Plug In America held its second annual fundraiser yesterday at the Thomas Fogarty Winery in Woodside, CA. Last year's party was held at the home of Director Chris Paine and was a big success. Yesterday's party matched that one in terms of excitement and surpassed it with an abundance of high-end EVs and plug-in hybrids. Pictured above is the t-Zero, considered to be the mother of the Tesla Roadster. The LiIon version of this rare, hand-made car from AC Propulsion is the only EV that can surpass the blindingly quick acceleration of the Roadster with a 0-60 time of 3.6 seconds.
Other vehicles on display were the stylistic Aptera, eagerly awaited by several thousand enthusiasts who have $500 deposits securing their place in line. An Aptera representative told me yesterday they fully expect to be in production by the end of this year. This was sweet news to several people in attendance who are early in line for the car. An interesting note, as we were leaving just after dark, we got the see the Aptera driving toward us on the winding mountain road. The profile and lights were unlike anything we've ever seen. I can't wait to see my first Aptera cruising the 405 here in LA.
Another rare EV is Rick Woodbury's Tango from his Commuter Cars company in Spokane, WA. There were two of these narrow two-seaters parked side by side taking up about the same space as a single passenger car. Looks aside, these babies can move! Acceleration approaches that of the Tesla, and with the batteries keeping the center of gravity super low, the car can corner much better than you would think seeing its tall, narrow shape.
Ten Tesla Roadsters rounded out the high performance EVs providing some flashy color to the line up, and the many RAV4 EVs driven to the winery from around the Bay Area once again flouted the contention of Toyota that these cars would not last 5 years.
In addition to the cars were several high performance motorcycles from Zero Motorcycles and Mission Motors. I rode the Zero off-road bike last year and was astounded at the acceleration. I told one of their reps that they should videotape a Tesla/Zero race to see how long the Zero would hold off the Tesla. I'm pretty sure it can take it off the line.
The Mission Motors bike is a monster! I've been invited to test drive it, so rather than tell you anything here, I'll save that for its own post.
EVs aside, the purpose of the party was to raise funds for Plug In America. We were successful in large part due to the many donations of goods and services that we auctioned off, so thanks to all who donated and who bought the great items at the live auction and the on-line auction. Attendees of note included many luminaries, but Google's Larry Paige had to be the highlight from my perspective. His brother drove one of the Tangos, and Larry drove over in his Tesla. I can only wonder whether any traffic laws were broken on the drive over.
Our speakers this year included California Public Utilities Commissioner, Rachelle Chong, and Congressman Jerry McNerney (CA-11). Both were very positive on the outlook of plug-in vehicles, but it was Chong who got me excited. The Public Utility Commission isn't known for its advocacy of electric vehicles, but Chong impressed me with her personal passion for EVs stating that the PUC was going to be soliciting public input starting this month on charging infrastructure as well as EV-friendly electrical rates. These are very important issues that can accelerate or slow down implementation of plug-in vehicles. Knowing the PUC has on its agenda these two items gives me even more hope that EVs are imminent.
The momentum continues to grow!
From left to right, Felix Kramer's iconic PHEV Prius, Don Cox's red Tesla, followed by the bright orange Roadster and then one of the Tangos.
Zan hiding in shadow between two of Tom Gage's vehicles, the super fast t-Zero and a converted Toyota Scion xB, now called the ACP "E-Box". The E-Box is a real sleeper. Driving one of these around LA, you can smoke most Beemers off the line without a sound. It's running the same drive train as the t-Zero, the vaunted ACP 150.Here I am sitting in the cockpit of the cool Aptera. I hope to drive one soon so I can tell you all about it. Those who have driven it have been saying good things.