Sunday, February 6, 2011

Revisiting the scene of the crime

Chelsea Sexton organized a great meeting of Volt drivers yesterday at the GM training facility where Plug In America held its 28 day vigil back in 2005. Chelsea and others were loaned Volts as part of GM's "Customer Advisory Board", to give feedback on the car while it was being rolled out. Many others who have already purchased and taken possession of their Volts also showed up. In addition, Chelsea invited all EV drivers to participate, so around 100 folks showed up in 44 EVs.

Scenes from the film, "Who Killed the Electric Car?" of dozens of EV1s loaded on 13 transport trucks headed for the crusher in the AZ desert elicited strong emotions from viewers of the film.
Linda Nicholes, Plug In America's first president, is seen here holding back tears and saluting the cars as they leave for their fate in the desert.

It was hard for us to see back then how things would pan out exactly, although we knew the end game would be plug-in cars. We won some battles and lost some battles, but the war has been decided decisively in our favor.

The event drew 44 EVs consisting of some of the old RAVs, a Chevy S-10, a conversion and lots of Volts, LEAFs and a coil of Tesla Roadsters. After an hour spent relishing the moment, we mimicked the exit of the transport trucks with our own EVs turning right instead of left onto Riverside Drive with the destination Irwindale, CA where Southern California Edison has their Smart Energy Center. There, we were treated to a long row of Coulomb Technology charge stations situated under a sizable solar PV array. When I arrived, all the charge stations were occupied, so a friendly Volt driver, who didn't need to charge because he had the range extension, made room for my LEAF. Once hooked up and sipping sunshine at 3.3 kW, I knew I'd have plenty of juice to make the trip home.

SCE's, Ed Kjaer, arranged for his efficiency troops to give all of us a great tour of their smart grid display. If you live in the SoCal region, this is a must see. SoCal Edison is probably the most progressive utility when it comes to integrating plug-in cars into an advanced and efficient grid. It's not just the cars, but all your appliances that will be tied into the devices that will tell you how much your energy costs at a given moment, and how much money you will spend for each electrical device. I can't wait till everyone is hooked up to these devices and we can start reducing the horrible waste of which so many Americans are guilty.







  2. Wow how things have changed since 2005. Thanks for all your (and others) hard work to make this happen.

    "coil of Tesla Roadsters" Haha. Thanks Paul.


  3. Hey Anonymous, What's with the attitude? I was there. My LEAF charged on a Coulomb charger as did several other LEAFs and Volts. Were you there? No? Then please don't bring your nasty attitude to this blog.

  4. Hey Paul,


    How good this must all feel to Don't Crushers / PIAers who watched the EV1s carted off to oblivion. It feels great to me and I wasn't even there!

    And it looks really awesome too! ;>)

    EAA Reno, NV

  5. Thank you for all your good work and clarifying that the chargers are functional.
    D in SM

  6. I hope Chris was there with his cameras for Return of the Electric Cars...

  7. Thanks to all the Vigilantes for what they started in 05' and what they continue to do. No small feat.

    As we can see by some of the blogging we have a lot to do.

    Change habits and attitudes. No one should feel that EVs are being forced on them. We are just saying you will probably want one for many reasons. No worries. Unless you fear that fact that if you drive one you will want one. I can see me going to EV rehab. :)

  8. I was there in spirit. Revenge of the Electric Car! We're on our way!

  9. What a great walk down memory lane! Those of us on the ground in 2005 trying in vein to save the last remaining EV1s being held on death row at the GM Burbank facility -- we could never have imagined how all this would play out: An award winning film documentary in 2006 followed by major automakers turning the tide through EV design and production in 2011. Now when plug-in cars actually start gliding down freeways, into driveways and neighboring garages, we will know that our efforts have really come full circle.

    Congratulations to Chelsea for organizing a wonderfully nostalgic and informative gathering and to Paul for a typically terrific blog.

  10. This was a great event, I had to miss the section in Burbank but managed to get to the SCE Technology center tour and loved it.

    It was great to see Leafs, Volts, RAV4-EVs, an S10 pickup and the 'coil' of Roadsters all charging happily! Those Coulomb chargers were nice to see -- I'm curious to see how they age.

    So what does one call a group of Leafs? Is it a 'Tree' or a 'Pile'? ;-)

  11. Linda and Paul, pillars of the EV movement!

  12. That's a great report, good to see the turning from what occurred six years ago. I remember it well. And proof of what a great job PIA has been doing during this time.

  13. Thanks to Paul, Chelsea, Linda and many others who have spent tireless hours bringing the EV message forward to countless new and curious folks. Keep up the good work. Tg/Nissan

  14. more pictures of this event (including those mysterious chargers).

  15. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  16. Here are more photos, taken at both locations (this time the correct link):

  17. We just test-drove Paul's LEAF yesterday and officially placed the order for ours...can't wait for delivery, so I can start commuting to work using solar energy from the Solar City panels on the roof of our house, and STILL serving as net electrical generators to DWP. It's easy to go green, everyone! You just have to decide to do it.

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