Electric Car Guest Drive spans three generations in Santa Rosa

Electric Car Guest Drive spans three generations in Santa Rosa

Posted 05.25.2014 in News by Christopher

The EV Quorum and North Bay EAA meet-up in Santa Rosa spanned three generations - of EVs and attendees. The gathering featured eleven electric cars produced from the twentieth century to present day, representing three distinct phases of the EV revolution. The elder statesmen were the two immaculate Ford Ranger Electric trucks that looked as good as the year they were originally produced: 1999.

The second generation was represented by a beautiful "thunder grey" Tesla Roadster, a model which Tesla started producing in 2008 and which instigated the rebirth of the modern EV era. Former GM vice-chairman Bob Lutz has said that the Chevy Volt project was spurred by the popularity and success of the Tesla Roadster.

The third generation was represented by the two Tesla Model S' and other 2013-2014 model year EVs. Anyone who drives the Tesla Roadster and then a Model S will readily attest to the astonishing level of refinement that Tesla has achieved in what Tesla refers to as their second generation EV, the Model S. The Ford Focus, Fiat 500e, Nissan Leaf and Honda Fit EV that joined the lineup are also substantially advanced over previously available electric vehicles.

Brian Hall of Thunderstruck Motors brought a pristine Coda sedan to the meet-up.  This is one of the few EVs I hadn't yet seen up close and I was actually much more impressed than I thought I would be. The Coda did not get glowing praise from reviewers, but I found it to be a practical and attractive car. Brian mentioned that he had acquired a few of the cars after Coda closed up shop and that they were for sale for very reasonable prices. Thunderstuck Motors services Coda and stocks spare parts, so if you're in the market for something out of the ordinary and quite reasonably priced, you might want to take a look at their web site or give Brian a call. 

Speaking of multiple generations and elder statesmen, I will give Brian credit for fitting the description of "elder statesmen" himself. Brian has been on the front lines of the EV revolution since 2001, and has been very active in the The National Electric Drag Racing Association (NEDRA), which serves to raise the awareness of electric vehicles both on and off the track. 

Another elder statesman at the Santa Rosa Electric Car Guest Drive was Peter Oliver, the founder and CEO of Switch Vehicles. Peter has been building and converted vehicles to electric power since 1991. Switch makes a three wheeled vehicle for high school, college and continuing education programs. Peter brought one of the Switch vehicles to the meet-up and provided guest drives in the vehicle. 

North Bay Electric Auto Association president Alan Soule brought the Tesla Roadster, and the turnout by other NBEAA members with EVs was impressive.  This was the first time we held a Guest Drive on a weekday afternoon, and although we had fewer prospective EV drivers than at any of the other events, it was a pleasure to meet such ardent supporters of the EV movement in the North Bay. 

Juan, a teenager who had just obtained his drivers permit, was impressed by the all-digital displays and buttons in the Model S. Our youngest attendee, a young lady who had accompanied dad primarily because the park had a swing set, expressed confidence that by the time she was old enough to drive "all cars were going to be electric".  Leave it to kids to speak the unvarnished truth. 

One of the highlights of the day was the attendance of Sam Euston, a video journalist who conducted several on-camera interviews about why members of NBEAA and EV Quorum drive electric.  Sam also shot video footage of his guest drive in the Tesla Model S. Sam is writing an article series on electric vehicles for the The Sonoma County Gazette


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