Santa Monica Electric Car Guest Drive meets on hallowed ground

Santa Monica Electric Car Guest Drive meets on hallowed ground

Posted 05.14.2014 in News by Christopher

Jordan Bloch's video documentary of the Electric Car Guest Drive resumed at full speed Sunday after EV Quorum pitched the lightning-bolt canopies in a line under the shade of the enormous trees in Santa Monica's Clover Park. 

Russell Sydney returned to the quorum with his Chevy Volt and made a compelling summary of his case for driving electric for the camera and the passerby who gathered on the sidewalk between the club's parking lot EV lineup and the lawn where the canopies were pitched. In a serious tone but with a prankish grin, Russell commented that the ECGD Clover park location was "hallowed ground" due to its historical significance as the site of one of the earliest advocacy and activism events for electric cars in Santa Monica. It was in exactly the same location that Paul Scott and Chelsea Sexton announced the formation of Plug in America. Active in the EV movement since the early 2000s, Russell is also the co-founder of the Sustainable Transport Club, a group dedicated to creating a system of sustainable transportation based on renewable energy by outreach, education and community organizing. The group helped create the well known Alt Car Expo in Santa Monica among other achievements. 

Musicians, new media mavens and dear friends Ruth McCartney and Martin Nethercutt dropped in from nearby Playa del Rey and brought what seemed like a hundred of their closest EV friends. It was a pleasure to welcome Ruth's friends Lauren Day and Steve Goldstein to the club. Steve, an electrical engineer, brought his brand new, gleaming Toyota RAV 4 EV which shone like a white pearl alongside its two grey Tesla Model S cousins. With a grin, Steve pulled off a service cover in the inside rear quarterpanel to display some of the "Tesla inside" technology. No wonder that sleeper gets up and goes when you spur it.

PHAT Energy founder Philippe Hartley brought his iconic BMW ActiveE and exuberant energy to the gathering, joining Mark Young to talk with the group about the company's innovative PHATport solar carport which provides cooling shade as well as fuel distilled from pure sunshine. Philippe originally introduced me to the impressive standalone or attached solar structures at the DOE sponsored Solar Decathalon in Orange County. I've wanted one ever since.

EVoCharge also had an innovation on display, the company's EVOreel cord management system which can be mounted on a parking garage wall or ceiling.  Working in the same way as the pneumatic hose reels we used to see at gas stations (kids, ask grandpa what those were), the heavy duty reel winds up the charge cord after you unplug. A high-amp Tesla version is in the works and eagerly anticipated. 

A quick shout-out to Venita, who happened upon our meet-up by serendipity and ended up with a starring role in our video documentary trailer. I somehow let Venita slip away without giving her my personal thanks for her impromptu presentation (two thumbs up Venita!) and getting her contact information so I hope she sees this and sends me an email or calls so I can thank her properly. 

Another wink in the dark to the mystery driver of the C-Max Energi who parked in the middle of the EV line-up, looking great alongside her Ford Focus Electric sibling. Somehow I missed talking to you completely, or maybe I did and you never let on that the Energi was your ride. Thank you, whoever you are, ghost rider. You were among friends. 

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