Friday, December 14, 2007

EVAmerica 2007 Newsletter Available

Just a quick note to let you know that EVAmerica has put out its 2007 e-newsletter and it's chockfull of customer conversions you might want to cast your eyes over, including a gorgeous 108-volt MR2 conversion, and a 1984 Corvette that seems to be powered by Optima Yellow-tops. !!! When we bought that for the auxiliary battery, I wondered whether it might be suitable for an EV conversion: it requires no watering, which is awfully nice. (I know, I know, an EV requires almost no maintenance besides monthly battery-watering, so I shouldn't complain. I'm just very, very lazy.) Also interesting -- a 1981 Honda EV into which the owner has installed a 5 kw Honda generator, making it a homemade hybrid and extending its range to 88 miles!

Bob Batson has included some nice pix of unusual conversions from old issues of the newsletter, plus links to some customer web pages and conversion shops. Drop him a line at if you'd like to request a copy. Be sure to tell him that I sent you, I want him to feel bad that he didn't include any pictures of the e-van!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Conversion Workshop Initiative in Canada

Ron Rancourt and his cohorts at the Electric Vehicle Council of Ottawa have been bitten by the EV Conversion Workshop bug, and they've put up a terrific website where you can track their progress in sponsoring what they're calling a "Gas to Electric Vehicle Conversion Course."

(You will see that both the Bucks County Renewables EV video and the 15-minute C2EC2T video from San Diego 2005 are featured on the website. I've tried to assist Ron by sharing all that we learned from sponsoring last summer's workshop, and he's also in touch with Abran Quevedo and Mike Parker out on the West Coast.)

The website will be used for developing course content, announcing progress and development, and promoting the class. One exciting aspect is that EVCO plans to make the course material freely available under a Creative Commons license, to encourage course adoption in other cities.

Readers who might be interested in sponsoring an EV Conversion Workshop in their communities will find it especially useful that EVCO has posted samples of their funding application documents online. If you are unfamiliar with grant-writing, browsing these files will give you a sense of what to expect, and anyone considering applying for financial support for a Conversion Workshop will benefit from a peek at the thorough and succinct formulations of these documents.

Best wishes to Ron and his companions in this effort!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Change is in the Air

So, it's been very chilly here on the East Coast, and since we never got around to putting any heat whatsoever in the e-Van, driving it has become decidedly unpleasant. Definitely a priority upgrade! I'm dreaming about the Chevy Volt, the first production EV since the EV-1. Don't know if we can hold out two years to get a second vehicle, but if we can, it'll look something like this:

There's a nice overview of the Volt here. If you want to read up on its progress towards regularly there's no better spot than this dedicated site.

Matt sent me an interesting video interview with Bob Lutz, General Motor's chief of global product development a while back. It was filmed just before the Chevrolet Tahoe Two-Mode Hybrid won the Green Car of the Year award at the L.A. auto show in November. In it Lutz complains about Toyota's reputation as a green auto manufacturer, admits that if he didn't work for GM he'd have loved to drive a Honda Insight, and frankly says that GM wants to be seen as "the absolute undisputed leader in advanced environmental and fuel-saving technology." Asked what will help them improve their green reputation in the eyes of consumers, he says "If we could put the Volt into production tomorrow and start selling 60 to 70,000 of them a year that would definitely do it."

Well, duh. Here's looking forward to GM truly committing itself to producing enough Volts to meet demand!

In my next entry: back to discussing conversions! Really!