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Tuesday, November 28, 2017

My First Referral!

When I started driving a Nissan Leaf, I loved it. I took friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers out for rides and drives. I know that several of them bought a Leaf or another EV after that.

With the Tesla, I still take people for test drives and show the car at events, but I don't (or didn't) know of anyone that specifically bought a Tesla because of me. That is until now. I just received notice that someone purchased a Tesla using my referral code. This is great news. They will be driving an awesome car, they'll get free Supercharging for life, and I'll get the referral prize that I wanted, a Tesla wall charger etched with Elon's signature.

As I posted here, I've been using a simple 120V outlet to charge our Model X since we bought it over a year ago. This new unit will charge the car 5 to 6 times faster. The 120V outlet has worked fine, but there are times when faster charging would come in handy and this will allow me to leave the portable EVSE in the car, so I'll have it as a back up if I ever need it on the road.


Monday, November 27, 2017

Electric Lawn Mowers

Gasoline lawn mowers are serious pollution machines. If you drive an EV, then you already know the benefits of electric motors. These same zero-emission benefits apply to lawn equipment too.

In addition to the fumes that come from the mower, the EPA estimates that over 17 million gallons of fuel are spilled each year while refueling lawn equipment. Older less efficient two-cycle engines release 25-30% of their oil and gas unburned into the air. These fumes are smelly and carcinogenic.

If you are looking to replace your old gas mower with a new electric one, Amazon has electric mowers listed as part of their Cyber Monday Week Deals. Here are a few of them to consider (click on the link to see the Cyber Monday discount deal).

This article includes Amazon Associates links.
I'm Long Tesla

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Xmas Tree on a Model X

How we brought our Xmas tree home on our Model X. The affordable roof system we used, how it worked, and links to buy your own are at the bottom.

Thanksgiving is over and it's the time of year to go get a tree and put it in your home so Santa has a place to put the presents after coming down the chimney. If you drive a Tesla Model X, you might be able to fit a reasonably sized tree in the back. But, a tree inside the car means a lot of needles and vacuuming after the hauling is done.

With most cars, the better option is to put the tree on the roof. The Model X does not have a roof rack, so how do you haul a tree up there? And it has a glass roof; you certainly don't want to crack or scratch your roof!

Here's the hack that we came up with to solve this.

Tesla Model X with 3 glass grippers

I was looking for a suction cup mounted roof rack and there are several of them out there. Some of them were very expensive. I don't plan on hauling things on top of my Tesla very often, so the idea of spending hundreds of dollars on a roof rack didn't appeal to me.

Looking at other suction cup products, I stumbled on handles that were made for lifting and transporting glass and countertops. These were much more affordable than a roof rack and they were rated for 200 pounds each. I would not be using them for their intended purpose, but it might work. They are rated for use moving heavy granite countertops so a ~65 pound tree would be a much lighter load.

Thinking about the entire process, I also bought a cheap moving blanket to reduce the potential of scratching the car as the tree went on and came off the car.

The stuff arrived and soon after it was time to bring home a tree. I attached the handles to the car before we went to the farm. I wanted to see if they would stay on during the drive there. This would give me some indication if they would stay on or not for the trip home. The handles were easy to use. They have a lever to suck them down to the glass. I found it easy to tell if they got a good seal or not with the lever. If it was firm when you moved it, it had good suction. If it was easy to move, there was no grip.

The roof of the Model X is slightly curved; this made it difficult to get a good seal with both of the suction cups. I found it easier if I adhered the far cup first; this allowed me to push down on the near side. Remember, this is glass, push too hard and you could break it. Finally, all three handles were mounted. We probably only needed two handles, but they were not that expensive, so adding a third one to share the load and add redundancy seemed like a good idea.

I made sure to place all the grips on the same piece of glass. This way, if the falcon wing door were to be opened (not recommended) with the tree on there, they would all move together. It would have been a good idea to turn on the child-proof lock for that door to prevent accidentally opening it. 

The handles stayed attached for the drive there (so far so good). We picked out our tree (a 7' locally grown Nordmann Fir) and had it bailed. Bailing is key to making everything else easier. Once the tree was bailed, we wrapped it in the cargo blanket. A few twists of twine holds the blanket in place, then up onto the car with the tree. 

We actually forgot our bungees, but it all worked out fine. They had twine to hold the tree in place. Bungees would have been way faster. With the tree strapped down, we hit the road, heading home. The large window of the X allowed us to easily keep an eye on the tree as we traveled.

We made it home and unloaded the tree. Here is the tree ready for lights and decorations.

Xmas tree, ready to be trimmed

If you want to use the same equipment that we used to make your own ad hoc Tesla Model X roof rack, the links to the items are below. If you do this, you do so at your own risk, be careful to not break your roof glass. I would not recommend heavy loads or bumpy roads.


This article includes Amazon Associates links.
I'm Long Tesla

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

10 Years of Solar - 70 Solar Powered Cannonball Runs!

In late 2007, we had solar panels installed on our house. For me, the motivation for solar was to "fuel" the electric car that I had started driving earlier that same year. The 4 kilowatt PV system that we installed provided enough energy to drive an EV to drive about 16,000 miles each year.

In 2015, we added a second PV system, bringing our total up to 12.1 kilowatts. This allows us to "fuel" about 48 thousand solar-powered electric miles each year; far more than we drive. To go along with our second PV system, we added a second electric car to our home fleet.

In addition to fueling our cars, the energy that our PV systems generate is used to power the bulk of our home energy needs, TVs, computers, air conditioning... In the summer, they generate about 130% of our home's energy needs. This means that (via the path of least resistance), we're powering some of our neighbors' energy needs too.

Here is the graph of our solar energy production for 10 years.

The blue part of the graph is our original 4 kW system and the red section is the 8.1 more that was added in 2015.

In this chart, you can see the summer/winter ripple in the production graph as it moves up and to the right. This summer/winter delta grows as you move north on the globe. We are just north of the 45th parallel. Our summer/winter delta is even more exaggerated with our new system since most of the panels are east facing. Our roof-line does not allow for south-facing panels, but we didn't let that stop us from installing them. As you can see, they are still effective.

During our 10 years of production, we've made over 56 MWh, that is more than 56,000 kWh. As I mentioned above, we first installed our PV to fuel our electric car. So how far could this 56 MWh get us? The answer is nearly 200,000 miles for a car like our Nissan Leaf. With this energy, you could drive the NY to LA Cannonball Run more than 70 times. For another comparison, assuming you could drive an EV to the Moon (obviously, you can't, although you could drive one on the Moon since it does not require O2 intake for combustion) this energy could get you ~80% of the way there. We have a goal to generate enough energy to complete this Moonshot drive.

If you'd like to know how big of a solar PV system you need to fuel your own EV driving with solar miles (or smiles), you can check out this article for references and help with the math.

Friday, November 17, 2017

10 Years of EV Driving (Part 3 - WKTEC Awakening)

Our slow path to a 100% EV household.

In Part 2, my electric car dream had died. The only way I could become an EV driver at that time was to dedicate part of life to building an EV and managing batteries. At this stage of my life, early in a high tech career, I was not willing to do that.

In late 2006, I was on a documentary watching kick and filled my Netflix queue with them. One particular weekend early in 2007, in the days before streaming, the familiar red envelop arrived with the DVD for Who Killed The Electric Car?*. 

Watching this movie explained why the Saturn salesman laughed when we called in 1999 to try to buy an EV1. The suppression this technology made me angry, and it did something else; it re-awoke my electric car dream. 

I knew that it was very unlikely that I'd convert a car, my attempt from 2001 never got off the drawing board, so I'd have to buy one. I took to the internet. After some searching, I had four candidates: the Corbin Sparrow, the eBox, the T Zero, and the Zap Xebra

I went down the list trying to find details about each. The Sparrow and the eBox were expensive. The T Zero looked great, but they had only made a few prototypes and had no plans to produce the car. This left the Xebra. Luckily for me, there was a dealership in Salem, Oregon within an hour's drive from my house. We made an appointment to see the quirky three-wheeler.

Zapp Xebra
The Xebra website said that it had a top speed of 40 MPH and a 40-mile range. The salesman was blunt and said that was not true. You could go 40 MPH OR you could go 40 miles, but you could not do both. I had a 20-mile commute and much of the drive was on a road marked at 45 MPH, but maybe I could take sideroads, it might work. I took it for a test drive and with two men in the car (the salesman and myself), it was sluggish. There was a hill on the test drive; while ascending it we nearly came to a complete stop even with the accelerator to the floor. We live on a big hill. This was a dealbreaker. The Xebra was not going to meet my needs.

We tried to buy an EV in 1999 and were rebuffed. Now in 2007, it looked like once again I would not be able to find an EV within my budget that met my needs. I turned to the local EV club and lamented about my inability to find an EV. I said that I needed an EV that could go 45 MPH and have a 40-mile range at that speed.

To my surprise, I received a reply from someone with an EV for sale that he said met my needs. I was skeptical, but I'll save that story for part 4.

* If you own an electric car or are interested in EVs at all (and I assume you are if you are reading this) then I highly recommend that you watch Who Killed and its sequel Revenge of the Electric Car.

On to Part 4


Sunday, November 12, 2017

Tesla's Failure, Better Than Success At Many Companies

The press has been spilling a lot of ink about the Tesla Model 3 production delays. Model 3 was scheduled to go to 5,000 vehicles produced per week by the end of 2017, but today, due to production bottlenecks, they are far from this goal and Tesla has conceded that the 5,000 units per week goal will not happen until March of 2018. This delay has been billed as a major failure by many analysts and many in the media. On this news, Tesla's stock price was punished, dropping from a high of $360 on October 18th down to $299 on November 2nd (full disclosure, I am long TSLA).

The "failure" proclamations from analysts and media made me wonder how Tesla has done compared to other car companies. Yes, Tesla has failed to meet their own lofty goals, but how does their Model 3 rollout compare to other car companies' launch of a new vehicle? Let's see.

Current Comparisons

InsideEVs has a Plug-in Vehicle Sales Scorecard that they publish each month. Based on all the stories of Tesla's "failure", I expected to see them at the bottom of this list. Looking at Model 3 on the scorecard shows that it is not at the bottom, far from it actually. Here's the scorecard:
Plug-in Vehicle Scorecard via InsideEVs
Honda began shipping their new Clarity EV in July 2017, the same month as Tesla began delivering Model 3. Tesla has delivered more than twice as many Model 3 units compared to the Clarity EV. Honda is not new to the car game, yet Tesla is outpacing them. I'll let you speculate as to why Honda's electric offering had been anemic. Similarly, Volvo started shipping their new XC60 PHEV in July too and Tesla has shipped about 100 more of their new car than Volvo.

The Cadillac CT6 PHV began shipping 3 months before Model 3 and yet Model 3 has out-sold this car by a factor of 2.

The BMW i8 has been shipping all year and Tesla has already delivered more Model 3s. There are more Model 3s on the roads than i8s.

I have not seen "failure" stories about every (or any) one of the vehicles that are below Model 3 on this list. The "failure" on Tesla's part seems to be having high demanding self-expectations.

Historical Comparisons

Looking back, for a previous breakthrough car that changed the way many people drive, the Toyota Prius comes to mind. In the Prius' first year of delivery in their home country, they delivered about 300 cars. Tesla has already delivered 367 Model 3s through Q3 of this year, with more coming in November and December. Tesla Model 3 year 1 will likely double that of Prius' introduction year.

In the Prius' first full year of production, they delivered 17,700 cars. Model 3's first full year (2018) will be significantly higher. It wasn't until the Prius' 7th full year of production that they were over 100,000 delivered annually. We should see more than 100,000 Model 3 in its first full year of production. Model 3's ramp to 100,000 will be 6 years faster than Prius'.

In the Chevy Volt's first full year of production, GM delivered 7,671 cars. Similarly, in the Nissan Leaf's first year of full production, they delivered 9,674 vehicles. Model 3's first year of full production will be an order of magnitude larger than these.


Tesla has not delivered to their own high expectations for Model 3's ramp. Certainly, the 400,000+ people on the waiting list would love to have their cars sooner rather than later. But compared to the plug-in offerings from BMW, Honda, and Volvo, Tesla is delivering.

Comparing Model 3 to the early years of the Prius, Leaf, and Volt, Tesla is delivering.

For the analysts that want Tesla to stop overcommitting and underdelivering, I say there are other companies that make very small commitments, you might want to invest in them. I would rather do business with, and invest in, a company that promises the moon and delivers greatness; rather than one that makes and meets pathetically small goals.

Looking at all of the plug-in cars on the scorecard list above, there is no question in my mind that Model 3 will be number 1, with a big lead on the pack, on the Plug-in Scorecard for 2018. Tesla may be late on their March goal for 5,000 per week too, but they only need to get to 1,000 vehicles per week to dominate the scorecard.


Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Optimistic Elon Musk's Moonshot Method

Elon Musk dreams big. In this entry, we'll look at Elon Musk's leadership style, the many missed delivery deadlines it has caused, and why (at the same time) it is the key to Tesla's (and SpaceX's) success. We'll also look at how his leadership style has polarized Musk's fans and critics as well as Wall Street analysts' responses.

Among Musk's list of big dreams are to populate Mars; transition all forms of land, air, and sea transportation to electric; create a highspeed human-computer interface; create cars that can drive better than humans; dig tunnels and move vehicle traffic underground; whisk people from any major city to any other major city on the planet in less than an hour (by rocket of course).

Among these big dreams are also many things that Musk has committed to deliver and then failed to meet the commitment. Bloomberg even has a page dedicated to tracking Musk's projects; be they successes, delayed, or failures. These product promises include Autopilot 2  features, Model 3 deliveries, and much more.

Musk Standard Time (MST)

For those of us that have been following Musk for a considerable time, we've learned to mistrust his ability to estimate project timelines. This is not a new behavior for Musk, Ashley Vance wrote about it in his biography of Musk. Perhaps Musk assumes everyone working for him can clear their life of all distractions and work 18 hour days for months at a time as he did during his programming years. Another possibility is that it's a form of the Dunning–Kruger effect where he assumes things are far simpler than they really are? Unlikely. Are the delivery dates from Musk blatant lies to dupe people to buy into the ideas and get employees to work super hard? Some of Musk's critics may think so, but again, unlikely. 

Rather, these timelines are likely the ones Musk wants to be true. He has thought long and hard about the solution, how it works, and its impact on the world. After such a thorough roseate visualization, it seems like something that should exist as soon as possible. This explains his optimistic estimates, but it is not an estimation method that you are likely to find in one of Steve McConnell project management books.

Let's look at some of these missed deadlines in a little more detail and then look at why this (despite missed commitments) is one of Tesla's greatest methods of delivering breakthrough products.

Note, the point of this article is not to point out the failures, there are plenty of critics that write such articles. Please don't stop reading in the middle of the next section and assume you know the article's full content. The discussion of these "failures" is for context, to make a point; they are not the point.

Model 3 Delivery Failures

In the Q1'16 earnings report, when asked about Model 3 production, Musk said, “So as a rough guess, I would say we would aim to produce 100,000 to 200,000 Model 3s in the second half of next year.”

Musk did call this a rough guess, but it was optimistic by an order magnitude. Instead of delivering massive quantities of Model 3, Tesla spent the second half of 2017 in "production hell" and deliveries are far below this rough guess. At the time of this writing, we still don't know what the final delivery numbers for 2017, but they are likely to be closer to 20,000 than to 200,000.

Speaking of Model 3 deliveries, Tesla was scheduled to start delivering Model 3 cars to non-employees in October of 2017. Halloween has come and gone and so far, the only people to own the keys (or key cards) to a Model 3 are board members and employees. In early November, reservation holders received an email from Tesla stating that Model 3 deliveries would be delayed 1 to 3 months.

Our final issue in the Model 3 space is the delivery of a $35,000 variant of the car. The initial configuration included the large battery pack, the premium package, and more. This puts the price well over $50,000. If you want (and can afford) the upgrades, that's fine. But many people are on the List for a Model 3 because they cannot afford a $50,000+ car. They are waiting for the $35,000 option (with maybe a few upgrades). This was scheduled to be available in November of 2017. Now, given the production problems currently with the Model 3, Tesla is not likely to add to the manufacturing complexity by allowing more configuration varieties any time soon; those waiting for a $35000 car will be waiting until sometime in 2018.

Other Missed Optimistic Commitments

Tesla Network: In October 2016, Musk announced the Tesla Network. This is the idea that the owner of a Tesla would be able to place their car into a Tesla operated rideshare network when they didn't need it personally. You could drive to work, then release your car to the network to autonomously chauffeur people around until you need it again. Going on vacation for a week? Your car could stay home and work to help you pay for it. The Tesla Network could be used to earn money and reduce your car payment. Musk said that the network was targeted to begin in 2017.

Autopilot 2: New Autopilot hardware was introduced in October of 2016. When the new hardware was deployed, it was missing many features that the previous hardware 1 systems had. Not only could the new system not autosteer initially, it didn't have rain-sensing wipers or auto high beam headlights. Musk said that hardware 2 would reach parity with hardware 1 within 3 months. Many features have been added to hardware 2 since its introduction, but now in late 2017, it is still not yet at parity with hardware 1 systems. This is about 11 months late.

Model X Launch: The Model X was announced in February of 2012 with a targeted launch date of 2013. The target year of 2013 came and went and no Model Xs were delivered. 2014 rolled by without a delivery. Finally, in September of 2015, the first key fob was handed to a new owner. But Model X was plagued by production issues for another 6 months before any significant volume of deliveries began.

Full Self-Driving: Soon after the introduction of Autopilot hardware 2, buyers have had the option to pre-pay for full self-driving. In January 2017, Musk said self-driving features would begin to roll out in “3 months maybe, 6 months definitely.” Six months after January would be July. July has come and gone and you can still pre-pay for the feature, but, as of today, you still cannot use it.

Responses To Missed Commitments

When so many promised deliveries have been missed, why do Musk's words still carry so much weight? If Musk was viewed as just a wild dreamer, he would not have the following that he does. Musk is trying to do something that is important, something that's never been done before, and that many people would like to see succeed. When this is the case, many are likely to give you some slack on the schedule, as long as you are working hard and showing progress.

There is no question that Musk is personally working very hard towards these goals and pushing his teams to do the same. For example, during the recent Model 3 production constraint, Musk was working at the Gigafactory at 2 AM on a Sunday and sleeping on the roof to save time driving to\from a hotel.

In a recent note, an analyst from Cowen and Company said, “Tesla needs to slow down and more narrowly focus its vision and come up for a breath of fresh air. Elon Musk needs to stop overpromising and under delivering.” This is a typical response from an analyst. They are attempting to value the company and figure out how it will do in this quarter or the next. They want predictability, but innovation does happen on Wall Street's quarterly timeline.

The mistake that Cowen & Co and other analysts are making is to judge Tesla by the aggressive goals and missed timelines, rather than by results. Seeking Alpha writer, Trent Eady, said it well when he wrote, “If Musk promises you the moon in six months and delivers it in three years, keep things in perspective: you’ve got the moon.”

Musk has said that if investors want to buy into a car company that does things the traditional way, they should buy Ford. He has no intention of changing Tesla's behavior or culture to meet analysts' expectations.

Musk & the Moonshot

Modern businesses focus on meeting quarterly expectations. If you miss the Street's expectations, your stock is punished. When the stock drops, the board starts looking for new management. This had led many C-suite executives to think small. Looking for things that can be done in three months and things that can show a quick upside.

As we've shown, Musk does not think small. Rather, he uses what others have referred to as Big Hairy Audacious Goals (BHAGs). These are Moonshots or go big or go home ideas. They are not guaranteed to succeed and they are not something that can be done on a fixed 3-month schedule. To accomplish something of magnitude, you have to be willing to fail and you have to be willing to disappoint the Street. This is not an option that most CEOs of publicly traded companies are willing to attempt. Discussing the culture of innovation at SpaceX, Musk said, “Failure is an option here. If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough."

The Power of Optimism 

If these audacious goals are likely to fail or at least result in unforeseeable delays, why does Musk put such an optimistic timeline on them? Why not state the goal with no promise of delivering it next year?

Danny Kahneman, the Nobel prize-winning economist, has an answer to this question. In an episode of Freakonomics Radio (How To Launch a Behavior-Change Revolution, dated October 25th, 2017) he says, "If you realistically present to people what can be achieved to solve a problem, they will find that uninteresting. You have to overpromise in order to get anything done. You take a problem like poverty. If you say I am going to reduce it by 12%, that may be realistic but no one will be interested. People want to solve the problem. Change is very unlikely otherwise. When you look at big successes, the people that carried out those big successes were unrealistically optimistic typically. This may be necessary to get the initial resources and it may be necessary to get the enthusiasm that is needed to achieve anything at all, because there is so much inertia that realistic promises are at a major disadvantage."

When you look at big successes, the people that carried out those big successes were unrealistically optimistic.
~ Danny Kahneman

Kahneman's comment was not about Musk, but it is very applicable. Musk is trying to do things that have never been done before.

By striving to do the impossible, man has always achieved what is possible.
~ Mikhail Bakunin

Musk's use of a short timeline gives a sense of urgency to the effort. It might mean the actual delivery will be late, but it arrives sooner than it ever would have if it had initially been given a realistic timeline. If you want to move people off the status quo, you have to present them with something exciting. A promise of something 10 years from now will be discounted to the point of insignificance and ignored by most.

Whenever Musk makes a new proclamation, you will find people that claim that it is impossible. This was true about the Tesla Roadster and every car that Tesla has delivered since. It was true about SpaceX landing rockets on drone barges at sea (or anywhere actually). Musk's use of big aspirational goals is an example of the "Kahneman overpromise" and it has been effective. 

Musk is often wrong about the timeline, but never in doubt about the goal. The deadlines come and go, but the commitment to the results are still there. These are not empty promises, but don't expect them to happen on a predictable timeline.

Those proclaiming something is impossible should not stand in the way of those that are doing it.

When you are doing the impossible, it is hard to deliver on a predictable schedule.

Fanbois or Cult?

Musk has become a divisive figure. Criticism or praise of him will bring about counterpoints and ensuing arguments between fanboys (or to be non-gender specific, fanbois) and critics.

The critics wonder how anyone can idolize someone with such outlandish ideas and unfulfilled promises. While the fans wonder why anyone would be a detractor to someone that has accomplished so much and is trying to make our existence better and so much more interesting. Musk's unorthodox method allows for reasonable people to come to either conclusion, depending on their perspective.

Considering the recent Model 3 delays, Model 3 reservation holders are not thrilled that they have to wait longer for their vehicles, but they are not likely to cancel their orders en masse. Edmunds auto analyst Jessica Caldwell recently said, “Many Model 3 customers put deposits down on the vehicle more than a year ago before they even saw the vehicle, so it’s clear Tesla buyers don’t follow the usual logic-driven car-buying process.” If you have a reservation for a Model 3, it is not just a place in line for a car. For many, it's a statement about who they are, what they believe, and the future they want to help bring about.

People are not inspired by something easily achievable, nor by something obviously preposterous. The right place to inspire is to something just out of reach, like Kennedy's Moonshot. That is the place where Musk has targeted his publicly shared goals, at things that are hard, and it has captured the imagination of many.

These just-out-of-reach goals means that there are many unknowns. And there are things that are currently not possible. These are engineering problems that are yet to be solved.

I am eagerly waiting for the future to arrive. You have to want more and settle for what you get. 


If— By Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

10 Years of EV Driving (Part 2 - Electric Boogaloo)

Our slow path to a 100% EV household.

In part 1, we were snubbed when trying to get an EV1. Instead, our journey began with a Prius in 1999. This was not EV-driving, but the occasional electric propulsion of the hybrid system teased at what could be.

I bought a book about building/converting your own electric car. Over the summer of 2001, I read it and made plans. I was not sure if I wanted to do it and if I did, I'd need help.

This is when I found my local electric car club. I went to one of the meetings and checked out the cars that were there. I even drove a couple. I heard that there was an electric truck that had been converted that was for sale. I went out to meet the owner at his house. Only later did I learn that the owner, John Wayland, was a legend in the EV community.

The White Zombie (because it is back from the dead)
John was (and still is) known for his wickedly quick cars. If you've never heard of the White Zombie, I'll just say it's quicker than a P100D Ludicrous Tesla and here's a 2-minute video if you'd like to know more.

John's truck was a beautiful conversion, but it was short range and I would still need to have a gas car for other trips. I was not living in a place where it would be easy to have three cars. I continued to look at conversion options and into making my own but it was going to be a lot of work for a car that would have short range and heavy lead-acid batteries that would need periodic replacement.

For now, my electric dreams would have to go into hibernation.

On to Part 3