June 2014 Minutes

emnptCharlie began the meet at 7:13, with introductions (several new faces and new EVs) including our first speaker: Ty Robinson of Environment Maryland.  Ty briefed the club on that state’s policies on EV adoption and renewable power, and Environment Maryland’s efforts for more aggressive rollouts on both.  (Virginia signatures are welcome too!).  The nonprofit claims Heather Mizeur and Alonzo Washington as supporters; it is then offering (unpaid) internships.  The club floor also held forth on related energy questions.

A Skype conference with Ben Rich in Centerville began at 7:31.  Ben, owner of a Zero Motorcycle among other EVs, recounted the cross-country tour seen in Kick Gas.  (EAA members can watch this documentary at a discount.)  Organized by Susan Jones of Nashville, the tour went from Charleston, SC to San Francisco, via public charging and RV/camping sites.  EVs spanned from a Nissan Leaf, through the motorcycle and 2 scooters, to an e-bike which was swapping batteries.  Ben’s now continuing across other areas, and into Canada; he plans on a Mt Washington climb and a Tail of the Dragon run.  This began a discussion of several club members’ Zero motorcycles and Vectrix scooters.

We then broke for refreshments and conversation, and re-convened at 8:06.  The Crystal City Fathers’ Day Car Show drew pretty much the gamut of (4-wheel) EVs; there was no Fiat 500e on display, but there was a Smart and a Honda Fit, plus an old Ford Ranger EV.  Our treasurer Scott reminded the club that Maryland EVADC license plates are still available for $25; you can do all the forms by mail, or walk into the Glen Burnie MVA.

Scott also recapped the 100-year anniversary Sociability Run, organized by Lanny and Rick with MDVolt.  Most activities centered around a Charles Town/Ranson, WV meetup.  American Public University System in Charles Town had a solar canopy with EVSEs to charge 14 vehicles; the MOM’s store on the way in Frederick had a CHAdeMO, which is not only free for now, but a full-power CHAdeMO, not a slower one.  48 or 49 vehicles were there, drawing a police escort near the city; one was a RAV4 EV.  Side trips were made to Sheperdstown, where Shepherd University also had demo EVSEs running on renewable energy, and Harpers Ferry, the racetrack, casino, etc.  On the way back, club member Sean reports getting his Volt all the way to Rockville (64 miles) gas-free, due to the slight downhill.  Future Sociability Runs are likely.

We are seeking Labor Day and 4th of July rallies- there will likely be a Greenbelt Labor Day EV parade on September th, and 4th of July parades everywhere.

Not so eager is the condo association at National Harbor.  Despite the inclusion of numbered, deeded stalls with every condo, member Ken reports of efforts to install an EVSE for a Tesla buyer.  The HOA trotted out every excuse- plausible or not- to block its installation.

Jo and Charlie updated the club on their homebuilt BugE.  The low-slung EV had its bottom ripped out when a manhole was exposed by road resurfacing.  The incoming check will likely cover rebuilding, and possibly an upgrade from 72 volts to 96V.  This will improve power and keep temperatures more stable.

Bob reports his varied vehicle statuses: his (non-plug-in) Prius battery lasted to 130,000 miles.  Its replacement would have been covered under warranty by Maryland law; however, Toyota decided to exploit a loophole.  That particular vehicle had been registered in North Carolina at some point, and Toyota will only honor North Carolina law- 100,000 mile warranties.  Boo, Toyota.  Fortunately, Bob had salvaged two old Prius packs, years ago, at $400 each, and can do his own labor.  Prices are higher now, but third-party shops have sprung up to beat Toyota rates.  A shop also exists to convert outboard motors to electric; Bob is pondering a part-solar boat for Loch Raven Reservoir.   Member Ron also shared his aftermarket Prius experiences.

The Voltchat group held an event on Facebook.  They report many thousands of drivers going half a billion miles.  The bigger news, at least for us geeks, is that GM’s defensive battery and controller design is working.  Battery packs on company life-test mules are passing 200,000 equivalent miles and still going.

375dDoron reports multiple good and bad recent events.  The club received a trophy for our showing in the Olney parade.  With last year’s, we could start a decent trophy case.  Meanwhile, the bankruptcy auction for Vectrix was the very day of this meeting.  One buyer took it all; speculation is that this investor will try to form a new company.  Doron’s own Vectrix scooter is still running, though a few bad cells are holding back the rest of the pack.  He has purchased replacement NiMH cells, but hasn’t taken the time to swap them in.

We are soliciting some big plans.  Besides the annual E-Week (leading up to the rally on the Mall, September 20 or 21), we are participating in the Tour of Solar Homes again.  There may be something from the Electric-Drive Transportation Association or individual manufacturers, too early to say.  A curator at the Smithsonian is interested in EVs, and is working on a story for Smithsonian magazine; he may also have access to the Smithsonian’s GM Impact from the 1990s.  Another Power of DC event may happen, we need a trail boss.

Before any of that, member Curt will be in Newark, DE for a press conference with Environment America and Tesla.  It will be discussing Maryland to some degree, but the Delaware location had already been planned.  Closer in, the free solar charging (sponsored by Nexia) on Kent Island at the far end of the Bay Bridge is no more.  Nexia had always intended them to be a trial run; the EVSEs are now at a university.  The next charging site after the bridge (if you don’t count wall outlets and hospitable homeowners) now looks to be Queenstown Outlets, no pun intended.

The USPTO has begun installing charging for employees.  Dedication is slated for June 24, and EVs are being solicited.  Their arrangement is somewhat like the NIH’s employee charging.  EV owners would pay monthly, and get a hang-tag.  Unlike other federal agencies, the USPTO’s parking structure is actually owned by Colonial Parking; this helps bypass a federal policy prohibiting use of funds for charging that weren’t explicitly approved by law.  Boo, policy; yay, USPTO.

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