Our learning about EV's took different forms. Matt got interested in the nuts and bolts (and wires and connections) and enjoyed fixing up the converted Colt. I, meanwhile, learned about the history of EV's and realized that here was an opportunity for activism and education. The movie Who Killed the Electric Car had just come out and helped kindle my conviction that we should dedicate our recently-founded enterprise Bucks County Renewables to promoting electric vehicles -- an existing technology that can meet the needs of many commuters, while reducing air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
We couldn't bring the Colt to display at the 2006 Pennsylvania Alternative Energy Festival, but I made a movie about it to share at our booth, and I met Mike Ewall of ActionPA/Energy Justice Network, who came to speak to us about the importance of promoting renewable sources of energy to charge electric vehicles. Mike would later invite me to speak with him at a SEAC sponsored event at Ursinus College and help launch my new identity as an electric vehicle advocate.
Meanwhile, Matt and I had seen this video of the 2006 C2EC2T (Commuter Conversion Electric Car Class for Teachers) on the internet, and the idea to turn our Vanagon conversion into a teaching opportunity was born. We officially incorporated Bucks County Renewables as a non-profit, and I contacted Mike Parker and invited him to come East to teach a workshop.
Now I needed a place to host it, and within a few phone calls I had connected with Bill Kirkpatrick and Bernie Wagenseller at North Montco Technical Career Center, both of whom were enthusiastic about the prospect of hosting the class. By February we had the venue confirmed and it was official: the 2007 EV Conversion Workshop was open for registration!
Once the class begins on Monday, I'll introduce you to the students who have chosen to devote two weeks of their summers to gaining hands-on experience and theoretical instruction in EV's. Mike Parker is now en route to Philadelphia via Amtrak. Bill Kirkpatrick and I are picking him up tomorrow and then paying a visit to the auto shop at NMTCC, so I'll have some pictures of the "de-fossilized" van to post this weekend. I can't wait to meet Mike in person after so many email exchanges -- you wouldn't believe how much we've corresponded on the topic of crimping cable-to-lug tools and battery racks alone!