we had to carpool up there.
0:22:58.0 LB: Oh, man.
0:23:00.3 SB: But I cannot go there and that's... So that's... Bringing it back to safety. It's a different mindset. Safety is driving, right? I would argue that driving is one of the most dangerous things that we do.
0:23:13.1 LB: Most definitely.
0:23:14.3 SB: And I mean look at electric vehicles, it brings in new safety concerns, but it also alleviates a lot of safety concerns. I'll come back to Tesla and Lauren, I apologize if I'm going all over with this.
0:23:25.0 LB: No, let me tell... I apologize if I'm staying off the questions that we prepared because this is actually incredibly interesting. I rode in a Tesla for the first time a few weeks ago, and the self... I say weeks, maybe months. The self-driving aspect...
0:23:41.7 SB: [inaudible] Yeah.
0:23:42.7 LB: Yes. I was not there yet either. That was pretty wild, and even just the setup if you're in a computer and not necessarily like a traditional engine mechanic kinda situation as well. My mind was blown. It was fun, yet also... I think I had that anxiety you talked about earlier.
0:24:08.7 SB: [chuckle] So Teslas are... They're the... They're amazing cars, and you mentioned the self-driving. So, on autonomous cars, you actually have... There's five levels of autonomy. One through five. Teslas are operating at level two right now, which is basic autopilot. It's like an advanced cruise control really, and it's fun, but it still requires... It's not like I can get in my car and go to sleep. You have to still tug on the steering wheel, show you have some kinda control every, I think, 10 seconds or so.
0:24:39.9 LB: Yeah it would kinda like... I say fuss our driver a little bit, but it was kinda like, "Hey dude." [chuckle]
0:24:46.5 SB: It can take turns, it can do highway speeds, interstate speeds, but it has to be a well-marked road, and that's the safety things with Tesla. Tesla is ranked as the highest... The safest vehicle in the United State. Multiple reasons. The multiple sensors. It has cameras all over the place. It has radar sensors that are reading the road, reading the vehicles, it's all communicating back to the cloud on getting the most updated information. So, it's artificial intelligence learning and driving habits all this entire time. And also with all electric vehicles, the batteries are heavy, and it creates a low center of gravity, so they have a very low rollover percentage.
0:25:27.9 LB: Yes.
0:25:29.1 SB: So, the best rollover than any other vehicle. I think the Tesla Model Y, which is the new Tesla, is the highest or technically lowest rollover percentage of any other SUV on the market. So, for an SUV, that's really important.
0:25:44.8 LB: Oh, yeah.
0:25:45.8 SB: Some SUVs have a high rollover percentage, and also they have the way... There's no engine in the front, right?
0:25:52.5 LB: Yeah, that's...
0:25:53.0 SB: So, it's a frunk is what it's called.
0:25:54.1 LB: That is weird. That is very weird.
0:25:55.0 SB: It can crumple better, which is better for front impact collisions as well too.
0:26:00.7 LB: Which I'm glad you said that, that it's safe...
0:26:02.7 SB: Bring it back to safety.
0:26:04.3 LB: I'm glad you said that it was safer that way because just seeing it is a little unusual, which kinda leads me into my next question. But what are some things that... I say things, maybe jobs perhaps, maybe different types of innovations that are on their way because of electric cars. I know we mentioned maybe the road signs being part of things that are coming up in the future, but what do you see when you look into the future of electric cars and what we can expect?
0:26:43.3 SB: Yeah, and you're right. I'll come back to the road signs. I don't wanna forget about that.
0:26:46.9 LB: Okay yeah, because I'm like...
0:26:48.1 SB: Because that's a big thing that we're working on right now. I'm in a position that didn't exist a few years ago, looking at ways to electrify things. On the electric vehicle side, any car dealer... Part of my job is outreach to car dealers, talk to them in the local area, kind of see how we can help. 'Cause they're all installing chargers right now as well too, and so they don't know where to begin. So, it's a lot of education on car dealers because some of the manufacturers are not helping the local dealerships out. It's just like, "We need you to do this, and we need you to sell this, and if you don't do it, you might wanna not consider being a car dealer anymore."
0:27:25.8 LB: Oh, wow.
0:27:26.5 SB: That's what Cadillac did. So, they don't know who to turn to, so they're coming to work with us, a utility is a trusted energy advisor in these types of situations. So, we're working with them. I actually have to go to Houma in a couple of weeks probably to go meet with a car dealer down there in fact.
0:27:43.7 LB: Oh, wow.
0:27:43.8 SB: So, I get to... I'm like passing Thibodaux. [chuckle]
0:27:45.2 LB: I was about to say, if you're in the neighborhood...
0:27:47.8 SB: But... So, a lot of these dealerships, it's a... The mechanic skill is different. Like you mentioned, you're in a computer on wheels. It's a more digital technician that you need to diagnose problems. We're seeing that in the car industry, even in the forklift industry. I kinda mentioned we're talking of all these different things that could be electrified. Electric forklifts are up and coming as well too. Electric forklifts have been around longer. It's a lot more test technology, but they make up the majority of the market share. We're seeing that trend in the market share of internal combustion forklifts. I think the national average is 50-50, but in some areas it's 80-20, and then down here where maybe a third of the market share for electric vehicle are electric forklifts. But I've worked with Electric Vehicle dealerships around here too, and that's one of the problems they have, is finding good technicians who can service electric forklifts. 'Cause there's different safety parameters, the safety involved with batteries as well too.
0:28:53.2 LB: I was thinking about that actually on my drive here as I was thinking about this topic, because truth be told, I was a little nervous because obviously you are very well knowledged in all of this. So, I did have to do some research, and I thought about that as well, was the battery issue, because in looking at cell phones and how those have evolved, we as consumers had to kinda go through that as well as new innovation was happening within cellphones. So, I was thinking like, "What are the battery lives on these things? What are the safety on...? I rode in the Tesla, but man, I should've asked more questions about or done more research." I was just excited and thought it was cool, but what can you tell us a little bit more about that?
0:29:36.3 SB: You mentioned cellphones. So, the batteries in cars are also lithium-ion batteries, so the same type of battery in your cell phone. Now there's different types of batteries out there. There's LFP, lithium-ion phosphate, which is cobalt-free, which is the Chinese markets kinda started investigating right now because... The Chinese EV is the largest EV market in the world, followed by Europe and then North America as well too. So, there's different... The technology is still evolving 'cause the market is so huge right now. But yeah, the batteries, lithium-ion phosphate batteries, it's a safe technology. It's been around for a long time. Now one of the safety concerns is... We see in the news too it's also most misconceptions that Teslas just catch on fire all the time [inaudible].
0:30:21.6 LB: Yes, there was some things...
0:30:24.8 SB: There was a big accident in Houston...
0:30:24.9 LB: There were some things down there.
0:30:25.5 LB: A few months ago... But yeah, a normal car catches on fire all the time.
0:30:29.4 SB: Very true.
0:30:30.7 SB: But the problem, and this is honestly a true problem right now, is that fire departments and rescue crews aren't necessarily equipped or trained at this point to understand all the details. Now there's great initiatives taking place. The manufacturers are working with them. We actually did... So, another hat I wear...
0:30:51.5 LB: Alright.
0:30:52.9 SB: [chuckle] I'm an executive board member for a state non-profit called Louisiana Clean Fuels, which is an alternative fuel advocacy group. So, we're a Department of Energy designated Clean Cities Coalition. So, we receive funding from the Department of Energy as well as the State Department of Natural Resources, which is the State Energy Office. So, we work with... I have a staff who works there based out of Baton Rouge, and they're advocating for clean alternative fuel transmission. Not just electric vehicles, but also propane vehicles, you name it. So, we worked with them, and they were working... They developed a training curriculum and they're out there talking to first responders. I know they trained the Metairie… They talked to Metairie as well, some of the first responders around here. 'Cause this is one of the higher EV populations and Louisiana is New Orleans' Metro area.
0:31:49.0 SB: So, there are steps to go 'cause when a first responder pulls up to a thing, well, you don't wanna take an extraction tool and start cutting where the battery's at. That could be very dangerous or the type of extinguishing agent that you're using to put out a battery fire is gonna be different than what you put out from an oil fire in a gasoline car.
0:32:06.7 LB: Right. Exactly.
0:32:07.9 SB: So, there's different types of safety parameters that we're thinking about, and I'm not speaking on behalf of Entergy here, that are being thought about on. They're taking steps to alleviate these... Make sure the trainers... So, you go back to the jobs out there. There could be something around there on the safety side, safety coordinators for... On electric vehicles manufacturing as well too.
0:32:31.3 LB: Well, I love that.
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0:33:41.0 LB: Welcome back, everyone. We are talking with Scott Barrios, who is the electric mobility catalyst and senior account manager here at Entergy. And y'all, I don't know about y'all, I am learning so much. We call it a laughing and learning podcast. This is next level from a learning perspective, and I do hope that our listeners are feeling that as well because so much of what we've talked about with innovation and different initiatives that are going on to get electrification embedded into our everyday lives is very exciting. And I wanted to take the second half of the show to talk a little bit more about that. You mentioned initiatives that several people were doing and some of the sign projects that you were working on. And I do wanna ask you how we as consumers can become more trusting of this electrification process because I think it's safe to say that there's a lot of things in the works, right? So, we're not a 100% there yet, but what are some things that can get us there a little quicker?
0:34:55.7 LB: 'Cause I don't know about y'all, I'm ready to be there. George Jetson, come pick me up, fly me out in a car that's all run by electricity, I'm there. So, tell us a little bit more about how can we become more trusting of what's going on?
0:35:11.3 SB: Lauren, that is a great visual.
0:35:12.5 LB: Yeah, right? [chuckle]
0:35:13.4 SB: And it is absolutely perfect.
0:35:15.5 LB: Yes.
0:35:16.3 SB: So, you're right. The biggest thing... You've heard me mention it already, but listening to customers, drivers, consumers out there, what they're worried about, and it comes back to that range anxiety, right? When you're driving down the interstate, you don't see a charger. It's not on your mind. You don't even know if this is a thing 'cause a lot of where the chargers are at is gonna be behind the doors. It's behind a gate. It's not very visual. You're not noticing them. Have you ever seen a charger in the public before?
0:35:41.4 LB: No. I wouldn't even know what they... Well, I saw a flooded one in a picture. They showed it all in this... It looked like a bunch of chargers, but it was flooded, and the caption was kind of ominous like, "Electric cars. What about it?" [chuckle]
0:35:56.5 SB: Well, the good thing, no exhaust that's gonna get flooded.
0:36:00.5 LB: Okay.
0:36:01.4 SB: So, water is not going to seep into the exhaust and the way the electric chargers are provided is they're actually... The electrics don't start till higher up. So that's something from a safety perspective when we're designing where the charges are gonna be. We know especially we live in very flood-prone areas that we're... The areas that we're choosing, we know they're gonna be safe. So that's... It's all the safety concerns. These are all built in.
0:36:24.5 LB: And I would hope that, right? That you guys would think about these things 'cause whoever designed that meme, they were trying to make me feel differently.
0:36:32.4 SB: Exactly. The misinformation out there and the war on social media. Anyway [chuckle] the...
0:36:38.4 LB: A whole other podcast.
0:36:40.4 SB: I could talk about that all day long. [chuckle] So back to listening to consumers. Building consumer confidence in electric vehicles is important. So, at Entergy, we were one of the founding members of the Electric Highway Coalition. So that's where we banded together with five other utilities, six in total. So Electric Highway Coalition consists of Entergy, Duke, Dominion, Tennessee Valley Authority, Southern Company, and AEP. So, six utilities from the Gulf Coast all the way to Virginia, East Coast.
0:37:16.9 LB: All over.
0:37:18.5 SB: So, we banded together initially with the idea to build a charging network from along there every... Our goal was every 100 miles along the interstates. So along all of the... So, when a driver gets in the car, they know they can have the confidence that they're gonna charge and they're gonna see the chargers, they're gonna be in visual locations.
0:37:40.0 LB: I need those visuals; I need those visuals.
0:37:41.4 SB: Yep. I know. And the goal of putting them every 50 miles, that's for our interstates every 50 miles along the interstates. Now we're not saying that utilities are gonna own and operate. There are different ownership models that we're looking at here, enabling different site hosts.
0:37:57.5 LB: Yes.
0:37:57.8 SB: Maybe it was a gas station, maybe it was a grocery store. That's where you're finding these now. You wanna have that same gas station type experience where you can pull off the road, quickly charge your car, use the bathroom, throw out the trash, grab a snack. That's what you want when you're doing road trips.
0:38:14.7 LB: Yeah. We don't wanna get too far off the road trip model, right?
0:38:19.7 SB: So, Entergy started this. We were wary of it. I'm the member of Entergy contributing to it. Well, we already doubled membership, so we're at 12 total members now. So, we're going all the way up to Canada now. So, it's kind of almost the entire East Coast is part of this Electric Highway Coalition and this has really ground up the utilities working together to make this happen for consumers.
0:38:43.4 LB: Yes.
0:38:44.5 SB: We know that's the... Like I said, it comes back to that consumer/customer facing research. That's what they're most concerned about is the range anxiety. So how do we step in, use the resources that we have to make this beneficial for everyone?
0:38:58.8 LB: Right.
0:39:00.0 SB: So, it comes back down to that. And with the signage, well, we've already started working that way here in Louisiana. So, in Louisiana, I go back to now I'm wearing my hat of executive board member of Louisiana Clean Fuels. So, we worked... So going back to 2017, Volkswagen, if you remember in the news, got caught lying on their diesel emissions.
0:39:19.8 LB: I remember this. Yes.
0:39:21.7 SB: So, they basically fined, the Federal Government fined Volkswagen and they had to pay billions of dollars, and then the Federal Government put that money to the states. So, the states had Volkswagen mitigation trust funds that they could use for various different projects to lower emissions in their state. It could be used for buses for our children.
0:39:40.6 LB: Yes.
0:39:40.9 SB: And it's not just all electric, alternate fuels. So, it might be some propane buses, natural gas buses, things that are gonna lower emissions and I'll come back to that, it's the social equity aspect of what we're doing. I mean, there's electric buses here in Louisiana right now, there's...
0:39:54.2 LB: I did not know that.
0:39:55.5 SB: Go to Baton Rouge.
0:39:56.7 LB: Okay.
0:39:57.2 SB: They're on the road right now, six electric buses that I helped with that project, that's a whole other story. But we look in that as...
0:40:00.1 LB: So, field trip is what I'm hearing after this. [chuckle]
0:40:03.0 SB: And you can ride the bus.
0:40:03.4 LB: Yeah.
0:40:04.7 SB: It's an equitable contribution because people don't have to breathe tail pipe emissions when riding on that bus.
0:40:08.6 LB: Yes.
0:40:09.3 SB: And it's serving usually under-privileged communities who are riding the buses, and it's one other way we can add to their health benefits as well too.
0:40:17.1 LB: Man. If you talk about saving the world in addition to everything we've talked about, then that for me, is a successful podcast right there.
0:40:27.3 SB: Yeah. But in Louisiana, with that Volkswagen mitigation funds, in 2019, we're working with the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality with Louisiana Clean Fuels, which is our non-profit that I work with, and developing a fast-charging master plan focused in on the I-10, I-49, I-20. So as people are traveling around here, they can have a place to charge. So, it's gonna be funded with the... Basically, by the lies Volkswagen told and we're still in the process. We have a couple of great sites identified in those areas that we're gonna be bringing chargers here soon.
0:41:03.9 LB: Oh, man.
0:41:04.4 SB: We were hoping already they would be there, but we're running into some bureaucracy road blocks with COVID.
0:41:12.0 LB: I didn't wanna say the c word, the COVID word, but I think every industry is anxious to get started again, but it's a little slower start than we might have anticipated.
0:41:25.2 SB: So that's one great thing that we're, innovative way, we're working together.
0:41:28.8 LB: Yes.
0:41:29.6 SB: And we're already working with other utilities. It was a great partnership all around, and again, it's helping the community that we serve, that's what we're most proud of.
0:41:38.3 LB: Well, and what a kind of great thought to end on. I will say my final question before we move into our fun thing, which I'm really excited about, our fun thing...
0:41:49.2 SB: Well, I'm scared.
0:41:49.5 LB: Especially after this conversation. But are there any websites, links, information that you want to give out where our listeners can go to find out more about these projects, to learn more about what you're doing?
0:42:04.6 SB: Sure, yeah. So, you asked the question, where do people wanna know... Learn more about electric vehicles in general?
0:42:11.3 LB: Yes.
0:42:11.6 SB: Go to a car dealership, test drive one.
0:42:13.7 LB: Okay.
0:42:14.3 SB: Get behind the wheel, experience it, put your hands on the wheel, learn about it. That's one way. Another way is Entergy has a website, www.entergyetech.com. E-Tech is the name of the program I'm involved in. So, Entergy, E-N-T-E-R-G-Y-E-T-E-C-H.com. There's also some great resources out there, the Department of Energy has the Alternative Fuel Data Center, https://afdc.energy.gov/, which is probably the best resource with information about all different types of alternative fuels, including electricity. And there's... It's such a hot topic right now, Lauren.
0:42:51.0 LB: Yes.
0:42:51.9 SB: Everyone is talking about it. I nerd out hard on podcasts and different YouTube channels, and it's constantly learning because the technology is still evolving so fast. There's some great YouTube channels out there, some great energy sector, if you're in the energy sector and how this is gonna impact... We're not even talking about grid resiliency and how this all electrification impacts the grid of the future with micro-grids and distributed energy resources and demand response. You can get real technical there, real fast.
0:43:20.4 LB: Well, you know, I always tell my guests if you ever wanna come back for a part two, we could always part two it because some of these topics specifically this one, it's so interesting, and to your point, evolving, that it would be great to hear more about it. This is, by far, been one of the most educational, at least for me personally, and I hope for our listeners as well. Now, it's time. We're gonna move into the closer, so are you ready because this is just like a completely fun palate cleanser thing, and I don't even know if we kinda talked about it before.
0:44:02.6 SB: No, you didn't. So, this is gonna be a surprise to me.
0:44:04.6 LB: Yes. So, for our closer today, we are gonna play a game called seven things. And this is just a nice game if you have a team. It's you throw out a "Hey, give me seven things of this particular topic." Scott, whatever you can think of. It's about being quick, it's not about being accurate, and I will agree with you, 'cause it's also about team building and lifting each other up, and it's just a fun thing we like to end with all our shows. Does that sound okay?
0:44:34.0 SB: Sounds good.
0:44:34.8 LB: Alright. So, Scott, I'm gonna ask you, and if you want to, I'll let you ask me seven things as well, just so we can suffer together on this.
0:44:40.9 SB: I'll see how this goes.
0:44:41.7 LB: Yeah. [chuckle] Okay, Scott, tell me seven things or... Well, let's say seven jobs perhaps that don't exist yet, that will exist because of electrical cars. Now, we talked about it a little bit earlier, so if you wanna use some of those, that's great, but let's think of seven. Alright, let's go.
0:45:02.8 SB: Yeah, so one is the kind of job... My job exists, but we need to bring this to scale, so kind of the consultant, the...
0:45:09.9 LB: Consultant.
0:45:10.6 SB: We're looking for sales.
0:45:11.8 LB: Yes.
0:45:12.5 SB: Do I explain these or just list them.
0:45:13.4 LB: No, just list them.
0:45:14.1 SB: Okay.
0:45:15.1 LB: It's about speed.
0:45:15.2 SB: Consultant.
0:45:16.2 LB: Yes.
0:45:16.4 SB: Battery technician.
0:45:17.1 LB: Yes.
0:45:18.2 SB: Regulatory policy analyst. I don't know.
0:45:20.6 LB: Yes, three.
0:45:22.3 SB: I'm looking at it from the utility standpoint. Installer of electric vehicle station specialty.
0:45:29.9 LB: Yes. That's four.
0:45:31.5 SB: Electric motor technicians.
0:45:33.7 LB: Yes.
0:45:34.3 SB: We're already at five, I need more, two more?
0:45:35.2 LB: Five. Yeah, two more. You got this. Obviously, a car washer, an electric car washer, right?
0:45:44.7 SB: People who own electric vehicles, Teslas, are very peculiar with the way they wash their cars.
0:45:47.8 LB: Yeah, but...
0:45:49.3 SB: I like this one. You don't need a... A mobile mechanic, basically. You don't need to go to the store. So, there's a guy who brings... He'll go work on your car wherever you're at. That's one thing.
0:46:00.1 LB: Like back in the day, right?
0:46:00.6 SB: Back in the day, yeah. I'm looking at support things, but there's the new Ubers of the future and ride-sharing and micro-mobility things around us all the time...
0:46:10.8 LB: No, Scott. Can I tell you what I love about this is like, you are so into this that you're like, "No, these are gonna be real jobs and this is really gonna happen.”? And I'm like, "It's supposed to just be a fun thing," and you're actually making it even better. So, I really appreciate...
0:46:24.7 SB: A very fun question. [chuckle]
0:46:26.0 LB: Yeah, I really appreciate it. Okay, I'm gonna ask you for seven more things of inventions that might not exist today that will exist in the next 10 years.
0:46:40.1 SB: Fully autonomous vehicles.
0:46:41.7 LB: That's one.
0:46:48.7 SB: [chuckle] Probably some kind of enhanced cell phone that I don't even need to carry this massive cell phone around anymore.
0:46:53.3 LB: Yes, an invisible cell... A hologram cell phone.
0:46:56.2 SB: Yes. Hologram on my watch, coming off.
0:46:57.4 LB: Hologram cell phone, hologram watch, okay.
0:46:58.8 SB: Hologram watch. Ride-share helicopters.
0:47:03.8 LB: Scott?
0:47:04.6 SB: Like ride-share delivery for people, not for necessarily persons.
0:47:08.4 LB: That sounds amazing.
0:47:09.9 SB: Yeah, that's coming out.
0:47:13.4 LB: That's four. Three more.
0:47:14.6 SB: Mobile delivery things, like autonomous vehicles delivering things to people, and delivering goods. But personal, it's like up to your front door.
0:47:25.1 LB: I love it.
0:47:25.6 SB: Yeah, let's see.
0:47:26.7 LB: Two more.
0:47:27.8 SB: I'm sticking with the vehicle theme, as you can see, 'cause that where my mind's at...
0:47:30.6 LB: I like how you're tying in, and there're always bonus points for tying it into the topic.
0:47:33.5 SB: Yeah. So, think about this. Driving down the road, you're charging is built into the road that you're driving on.
0:47:42.2 LB: Oh wow, so chargeable roads?
0:47:44.9 SB: Just like your phone right now, I can drop my phone on a charger and it charges.
0:47:48.6 LB: And it's like a magnet that...
0:47:49.8 SB: And basically, you're just driving down the road and it's constantly charging your car, or constantly...
0:47:54.9 LB: Oh, my goodness. I love it. That was good.
0:47:57.2 SB: Think about it.
0:47:57.5 LB: I think you need one more, but I'll let you have these, because they are so good, Scott. Basically, what I wanted to do when I was thinking of this is basically you paint a picture of what the future might look for us, right? You're obviously very knowledged, very passionate.
0:48:12.6 SB: Thank you.
0:48:14.3 LB: So, thank you for having a little bit of fun with it, because obviously, there's no right answer to this.
0:48:19.6 LB: No one knows the future, and this was just a fun way for me to kind of pick your brain a little bit about what that future does look like. First of all, I'm so excited about a road that charges my car.
0:48:31.9 SB: It's coming, yeah. One day.
0:48:32.8 LB: And second of all, I have homework this weekend, because I need to go learn more about electric cars and just go drive one after this podcast. So, I just wanna thank you so much, Scott. This has been amazing from the moment I walked in and just kind of catching up with you, learning about all of this, which is fantastic, and just ending with a nice vision of this future, which I can't wait to call an Uber-copter, an electric-cop... Whatever that's gonna be. That's amazing. So, I wanna say thank you for being on our show.
0:49:09.4 SB: Lauren, thank you so much. This is an absolute pleasure. First, I get to talk about the things I'm really passionate about and just, again, catching up with you and it's actually seeing your face in person, is always good.
0:49:20.0 LB: Man, it's like 20-plus years haven't even gone by, really.
0:49:22.8 SB: Exactly. [chuckle]
0:49:26.4 LB: Special thanks to Scott Barrios, Electric Mobility Catalyst and Senior Account Manager at Entergy, for being on our show today to talk about safety and electrification.
0:49:40.3 LB: If you enjoyed listening to the "Safety And... " Podcast today, be sure to like, review or subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. Also, if you're interested in being a guest on our show, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. That's marketing at L-A-P-C-O dot com. Since this is a safety podcast, we should probably mention this disclaimer. The "Safety And... " Podcast is recorded and made available by LAPCO Manufacturing Inc. Solely for informational and entertainment purposes. The statements, comments, views, and opinions expressed in this podcast should not be considered by any listener as professional provision and/or direct a specific course of action. The statements, comments, views, and opinions expressed here, including by speakers who are not employees or agents of LAPCO, are not necessarily those of LAPCO and may not be current. This podcast may not be reproduced, redistributed, published, copied, or duplicated in any form by any means without prior consent from LAPCO Manufacturing, Inc. This is Lauren Brizendine with LAPCO and remember, safety doesn't happen by accident, so stay safe and see you next time on the "Safety And... " Podcast.
0:50:52.7 S1: The Safety And... Podcast is produced by LAPCO Manufacturing with marketing and media by Lauren Brizendine and Tiffany Giroir, sound editing by Christopher Hanlon, and music by Smokehouse Beats.
0:51:06.8 LB: That was easy. Cool.