Thursday, December 12, 2013

Infographic: Today's EVs Meet the Needs of Millions of U.S. Drivers


We had beautiful weather & an incredible turnout for the 2013 Frenchtown Green Fair and National Plug-in Day event.  2 converted EV's came all the way from Lancaster PA (86 and 100 oil-free miles respectively) -- big shout-out to John Yecker & Brandon Hollinger for their support!  6 production vehicles were also on display: 3 Nissan Leafs, 1 Chevy Volt, 1 Smart Electric Drive, and a Tesla Model S that rolled in unexpectedly at the last minute (too late to be in the panorama shot above).   

A total of 642 oil-free miles were traveled by the EV's attending this event, and a great time was had by all!  Thanks so much to the drivers and visitors -- a few shots below:

Mayor Warren Cooper of Frenchtown, NJ came & doffed his hat to electric vehicles, and I'm pleased to report that his photo was featured in the Sierra Club's national blog! 

Mayor Cooper and Brandon "Rockstar" Hollinger surrounded by vehicles of the future.

Don & Kay Barry came out to Frenchtown from Lehighton PA.  Don was the first EV driver I ever met, back in 2006 at the Kempton Energy Fest.  He converted his 1983 Nissan pickup truck to 100% electric drive in 2000 and has been using it ever since!

Larry Deutchman (L) of Ray Catena Motor Corp in Edison NJ gave a test drive of the Smart Electric Drive to Don Dalen of the Frenchtown Green Team. 

EMBARASSING PUBLISHING GLITCH DEPARTMENT:  I am sorry to report that this report somehow got stuck in draft mode instead of getting posted in September, and because I have been very lazy recovering resting on my laurels for the last 2+ months the oversight escaped my notice till today, when I logged on to post the excellent Consumer's Union/Union of Concerned Scientists info-graphic on EV ownership.  Belated but sincere thanks to the Frenchtown Green Fair committee for another wonderful event, and to National Plug-in Day for making this the easiest EV display to organize ever! 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

SO MUCH FUN! #1 - Mother Earth News Fair


Want to see more pictures?  Bonnie took pictures.  I took this one though :-)  

L to R: Dave (of Three Rivers EVA, gave me the most fun test drive ever in his 2003 RAV-4 EV); John Yecker, (my hero because he criss-crossed the Commonwealth to display in Frenchtown the next weekend as well), Ed Begley Jr (generally famous, plus also an EV driver and very nice), and Jonathan & Bonnie Belak (of Three Rivers EVA and, the Fearless Leaders of the 2013 East Coast Electric Vehicle Roundup!)  What a line-up!

more fun to come ...

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Mother Earth News Fair - Ed Begley Jr admires John Yecker's 1993 Ford Ranger conversion!

Well, THIS was a pretty exciting moment last weekend ... the way John described it afterwards -- "Late on Sat. Ed Begley Jr. stopped by the Alternative Fuel Car Show at the Mother Earth News Fair near Somerset, PA. Since most people had left I had him captive to look over my electric truck conversion. As you can see we are now best buddies."

I got to take this picture WOOT!  It was a typical heart-pounding narrow brush with the moment going completely undocumented, because first my camera wouldn't even turn on (er, I had forgotten to take the lens cap off) and then when Bonnie B. was fetching hers she dropped it in the car and 4 AA batteries hopped off in different directions, but once I located them she got the whole caboodle rapidly re-assembled and rebooted the camera successfully, so √°fter Ed had looked over John's 1993 Ranger there was time for a quick photo session.  I have seen John tour folks over his truck many times since we first met at Kempton in September 2010 -- this one was a definite highlight!  Thanks to Saint Bill for forwarding me the photo. 

I took more, even, and will post further on Mother Earth News Fair I promise but right now I'm getting ready for Saturday's FRENCHTOWN GREEN FAIR .  If you want to meet Big John himself, along with Brandon "Rockstar" Hollinger, they'll be putting more gas-less miles on their conversions in order to join a line-up of production EV's celebrating National Plug In Day @ the Green Fair on Saturday.   Can't wait to see YOU there if you're reading this ... hey, Dan Monroe, I'm talking to you!

Realtime update on Miata prep:  the 12 volt battery & the lithium pack are charged up & the tires inflated.  Perhaps yesterday's pessimistic prediction that I'll be reduced to abject towing was unwarranted -- fingers crossed ...

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Toyota RAV-4 EV Test Drive at last ... and Frenchtown Green Fair coming up!

Yay!  I had such a great time at the Mother Earth News Fair thanks to Three Rivers EVA ... met great people and I got to take a ride in the VEHICLE OF MY DREAMS, a production EV that is just like a regular (read: old) car on the inside, and not like driving a space ship.  (The space-shippy things under the hood in this shot are jokes: a flux capacitor [of course!] and a solar-powered flower.)   

Oh, it was so much fun.  More photos to come (I have to share the one I got to take of Ed Begley Jr and John Yecker after he checked out John's "blue" Ranger!) but not just yet.

We're very busy here at Bucks County Renewables preparing for the Green Fair on Saturday ... it is thrilling to be a part of National Plug In Day and back in the throes of preparing for an electric vehicle display!  I am not so thrilled about the part where the Miata is going to have to be ignominiously towed to the show, don't ask.  At least it's only 8 or so miles from my house!  Onward ... 

Monday, September 16, 2013

You Want to Go To These EV-ents! I Hope You Can!

Seven Springs PA | Seven Springs Mountain Resort | Sept. 20-22

777 Waterwheel Drive
Seven Springs, Pa. 15622

Read more about the Mother Earth News Fair here.  This is a BIG event with dozens of speakers on sustainability topics.  (I am so excited that my hero Joel Salatin of Polyface Farm, author of Confessions of a Lunatic Farmer and Everything I Want to Do is Illegal, is going to be there!)  Congratulations to Jon & Bonnie from Three Rivers EVA for attracting numerous EV's to the East Coast Electric Vehicle Round Up and ensuring that there was programming about sustainable transportation at the Fair. 

I'll be giving my talk on the history & advantages of EV's at 10, 1, and 4 pm both Saturday & Sunday (location: Festival Hall Parking Lot).  There will also be EV owner panels at 10:30 & 2:30 on both days -- an interactive discussion giving the opportunity to hear real-world experiences of driving electric. 

The Frenchtown Green Fair's alt-fuel vehicle display is now an official National Plug In Day event!  Yippee!  Click on the Fair logo for more information about the Fair itself, or the NPID logo to go to our page on the national website.  I am totally psyched because both John Yecker & Brandon Hollinger are coming all the way from Lancaster PA to show their cars.  Thanks guys -- I can't wait to see you!  Our converted EV's will be joined by production models including the Nissan Leaf and an electric Smart Car. 

For those who want to see a LOT of production EV's in one place AND take advantage of ride-and-drive opportunities, look no farther than the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia on Sunday, September 29.  Michael Craner, pioneer Tesla Roadster owner and veteran of the 2009 Renew America Roadtrip (a 100% electric drive from coast-to-coast), has organized an afternoon full of informative fun from 1 - 4 in celebration of National Plug in Day.  EV's on display will include the Nissan Leaf, Tesla Roadster & Model S, the new Toyota RAV-4, Chevy Spark and Ford Focus Electric, and the Tesla Science Foundation (an organization for which we at BCR harbor a great fondness) will be among the presenters. 

Friday, August 30, 2013

You Want This Shirt

Yes you do, you want to wear this shirt, and you can only order it until Sept 2 so you had better hurry.  It's only $20 and it's SO EASY you just click on
and in a jiffy you will have ordered that shirt you want to wear.  

If you totally can't handle online transactions, you can even email and she will order your shirt for you, that is what I call GREAT SERVICE but you have to do it soon if you want this shirt because after Sept 2 there are NO MORE. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

EVents in September - Come One, Come All!

Here's where we'll be on 2 consecutive weekends in September!  Talking about EV's of course.

Seven Springs PA | Seven Springs Mountain Resort | Sept. 20-22

777 Waterwheel Drive
Seven Springs, Pa. 15622

Friday Fair hours: 12:00 PM-7:00 PM
Saturday Fair hours: 9:00 AM-7:00 PM
Sunday Fair hours: 9:00 AM-6:00 PM

Seven Springs PA is a full-service resort surrounded by hotels and campgrounds, located about an hour southeast of Pittsburgh.   The MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR has run at this venue for several years.  It's a fun-filled, family-oriented sustainable lifestyle event featuring workshops & vendors in the following categories:
  • Renewable energy
  • Small-scale agriculture
  • Gardening
  • Green building 
  • Organic food and drink
  • Books and magazines
  • Tools and seeds
  • Clothing and more
Also there will be an EV display, inexplicably not featured on their website :-(  Let's show 'em folks.

Hello, it costs money to attend this event -- but it is FREE if you are bringing an EV so if you are even remotely tempted (and I know you are because there are cars coming from as far away as Washington DC and Indianapolis), please please help out our indefatigable organizer Jon Belak and sign up here.  If the link breaks or for some reason you like to talk to people instead of fill out web forms, give him a call at 724-387-8210 or if email is your favorite get in touch this way:

Read more about the fair here

Got a conflict that weekend?  Never fear -- the following Saturday on the banks of the Delaware River is another opportunity to showcase your vehicle, mingle with fellow drivers, and talk to the public at the 2nd annual

Cool little fair + funky river town + Mike McGrath (of NPR's You Bet Your Garden) on composting + Christine Waltermyer (founder of the Natural Kitchen Cooking School) on decadent rice-based desserts + Maya Rossum (of the Delaware Riverkeeper) on fracking's local effects + an alt-fuel display = AWESOME

All of the above + you = AWESOME+

All of the above + you + your alt-fuel vehicle = SO AWESOME  I will award as many +'s as we have vehicles on display, so quick drop me an email right now if you are even tempted, and I know you are.  Very soon the Fair's Fearless Leaders Sarah & Holly will be asking me how much space on the field we need and it would be (you guessed it) AWESOME++ if you, personally, let me know asap if you just might bring a car/tractor/truck/scooter/motor-assisted bicycle, conversion or production, doesn't matter as long as it uses ALTERNATIVE, ENVIRONMENTALLY SOUND FUEL.  

This will be a fun day, and it's totally FREE so tell everyone you know about it!  We at Bucks County Renewables are extremely fond of EV-ents that are within actual EV range so anyone who was SAD LIKE ME that the promised 2013 EV-ent in Macungie never materialized, come on out and make a day of it in Frenchtown NJ.  I will most certainly take you out for dinner afterwards, if you plan to drink inadvisably check whether there are any rooms left at my fave, the National Hotel, or hit the website for links to other local lodgings.


Pre-order a t-shirt for the 2013 East Coast Electric Vehicle Round Up

Order your shirt for this year's East Coast Electric Vehicle Round Up so you can dress in style at the Mother Earth News Fair ... or have it mailed to you if you can't attend. The shirt costs $20 and range in size from Small to 4XL.  Your purchase will help defray costs for our indefatigable organizer Jon Belak, so call him at 724-387-8210 to make arrangements to get the merch and support this new EV outing. You can also email shipping requests to

EV clubs & individuals -- buy this shirt, wear this shirt, see if someone new asks you about EV's!  If you can't come to either of these events, and I know you want to in the worst way, you should definitely lay $20 down to assuage your guilt. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Junior Solar Sprint this Saturday in Philadelphia

Junior Solar Sprint - 20th Anniversary

June 1, 2013

The Franklin Institute

Winter Street, Philadelphia

9:00 am Registration and Inspection

10:00 am Racing Begins
1:00pm Open Division Racing
1:30 pm Awards Ceremony
In case of rain, the race will be in the gym at the George Washington Carver High School for Engineering and Science located at 17th Street & Norris in Philadelphia. 
Race Day Hotline: 610-639-1813 

Centered on engineering a solar electric model car, the JSS nurtures the innate curiosity of youth and provides an open forum for 5th - 8th grade students to utilize science & math in a way that will give real life meaning to lessons learned in the classroom. 

This multi-dimensional, hands-on program gives the students a glimpse of what to expect when doing "real" engineering. Students will earn awards in several categories and for the best overall vehicle as judged by the Eastern Electric Vehicle Club.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Electric Sociability, Now That's What I'm Talking About

Mon, May 27, 2013       11:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Electric Sociability Run in Washington, DC

Join members of EVA/DC and MD Volt to celebrate the 99th anniversary of Washington, DC's first Electric Sociability Run when 54 electric cars gathered in Rock Creek Park in 1914.

The event will be held on Memorial Day, May 27, 2013.

We will commemorate this historic occasion by driving our electric vehicles to the same destination as the original gathering nearly a century ago. As with that event, there will be a picnic, various contests and prizes.  The plug-in car rally planned for Memorial Day may be the biggest gathering of electric vehicle owners in Washington, DC since 1914.

You must RSVP at, a limited number of spots are available.  To learn more, visit

Event Location

Beach Dr NW & Joyce Rd NW
Washington, DC 20011

View Larger Map

Also - awesome news from Plug In America about increasing commercial plug-in sales since the Leaf & Volt became available in late 2010.  Read their latest newsletter and terrific blog features here

Thursday, April 11, 2013

EV-ents April 27 - May 16-19 - Sept 20-22 - Sept 28

2013 comes into focus!  

Coming up in real-time, folks:


The Westport Electric Car Club announces the first-ever Electric Car Rally in Connecticut, a 40-mile event and education on Saturday, April 27th.  Entrants must be “plug in” cars, partial or fully electric.  An estimated 20 unique cars will showcase to the public and display at Earth Day Events  in Westport and Fairfield. The public is invited for a Free event, to meet owners and local dealers including solar home options;  with 1pm-3pm public viewing and general education.

President Leo Cirino says, “ This is an exciting and timely event for the revolution of electric cars In America. Electric cars get very little attention in this region of the country, yet Westport is a leading community in the state and nation.  We invite the public to see and understand the variety of long-range electric alternative vehicles”.

Rally begins 9am at the Eastbound Saugatuck Train Station.  EV Cars will follow a Time-Speed-Distance Rally, with a public  “Pit Stop” at 11:30-12 noon at the Fairfield Earth Day Celebration held annually at Ward High School.  The Rally concludes near 1pm at the Saugatuck station where the public is invited 1-3pm.  Adam Lubarsky, owner of the Blu Parrot has offered free sliders and free music.  A family event for all ages, all are welcome to see electric cars and meet dealers.

Steve Smith, Town Building Inspector states, “The Road Rally is our way of being proactive in showing that electric cars are real, practical and can make a difference in energy resource sustainability.  This follows our April launch of solar-paneled train station charging stations;  attended by Governor Malloy and local citizens.”

Rally vehicles include Tesla Model S (Car of the Year 2013), Tesla Roadster, Nissan Leaf, Chevy Volt, Fisker Karma, Mitsubishi's i-MiEV, Smart Car EVs and more.  And… first electric cars in America will rally:  1907 Columbia built in Hartford CT and 1910 Broc Electric Car, courtesy of Dragone Classic Motorcars of Westport.

To register a car: contact jshuck at

For general information:

Business contact for sponsorships:

Stephanie Weiner, New England Smart Energy Group
cell: 203-722-5386
stephaniew at 

Other Club Contacts:
Remy Chevalier  203-227-2065    remyc at
Leo Cirino, President Westport Electric Car Club    lcirino at 203-226-0034
Barry Kresch, Marketing & Education                 evs at


Registration is OPEN!!!

Registration Forms and latest information on 21st CAC 2013 available here

What’s new for the 21st CAC in 2013:
  • Technical Testing May 16 and 17 to be held at Central Pennsylvania Institute of Technology
  • Saturday Charging/Display at the MorningStar Solar Home open to public 10 am-4 pm
  • Press Display Event and Preliminary Awards Sunday 1 pm – 3 pm
  • (Tentative) EEVC Awards Ceremony at their June 12 regular meeting

RSVP now to jbelak at to qualify for $70/night accommodations at the Days Inn Somerset 10 miles from Seven Springs.  Bring your EV and help thousands of people get the plug-in driving word at this very well-attended Earth Fair.  I told Jon I'd come speak, stay tuned!


Hurray!  I got put in charge of organizing an entire Green Transportation segment of our 2nd annual local Green Fair, so now I am the Phil Jones of Frenchtown!  Hello all EV and other alt-fuel-vehicle drivers within range of charming Frenchtown NJ, please join us to put your car on display AND share your gift of gab if you'd like to be part of the educational programming.  I'm so excited about this I almost said no to the Mother Earth News Fair, but then I realized, it will all be arranged by then and I gotta get to Western PA that weekend, because frankly, I've been missing the EV stuff while totally preoccupied with other aspects of my life!  I have a conflict with the 21st Century Automotive Challenge and hey, if you read all the way down to the bottom you're probably wondering "What the heck ever happened to the Macungie EV picnic, wasn't that supposed to happen in 2013 too and doesn't it normally occur, like, in the spring?


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Blast from the Past - 2007 Alt-Fuel Flashback

The 'oh yeah that's how we got here' alternative fuel news department brings you back to March 2007 -- NOTICE NOT A WORD ABOUT PLUG-IN EV's BACK THEN IN THE NOT-SO-DISTANT PAST

updated 3/28/2007 6:54:55 PM ET

President Bush enjoyed a high-profile photo-op Monday with the heads of the Big Three automakers and their latest clean-car models. The impressive lineup included a General Motors  model that can run on ethanol, a plug-in Ford powered by hydrogen, and a DaimlerChrysler  Jeep filled with a biodiesel blend. 

It was smiles all around as the automakers announced they would make half of America's vehicles ethanol-ready by 2012. "If you want to reduce gasoline usage—like I believe we need to do so for national-security reasons as well as for environmental concerns—the consumer has got to be in a position to make a rational choice," said a beaming Bush.

But there's a dirty secret about clean cars. The policies for flexible-fuel vehicles—those that can run on mixtures of gasoline and more than 10 percent ethanol—are written in such a way that they result in a number of unintended consequences. One result is that automakers gain some leeway in meeting fuel-economy standards if they produce flexible-fuel cars and trucks. So Detroit's automakers have been pumping out hundreds of thousands of the vehicles, even though most consumers have no access to alternative fuels because they're available at only a fraction of U.S. gas stations.

Here's why that's an issue. Automakers need to meet certain government standards for the fuel economy of their fleets. For flex-fuel cars, fuel economy is calculated based on the assumption that their owners use 50 percent gasoline and 50 percent ethanol. But the reality is that just 1 percent of the nation's flexible-fuel vehicles actually use what's known as E85—85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. The remaining 99 percent are using good old-fashioned gasoline.

More greenhouse gases 

The result is anything but green. The more flex-fuel cars and trucks that are produced, the more gasoline is consumed—dramatically increasing greenhouse gas emissions and deepening the country's dependence on petroleum. The Union of Concerned Scientists estimates that without the policy in place, the U.S. would have burned 4 billion fewer gallons of gasoline since 1998. "Automakers have an [economic] incentive to sell cars less efficient than the law requires," says Don MacKenzie, a vehicles engineer for the Union's clean vehicles program.

Environmental advocates aren't shy about voicing their outrage. "It's a total scam," says Dan Becker, director of the Sierra Club's global warming program. "The automakers are trying to shield themselves from having to make more efficient vehicles. They're avoiding the path to cutting oil dependence, curbing global warming, saving consumers money, and ultimately saving Detroit from competitors like Toyota."

The culprit is a 1988 law called the Alternative Motor Fuels Act, which has been extended through 2008. It gives automakers extra credit toward meeting fuel-economy standards for making cars that can run on alternative fuels. It's cheap for automakers to make cars fuel-flexible; it only costs them about $50 per vehicle, whereas actually meeting fuel-economy standards (making cars travel more miles per gallon) can be much more expensive. So in recent years auto companies have been pouring out flexible-fuel, gas-guzzling sport-utility vehicles without worrying too much about fuel economy.

Shortage of ethanol pumps

But, as the Bush administration itself acknowledged in 2002, the consumers who own flex-fuel cars aren't going for alternative fuels. Ethanol-based fuels like E85 are hard to come by, and are only available in certain regions of the country. Only 1,600 of the nation's 176,000 gas stations pump E85, the most popular and commercially viable alternative fuel, says the National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition. So the more flexible-fuel vehicles that hit the road without an ethanol pump in sight, the more pure gasoline Americans continue to guzzle.

Ethanol advocates say fuels like E85 are a right-here-right-now solution to reducing oil dependence. "[T]here's nothing that can be done which can reduce the curve of growth in imported oil and actually turn it down like using E85, taking advantage of what's there today," said GM Chairman and Chief Executive Officer G. Richard Wagoner Jr. at the White House event.

They also argue that the mismatch between the size of the flexible-fuel fleet and the availability of ethanol will be solved over time. "You've got to get started somehow," says Phillip Lampert, executive director of the NEVC. Lambert points out that the number of gas stations providing E85 has doubled in the last year, and his group—backed by automakers and ethanol producers—is pushing for bigger tax incentives for fuel retailers.

Still, the conversation that Bush and the Big Three avoided was talk of fuel economy. In the short term, it's far cheaper for car companies to keep producing cars that seem environmentally friendly than to re-engineer cars to squeeze out more miles per gallon. Until the U.S. has much broader availability of alternative fuels, old-fashioned gas guzzling will continue to rise into the not-so-green future.

Copyright © 2012 Bloomberg L.P. All rights reserved.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Three Rivers EVA Invitation for September 2013

Shout-out to Jonathan Belak, president of Three Rivers EVA and owner of PA Electrics, who wrote this letter below to "spark" an EV gathering at the Mother Earth News Fair in Seven Springs, PA this coming September. Read on for details!

Dear fellow Electric Auto enthusiasts,

I am the President of the Three Rivers EVA and was saddened to hear of the cancellation of the 2012 Pennsylvania Renewable Energy & Sustainable Living Festival held in Kempton, PA. This was the yearly get-together event for representatives of several clubs from the EAA. This was a time to renew old friendships and make new ones, show off one another's projects and just have a good time. But 2012 would be different with the cancellation.
Our club was contacted around the same time as the cancellation by Mother Earth News about attending the second annual Mother Earth News Fair - Sustainable Living Festival which was to be held over the same time period that the event in Kempton was to take place. This festival would be held at the Seven Springs Mountain Resort, just off of the Donegal exit of the PA Turnpike. The event was free for our club to come and exhibit vehicles at, for the three days the festival was taking place. We were told to expect at most 15,000 people over that time period. This was based on the prior year's event and past events that Mother Earth News has sponsored.

The estimate was off just a little bit. We had that many people at the festival the first day and by our and some other vendors accounts for the three day event, crowds reached around 40,000 attendees. We not only talked to people from the northeast but from as far away as Montana and down to Florida. I have attached some photos from workshop attendance and just some crowd photos to show the amount of attendees.
I would like to make a proposal that this Mother Earth News Fair event become a yearly EAA get together on the East Coast. This year's event is to be held September 20th, 21st and 22nd, the week prior to National Plug in Day. There are several hotel besides those at the resort within fifteen minutes travel time to the festival. There are numerous campgrounds with in that same travel time from the resort. There are also condos and houses available for weekly rentals nearby. This is not during peak ski season so prices are much lower for these however they can book quickly.

If you are interested in attending this year's event please let me know so that we can get in touch with Mother Earth News as soon as possible to reserve a display area. Our contact at Mother Earth News has not contacted us about confirming our attendance for this years event, but we would like to give them a tentative number of participants when they do. More planning needs to be done before the event but it is never to early to start that process.

Please feel free to pass this message on to other people who might be interested in this event.

Thank you,

Jonathan Belak - jbelak at paelectrics@com