Monday, December 22, 2008


Folks, it's official. The 2009 EV Conversion Workshop, funded by an Environmental Education grant from the Pennsylvania DEP, will take place June 22 - 26, 2009 -- but I can't tell you where because that bit isn't official yet! Hint: it will be geographically convenient, and we hope identical, to the site in 2007.

Even though I can't open registration until we're confirmed in our anticipated location, I do want to let anyone who's interested know to email a request to info at buckscountyrenewables dot com if you want registration information as soon as it comes out. There will be a mass mailing in mid-January to educators and environmentalists all over southern PA and I'll also post to EV sites like the new EV Wiki started by the St. Mark's EV Club up in Massachusetts. The EV Club at St. Mark's brought their solar-and-wind-powered Ford Ranger conversion "Woodstock" to the 21st Century Automotive Competitions in 2007 & 2008 sponsored by the Eastern Electric Vehicle Club and were long-time participants in the Tour de Sol previous to this. Speaking of the 21st Century Automotive Challenge, great news: it has found a new home in State College, PA, and is coming up this spring!

It looks like 2009 will be an active year for EV's locally -- I even hear a rumor that there will be a rally/gathering in Macungie in May, for which we plan to get the van charged up and rolling! While it hibernates we're driving the hybrid Highlander (21-22 mpg in the cold) and the ten-year-old Honda Civic, which dipped to below 40 mpg recently. We thought it might be the cold, but then realized the percentage drop was too high to explain the decline. Guess what it turned out to be -- a deflated tire. They are Not Kidding about the effect on mileage of running below optimal inflation. Check your tires (and back up your computer data while you're at it, if you're not the kind of person who checks your tires and backs up your data regularly!)

In other news, here's a link I liked about miles per gallon -- a topic on which I myself had been planning a blog entry, but Sebastian got there first -- and another Autobloggreen article reporting how ethanol measures up against other alternative fuels.


Anonymous said...

Greate. I'd like to convert mine too but I thought the weight was an obstacle since these vans are heavy. How many miles do you get per charge and how much will it cost?

jisaacs said...

Anonymous, the van's range topped out at 30 miles per charge. We will be stripping and re-equipping it this summer -- with more batteries! - in order to achieve our goal of 50 miles per charge. That's all we need for our 30-mile commute.

As to cost, a low-end, lead-acid battery-based conversion will run you about $10K in parts including batts. If you choose a more powerful AC system or newer battery technologies your price and performance will improve. The first step in a conversion is ascertaining what your needs are and establishing a budget that meets them -- unless your funds are unlimited, in which case you should put on a workshop and share the fun!

I'm so busy working on a grant proposal to fund an all-new VW Vanagon conversion in June 2010 that I haven't yet posted the registration for this summer's workshop (now confirmed at NMTCC in Lansdale PA June 22 - 26 2009). Thanks so much for posting, you reminded me to catch up!

Will be happy to answer more questions about e-Van conversions if you can't find info on the blog!


Anonymous said...

I converted my 84 vanagon to electric using what looks to be the same equipment back in 2000. even with 20 trojen T145 batteries I still got only about 35miles. The thing to be carefull of is the battery boxes leaking the acid inside the van. Totally ruined the carpet and a couple of pairs of jeans. Next set of batteries might be Sealed lead acid batteries., dracut,ma