NDEW 2015: Falls Church

Falls Church NDEW 2015It's here: National Drive Electric Week.  Round 1 was Falls Church, at Coleman PowerSports.  This time, the numerous EVs included the underpromoted Ford Focus

Ford Focus EV...and the far more rare (here, at least) Kia Soul EV- brought from the West Coast by a recent "immigrant."  This being Coleman, though, many of the numerous EVs were Zero motorcycles, as the manufacturer was having a demo day.

Kia Soul EV Continue reading

August 2015 Minutes

Pepco WaterShed siteAugust's meeting was held in, around, and next to WaterShed- the University of Maryland's 2011 entry (and eventual winner) into the DoE's Solar Decathlon competition for efficient homes.  Pepco has since bought the home, and installed it at their Rockville site; it is now a working demo and meeting space.  It even has J1772 charging.

Ron called the meeting, but had us tour the space and ask questions for Pepco representatives Scott and TJ.  After an hour's gawking and mingling, we reconvened.  Speaking of solar, the Tour of Solar Homes is coming just after Drive Electric Week; the guidebook for it will be out by this writing.  We're still looking for EVers to demo at homes (your own tour stop, or please volunteer at someone else's house).  We have found that tour guests are very receptive and quite informed, ready to converse if not buy outright.

The Greenbelt Labor Day parade is always an opportunity for us; it's an outreach and recruitment event, a show of numbers, and simply a fun day out.  Next up will be Poolesville Day, coinciding with National Drive Electric Week for a Saturday, Sep. 19 event.  As usual, the EV parade (please be ready at 9:15) will be followed with a parked showing.  RSVP with Joyce.  For the meeting, Joyce brought Lauren and Brianna from Poolesville HS.  Their senior project is, with luck, installing charging in Poolesville.  We brought up our own experiences, and a Ford effort in Washington State.

In the present, Maryland's "electric highway" project continues.  At least one Royal Farms has DC quick charging, free for now.  It's a dual CHAdeMO/CCS installation, and will be $0.39/kWh when the network is fully engaged.  A Westminster Royal Farms is coming; members brought up a DC area DC tour. Continue reading

July 2015 Minutes

After our typical snacks, Ron convened the meeting and introduced Stephanie Riddick.  Stephanie and Ryan Marcheschi drafted a report, "Policies Goals and Strategies for Building a 21st Century Sustainable Rockville City Fleet."  Rockville's government has over 300 vehicles, and they aren't even hybrids.  This is aside from the electrification efforts of peer goverments, Montgomery County, WMATA, etc.  We also brought up solar initiatives: community power networks such as joint purchasing pools, co-ops, and solar community gardens.  These include multiunit and offsite installations.  At the meeting, we knew DC SUN existed, and there's an MD SUN as well.  Rockville has a solar co-op, and there are initiatives in Baltimore, Virginia, Delaware, etc.

Member Curt briefed us on the Crystal City Fathers Day Car Show.  It is popular and well-trafficked; the event organizers like us too.  Despite some early rain, we had eight EVs, up from last year.  That's not counting Local Motors showing a 3D-printed car around the corner from us (it was ICE, can't win 'em all).  We would have had nine: Chip's dragster, but no trailer could be found in time.  If anyone has a trailer or a very large truck, we have these non-street-legal EVs that we display two or three times a year.

The EV Readiness Workshop took place near Union Station.  Attendees included staffers from around the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, our members Elvia, Scott, and Jill, the DoE's Sarah Oleksak (of Workplace Charging fame), charging installer Mike Wall, a rep from the Edison Electric Institute, and others.  After demo rides, attendees discussed infrastructure, policies, and other factors to increase EV uptake.  Scott presented a paper on destination charging at tourist towns, and a video was shown on Bowie e-cycles.

Our member's conversion of a Dodge Neon was donated to the Thomas Edison High School.  Any volunteers who would be willing to mentor the school are welcome. Continue reading

Opportunities for Electric Vehicle Charging on Maryland’s Small Town Main Streets

L2 on Main Street (pdf file)

This is a brief paper I wrote up on promoting Level 2 charging on small town Main Streets, focused in Maryland, but applicable anywhere.  Why Main Street?  Shopping Malls and Big Boxes are going to get L2 charging no matter what, but don't forget about our colorful, picturesque, and unique Main Street economic communities.  Really great couple-of-hour destinations with charging are beginning to appear, such as Mt. Airy and St. Matthews, where you can charge your car while you get dinner, shop some shops, check out historical attractions, all kinds of stuff.

Feel free to leave comments.  I would really like to know if plug-in drivers would enjoy charging while they visited walkable small town centers.

June 2015 Minutes

It was a beautiful day, in a beautiful meeting space. After our snacks and drinks, Ron called the meeting to order. With the introductions, we got another treat. Members had an adapter for the old Avcon connector (predecessor to our J1772 about fifteen years ago), and the inductive paddle (also built for late-90s EVs).Screenshot from 2015-06-20 23:02

Dennis gave us the post-race report on the Junior Solar Sprints, May 19 in the District. The rain held off, and about 36 teams (multiple students per team) participated.

In legislative news, the condo/commercial installations bill died with the end of the Annapolis session. The Tesla direct sales bill, however, passed and was signed. Montgomery County is considering a similar bill, allowing reasonable condo charging installations despite HOAs, but the state had moved to block counties from this.Screenshot from 2015-06-20 23:22

The EV Readiness Workshop will be held June 30, at the MWCOG offices near Union Station. Local leaders and interested parties, with registration, can learn how to make their communities EV-friendly. The event will start, first thing, with networking, then test rides in EVs. Our secretary Scott has a lobby letter, with example installations such as tourist charging for the main streets of small vacation towns. People on day trips can charge while shopping and dining. Similarly, Tesla has encouraged the installation of not-so-superchargers, for hotels and other places where tourists are likely to linger. Many of these also have a J1772 plug for non-Teslas. Meanwhile the first Maryland Electric Highway charging site is now up, at a Royal Farms in Camp Springs. At least one person has used its SAE CCS fast charger.

Another effort from Scott, a post on historic charging, was linked by greencarreports.com. Word is spreading! Similarly, Local Motors is getting more coverage for their 3D-printed vehicles, along with a DoE printed car. We saw a 3D printing video, and one from Joyce's son and his high school EV project.

In member news, Charlie's Porsche has all the pieces in place, for its switch from NiCd to lithium. However, it's still got some work required before running. Curt found a replacement Tesla Roadster, for his totaled vehicle. Dave has a CHAdeMO-to-Tesla adapter coming.

Pepco is expanding its successful EV charging program, with low nighttime power rates. Customers in the pilot version of the program had a party at Pepco's Rockville office; Scott and Doron attended.  There, Pepco showed a V1G unit. The modified Clipper Creek EVSE lets Pepco turn you down to Level 1 charging in case of a power emergency. In case of a personal emergency, however, there's a red button you can hit to restore Level 2 charge speed.

The big news is the upcoming Crystal City Fathers' Day Car Show. We've had good uptake in prior years; the crowd is tech-savvy and receptive. This year, the Show has placed us back in the main area, not a satellite lot across the street. We have three cars signed up, but could use more volunteers and EVs. It's this Sunday, 2 pm to 6 in the Crystal City shopping area. Yes, there's charging nearby.  One possibility was bringing Chip's dragster, but he has no trailer for it. Continue reading

2015 DC Green Festival

Don't forget, we're meeting this week at Rockville Library again.  Last week, though, was the Green Festival at the Convention Center.

2015 booths- Ford and BMW


The Volkswagen Group (VW/Audi/Porsche/Ducati) was a platinum sponsor by way of an ad in the show program.  Ford and BMW however had actual booths and EVs, and BMW actually let you drive one (no, not that i8).

BMW i3

You might be reluctant to pay BMW prices for a car you "haven't even sat in yet."  Or maybe you've never tried one of those newfangled electric-things.  This was your chance; you could take the i3 around a suggested Gallery Place/Shaw loop (unescorted). Continue reading

Maryland Electric Vehicle Owners’ Survey

As many of you are aware, I have the pleasure of representing one of many viewpoints of EV drivers on the Maryland Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Council.  Also on the Council is Dr. Z Andrew Farkas, Director and Professor for the National Transportation Center at Morgan State University.  The Center has put out a brief survey, gathering basic information about plug-in drivers, such as the reasons for getting a plug-in, if you charge at home, what sort of charging you do, and interfacing plug-in driving with rail commuting.  It's purely informational and anonymous.   He mentioned that he was looking for plug-in drivers, so I thought it only natural to solicit the participation of the plug-in owner/drivers of EVADC. What follows is a brief introduction, and the link for the survey.  I've taken it, and is is indeed about five minutes :-)




The National Transportation Center at Morgan State University, a Maryland transportation research organization, is conducting a study of electric vehicles, and is asking you, an owner of an electric vehicle, to participate in a five-minute online survey on your EV purchase, commuting, and preferred safety technologies.

Participation in this survey is voluntary; you are free to discontinue the online survey at any time. Survey participants must be at least 18 years old and own/lease a plug-in hybrid or plug-in battery electric vehicle registered in the State of Maryland.

All information gathered in this survey will be anonymous and confidential. Only the National Transportation Center at Morgan State University will collect the survey responses, aggregate the data and analyze results. The individual survey responses can not be identified.

If you are willing to participate, please go to http://tinyurl.com/ndp5rxp or use the QR code below:

Morgan State QR





Dr. Z. Andrew Farkas

Director and Professor

National Transportation Center, CBEIS 327

Morgan State University

1700 E. Cold Spring Lane

Baltimore, MD 21251





May 2015 Minutes

The weather was nice and turnout started out weak. Still, the room filled up slowly and we had a productive meeting. After the customary snacks and introductions (including some new EVs this month), Treasurer Scott mentioned our growing member rolls.

This time, our e-vents recap included the annual Spring crush. Jeff led a Vienna showing, with a spread of domestic, Japanese, and European EVs. Poolesville's e-vent also had a BMW i3 this year; members chatted up some municipal leaders interested in efficient motor pools. Rockville Science Day featured a Volt, Leaf, and Smart ED, plus a conversion, and lots of turnout. Our booth had been strategically placed near food. The EPA, TSA, and USPTO shows generally had a Volt, Leaf, and Tesla- a bit smaller but still good outreach to key EV buying demographics.

DC EV GP logoOf course, the one big show was the EV Grand Prix at RFK Stadium. We were in force for the Global EEE production- we had a booth, team mentors for the kids, multiple car owners in the EV parade before the races, and of course volunteers in different tasks. Volunteers got a shirt, hat, and badge, and most likely a tan- the rain held off until the end. Organizer Nabih Bedewi was unable to join us at the meeting but sent his thanks to all involved. Results are posted; Perry Hall School was both the Rookie winner and overall winner, with 42 laps. Second and third were Phelps and Sidwell Friends, both with a significantly lower distance, but Phelps ran their 38 laps faster. The club discussed attracting more high schools, and keeping momentum up for the teams over the Summer.

E-bike, Volt, Tesla, Leaf in just this pic- pretty representative parade

E-bike, Volt, Tesla, Leaf in just this pic- pretty representative parade

Lease deals continue. The Chevy Spark EV is available for $139 a month, and Nissan and others have competing offers. Combined with the drastically lower operating costs, some of these small cars are becoming a no-brainer, fiscally. Just before the meeting, Zero announced an across-the-board cut of $1,350 on all motorcycles. That's almost 14% off the cheapest models.  Continue reading

UMD Solar Charging

UMD logoSpeaking of the University of Maryland... The College Park Campus, already well-represented in the area's charging count, just won't stop.  Three parking structures will not only install more EVSEs, but solar canopies to power those charging spaces.  The campus as a whole already runs a solar "farm" nearby, as well as buying solar and wind credits.  Then in late 2016, the Terrapin Trail, Regents Drive, and Mowatt Lane Garages will be powered by solar roofs.  The coverage won't just shade vehicles and provide EV power; the three canopies will send surplus power to other campus buildings.

This is all in addition to American University and GWU producing or buying a majority of their electricity from new solar ventures, and Catholic University's onsite arrays.  UMD has more charging, but theirs is a suburban campus of course.  American and GWU have their own Metro stops and bikeshare racks, and each still has a token EVSE.