EV1 Club Meeting

Feb. 20, 1999

Infrastructure Updates
  • DWP (Helena Hsieh)

    Helena reported that the 1st phase of the Quick Charge program has been completed, resulting in 179 chargers (101 inductive) at 39 locations within DWP territory. They are now in the process of overhauling their web page to document all of the locations, including photos, Thomas Guide grid coordinates, hours of operation, and where needed, local maps for large facilities. They will also be going back to each charger site to insure that the proper signs are up to minimize ICE vehicle blockage of the chargers, and to install holders at the sites for public outreach brochures.

    Some specific location updates:

    • Getty Center - They are working with the plant engineer to coordinate with the reservations manager so that reservations for the EV charging slots are handled separately from normal reservations. Also, if an EV1 driver shows up without reservations, they will not be turned away if the parking spot is available.

    • UCLA - An EV1 driver was recently ticketed for parking adjacent to a blocked charging spot. This is being resolved so that further incidents can be avoided.

    • LA Zoo - The poor initial placement of chargers will be rectified, but at the moment, the staff is occupied with other matters. Patience is requested here!

    • LA DWP downtown - Someone pointed out that non-charging EV's were blocking these popular charging slots, so Helena said she would take care of these.

    • Other sites coming soon via the new EV Charge program are the Hollywood Bowl, Natural History Museum, beaches, the Citadel, Staples Arena. Paramount Studios, which apparently did not happen under Quick Charge (due to delays in their approval process) is back in the queue for EV Charge. In the plans for the future are City of LA sites, Griffith Park, Beverly Center, Dodger Stadium, and hotels (in partnership with Budget Car Rentals).

  • Edison EV (Enid Joffe)

    • Enid reported that more chargers will be going into Santa Barbara since their air pollution control board has extended their incentives program. In addition a prominent property developer is supporting the installation of chargers.

    • New sites include Legacy Restaurant in Hollywood, which will have a big official opening event in about a month. The two Disney hotels are also now operational.

    • Edison EV and GM are cooperating and submitting a response to a Postal Service RFP. This is a perfect application for electric vehicles, where ICE vehicles operate very inefficiently. The initial quantity is 500 vehicles, but a potential exists for several thousand dirty ICE vehicles to be replaced with clean electric technology.

    • Edison EV is looking into replacing certain chargers which often generate service calls. The will be reviewing their service records, but if you have a site which you feel is down excessively, please email Enid or Gloria.

    • Bad news - Excessive complaints by EV drivers of blocked chargers and claims by store managers that EV charging spots are sitting empty, denying stores of income, have caused Costco to pause and re-evaluate whether or not they should continue to install chargers. Enid will be asking for some support here, and for some positive feedback to be passed to store managers when you visit Costco.

    • Good news - A presentation was made to the management of Fry's Electronics to install chargers at all stores. This is looking very promising. A decision will be made when owner John Fry returns from Europe.

  • MSRC (Michelle Kirkoff)

    Michelle Kirkoff, head of the MSRC (Mobile Source Air Pollution Reduction Review Committee) reported their latest activity:

    • The MSRC $5000 buy-down incentive has been applied to 575 EV's thus far, but activity has slowed in anticipation of NiMH EV1's. The incentive applies to the EV1, S10, EV+, RAV4, Ranger, Altra, Solectria Force, and Chrysler EPIC van, and continues until June 31, 2001.

    • Since last summer, the MSRC has also been providing a charger installation buy-down incentive of $1250 for home chargers. This is administed by the California Energy Commission via the EV dealerships, and will continue until June 31, 2001.

    • The MSRC has now allocated about $150,000 for public outreach or advertising to raise public awareness about electric vehicle technology. Additional details will be reported when the program is worked out.

    • Progress on installing freeway signs continues, but slowly due to the number of bureaucracies involved. The Inland Empire will be the first trial area, with 100 combination inductive/conductive locations targeted. Each site will involve a sequence of signs beginning 1/2 mile from the freeway exit with "EV Charging Next Exit", then arrows pointing the way to the charger from the exit, and possibly additional signs on the property where the chargers are located. The universal icon for EV charging is still being debated by FHWA, so room will be left on the signs for the icon to be retrofitted.

    • The new EV Charge program is now getting off the ground, targetting new charger installations at major destinations (e.g. malls) near freeways, but also looking at private employment sites and new construction sites. The goal is to have chargers within 1/2 mile of the freeway every 5 miles along major corridors.

      Having learned from the Quick Charge program, the new EV Charge program will have a streamlined application/approval process as well as have very specific requirements put on the recipient of the chargers. The application materials can be found on the internet at http://www.planningcenter.com. Approval will take 6-8 weeks (as opposed to up to a year on Quick Charge), and the facility will have 6 months to install the chargers or lose them. They will also be required to specify what they will be doing to address enforcement of parking in the spaces.

News from Saturn and GM (Rick Ostrov and Tiffany O'Day)

  • NiMH initial delivery has been set for Saturday, March 13. 20-25 vehicles will be delivered, most to current EV1 owners (in order of purchase of their original vehicle), and some going to media or high-profile personalities, and some for new drivers to test the market demand.

    As of March, this event has been postponed until sometime in the summer.

    To upgrade, a current owner will pay a one-time $500 transition fee to start a new 36-month NiMH car lease at $499/mo. If the charger was purchased with the first car, the lease will be $449/mo. The startup cost will end up at $1700, which includes the 1st payment. If the lease is prepaid, this will result in a savings of about $1500.

  • New cars will be delivered with Gen 1 chargers until the current stock is depleted (expected to be in the summer or fall).

  • With the departure of Frank Pereira, Joe DiAntonio is the interim brand manager. He will be present for the NiMH delivery event. A big advertising campaign will start up in March and continue through the end of the year.

  • At the moment some supply issues (especially for batteries) still exist, but some cars are expected to be delivered in Northern California in April. No NiMH cars will go to the Arizona market, but when the high-capacity lead cars are delivered, priority will be going to Arizona.

  • A question regarding how sales were going got a response of 600 sold to date (up from 500 about 6 months ago). But sales have slowed as everyone is waiting to see the new cars.

  • A question about the specs for the improved batteries down the road got this:
    • 35 whr/kg - Delphi lead acid (current)
    • 70 whr/kg - GM-Ovonic gen 1 NiMH
    • 56 whr/kg - High-capacity lead, several manufacturers (Panasonic was neither denied nor confirmed)
    • 90 whr/kg - GM-Ovonic gen 2 NiMH (in testing)
    • 120 whr/kg - GM-Ovonic gen 3 NiMH (in the lab)

  • Tiffany O'Day provided more details on the '99 EV1 delivery event, which will be a luncheon at Universal Studios "Back to the Future" courtyard. It will be a media event and include a road rally through the Universal Studios back lot. This will be a high-tech rally, with laptop computers in each car to collect and display data on regen, cost per mile, etc.

    Formal invitations will be mailed out shortly. Special parking and additional chargers will be provided for EV1 drivers, but limited help will be available to take care of charging, so drivers will be expected to manage the vehicle charging themselves.

    Also coming up in April will be EV Expo which will be sponsored by GM and held at the 3rd Street Promenade. Details will be put on the internet as they become available.

Budget's EV Rental Program (Terry O'Day)

Terry O'Day reported that Budget Rent-A-Car began their EV Rental operation on December 15 with 9 EV1's and 2 Ford Rangers. Later 5 Honda EV+'s were added. In two months they have had 200 renters, averaging 100 miles/day. 15% were local drivers who wanted to try out vehicles, 50% were business visitors, and the rest were here for leisure. EV renters are required to spend 10-20 minutes with an EV rental specialist and receive a binder full of instructions and charger location information.

Rates start at $49.95/day, which is comparable to ICE vehicles, especially considering the driver need not pay for fuel (and he doesn't have to return it full either!).

Budget is aggressively pursuing the EV rental business, and is positioning itself as the "green" rental company. They have a website (http://evrental.com/), they have put up (at LAX) signs with pictures of the EV's, their personnel wear ad buttons, and audio ads play on their shuttle buses.

Currently they operate only out of LAX (EV1 drivers are welcome to charge at their facility), but later this year they will expand to Burbank Airport, Ontario Airport, Orange County Airport, Beverly Hills, Sacramento Airport, and Downtown Sacramento.

Budget is also looking into using an electric bus as a shuttle between the terminal and rental area, and the installation of solar-panel covered parking check-in areas. The solar power would be fed back into the grid in an arrangement with DWP.

Terry also brought along some video tape showing the great coverage they got from the TV networks.

EV1 Rally Planning (Mark Sterner)

Mark Sterner, who has taken up the task of arranging an EV1 road rally, discussed several possible variations to the normal (boring) EV range rally. Using additional instrumentation such as the Palm Pilot, he proposed a couple of more interesting variations, with the goals of not only getting public exposure for the cars and charging locations, but also to learn more about our vehicles.

  • Use time, distance, and energy consumption to compute a combined score of some sort over a short course.

  • Go for shortest time over a long distance. This would require planning the route, speed, charging locations, etc. This would probably take all day.

Due to lack of time, the ideas will continue to be discussed on the email list.

Miscellaneous Topics

  • Although Marvin Rush had to leave the meeting early, he announced that Automotive News was interested in doing "A Day in the Life of an EV User". Anyone interested in volunteering can call 313-445-0340 (or 0383 fax), or email kott@crain.com. (This notice will be updated when we are able to contact Marvin to get a bit more info).

  • Continuing a discussion which began on the email list, it was decided to move the normal meeting time up to 1PM and end earlier to allow drivers who live far away to get home at a reasonable hour.

  • Chris Reeves announced that Burbank is installing 4 chargers (eventually to be 14) near their city hall and will be creating an EV forum on a website to gather input from drivers as to where they should be placed and what signs are necessary.

    Chris also announced that in April Burbank will be having a parade with the theme of autos throughout the century. They will have 10 city RAV4's in the parade representing the 90's and are inviting drivers in any other types of EV to join the parade.

    Burbank is also providing some incentives to reduce the cost of charger installation (Disney and NBC are some examples) as well as incentives to reduce the cost of EV rentals at Burbank Airport to $25/day.

  • Greg Hanssen brought in some video tape of favorable EV1 coverage on the local ABC station. and some coverage by CNN.

  • Greg Hanssen suggested additional smaller, more frequent meetings between the current large meetings held once every two months. John Cox suggested that the committee chairmen arrange these as desired for their groups. These small meetings can then be more easily arranged. Further discussion of this will continue on the email list.

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