November 2015 Minutes

We started with Ron, mentioning Nabih’s middle school robotics competition.  Electrics of a different sort.  Rob described his Think City for sale- 30k miles.  Outside the club, Silver Spring’s Thanksgiving parade (November 28) was seeking an EV, says councilmember Tom Hucker.  It’s never too early- next year’s National Drive Electric Week will be Sep 10-18.  More recently, Chip got 1st place in the Aspen Hill car show, special interest category; Scott got 2nd.  Pat’s Volt was in the running too, and Charlie’s Porsche is converted.  Chip described the system; its battery capacity increase is huge.

In more everyday news, there’s some progress in Federal workplace charging.  We know Congress has installed and uses charging for itself; the EV-COMUTE Act would allow the GSA to decide on installations without micromanagement.  The House version of the big transportation bill passed EV-COMUTE language, the Senate version didn’t; they must reconcile.  No Maryland or Virginia senators are on the bill’s committee.

Elvia went to climate communications training in Florida, and has short and long versions to give.  Karsten sold solar panels to a former Exxon Mobil engineer.  Also in Florida, Greenshed Conversions is helping a member finish an electric Camaro.

Then the night’s guest: Certified Nissan mechanic Jose shared his accumulated wisdom.114243c Continue reading

October 2015 Minutes

This month, we had a full slate and long meeting.  After starting with pizza and drinks, we introduced John (with a Volt), Rich (with an i3), Mike looking into a conversion project, and Jose, a Nissan mechanic- we’ll get into that.  Also present was our guest Bill Griffiths, of the Montgomery County government, with County plans and progress.

ndewWe recapped the National Drive Electric Week e-vents.  Ron described the Frederick showing, plus Hanover, PA.  Poolesville’s NDEW had a great turnout of EVs, actually too many- the parade of EVs had to be kept down to seven.  A dealer was on hand, giving test rides, and wants to be back next year.  The Baltimore venue was the Inner Harbor’s new DC Quick Charger (dual standard), with BEVI’s Jill also reporting on Lake Montebello.  Sunday, Sep. 20 was the National Mall NDEW, not exactly at the new Mall Level 2 charging spaces but convenient and busy.  We had a high turnout of both cars, bikes, and passerby.  Out of 195 national and international e-vents, EV Insider has considered the Mall date a major NDEW date, and is giving us some coverage.

Speaking of the new Baltimore chargers, other Maryland sites are negotiating grants from the MD Energy Administration.  Some money is expiring; municipalities took too long to settle their deployment plans and make purchases before required dates.  Montgomery County, for one, supports charging but wants better architecture standards, such as road signage and other public displays- see below. Continue reading

September 2015 Minutes

After our customary mingling, pizza and drinks, Ron called the September meeting.  We started small, with bumper stickers and other prep for the remaining National Drive Electric Week e-vents.  Ron reminded us to know the audience, as electric drive appeals on multiple lines of reasoning- hence, the “Starve a Terrorist” bumper sticker for the non-environmentalist.  We went around the room- Scott got a Ford Focus Electric in May, Mr. Baker is shopping, both for a vehicle and for venture capital for his project.

We discussed the Clean Cities Coalition seminar for car dealers.  In previous months we had discussed clueless or outright ev-hostile dealership staff.  The seminar, at a Fitzgerald Auto facility, drew about 15 dealer reps who were willing to learn.  Apparently they received us well, and were not visibly hostile to Tesla for selling directly.  Charging was discussed; Nissan dealer lots have at least some charging support, and other marques are joining in to various degrees.  Ford revealed that 90% of e-Ford owners surveyed won’t go back to fossil drive.

More publicly, we reported on recent and coming NDEW e-vents.  The Sep. 20 Rockville showing (Pepco’s Gude Dr. site) was too rainy, and off the main roads with little visibility.  However we got good BMW factory representation.  The WaterShed site will also be on the Tour of Solar Homes, also with EVs on display.  There’s plenty of 120V charging, but only one J1772 plug- we suggested finding more.  At the same time as Rockville was Falls Church’s NDEW at Coleman PowerSports.  It rained less further south, with a better selection of electrics.  Organizer Jeff briefed us, as well as on his Asburn NDEW e-vent.  Ashburn had test drives, but no Revenge of the Electric Car screening.

232cThe afternoon before the club meeting, a dual-standard (CCS/CHAdeMO) DC Quick Charger was unveiled by Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.  Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake was in attendance, as were Jean from Nissan and Matt of the EV Institute.  The Inner Harbor site is still negotiating a power contract with BGE, but other DC chargers in Urbana, Glen Burnie, Queenstown, and Temple Hills are installed.  Salisbury and Ocean City were pending as of the meeting. 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

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

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

April 2015 Minutes

Lots of E-Vents, including a big one coming up: the 2015 EV Grand Prix on May 16, at RFK Stadium. But plenty of other news this month. We started immediately with mingling, pizza, and drinks. As usual, the Rockville Library will validate your parking in the garage across the street. President Ron called the meeting, and we introduced new faces all around. Attendees represented makes of all types, e-bikes, conversions, and even a biodiesel driver. Three people are now shopping for EVs, and our regular Carsten has quit his job and is starting a solar company. Pedro from the University of Maryland is doing an EV study, and did a survey of our charging habits, preferences, and desires.UMD logo

Bill spoke for Nabih, the organizer from Global EEE for the EV Grand Prix, who had a prior appointment. The third running of the metro area high school engineering, racing, and teamwork competition will be 1:30 Saturday, May 16. It will take place in the parking lots north of RFK Stadium; this had been the site of a fossil-fueled race a decade ago. See the event’s Facebook page at facebook.com/DCEVGP. Emil and Charles were on hand from the DC government, to brief us on activities (such as making RFK happen) and thank us for our help. Their goal is to operate the E-Vent on only solar or biodiesel generators; meanwhile, they are supporting DC high school teams. DC EV GP logo

The number of high schools keeps increasing; we are now over twenty, and some schools will have multiple entries. Mentors for school teams are still welcome by all means. For the purposes of the club, we are explicitly soliciting race volunteers. There is a particular need for tech inspectors, checking off competitors’ vehicles per the rules. However, there’s no shortage of other roles: media, concessions, staffing information or display tables, or just crowd control if nothing else. See our signupgeniuswebsite and help us out however you can. Before the race, there will be an EV parade at 1:00 (which means show vehicles must be lined up well before). Please sign up to be in the parade, especially if you have a vehicle that isn’t already represented. Or just volunteer to wrangle the other parade entrants.

The first annual Montgomery County Green Fest in Takoma Park was a success. There were ten cars, many from our club, a panel discussion on EVs, and members as event volunteers. Similarly but smaller in scale, Raymond Chu held an EV presentation in the Calvert County Library. We ran a booth at the National Sustainable Design Expo in Alexandria; this was primarily college projects, but we got enthusiastic questions too. The DC Environmental Film Festival featured the world premier of The Burden: Fossil Fuel, the Military, and National Security; a few of us attended the documentary, and a Q&A afterwards with the director and several bigwigs.

More E-Vents were occurring, or are upcoming; besides the Earth Day concert on the Mall (too crowded for cars), meet-and-greets/car shows were held by Geico, TSA/EPA, Takoma Park itself, Fort Meade, the USPTO, NIH, and Rockville Science Day at Montgomery College. After the EVGP will be the annual Junior Solar Sprints at Friendship School on Benning Road May 19. There will be a fundraiser/car show for wounded veterans in Herndon the morning of May 9, see Michael at operationvetshaven.org. The Fathers’ Day car show in Crystal City needs some clean action again, see Rob. Continue reading

March 2015 Minutes

As we’ve said before, good luck Charlie. And as we’ve also said, lots of stuff going on for the Spring. We started right off with pizza, drinks, and well wishes to our outgoing president for a happy hike. Then we introduced new people, including George from the Skyline Automotive Museum in Front Royal, Virginia, and multiple Tesla reps.

Our main guest, however, was Sarah Oleksak, of the Department of Energy’s Workplace Charging Challenge. The DoE’s EERE division does vehicle research with the Argonne, Oak Ridge, and NREL national laboratories, among others. But with the Workplace Charging Challenge, they are doing outreach and programmatics for us e-thusiasts. The outgoing Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu, calls the workplace a “second showroom,” and program data shows that wcclemployees with charging are twenty times more likely to go electric than the average motorist. We, certainly, are used to getting the Five Questions in parking lots. Employees, in turn, must prompt their management to install (or just allow) charging. The WCC has then used data, employee experiences, and intermediary groups (like our own parent EAA) to convince further companies. As of the 2014 update, there were over 180 major companies enrolled in the program, with over 300 worksites.

Data from WCC and the EV Project goes to the Idaho lab; they’ve found that 90% of over 180 WCC companies get their slots filled up five days a week. This is despite an average of 11 slots per company, since those drew an average of 26 EVers. Of those, the most common (LEAF and Volt) did almost 40% of their charging at work; Volt drivers actually seek charging more than the LEAFs. Level 1 charging started out being more popular, but Level 2 caught up within years. Most companies prefer smart EVSEs, not dumb outlets, which is an opportunity for ChargePoint, GreenLots, and other service providers. One exception was Telefonix, which installed a smart L1 network. Overall, installations are still continuing, despite many grants tapering off, and building LEED certifications not really recognizing the oil savings. Charging goes beyond Scope 1 and increases your building energy use, without accounting for the employees’ steeply-reduced consumption and emissions. Sarah closed by giving us materials and links.

Of course, federal employees are (mostly) left out without a law getting passed. Sarah mentioned California has put forth some state resources for federal offices, and a Florida DHS office is in a leased building, so the landlord did the installation.

More locally, member Charlie is now the proud owner of a Tesla. Some members have written in, supporting MD Senate Bill 762 for charging in multiunit housing; it’s spearheaded by Senator Brian Feldman. Our partner BEVI has received money from Constellation Energy, and updated the Marylandev.org website. The Maryland electric highway project received its official announcement as expected; ground has already been broken on some of its fast chargers. In case you haven’t been following, Maryland will install DC chargers (both CHAdeMO and SAE CCS) from Hagerstown to Ocean City, Elkton to Waldorf, including many Royal Farms locations. Many are slated to be online this year. Meanwhile, Greenlots will be doing similarly in parts of Virginia.

We’re soliciting “trail bosses”- people to honcho our public outreach events. It’s quite simple, organizing volunteers and their EVs on days of festivals, showings, etc. These include the first Montgomery County Green Fest, and the DC STEM Fair, this March 28. The MoCo Fest will have speakers, an EV panel discussion, and of course our vehicles on display. We already have the usual suspects- LEAF/Volt/Tesla, but could use a Ford C-Max or Honda Fit EV if anyone can show them. Contact Joyce or JD. Continue reading

February 2014 Minutes

Our new digs in the Rockville Public Library are great! They’re right off the ice rink on Maryland Ave. in Rockville Town Center. Hope to see you there for the next few meetings, even if you missed February (brrr). Member Deborah lives just 1/3 of a mile from the Library, in case the charger in Garage A isn’t enough. The Library also validates Garage parking at a discount. We started with pizza, drinks, and cake, then introduced everyone. Welcome to new e-thusiasts of domestic, clean, and quite snappy transport. New and existing members are encouraged tomcplr sign up with our umbrella organization, EAA, which offers us a discount.

We recapped our Auto Show(s!) outreach. The DC Show had club members’ cars, an electric racer and a spare chassis, Phelps High School’s EV Grand Prix racer, and a pedal/electric Elf enclosed recumbent, quite the draw. We were also next to EVs from Chevy and Cadillac, VW, BMW, Kia, and a Hyundai hybrid. This included the Chevy Spark (now coming to Maryland) and 2016 Volt. Toyota unfortunately chose to promote a fuel cell car, sticking the Prius Plug-In in a corner. However, GM did invite Volt owners to a presentation with news and developments. The Baltimore show also placed us well. We had a Think City on display; unlike DC, Baltimore had electrics from Ford and Mercedes. Thanks to all who volunteered their EVs, time, and effort.

A little more exclusive was an EV charging summit on Capitol Hill; senators Merkley and Carper attended. California utility PG&E announced an initiative for thousands of EVSE sites, including plans for multiunit housing. This had members discuss charge networks with only one or two sites in driving distance, or odd membership terms.

In state news, Maryland’s EV Infrastructure Council announced a deployment. After a settlement with Constellation Energy, 3 firms bid to install EVSEs with the money, including fast DC chargers. Both CHAdeMO and SAE CCS chargers will run from Hagerstown to Ocean City, Elkton to Waldorf. Ground’s already been broken on some, with October openings; no word on if sites will also have J1772. Continue reading