Saturday, August 1, 2009


Well, not on the e-Van, but we have planned and are now scheduling our next work dates on it ... battery box enclosures and the long-awaited paint-and-spruce-up-interior project are on the horizon. Meanwhile Bill and Lynn and I have met twice, once to review the 2009 workshop itself and begin planning our next one (!) and once to confer over the curriculum we're developing for high school students. I am so excited about this: as workshop participants know, one of this summer's goals was to develop hands-on activities for students to perform in a classroom setting.

Recognizing that most schools don't have funds for a full-scale conversion, we have developed a low-cost lab-based overview of how electric vehicles function. Tentatively titled "Transportation of Tomorrow - Electric Vehicles, Their Promise and Potential," the 5-day unit will provide an overview of EV's in the social and environmental realm along with hands-on experience with the fundamentals of electricity, low-voltage battery wiring, and circuit design. Covering a number of PA Standards, this class will allow students to build a functioning 24-volt electric vehicle drive system, which can either be bench-mounted and demonstrated or be incorporated into a small go-cart or golf-cart design for classes who want to take the project further. The class would be appropriate for a physical science, physics, engineering or automotive class or club.

There is lots more I want to tell you about that but I have to leave room in this post for lots more news, including:

Bucks County Renewables will once again sponsor mini-workshops on converting your own electric vehicle at the PA Energy Fest. Where the newly refurbished e-Van -- along with lots of other great conversions and many representatives from the Eastern Electric Vehicle Club -- will also be on display so don't miss it!

I also recently attended the first planning meeting for EV's in Macungie 2010 -- yes, we're going to do it again! More about that as it progresses but for now -- if you have a 2010 calendar -- mark Saturday May 1 for it. We'll have a rain date this year!

In publicity news, an article on the workshop appeared in Brett's and my local newspaper, the Bucks County Herald -- the editor cheerfully printed the correction I sent in to clarify that it wasn't Brett's van that was converted but Bucks County Renewables' teaching vehicle! (I hear that an article appeared in Chris' local paper up in Long Island, NY as well, but haven't seen it.)

In the administrative department, I will take a bow here and announce that I turned in the post-workshop budget report in a timely manner to the incredibly helpful grant coordinator at the PA DEP's Environmental Education Grants Program, who answers all my last-minute questions cheerfully and patiently. While the final numbers are not in for painting and supplies for the battery box enclosure, we are on track with our projected budget and the expenditures have been approved!

And last but not least, has finally been updated so you don't land on the announcement for the completed 2009 workshop (blush).

Apologies to anyone who was hoping for some actual technical updates on the e-Van in this post -- to tell the truth, we have yet to run it down from its first full charge because the 144 v upgrade is so mighty. It is kinda sitting for a while and resting from all the excitement of being re-converted. Meanwhile we have been working up curriculum and doing all the aforesaid paper work and thinking work as well as exciting planning for the weeks ahead as we work to roll out e-Van 2009 at the Energy Fest! I will document our preparations ... and I still have that "Hitches and Glitches" post to make.

Hope to see you at the Fest,