First things first: it's time for me to thank everyone who emailed or posted encouraging remarks during the long dormancy period of this blog and/or after my woeful post about losing faith in the E-Vanagon. I really appreciated your responses! It is most invigorating to know that there's an audience out there and I vow to be more regular in my blog updates from now on.
I got permission from Kim to share his particularly consoling words: "I know how you feel, I have had plenty of projects fall short of that wonderful mental picture that I went in with. Then I remind myself 'oh yeah this is an experiment' ... it is not what my mind saw but it will do."
So ... oh yeah! This is an experiment!
For those of you wanting to know what's actually going on with the E-van, the answer is it gets driven occasionally on short hops ... Matt took it down to Frenchtown and back two days in a row, where it was parked anonymously all day while he took the bus into NYC (gotta get a chrome EV badge from Third Planet Energy so everyone who walks by can know the van's electric!) but he charged it up in between trips. So we have really not been testing its range thoroughly. We need to make a test run of the commute we want it to make (to the dojo and back), but I need to drive back-up and we haven't managed to arrange a night for that yet.
So no documentation of the van's range post-motor refurbishment yet. I was sufficiently recovered from my dual-breakdown trauma to try to take it out the other night, but Matt had it parked on the hill with the e-brake on so tight that I couldn't release it! Fortunately we had a back-up electric car that I could take to pick up my daughter!
As I posted last time, it is now confirmed that I don't have an Energy Harvest grant to fund the 2008 workshop, but all is not lost -- I have other ideas! First up will be applying for a state environmental education grant (deadline December 15) if that will be appropriate. I'm also going to start casting my net out for folks who might be interested in providing a vehicle and the funds to cover the conversion kit. Workshop fees could probably pay for the teacher's salary and the minimal overhead if I can find a donor -- so if you've got a yen to drive away a vehicle converted by the 2008 Electric Vehicle Conversion Workshop, let me know!
I leave you with a link to a radio show on which John Dietter, a teacher on the small Maine island of North Haven, and several of his former students discuss the electric Vanagon they created out of a 1984 Volkswagen Vanagon Syncro. The Vanagon, which competed several times in the Tour de Sol, is now powered exclusively by a dedicated solar array. A truly zero-emissions EV!
On the show, Kim Petty, my encouraging blog reader (who also lives on an island in Maine, and is poised to convert a Vanagon himself) calls in to talk about his Small Internal Combustion Engine Elimination Project. He points out that a small-scale and affordable introduction to electric vehicle technology can be the "slow wean" of gradually replacing smaller ICEs in one's life. In pursuit of this goal Kim has acquired an electric tractor, and converted a small boat to electric. His most recent toy is an electric log-splitter. A former Porsche mechanic and self-avowed motorhead, Kim admits, "There's something about the thrill of a large, powerful engine that you just don't give up easily." Nevertheless, he says, "there's lots of stuff that can be done with electric motors." He too plans to charge his EVanagon with photovoltaics.
The link below will take you to the hour-long show.
More soon. Thanks for following along, and for cheering me up when I'm down!