“LiveWire” Electric Harley

9172dYes, 100% electric- Forbes’ headline was “Hell Freezes Over.”  For angels and devils alike, Saturday was time for some good clean fun, at least briefly.  Project LiveWire is, currently, not Product LiveWire.  The Harley-Davidson Motor Company is taking the rideable demonstrator bikes on tour, officially to gauge interest and get rider feedback (though see below).  I caught the caravan at Brian’s Harley-Davidson, between Philadelphia and Trenton (thanks Brian!).

Anyone familiar with Harley-Davidson knows that, if nothing else, they’re experts at brand management and promotion; this tour date was no exception.  It had to be; LiveWire is both a leading-edge technology and “wedge technology,” in a wedge demographic.  I’ve already seen a call for a boycott from Harley hardliners.  Hardliners created, in part, by prior successes at branding.

9177dWhat you’d notice right away- even before stepping in the canopy- is the sound of the “Jumpstart” test stand doing a run.  Previously, Harley-Davidson brought static motorcycles to events, with the rears on dummy dynamometers.  Bike novices could twist a real, working throttle for the first time, and be introduced to Harley’s hallmark growl and rumble without actually knowing how to ride.  For the LiveWire tour, the Jumpstart version lets people experience near-ideal “throttle” response, with little or no spool-up lag, clutch losses, or other drivetrain slop.  Just realtime torque, throughout a near-ideal powerband too.  EV enthusiasts know that shifting and clutches/torque converters are actually bug fixes, not features.  Now the Jumpstart “riders” do, too.  In any case, the throttle curve could be reprogrammed arbitrarily by someone with access. Continue reading

…Regarding e-EVerything

Don’t forget, we could still use volunteers at the 2014 EV Grand Prix this Saturday (and some setup Friday).  Just check off a SignUpGenius entry, and you’re all set.

As cozy as the electric GP racers are, there’s room for improvement.  E-bikes, by comparison, can be taken on Metro, or via the front racks of buses.  Still, sometimes I just don’t feel like bothering with a regular, 20-lb bike (and a good lock, all my biking gear, etc.); let alone a much heavier e-bike.  It is just these situations where a car is the lazy solution, and a huge barrier for urban living and public transportation (or even Zipcar/Car2Go).

Enter the Inventist Solowheel, debuting about a year ago.  It’s hardly the first personal-sized, electric-powered, gyrostabilized solution; it’s a competitor to the Focus Designs SBU V3, and a “son-of-the-Segway.”  I met Marc Fisher in New York to discuss the Solowheel, and where it’s going; he’s an independent retailer for Inventist.  Marc, formerly of the Maryland suburbs, now lives in New Jersey.  There, he carries his Solowheel down three stories, rolls to a mass-transit stop, and heads to his day job in New York City… where he rolls the rest of the way, then sticks his EV in a corner.  Exactly the sort of thing he could have used to and from his Montgomery County Metro stops.  He’s even got the range (7-10 miles) for lunch and errands.33y
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BEVI Awarded Grant for YES Corps 2013 Summer Internships

Exciting news!  Maryland Clean Cities Coalition member, BEVI, has been awarded a Constellation Energy to Educate grant to advance Youth Energy and Environment Service (YES) Corps 2013 summer internships.  The YES Corps Program advances Science Technology Engineering Arts and Math (STEAM) electric vehicle education.  BEVI will be working with the Electric Vehicle Association of DC (EVADC) and four Maryland universities –  Johns Hopkins University, the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), and the University of Maryland College Park (UMCP) and Baltimore County (UMBC) to create paid summer internships and fellowships at the universities, and to encourage broader engagement of unpaid interns and high school students interested in participating.   BEVI is actively pursuing collaborations with sisters states as well, including Virginia and the District of Columbia, to leverage these valuable resources to drive clean transportation and clean cities opportunities.
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Using an EV to Power a Home

Click image above to play video.

Over 8 million people were left without electricity in the wake of Hurricane Sandy and last summer’s derecho storm left many without power for a week or more. Some resourceful electric vehicle owners in the DC area have figured out how to use the big battery in their cars for emergency power. Television station WUSA, channel 9 in Washington, DC did a story on EVA/DC member Doron Shalvi who used his Nissan Leaf to power his refrigerator when the lights went out at his house during Sandy.

This could have been you, and it is something to think about when you shop for your next car.  Could an EV or a Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) fulfill your needs, stroke your desires and enhance your shelter requirements — all at the same time?  The answer, of course, is “Yes!”   Whether it is the next power outage — and there WILL be a “next power outage” —  rising prices at the pump, concerns about America’s energy security and/or a strong desire to contribute to the planet, EVs and PHEVs offer advantages that are unmatched by internal combustion vehicles or even by non-plug-in hybrids.

“Well, couldn’t I just put an inverter on any car and have the same advantage?” you might ask. You could, but it wouldn’t work nearly as well, as Doron Shalvi points out.  And you might have to leave your ICE vehicle idling for days at a time until the power came back on — something that you definitely would not want to do in an enclosed garage.

Would you like to learn more?  Why not attend the next meeting of the Electric Vehicle Association of Greater Washington, D.C. and meet friendly people who have “been there, done that,” and are delighted to share what they know! EVA/DC member Scott Wilson will give a live demonstration of one of these EV inverter systems at the November meeting. He plans to brew us some coffee from the power coming off of his Nissan Leaf. We will also have pizza and soft drinks.

The public is invited to all EVA/DC meetings which are usually held at the Silver Spring Library on the third Wednesday of each month. See our Meetings page for map and details.