Friday, May 6, 2011

Yay - What a Great EV-ent in Macungie 2011

We had gorgeous weather (once the day warmed up) & a terrific turn-out of vehicles and spectators!  Most of the photos below are ones posted by Nevyn & Chris in the forum over at --  they were MUCH more timely than I have been in posting this update and I thank them for the documentation and for letting me link to their pix -- plus a few by Peggy Heminitz from the Emmaus Patch.

We had some great additions to the display this year so I've focused this blog entry on the cars that were new to our show.

So many cars they couldn't all fit in the frame ... the green 1979 Comuta-Car above was a last-minute addition this year, brought by Rick Tompkins of Hatboro PA who recently revived it and has been using it to, yes, commute to work.  It had been sitting since 1984 and started right up when he put new batteries in!  Behind the Comuta-Car is a white 1983 Nissan pick-up with a tilting aluminum bed which was converted by Don Barry all the way back in 1999.  I met Don & his wife at the very first Energy Fest I attended back in 2006 (just after we bought our Dodge Colt EV).  He was the first fellow EV owner I ever met, so I was thrilled to finally get to see his truck on Saturday!

batteries under the bed of Don Barry's pick-up allow it to be used for hauling cargo

A truly last-minute addition to the display was Chris Freyman's very sweet 1983 VW Rabbit, which he has been working on since June 2009 (right after our first EV-ent -- coincidence????).  On Saturday it was all ready to roll and fully inspected, but he hadn't gotten his registration back from the DMV yet so he was resigned to staying on the audience side until, fortunately for us, one of the show's attenders offered to loan him a fully-transferable dealer registration for the day.  So home went Chris (he lives just a couple miles away) and back he drove -- legally -- to join the exhibitors at his very first EV show!  Hurray!

In addition to performing the meticulous installation above, Chris lovingly restored the vehicle AND built all the electronics himself -- unsurprising news, since he was also instrumental in the design of that OpenRevolt open-source controller which Adam Brunette brought down from Massachusetts in 2010.  This year Adam was proud to add a new open source component of his own design to their table display -- a home-built (but not quite complete) 6kW PFC charger. 

When finished, this universal charger will be capable of charging any type of battery -- lead-acid,  lithium, and more -- from 12-400V!  It runs off either 110 or 220VAC, and on the side it features a stylish knob-and-touch-screen interface.  Click here for more info on this charger!

 It was great to welcome Adam, his wife Jessica, and friend Kyle Gibbons back again for their second year -- they win the prize for farthest-traveling exhibitors!

Having debuted his just-completed Saab here in 2009, Brandon Hollinger triumphantly returned with this 1997 Miata, the first vehicle converted by his brand-new Lancaster, PA conversion shop, BH Electrics.   Also rolling out for the very first time, this conversion is so fresh that it's still lacking a BMS and some of the bells and whistles that its owners have requested (including air conditioning -- a rare amenity in an EV).  As the only AC/lithium-ion conversion on display the "Mazda LiFE"  drew admiring crowds all afternoon; the Emmaus Patch called it "the most popular car of the day" and Brandon's smiling face (and beautiful workmanship) was featured in both the online and the print versions of the Morning Call article on the EV-ent.  

As always the EV-ent was the culmination of a lot of planning and hard work by our little organizing committee, but none more than former Judge Bob Young, who last year proposed that our EV-ent this year should feature the installation of an EV plug-in station at the park and who worked determinedly away to bring that vision to reality!  What a thrill it was to watch Representative Doug Reichley cut the ribbon on this conversion-friendly installation (it is not one of the new "charging stations" designed for production EV's, but a pair of regular 120-volt outlets for free opportunity charging at the park):

Left: State Rep. Doug Reichley (R-Berks/Lehigh)  Right: Former Judge Bob Young of Macungie
Other highlights of the day included our traditional owner panel (standing room only this year!)

plus these nifty solar cookers built by Boy Scout Troop #31 of Zionsville PA, who sold solar-cooked hot dogs all day -- I can testify that they work just as well for veggie dogs as for the regular kind!

For a full listing of the vehicles present and video of the Silent EV Parade, check out the EV-ent website.  (May not be updated till later this weekend.)  Thanks once again to all our exhibitors and participants on the owner panel -- and a grateful shout-out to the members of the organizing committee: our fearless leader Anna DiGate, the father-son team of Don and Bob Young, and Val Bertoia, who couldn't be with us on the day of the EV-ent but whose spirit was present every time somebody rang the EV gong he had donated for our raffle!

Many of the EV's featured last Saturday in Macungie -- and lots more alternative fuel vehicles -- will be on display at the Transportation Tent at the Pennsylvania Renewable Energy & Sustainable Living Festival Sept 16-18.  Energy Fest sponsors MAREA gave a generous financial contribution to the EV-ent to cover our insurance requirements, and I hope to see lots of faces from Macungie out at the Festival in Kempton this fall!

1 comment:

Vincent Balestriere said...

It's always fun to see what the electric guys are up to, even though I'm from the world of direct injection and turbogas 4 cylinders.

I recently drove an electric car for the first time (that nifty Mitsubishi I-EV concept, I think it's called), and I was pleasantly surprised with how livable to power was. Now, granted it was on a closed circuit, but it wasn't horrific like so many people think. The low-rolling resistance cruddy no-grip tires needed to go, and other elements needed work (suspension, balance, etc.) but the concept itself actually worked well.

I love seeing what independents can do even more.