The Public Service Commission of Maryland is holding Public
Conference 43 (“PC 43”) Thursday July 14, 2016 to explore the regulatory, technical, and financial barriers to the deployment of electric vehicles in the State. It would benefit us all as EV drivers to let the Commission know of our opinions and wisdom we have gathered over the last few years.
→ They really do look forward to hearing from real EV drivers! ←
Don’t forget, the December Party-Meeting is the 16th. That’s 7:00, Tesla Rockville Service Center. We’ll provide the food and drinks. All you need to bring are chairs and drivers licenses for Model S test drives (including Autopilot). Please RSVP with number of guests and if you have a folding table you can lend. Come celebrate, and take a Tesla out for a test if you haven’t!
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. Continue reading →
Washington had already been the first American city to establish modern (RFID-controlled) bikesharing, which we’ve covered. Onstreet, point-to-point rental has since spread through New York City, to smaller markets, and now even Detroit, the “Motor City.” The earlier problems with public bikes have been solved; a rental is so cheap compared to other modes of transportation that cities almost can’t afford not to deploy bikes and stations. In the same manner, the early e-bikes have given way to newer, better, cheaper designs. This includes trials in Paris and in Birmingham, Alabama to evaluate electric bikesharing.
Back here, I visited Riide‘s assembly facility in northeast. In time for Halloween, Riide was moving to a new space, and throwing a costume party in the vacated industrial building. The company’s Kickstarter launch was highly successful, deliveries began in late 2014, and I’ve even seen Riides on the street. For 2016, Riide is offering a monthly $79 plan (“RiidePass”) with maintenance and insurance. At plan’s end, the bike is owned outright, or you can convert payments to the latest model.
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.
We 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 →
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.
The 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 →
It’s here: National Drive Electric Week. Round 1 was Falls Church, at Coleman PowerSports. This time, the numerous EVs included the underpromoted Ford Focus
…and the far more rare (here, at least) Kia Soul EV- brought from the West Coast by a recent “immigrant.” This being Coleman, though, many of the numerous EVs were Zero motorcycles, as the manufacturer was having a demo day.
August’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 →