October 2014 Minutes

Charlie, our president, opened with pizza and drinks right away; the weather dampened our attendance at first but not our mission.  White Flint dried up, and White Flint Library eventually filled up.

nslRoll call brought new e-thusiasts, and a few returning after absences.  It also brought us two industry reps, Emmerich from Chevy Chase Nissan, and Jean from Nissan corporate.  Emmerich is graciously hosting our annual holiday party this Dec. 17, in Bethesda at Wisconsin and East-West Highway.  Yes, there will be two EVSEs available for people coming in from a ways.  (The dealership also offered charging to a Leaf driver who lives behind the site.)  We’re looking into demo drives too; family members are also welcome at the party.

ndewJean, with Nissan USA, is now back in the metro area, after having worked around the East Coast promoting clean, domestic driving.  She gave highlights of National Drive Electric Week, as Nissan was a nationwide co-sponsor.  There were 152 NDEW e-vents, in 5 countries.  That’s 39 states, 6 Canadian provinces, Italy, the Netherlands, and the UK.  150 cities were NDEW sites, including Cupertino, CA hosting a world-record EV parade (507 BEVs, no hybrids).  Three thousand total EV owners showed their vehicles to 90,000 visitors, nearly triple last year’s worldwide attendance.  Over one hundred articles covering NDEW made the press.  Jean expects next year to be- and this is a quote- “drinking out of a fire hose.”

On Nissan’s side, some California NDEW sites were designated “Tier 1,” with high attendance, much exposure, and heavy promotions.  Baltimore, DC, and Philadelphia/Devon, PA were still among twenty Tier 2 sites.  There were plenty of EV owners at the Annapolis event, so Nissan’s Bowie dealership didn’t send any vehicles.  Meanwhile, we are happy to report that their Annapolis dealership (now Bayside Nissan) has been sold to a pro-EV owner.  In that vein, Nissan is doing dealer and customer outreach, working towards 3.3 million zero-emission vehicles by 2025.  Areas have EV-centric dealerships, but all were sent the August article from Consumer Reports claiming EV-hostile employees.  This also includes recruiting employers, municipalities, government agencies, schools, and nonprofits for fleet purchases, EVSE hosting, and general training; EVSEs (from multiple manufacturers, not just Nissan) are being promoted.  In our area alone, a consortium of about 5 universities is looking for sustainability approaches, while individual buildings are seeking LEED certifications.  This also also includes outreach to residential buildings and multiunit housing developments, which is seeing some results.  There’s an online kit to help you approach your apartment/condo management on installing infrastructure.

More locally, Jean took some questions from current and potential drivers.  Though she couldn’t reveal anything about future plans, she did say the company “wants to stay up,” and “where there’s smoke there’s fire.”  More specifically, she did state that current Nissan models would be compatible and eligible for future battery upgrades as the tech advances.

This naturally led to Ron, and the Tour of Solar Homes on Oct. 4-5- thanks Ron!  About ten to fifteen percent of sites on the Tour already had EVs; there was a good reception for promotional Nissans parked at many of the rest.  This included good interest and questions from tourgoers (“interest was really high”); the relevant demographics (if not the public at large) are simply more aware and more informed about EVs now compared to just a few years ago.  Ron calls it a groundswell.  He passed around a sheet with EV myths and their debunkings  The Washington Post visited some Solar Homes and got a piece out.  Member Rob, who had a Tour home, noted that many people were more interested in his EVs than the solar panels.  He suggested a big, standardized logo to indicate available charging at Tour sites.

We’ll caution, however, that this was not an all-Nissan show.  Jean was pro-EV before being hired by Nissan; she noted that her job as a promoter and coordinator includes instructing dealerships (as much as they’ll listen) not to block other brands from their onsite charging infrastructure.  This is particularly true of their J1772s, which unlike CHAdeMOs are unlikely to be Nissan USA-subsidized.  Even then, Mitsubishi EVs, the coming Kia, and (optionally) some Zero motorcycles also use CHAdeMO.  Nissan, in fact has a real incentive to open charging infrastructure to other brands, as they’ve actually gotten some conquests from people who’ve stopped by to charge competing EVs.  One member asked about bidirectional “charging” (vehicle-to-grid, or V2G) and emergency power, which is already available in Japan.  More features are being studied, which Jean calls “V2X.”  As another CHAdeMO vehicle, the Mitsubishi i can also do emergency power.

In more NDEW recaps, Paul highlighted the Annapolis car showing.  He was really happy with Ford, Tesla, BMW, and a Porsche conversion flying the EV flag, as well as the good turnout (“delighted”).  There was also a presence from the Maryland Department of Energy, passing out flyers.  There is a new EV credit for the Maryland vehicle excise tax.  It’s now $125 per kWh of battery, up to $3000, through June 30, 2017 or until the allocated funds are exhausted.  In the case of a lease, this gets rolled into the lease terms.  Also present at the Annapolis NDEW show were BGE, with their night electricity rate (“Time of use,” or TOU).

Ron then highlighted the Frederick Drive Electric show, at the MOM’s grocery.  The Frederick NDEW event had a rotation of cars through the day, about twelve total, including two Smarts, a Honda Fit EV, and some EV owners who just happened to be there shopping.

Similarly, Dennis recapped the downtown DC event, which was a bit lighter this year.  He was also at the Poolesviile NDEW, which was good but in a more-remote lot from the rest of the Poolesville Day festivities.  The Annandale, VA NDEW didn’t show the full movie (Who Killed The Electric Car) successfully, due to a projector problem.  The Baltimore NDEW was well-placed, and drew “lots of newbies.”

Member and president-emeritus Dave saw the documentary Pump.  Led by the Fuel Freedom Foundation, it examined the continuing oil dominance of consumers and the economy, even generations after the breakup of Standard Oil.  The movie showed Brazil’s energy independence, and the Fuel Freedom Foundation’s methanol initiative.  They mention a “black box” that can convert existing cars to gas/alcohol flex capability, and they do mention EVs briefly.  Independent filling-station owners were highlighted.  Former Shell president John Hofmeister appears, and denies the “pump dream” that we can drill our way out of this.  Unfortunately, the movie is already out of theaters at this point.

(After the EVADC meeting, I did see the documentary.  Personally, I feel that 88 minutes is too short to do this serious subject justice.  While nothing in Pump was untrue, it came off that way to me, since the subject has been quite simplified from my point of view.  Of course, you may completely disagree with that opinion.)

Member Rob mentioned the similar book, Internal Combustion, by Edwin Black, who appeared in Pump.  He also mentioned a local, independent Shell station in Laurel near I-95.  They have asked their corporate management for a CHAdeMO charger, but they won’t allow one.  They are offering convenience-store supplies and hot food, which would make fast charging a natural fit.  Speaking of I-95, governor’s administrations are working on adding charging to highway stops.  They need policy leadership and standardized signage.  Maryland, in particular, got settlement money from a lawsuit and is working on electrifying highway routes.  Contracts are now in consideration.

Bob, Dave, and Doug all chimed in on Lockheed Martin’s fusion announcement, such as it was.  In any case, it’s still a claimed ten years away.  On the other hand, Chicago now has North America’s first electric garbage trucks.  Today.

In a few short weeks, we will be holding the yearly elections.  At the November meeting, we will be electing new officers; several nominations were placed, including some in absentia.  Paul, however, was present and accepted a vice-president nomination.  We hope to see you in a few weeks, and hope to see you voting!

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