Posted 05.25.2014 in News by Christopher
A small community park conveniently located next door to Public Market in Emeryville was the site of the Electric Car Guest Drive meet-up between members of the EV Quorum and East Bay Electric Auto Association car clubs. Thanks to Dean Cornell, president of the EBEAA, for orchestrating a great turnout from the club. Dean has been charged with recruiting the new generation of EV drivers, pardon the pun. As you can see by his photo (he's the one posing in front of the Tesla Model S) Dean is part of the new generation himself. Dean's family has been involved in EVs and the Electric Auto Association for many years. Dean and his dad Scott, a past president of the East Bay EAA, helped me build an OpenEVSE at a workshop in Alameda last year. They do good work, that charge station is still in daily use today.
East Bay EAA vice-president Fred Garvey also came out and spent the day with us, telling people about the advantages and benefits of driving electric. Fred is a hands-on kind of guy, and has built his own light electric vehicle (LEV), a portable wind generator, a sun tracking solar panel and a solar cooker.
Two of the always-popular Toyota RAV4 EVs attended the meet-up, especially notable in this case because one was a first-generation version originally made by Toyota from 1997-2003. The first version, which used nickel batteries was at one time the most in-demand and expensive EV on the used market, fetching prices above $40,000 ten years after it was produced. The second generation has also been popular among its enthusiastic owners, with a few vocal exceptions, partly because its Tesla-supplied drive train is very peppy, and the 42kWh Tesla lithium battery delivers 103 miles of range, more than any other EV except for the $70k+ Tesla Model S and Roadster. Until recently the cars have not sold well due to a combination of high prices (the MSRP is $45,000) and a distinctly lackluster effort by Toyota to promote the car. That has changed a little recently as Toyota has offered fairly steep discounts and the enthusiastic owners have given the car two thumbs up for the extra 30 miles range, large cargo capacity, 9kW charging capability (30 miles per hour) and better performance than most other EVs, achieving 0-60 in 7.2 seconds.
Many thanks to Dr. Hoi Sun Wong for bringing his RAV4 EV second generation down to the meet-up and hanging out with us for the afternoon along with his family's second generation, car seat and all.
I had a great conversation with Jonas Broth from Resurgens, who is making a difference in the world by installing EV charging infrastructure and solar canopies in commercial parking properties.
One of the more unusual guest drives I have ever experienced came courtesy of East Bay EAA member KO (kay-oh), who introduced me to the art of ultra-slow driving (in the parking lot, out of harms way). She referred to it as Playa style. As in “on the Playa” (dry lake) rather than “a playa”, someone who “got game”. That makes sense since kicking up a lot of dust in Black Rock City would be decidedly anti-social, and nobody in the desert is in a hurry anyway. KO mentioned that her converted electric VW fastback seats two. Beehives. Swweeeet!
The charming ladies from Verengo Solar discussed the finer points of charging on sunshine and were great company for the afternoon. The pair of RAV4 EVs are right behind the ladies in the bottom right photo. I know guys, you are wondering, there are cars in that photo? Take another look. For the cars, guys. More to the left.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention the outstanding work of Lisa Radden and Tara Hardesty at The Marketing Method Group, who helped me get the reserved parking permits for the spaces we used adjacent to Christie Park at Public Market. Also Roselle Loudon from the City of Emeryville, who arranged the permit for the park. Thank you very much ladies, you are awesome!
The Electric Car Guest Drive at Christie Park / Public Market in Emeryville was held on the afternoon of Sunday May 25, 2014. Guest Drives were conducted in the Tesla Model S, Honda Fit EV, Fiat 500e, Ford Focus Electric. Several EVs from East Bay EAA members were on static display and a few guest drives including two generations of the Toyota RAV4 EV, Ford C-Max Energi, Chevy Volt, Nissan Leaf and Chevy Spark.