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.
Of 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.
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. In legislative news, we’re still following a bill for Federal workplace charging. When approaching people, have multiple angles ready: clean air, oil imports and the Middle East, sporty acceleration, whatever it takes. After the meeting on May 21, the Maryland Department of Energy had a meeting in Hanover. To be discussed were BGE’s pilot program for EVers, workplace charging, and the state’s electric highways rollout. Maryland’s Fred Hoover will speak, as will our Jill Sorensen. This will lead to a workshop for municipal governments to support electrification on June 30. One interesting ruling: all supported charging sites must include SAE CCS, not just CHAdeMO- both the incoming Royal Farms locations, and also eVgo’s network, too.
In member news, Elvia now has a Mercedes B-Class EV, Mark has a Spark, while Dennis’ Volt (one of the first made) is no longer the shiny showpiece. We might try to draft other Volts for demos if he doesn’t spring for the new ’16. No hiking news from Charlie, but we gave away his compact fluorescent bulbs. The premiere of Tomorrowland will also be a gathering of Volt owners; the Volt people have already sent out invitations.
Scott showed some interesting schwag: a company is producing “OK to unplug” stickers in the name of parking-lot courtesy. This reignited the etiquette debate; there are many solutions to having multiple people rotate one EVSE among them. The club itself has new bumper stickers, and “country ovals” too. And we still offer EVADC logo license plates in Maryland.
Our guest for the month was Rob Catalan, CTO of Halbach Motors in Herndon. Halbach is commercializing higher efficiency motors; a conventional electric motor sends stray magnetic fields into the space around them. These magnetic lines do not propel anything, and result in a claimed 50% field efficiency. Halbach’s motors align their fields better, for a claimed 97% efficiency. Boeing had attempted to patent these motors, but blew a technicality. Aside from better power characteristics, this improves packaging, leading to some interesting applications. Better alignment means watercraft can have efficient pumpjets, and snowmobile tracks work better. (Coincidentally, the Mattro Ardenner had been announced.) Even on conventional road vehicles, a Halbach motor could allow contactless charging; the company envisions a charge robot going up close to cars in a lot, then moving to another once the battery is full. That’s one way to solve the charger rotation problem. One member asked if Halbach was selling to homebuilders and experimenters.
If you have pictures from club events, by all means submit them for sharing and posting.
The Fathers’ Day Auto Festival in Crystal City is coming up; see trail bosses Curt and Rob. This is a great e-vent for us, as the crowd is large and receptive. There’s a selection of charging in the Crystal City area.
Even better is National Electric Drive Week, Sep. 12-20; it will be here sooner than you know. The club discussed our outreach possibilities. The national organization is pushing for locations that attract mainstream crowds, not people already familiar, and possibly already EV owners. Aside from a big, centralized e-vent, members proposed store lots and farmers’ markets. If Royal Farms locations have chargers working by then, that would be a possibility. We discussed offering rides, which is complicated; having dealer or manufacturer cars would ease the issues. There are tips and tools on the national website, pluginamerica.org.
Much sooner than September is the DC Green Festival, June 5-7 at the Convention Center. BMW will be giving demo rides in the i3.
Consider joining our parent organization, EAA, as well. You’re not just supporting us nationwide, but the newsletter is nice.
Heavy EVs are spreading. BYD, Gillig, New Flyer, and Proterra were all floated by members as OEMs, or conversion platforms. Frederick County is looking into obtaining some electric buses; an electric bus was spotted, possibly as a chartered event shuttle. Halbach’s motors are in the size range for trucks, and of course Chicago has been running an EV fleet for garbage pickup.
The crowd broke for discussion. Hope to see you at the next meeting, also in Rockville.