Thursday, September 09, 2010

ECOtality North America - The EV Project

July 19th I joined ECOtality North America in the pursuit of creating the 'largest deployment of EVs and charge infrastructure, ever, in the world.'  I had no idea what the pace and depth of my involvement would be in the weeks and months ahead.  It can't be described any other way - it's just amazing.

The Blink Network is the name for our EVSE (Electric Vehicle Support Equipment), which roughly translates into - this is the product we make.  It was created by Frog Design, which apparently throws a shindig for every product when it's released.  In our case it was a media blitz at the Plug-In 2010 event where the first units were revealed to the public.

I've been maddeningly attempting to contact business owners and area stakeholders in the region from Eugene to Portland, setting up site visits and working diligently to input all the contact data into our CRM system.  It's not a job for the slight of heart... you've gotta put blood, sweat and tears into the hours of typing, driving and spotting.  Google is now my pastime, whether it's Googling or Google Earthing... it's what I do !

I've yet to sit in a plug-in vehicle, let alone drive a Tesla, Nissan Leaf, Chevy Volt or any of the other numerous vehicles on the market.  I did get to drive the Gen 1 Arcimoto Pulse when it was called 'Frank', short for 'Frankenstein'.  Myself, I'd like to build my SolCamino (May 2006 post), but I'm still a long way off from having the resources, let alone talent, to build something as mod as it.

If you're considering an Electric Vehicle, do it.  The Level 2 and Level 3 DC Fast Chargers will be here soon and you'll be able to drive everywhere - emissions free !  And if you're someone who likes to lean and scream through corners, then you have to check out the new Brammo Empulse - up to 100 mph top speed and capable of distances to 100 miles...!  That's something I could own and wrap my legs around.  You know it, people !!!

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Saturday, May 01, 2010

Cyclompostivermiculture... er, for the worms !

The title is linked to an article for the Center for Appropriate Transportation, or CAT, located here in Eugene.  While Sales Manager with Bike Friday Bicycles, I had the pleasure of meeting Jeremiah, the gent pictured shuttling the composting materials from restaurants to community garden, via human powered work vehicle.  I like to think this is a very reasonable means to employ people, while also keeping a lot of other people, in the upstream and downstream, healthier.

To consider the upstream, you have to look at Jeremiah himself.  He is doing work, exercising, and earning a wage - collectively.  In addition, there are people building the human powered work vehicles, manufactures of steel, bike components, trailer parts, etc., and even the recyclers who are restoring materials from waste back into the use stream.  It enables a lower embedded energy aspect, albeit small.  Additionally, you have the restaurant and its clients who are being serviced by a reduction of waste and carbon, by recycling the embedded energy of the food, which normally would have been shipped via fossil-fueled vehicle, to a landfill.

On the downstream, you have the worms, which benefit from something to eat.  They in turn, recycle the food into a mixture of compost and castings, which are both greatly benefiting the soil, which nourishes the users of the community garden.  And when you consider the low carbon aspect of Jeremiah's services, the reduction created by composting, soil amendment and health nutrition as an outcome, there doesn't seem to be any downside in comparison to the typical 'toss it in the garbage' mentality that we're currently sustaining... bad choice of word.  It should say something more like 'toss it in the garbage' unsustainable mentality.  Either way, this is good stuff and my hat goes off to CAT, Jeremiah, the restaurants that use their services, and the members who benefit from the efforts going on - to make a difference.  Keep it up (and support the restaurants who go the extra mile to make it happen)...

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Paul Scott, my Winter Solstice inspiration...

I have known Paul Scott for a couple of years now since I became involved in solar. Paul is a consultant in California who is also very involved in electric vehicles, also called EV's. Paul has a Toyota RAV EV and a Vectrix... both of which I'm jealous of. For all the work I've done to Cut my transportation footprint by 20% by riding a bike, Paul has done much more by driving solar-powered electric vehicles.

I've had many conversations with naysayers over the years, pointing to the carbon footprint of creating an EV, solar panels, the transportation of these items, the raw materials, end-of-life, etc. Yet, each of these people goes on about the business of living their lives using their status quo fossil fuel vehicles, continuing to replace them every other year or so, doing little or nothing to reduce their own footprint.

Last night, my wife Kelley and I were discussing our own lives and our footprint... on the shortest day of the year... the winter solstice. We were trying to decide if the bicycling, walking, organic gardening, raising chickens and red wigglers, using hemp shopping bags, cfl's, electronic thermostats, wood-burning stove, etc., were really having an impact. At the end of the conversation it came down to what it means to us... we do it because it's our epitaph. We feel guilty not doing more. We can't accept not doing better or not doing anything at all, awaiting the coming curse to make the changes without choice.

Back to Paul Scott. Reading his blog today, I learned Paul is a survivor of cancer. His battle inspired him to juggle the most important things on his bucket list... he chose to embrace solar and EV's. Having learned this, it's causing me to reevaluate my list. Is it time for the solar guy to go solar... with 30+ trees around my house and more with surrounding neighbors, it's not going to happen at home. But, it could mean it's time for me to bear down on my hopes of creating a community solar program in Eugene. And that's my new bent. When that happens, I'm hoping it will be time to sign up for my EV. And I'm very hopeful that someone will be creating a biodiesel capable electric hybrid that plugs in. If not, I'll just have to do it myself...

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