[Oeva-list] OEVA, the 21st century and the 3rd wave of production EV's (was RE: Tonight's room)
matwete at comcast.net
Fri Feb 12 09:01:42 PST 2016
Congratulations and a special thanks to you and the others who stepped up to the plate to lead OEVA in 2016! J
I enjoyed seeing ol’ familiar faces and meeting and hearing the voices of some of the newer folks.
As you know, times have changed since we got involved in all this.
I think you joined OEVA around 1995 or so (?) and I first joined in 1993 after my first experiences surfing the internet and discovering the SJSU EV List --- anyone remember that? After subscribing to that group, the first local EV people I met online were Marshall Houston and John Wayland. Other interesting EV folks came into view quickly and I became a regular with the OEVA that year. I really had no hope of building an EV anytime soon, however, after purchasing my 26’ Columbia River scow barge cruiser “The Reach of Tide” <http://www.evalbum.com/492> in late ’95, after a couple years of gas & oil in its outboard motor convinced me I needed to convert the boat to electric. And in 2003, that journey began quickly after John Wayland brought a used ADC AC4001 ex-Tropica series-wound motor to an OEVA meeting for sale and I was in.
You correctly noted last night that this organization had long been a group that had EV racing as a part of its character. And as I mentioned, while we were vocal advocates for EV adoption, we spent a considerable amount of our meetings and ‘hang time’ talking technical, looking at each others’ approaches to converting a vehicle to electric and just generally helping each other to make good EV’s that are safe---a key part of the OEVA mission back at that time. But times change---and I would say that the 3rd wave of the commercial EV with the advent of the Nissan Leaf directly impacted the makeup of the OEVA and what we do in it. As someone who has been involved in the OEVA longer now than perhaps anyone else in the organization currently, and as someone who is not a regular attendee, seeing the cars in the PGE plaza last night drew a stark contrast to the images in my mind of just a few years ago there. Surely many of you remember it---typically every EV used to have its hood(s) up and passers-by would come in to check things out. Now, with pretty close to 100% production EV’s having zero content added by the “EV enthusiast”, there’s no personal tie to the car anymore---no showing off of one’s creation, no sharing of the technical achievements, no discussion of the tradeoffs that went into what got made. And while that’s a bit sad, it’s totally in keeping with what was predicatable---that once EV’s become production cars, we’ll just drive ‘em. And that’s what was reflected in my mind in attending last night’s meeting. We are EV consumers and promoters predominantly.
In the long history of EV’s, we are in the 3rd wave of EV production. The first was circa 1890’s to 1905. The second was approx. 1910 – 1922. A nearly 90-year long gap occurred after the 2nd wave. It’s informative to read the stories, the ads and the promotion of EV’s back in the 1911-1920 timeframe. It was mentioned last night about the EAA and that folks should join it. While the EAA is a great advocacy organization for EV’s (and provides us insurance), it’s small potatoes compared to what existed back in 1915---back then, there was the EVAA. The EVAA was an EV promotional organization made up of industry professionals seeking to grow EV’s in our society. For several years there were annual EVAA conferences and EVAA had cross-affiliations with SAE and NELA (National Electric Light Association)---actually, I think EVAA was a subsidiary of NELA---NELA was effectively the IEEE of its day. Today’s EAA is nothing close to the EVAA---at least not unless Elon Musk and the leader of other EV mfg companies are on the board of the EAA.
I won’t go deep into what killed the 2nd wave of production EV’s, but suffice it to say that circa 1912 when Cadillac came out with an electric starter, that didn’t bode well. Also, early EV’s just weren’t powerful or fast. Add to that the fact that most EV manufacturers didn’t have production car mentality or resources and couldn’t get the costs down fast enough to make profits when Ford, REO, RCH and others were making gas cars that would sell at 1/3 the cost. Finally, there was WWI---some of the early electric cars were made with aluminum bodies---e.g. Detroit & Hupp-Yeats. The story is that many of these were sacrificed to reclaim aluminum for the war effort. Early vehicle registrations in California for Hupp-Yeats electrics support this somewhat, where some dozen cars were registered in 1917, but by 1918 there was but 1 or 2 in California. Charging infrastructure was arguably better back then than in the 21st Century up until perhaps 3 years ago now---whether the East Coast, Chicago, Minneapolis, DesMoines, Denver or the West Coast (Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego, Portland, Seattle)---there were ‘charging garages’ and frankly, BETTER STANDARDIZATION of charging infrastructure, charging plugs and charging protocol than we have today. Back then, the primary EV manufacturers used the standard “Type-N” coaxial Anderson 150-amp slide-on connector for charging. Standardization was valued and it was with communication by EVAA members thru EVAA meetings that things didn’t go off the rails. There was no Elon Musk who arrived on the scene and decided to come out with his own charge connector and protocol, provide exclusive charge stations and make it so you had to own his car to use his charging infrastructure. In Portland in 1915, we had at least 3 EV dealers and at least 3 EV charging garages. Several special full-page sections appeared in the Oregonian in late 1915 dedicated to EV education and awareness. In that vein, the OEVA should embrace and celebrate its carrying the banner held up high fully 100 years ago in the Rose City by others. The Milburn dealer in Portland at the time, Will Spalding, in promoting the capabilities of the EV did an endurance run one day, driving from downtown then up to Crown Point in the Gorge and back on one charge. The article was featured in the Oregonian. The local EVAA chapter in Portland was very active at that time and a couple pages in the annual EVAA Proceedings book of 1916 were dedicated to the achievements of the Portland Chapter---they included a print of the Full Page in the Oregonian.
As with today, 100 years ago, no one was “converting” cars to EV’s. EV’s were production vehicles that you just walked into the showroom and purchased or ordered. As with today, you didn’t have to have a home charging system---infrastructure was available that made this optional. As with today, EV’s were typically more expensive to purchase than the other options. As with today, gas was cheap and available and recharging with gas was much quicker than recharging an EV.
It remains to be seen whether similar challenges to those that doomed the 2nd wave of production EV’s will doom the 3rd wave. Twenty (20) years ago I asked a question at an OEVA meeting that no one wanted to hear: “At what point will the OEVA an these meetings be moot?”
I seriously thought we were about at that point then, given the GM Impact, GM’s EVOne and the eventual appearance of the Honda Insight and Toyota Prius hybrids. I did not consider the charging question and the challenges that seem insurmountable so far in getting adequate charging infrastructure in place for 21st century EV’s. And so, almost for that reason alone, I see a need for the OEVA going forward. We’re seemingly beyond the point of needing an “EV section” at car shows, which seems indicative of the mainstreaming of EV’s in our consciousness and in fact. Just yesterday I parked at the gym---when I came back out to my THINK afterwards, next to it was a Fiat and next to that a SmartE---it’s almost just ordinary. Having said that, at least twice yesterday I had folks ask about my THINK... Whether continued low gas prices, continued non-standardization and exclusivity in charging infrastructure or a major war will kill the 3rd wave of EV’s remains to be seen---let’s hope not----thanks again for doing your part! J
For those interested in Antique EV’s and history, contact me offline or join the Antique EV Yahoo Group, which I moderate...it’s not very active though…
For those interested in Electric Boats, you can check out the Electric Boats group on Yahoo, which I also moderate and which has nearly 6000 members at this point. While production electric boats are appearing on the scene, the electric boat community is largely composed of folks who (a) build their EV from scratch, (b) buy a packaged system to convert or (c) pay someone to convert their vehicle to an EV---pretty much it’s where land-based EV’s were 10 years ago. Probably this won’t change either since boating is not like driving a car---it’s way more personalized. Still, advances in battery and solar technology are major influencers in where electric boating is going. There’s a guy right now in Florida who is outfitting a 40ft Trimaran with a few KW of solar panels and in the next month will embark on a circumnavigation (on solar alone) of the ICW (intracoastal waterway) from Clearwater, Florida south to Fort Meyers across to the East Coast, up to NYC, the Great Lakes, down the Mississippi River system and around the gulf to the starting point---a 5000mile journey on solar alone---that’s wa-a-ay too many hours for me to be boating, but more power to him…anyway, see you all at another meeting of the OEVA J!
-Myles Twete, P.E.
matwete at comcast.net
The Reach of Tide: www.evalbum.com/492
1920 Milburn: www.evalbum.com/348
From: oeva-list-bounces at oeva.org [mailto:oeva-list-bounces at oeva.org] On Behalf Of gary
Sent: Thursday, February 11, 2016 6:17 PM
To: gary; oeva-list at oeva.org
Subject: Re: [Oeva-list] Tonight's room
Ps: mezzanine 5 is on the second floor. Right behind the red wall with mt hood picture.
Sent from my T-Mobile 4G LTE Device
-------- Original message --------
From: gary <gary at whitecape.org>
Date: 2/11/2016 18:12 (GMT-08:00)
To: oeva-list at oeva.org
Subject: [Oeva-list] Tonight's room
Tonight we are meeting in mezzanine 5 (not flags or plaza) conference room. Usual time: 7 in plaza for car viewing. 730 meeting.
Hope you see you there!
Sent from my T-Mobile 4G LTE Device
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