Sunday, May 16, 2010

I was in my local paper! plus EV myths and e-Van news

I Heart Having a Local Paper

This appeared on page 4 of the April 29, 2010 Bucks County Herald, which I read religiously because it is free, offers reliable and detailed coverage of both local politics and the rich arts scene of Bucks County, and runs Elizabeth Bowman's outstanding column "The Compleat Gardener" every week.  It is a thriving example of that now-rare institution once supported by many medium-sized towns and certainly every city -- the truly local newspaper.  I support the businesses that advertise in the Bucks County Herald because they're helping enrich my community by keeping this tradition alive.
Of course these local businesses need my committed support, because they themselves are continually under threat from big-box competition, as fascinatingly detailed by Stacy Mitchell in The Big-Box Swindle: The True Cost of Mega-Retailers and the Fight for America's Independent Businesses, a somewhat depressing book best read in conjunction with the cheerier The Small-Mart Revolution: How Local Businesses Are Beating the Global Competition by Michael Shuman.  But I digress!

EV Myths Debunked

I don't know anything about the all-electric CODA sedan said to be debuting in the US before the end of this year, but their website is snazzy -- especially this excellent page examining and refuting some common myths about electric vehicles.  

E-Van Update

I'm afraid the e-Van news is depressing.   I've been working for the last two weeks trying to muster up a less-than-ruinously expensive tow vehicle, trailer and driver for the 21st CAC, but with all that begging and borrowing and putting all the different pieces together yet to be finally confirmed, we suddenly hit another major snag.  Remember the two chargers that failed us in the last week of April?  Bill pulled the Zivan and sent it off to California immediately following  the EV-ent, and on Friday I missed a voice-mail from their tech department saying it was ready and to phone in payment -- which led to that charger still sitting there on the West Coast tonight instead of winging on its way to us as I type.  There is no way it will be in our hands before we need to leave, and the back-up charger, our old Russco 120-volt, is also offline with an apparently faulty GFI!  

Most worrisomely, when Bill took the e-Van out last week to run down the batteries and cycle them up again, he only got 10 miles from the charge.   It seems possible that they might have been damaged by having been partially discharged and then sitting for almost a year, or possibly by their interaction with the malfunctioning charger,  We would want to do some pre-competition testing before going ahead and committing to spending our limited funds on trailering the vehicle 400 miles for the 21st CAC.  And we simply don't have time if Bill has to charge the batts four at a time with two 12volt chargers ... it took two days to get the van charged for the EV-ent!

So -- in fact while I was in the middle of writing this blog entry, having finally decided that I had to share the two links above in the absence of any positive update on the e-Van -- Bill and I conferred and decided that we would not plan to bring it out next weekend.  We still will be in attendance, and I'll be able to get a taste of the experience without the stress and expense of towing.

Naturally I'll be covering the 21st CAC for the blog, though I may have to borrow a camera as mine has suddenly developed oddly similar symptoms to the van -- newly-recharged batteries wimping out long before expected.  Kind of weird, huh?  Battery problems everywhere I look!

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