Here, There, and EVerywhere – Day 16

A quick note of thanks to the Beatles for inspiring the title for this series of posts. This is the sixteenth in a series of posts written about our trip that will be published four weeks to the day of the trip.

Missed Day 15, click here.

Day 16 – EV Advocacy at Sustainable Morristown Sunday, May 17, 2015

Today’s plan is simple, hang out with my cousin in the morning and join the NJEAA guys at the Sustainable Morristown event in the afternoon.

The previous day, we took the time to figure out what the optimal rate of charge was for the Model S on my cousin’s 110V outlet. We placed it at 8A and the charge held.  As I previously mentioned, the Model S will reduce the speed that it charges when it senses stress on the wire, and here is a picture of the Model S automatically reducing speed of charge (see the “Charge Speed Reduced” message on the dash below.)



To prepare for the Sustainable Morristown event, we decided to go ahead and wash the car.  After all, NJ is not in a drought, so took the opportunity to clean the car and present it in the best possible light (if you want to see how I usually wash the car @ home, you can see my first Periscope (by Twitter) attempt to instruct folks on how to do a car wash of the Model S.)

In the meantime, before we went to the EVent, we found the communities near Morristown, NJ to be a Random Model S spotting bonanza.

The first one we spotted was at the church parking lot.


We spotted the LKTRFYD NJ plates parked across from us.


On the way to the Sustainable Morristown event, we spotted a blue Model S on Speedwell Avenue heading the opposite direction from us.

Sustainable Morristown

The event was held at the U Driveway of the Vail Mansion. The driveway was barricaded, but we were let in by Airton Azevedo. As soon as we parked the car, Chris Neff introduced me to a reporter covering the event for the Daily Record.


Unfortunately my comments didn’t make the reporter’s article. But darn, I was good. I wonder if she didn’t like my answer to the question regarding range anxiety. (I don’t really have it, notice the California license plate?)

Got a few good panoramics of the cars that participated in the event. Most of the NJEAA folks that was at the EV Meetup the previous Monday were here. Unfortunately, I missed Tom Moloughney’s “red” i3.


Pay attention to the 10 x 10 Green Tent that is at the left edge of the picture below. Michael and Pamela Thwaite do a lot of EV advocacy, and they were smart enough to set up some “shelter” from the sun as they interact and educate with the public.


While we were hanging out at the EVent and talking to the public, I spotted a third Silver Model S that drove by on the street.  This car wasn’t participating on the EVent, it seemed to be a Model S that is just passing by.

At the EVent, I was fielding a lot of questions about range.  Hopefully, bringing a California Model S to a New Jersey event hopefully helps hammer home the point that electric vehicles are not only limited to “short trips.”  My wife and I met with a lot of people, both locals and folks from further away, like Westchester County, New York.  People were intrigued by the cross-country travel aspect of the car as soon as they realized that we were there from California.

We were the “go-to” folks to field the question of range anxiety, which [Spoiler Alert] we don’t have.  We had a lot of folks that approached us because, for a while, we were the only Model S at the event and they had questions for that, before they notice the California plates.  To which many first thought that we worked for Tesla (to clarify, again, we don’t.)


Where’s the engine is another common question at these EVents, so we like to open the frunk and show the lack of an “engine.”  Additionally, people really enjoyed seeing the little 18650 Panasonic battery (see below comparing it to a pen, AA, and AAA batteries, it’s the green one) that we carry around for these types of EVents.



My cousin and his wife hung out with us a little, since they had an event in the evening, we walked them back to where their car was parked.

The fourth Random Model S sighting. Though with the California Manufacturer’s plates, that tells me that it’s a Service Center Loaner.



The Sustainable Morristown event wasn’t all just cars.


Some great chalk art at the entrance of the event.



But, you know me, I’m kind of an EVaholic and Andrea Giangone and his blue Model S joined the EVent. Andrea’s Model S has a cool little mod.


There were some blue accents on the Tesla logo on the trunk of his Model S.


Ben Rich showed up later with his modified 2014 Zero Motorcycle.


This one is modified to have faster charging. Notice the two chargers on the side of the motorcycle.  He obtained and installed two Elcon 2.5kW chargers from Hollywood Electrics.  So, adding 5 more kW of charging to the built in 1.3kW charger of the motorcycle yields him 6.3 kW of charging speed.  Not bad.

Many were quick to point out how sharp the mounts were that Ben installed to connect the chargers to his motorcycle. We guess he doesn’t need to carry a passenger with him.




Remember the 10 x 10 tent that Michael and Pamela Thwaite use for their EV advocacy, it’s even more impressive how they carry it.  The trunk of a Tesla Roadster is one of the smallest trunks that I’ve ever seen.  It’s design is such that people can fit one set of golf clubs in it.  The Thwaites, however, are expert at packing things and their chairs and tent fit in the back of the roadster.


Aside from the ZeroMC, there was also a Fit EV that was parked beside our Model S.  Airton’s 2nd Generation RAV4EV and then the Andrea’s Model S.


Sal Cameli‘s Nissan Leaf has a URL for his website.


We spotted a second Ford Focus EV of the trip.


A great shot of the rears of the EVs.




A better shot of the second Ford Focus EV of our trip.


Michael Thwaite’s Roadster.


Chris Neff’s BMW i3.


Another shot of Ben’s Zero MC.  Like we previously mentioned, watch out for those metal blades that he mounted those two chargers on.


Airton bidding us farewell until next time.  Perhaps Tony Williams will figure out how to enable the 2nd Generation Toyota RAV4EV for supercharging.  He’s already on his way to getting it running on CHAdeMO (or as he calls it the JdeMO).


Randolph, NJ

It was a full day and we plugged in for the night and started charging at 8A again.




Go on to Day 17. Click here.

16_Randolph to Morristown to Randolph

Appreciating the past and hopeful for the future of EVs.

This past weekend, my wife and I joined our fellow members of the Orange County Tesla Club on a visit to the Nethercutt Museum and Collection in Sylmar (Los Angeles), CA. [SIDE NOTE: For those not from Southern California, the city of Los Angeles is the largest city in Los Angeles County and within the city there are distinct neighborhoods that have their own identities, but are part of the city of Los Angeles. Hollywood is an example of such a neighborhood, as is Sylmar. West Hollywood, on the other hand, is its own city. As is Long Beach, where the Formula E race will be held on Saturday, April 4, 2015. (which is why I wrote Sylmar with (Los Angeles) in parentheses, that’s my own editorial on it, and not convention.) Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.]

The Nethercutt family are the founders and heirs to the Merle Norman cosmetic company and have built an impressive collection of automobiles and other “mechanical art”. The OC Tesla Club has been itching to have longer drives for our group outings and this venture into Los Angeles (City and County) was just one such drive.

So, the day was meant to appreciate the company of fellow Tesla enthusiasts and appreciate the Nethercutt Museum and Collection. As with most automobile museums, I was prepared to view beautiful and restored relics of the past… ICE cars.

Well, I was in for a surprise and a treat. (The benefits of not really paying attention to the marketing brochures and online information about what was in store for me at the Museum and Collection. The only thing that stuck to my head from the materials was the restored locomotive and Private Train Car in the back, and that was pretty much it.)




As was pointed out by some of my fellow OC Tesla Club members, as impressive as the car collection is, the automated music collection was even more impressive. Unfortunately they didn’t allow us to record the audio or video of the event, but here are a few photos from that

This piano entertained us while we strolled the car collection:


and the piece de resistance was this automated/programmable pipe organ that came from a movie theater (for silent films) from Denver



You can see the rest of the visit in my flickr album.

But what does the Nethercutt have to do with EVs? Well…

I love to play “EV Spotting” and in the guided tour portion of our visit (at the Collection this time, and not at the self-guided museum section) in the ground level of the visit were TWO EVs!

Front view


Back view


Most EV junkies would recognize the more modern EV as the pre-cursor to this generation of EVs and focus of the documentary, “Who Killed the Electric Car?” (and the movement which spawned Plug in America, the 1997 GM EV1. The other one is older and not as well known. The 1914 Rauch & Lang Model B4 Electric Brougham.

Both vehicles were shown with their respective chargers connected to the vehicle in the Collection.

Rauch & Lang





Charger information





1997 GM EV1










One of the things that I noticed and would like to draw our attention to is the price of the GM EV1 at the time it was being leased out. Interesting that the price of the GM EV1 was $43,995 and the average car price in the US at the time was $14,000. That means that the EV1 is about 3.14 times the price of the average car.

So, the average car price in 2012 is around $31,000 and the Model S average is around $100,000, that means that the Model S is about 3.22 times the price of the average car. However, considering what you get in a Model S vs. an EV1. However, as was pointed out to me by David Peilow in my post at, “Just shows the jump with the Leaf or Volt in terms of value for money. I wonder how much of that is a reduction in the design price vs benefits of economies of scale, though.”

David’s point is made even clearer when one looks to see what the 2012 Nissan Leaf sold for in 2012. It started at $35,200 before the Federal Tax Credit of $7,500 for the purchase of a battery electric vehicle. So, that’s 1.13 times the amount of the average car without the application of the Federal Tax Credit. If the purchaser in 2012 was eligible for the whole credit, it also means that the Nissan Leaf at that point is 0.89 of the average car price. Food for thought.

The 2012 Chevrolet Volt had a MSRP starting at $39,145 when purchased new. I don’t remember whether it was eligible for the whole $7,500 Federal Credit, but let’s assume that it was. So, looking at the same ratios again. The Volt was 1.26 times the average car before the credit and 1.02 times the average car after the tax credit.

I used 2012 as my figure to compare as it was the easiest recent year for me to find the average car price for. Assuming mild inflation in the averages, it’s even more dramatic to see the drop in MSRP for the 2015 model years of the same two cars that I used for my example. The 2015 Nissan Leaf can now be purchased around $29,010 and the 2015 Chevrolet Volt starts at $34,185 before the tax credit.

It’s interesting that when one looks to the past, it really makes one appreciate what the future holds for us.

We the People Petition on Tesla Motors email received…

So, I, like many other supporters of the Free Market filled out a petition several months ago to the White House to assist in lifting the arcane dealership laws that limit Tesla Motors from selling directly to consumers.  Granted these sort of things are legislation and regulation that is often taken on by States and not at the Federal level, but I wanted to see what the White House had to say about it, and here it is…  presented with no edits…  I’ll probably write a response about it later, but wanted to show what I got on email yesterday.

A whole lot of politicking… But, what did I expect.

[update 2014-07-06 – My reaction… Meh… A whole lot of nothing. So, guess what, no need to post more about it.]

Response to We the People Petition on Tesla Motors

By Dan Utech, Special Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change

Thanks for your We the People petition. We’re excited about the next generation of transportation choices, including the kind of electric vehicles that Tesla and others have developed. These companies are taking steps to help spur innovation in the promising area of advanced batteries and electric automobiles. Vehicle electrification and other advanced technologies are vital components of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, and his commitment to addressing climate change and reducing carbon pollution, in addition to reducing our dependence on oil.

But as you know, laws regulating auto sales are issues that have traditionally sat with lawmakers at the state level.

We believe in the goal of improving consumer choice for American families, including more vehicles that provide savings at the pump for consumers. However, we understand that pre-empting current state laws on direct-to-consumer auto sales would require an act of Congress.

We are already making significant progress in promoting vehicle efficiency: new vehicle fuel economy has increased by 12% since 2008 and consumers now can choose from five times more car models with a combined city/highway fuel economy of 30 mpg or more, compared to just five years ago. In December 2013, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that model year 2012 vehicles achieved an all-time high fuel economy, after increasing seven of the last eight years.

The President has taken historic action to spur more consumer choice — saving consumers money at the pump and reducing our dependence on oil. Here are some of the ways we’re helping to encourage the future generation of energy-efficient cars:

  • In 2012, the Obama Administration finalized groundbreaking standards that will increase fuel economy to the equivalent of 54.5 mpg for cars and light-duty trucks by Model Year 2025. These standards will save consumers more than $1.7 trillion at the gas pump and reduce U.S. oil consumption by 12 billion barrels. And this spring, we also released standards for medium- and heavy-duty trucks, a move that will save vehicle owners and operators an estimated $50 billion in fuel, and save a projected 530 million barrels of oil. You can learn more about that here.
  • The Department of Energy (DOE) has a loan program to help spur the kinds of innovation needed to create the future of transportation. In fact, Tesla’s electric car won the 2013 Motor Trend Car of the Year while repaying its DOE loan 9 years early and earning the taxpayers about $17 million in profit. And DOE’s loan to Ford Motor Company to upgrade 13 factories across six states and to upgrade the fuel efficiency of a dozen popular vehicles has supported 33,000 jobs across the United States.
  • In September 2013, DOE awarded $45 million in funding for 38 new projects that to improve fuel efficiency, lower transportation costs, and protect the environment. The 38 new projects support the goals of the EV Everywhere Grand Challenge, a public-private initiative to make EVs as affordable and convenient to own and drive as gasoline-powered vehicles within 10 years. Also as part of EV Everywhere, DOE has launched the Workplace Charging Challenge , with a goal of achieving a tenfold increase in the number of U.S. employers offering workplace charging for plug-in electric vehicles in the next five years.

As these initiatives show, the Administration is in favor of fostering competition in the market to help spur the kinds of innovation needed to support ongoing U.S. leadership in vehicle manufacturing and a potential range of new technologies.

Again, thank you for your petition.

Forget the One Percent, Opinions on the 3.1 Percent…

I’m not writing to defend the “One Percent”, but to question the “3.1 Percent.” (I’ve been ornery lately, several “Soap Box” posts for the past week. Must be the Summer…)

Several weeks ago there have been various tweets and write-ups regarding one of the latest findings from Pluginsights Managing Director and current Guinness World Record Holder for longest EV drive (non solar), Norman Hajjar.

Per articles reported on and on May 23rd, and even one on CleanTechnica today, 96.9% of EV and PHEV drivers would buy an EV or PHEV again. The number that would return to an internal combustion engine was 1.9%. So, the question to me is not the 96.9%, but the 3.1%, and by extension the 1.9%, what the heck?

On Twitter –

I’ve replied to one of the tweets, with questioning why the 3.1% still have drivers licenses.

After driving an EV or PHEV, why is the number that would go back to a conventional ICE vehicle so high? The only thing I can think of is insanity, and I believe that the privilege to have a drivers license requires one to pass certain tests and I would hope that sanity is one of those measures.

So, an explanation, albeit a facetious one, for this dissatisfied group could be insanity.

If they’re not insane, perhaps another reason would be these people purchased or leased vehicles that were “oversold” to them by their various “independent” dealers. Perhaps at purchase, the dealers promised the customer that the vehicle recharges in 10% of the time that it actually takes to charge the car. Perhaps the purchaser did not understand that batteries degrade and that weather affects it. Aside from Tesla, which does not have dealers, all the other car manufacturers sell through dealers. There have been numerous articles on the failures of these same dealers in understanding the basic functions of their vehicles. Even the Federal Trade Commission supports Tesla and its direct sales model.

Another guess on why people might move off EVs might be because they really would prefer to drive all eletric between 100-200 miles and don’t want to buy a Tesla (or Model S based Electric Mercedes B-Class or Toyota RAV4EV 2nd Generation) and perhaps move to an ICE car in the short-run until the 100-200 mile vehicle is available. Now, this is not quite insane, just illogical. Some solutions others have done include getting a lower range 80-100 mile EV for daily use and then an ICE rental car for when they need to travel further than the range that their EV can travel. Now this is a solution that requires a little bit more dedication, but should work with most.

Additionally, it would seem that it is exactly this group that PHEVs have gained greater acceptance, after all, if we look at PHEVs as transitional vehicles, when used properly, it truly does enable the owners to travel on electric most of the time. There was even a report of a particular individual traveling over 80 miles on EV mode in a Chevy Volt. Now, this is NOT the norm, but kudos to them. The BMW i3 with REX can go 72 miles on electric before switching on the gasoline engine to get a few more miles.

Some might point out that am I being a BMW “Homer” or “Fanboy” in picking the 60 mile limit since the BMW i3 with REX with its 72 mile all electric range is the only existing PHEV that satisfies the limit I propose. Perhaps, however, as I’ve explained earlier, I am compromising a bit in that the stretch here is a 50% bump above the purported 40 mile average American commute figure that is often used as the basis for the glut in pure EVs at the 70-100 mile range.

Perhaps you have ideas on why the 3.1 percent exist? I’m tapped out.

[ADDED 2014-06-03 7:15 AM Pacific Time]

A fellow EV supporter (whose permission to use his comments) on Google Plus commented on my cross-post over there with the following very good point –

Case in point: There is a user on the [Full Electric] forums that leased a [Full Electric] and hates it. Every time they post its about how [Full Electric] aren’t for everyone, have sucky range, have no room, etc. They live in an apartment complex which won’t let them install a Level 2 charger and thus have to find ways of charging at public stations every day. Seems to me that would lead someone to not get a plugin car again!

[All great points, I wonder how the lessors of this [Full Electric] were convinced to get the car to begin with. Why did they feel empowered enough to do it without researching charging options in their housing location. This just stresses the need to provide support for folks in multi-unit/family locations with EV charging. There are efforts and laws either proposed or passed that allows people to do this. That’s another Soap Box for the future.]

HOV Lanes and the Green Sticker… AB2013 (another Soap Box)

Regular readers of this blog would know of my intent to migrate from the ActiveE to an i3 for a daily commuter vehicle. The Model S is just too large for this purpose and the Roadster is, as my wife puts it, “like wearing your little black dress to work”.

Since I drive so much, my initial order was for an i3 with REX. However, as the Green Sticker’s initial 40,000 car limit was reached, I switched to the BEV version of the i3. HOV access was the benefit for early adopters of PHEVs. The California legislature allowed the first 40,000 in the state to apply for and receive Green Stickers to access the HOV access.

EV advocate Chelsea Sexton took a position against AB2013 in her blog post. Being a self-interested individual, I supported the early adopters of PHEVs privilege of using a the HOV solo. However, since the 40,000 limit has been reached, I did what the law intended to do, switch to a BEV for solo HOV access. Now, whether I actually get an i3 still holds at the 5% probability that I’ve been giving it lately.

Behind the wheel of an i8, a car that looks great, but it only has 20 miles of range, if that.

So, what does this have to do with AB2013. What is MY position on this. I am against the amendment as it is currently written. After rewarding the 40,000 early adopters of PHEVs, I think that it is ridiculous to give subsequent PHEVs solo HOV access without any minimum limits on all electric range. The Toyota Plug-In Prius gets about 9 miles of all EV range and the upcoming Porsche Plug-In and BMW i8 both have about 20 miles of range, in the best cases. This is just wrong. I propose that PHEVs should have a minimum of sixty (60) miles of all EV range before it is eligible to ride in the HOV lane by itself. Now, how did I come up with 60 miles. I figured, why not provide a stretch goal. If the average commute is 40 miles roundtrip, most EV drivers know that there will be battery degradation with their vehicles and I wanted to ensure that the 40 miles will continue to be reached for the next 5 or so years. Additionally, why settle for average? The BEVx category was created for a reason, let’s actually make it “worth” something.

In fact, I am willing to share the text of what I wrote to my Assemblywoman and State Senator regarding this proposal.

Dear (CA legislator):

I am writing to you about my opposition to AB2013 on the expansion of the “Green Sticker” program for HOV access as it is currently written.

Though it is commendable to provide 40,000 PHEV into the HOV lane for trying to do the proper thing. To do so without limits on a MINIMUM number of kWh of battery capacity / or Electric range is impractical. Thousands of Californians have proven that EVs work and should not be penalized by those that only “partially commit”. I oppose PHEVs for Green Sticker expansion as long as there is not a minimum range required. I would support that a minimum 60 mile EV range be set as the guideline for any further expansion of “Green Sticker” eligibility. Otherwise, let the 40,000 that made it into the HOV lanes under the current law be the maximum for this privilege.

Adding a minimum EV mileage limit would incentivize fellow Californians to do the right thing and pick a vehicle that truly moves the needle. The current release of the Prius Plug In with its 9 mile range and the pending release of 20 mile range vehicles like the Porsche Plug In or the BMW i8 is a mockery of the efforts that we are doing to stop Global Warming/Climate Change.

Thank you,

(Your Name)

If you’re a California voter and want to contact either, do so here.

If you’re an interested party and wish to contact the Assemblymembers’ offices, please click here. If you’re looking for the State Senators, please click here.

What do you think?

Ok off my Soap Box now.

Memorial Day 2014… (as much a soapbox as you’ll ever see from me)

I’ve never really given much thought to our addiction to Oil and Gas.

As I’ve mentioned previously, I joined the rEVolution because I had a few goals initially:

  • I wanted to get on the HOV lane by myself. After all, time is money.
  • The EVs that we’ve chosen for our garage are all pretty fun to drive.
  • and lastly, I save a lot of money on my cost per mile. (and maintenance).
  • That was it… Not really anything “enlightened” about it. All pretty much self interest and lots of it.

    I haven’t fundamentally changed. I am still pretty much the same self-interested, profit minded person that I have been. However, after all the years being involved with my many new environmental friends, I’ve grown from being a “Climate Agnostic” to someone who accepts it and helps a little.

    I had called myself a Climate Agnostic because, I didn’t really care. At the end of it all, it didn’t matter to me whether or not Climate Change was occurring. Now, I do care and am doing a little to help stop the change. Driving electric and installing solar are a few of the things, and trying to convince others to do the same is another. I have always taken the economic route, because that is the route that got me here.

    Spolier alert, I’ve figured driving electric after installing my solar panels that it costs me approximately a penny a mile vs. fifteen to eighteen cents a mile or even a quarter to thirty cents a mile depending on which of my ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) cars I’m driving.

    But why am I posting today, well, it’s to refer you to a post that made me stop and think. This post is from about two years ago, very early on my journey in the rEVolution. At that time, I kept up on things regarding my Active E by reading Tom Moloughney’s blog and his Memorial Day post was one that helped me think about the effects of our addiction to Oil and Gas. I try not to be political on my blog because it’s not really me. I prefer a laissez-faire attitude between government and business… And you can guess where I lie in that process. However, it is often not the case that the government leaves business alone, and I, these past two years, around Memorial Day, think of Tom’s post and thought that I’d do my part in having my reader’s look at something that moved me.

    And if you, dear reader, served in protecting my freedom to express myself, I appreciate that which you did and do. Furthermore I hope that we don’t have to send you in harms way just to feed our addiction to oil and gas.