21c Test Pilot

Vol 1 Issue 2, May 1997

Produced by Acting Communications Chairman Marvin V. Rush


First Meeting

The EV1 club is up and running. Our first historic meeting took place on Saturday April 12 at the SCAQMD headquarters in Diamond Bar. Over 45 EV1s and their drivers attended. Seeing so many cars in one place was both historic and impressive. Many commented they had never seen another EV1 on the road.

In the parking lot Saturn unveiled the EV1 Road Show van. Under its canopy the land speed record EV1 was featured along with catered refreshments. Hughes and Delco provided 23 chargers for the club.

Mr. John Cox the Acting Chairman welcomed everyone and introduced Pat Ward, Team Leader for Saturn's Electric Vehicle Marketing Services. Diane Whittenberg of Edison EV presented an update on the charging infrastructure. Mark Selogie, Technology Chairman, Mark Sterner, Events Chairman and Marvin Rush, Communications Chairman also spoke.

After the formal remarks dozens of EV1 Drivers came forward and spoke about the EV1. Most told us how much they loved their electric car. Many were quite passionate about their vision for the future.

The meeting ended with an invitation to join. Our membership now numbers 37.

Bob Purcell, Mr. EV1

Futuristic Developer to Visit

How would you like to hear from the man in charge of the EV1? To hear him answer your questions and those of other EV1 Drivers? If this sounds like a dream, you're not alone.

In the spring of 1994 Bob Purcell came on board the EV1 project, which then was called Impact. The project had been shelved and was in danger of falling off the track to production. With Mr. Purcell's leadership our car navigated many hurdles. Without his guidance it is doubtful we would be driving the EV1.

Today Robert C. Purcell Jr. is the Executive director of General Motors Advanced Technology Vehicles. He is the man who is most responsible for the EV1 you now drive. Not only is he Mr. EV1 he is also in charge of other New Technology Vehicles at GM. This means he knows more about the big picture at GM than anyone else.

Bob will be our guest on May 17, 1997 at SCAQMD in Diamond Bar. He will be speaking and answering questions. This visit will be the best opportunity for all of us to learn what the future holds for our favorite electric car.

We will also have an infrastructure update from Edison EV and Field Service Engineers and Technicians will also be on hand to answer questions.


Earth Day Fest @ Polliwog

Saturday, April 19, 1997, just one week after our first meeting, we had our first public event.

The Sixth annual Earth Day Celebration. was sponsored by VOICE, Volunteers and Organizations Improving the Community's Environment, and the city of Manhattan Beach. Our participation started with a gathering at Polliwog Park. Drivers included Ed Begley, Newt Becker, Dave Hardin, David Hastings, Charles McColister, Lisa Mirasola, Marvin Rush, Robert Sariti, Bruce Sidlinger, Jay Sloate and Dr. Gene Zdenek.

Other EV1's were driven by Andrea Achille, Chelsea Bennett, Anne Eggen, Steve Fort, Tiffany Larsen, Rick Ostrov, Dave Parmentier, Robert Randall, Christina Rush and Dennis Young.

After a brief drivers meeting 22 EV1's were off. This is where the day got interesting. It proved difficult to stay together. By driving slowly we were able to regroup. We wanted to attract as much attention as possible.

Though the group became fragmented, most drivers carried on driving through the town and waving to the people on the street.

After our return Ed Begley who led the parade, spoke to the crowd about Earth Day and what each of us could do to protect the environment. Ed also advised the crowd to look for our yellow buttons. He explained that the EV1 Club buttons signified an EV1 driver. Ed encouraged the crowd to speak to the EV1 drivers who could tell them the real story of the car.

One highlight of the day was a raffle. There were over two hundred entries. The prize, courtesy of Saturn, was a free weekend with an EV1. The winner was Jennifer Burchell.

All in all, our first outing was a success and it included an historic, first ever parade of EV1's. Many thanks go out to our club members who participated and our friends at Saturn who also worked hard behind the scenes to make the outing a success. Special mention to Chelsea Bennett and Rick Ostrov who have boundless energy and enthusiasm. Thanks also to all the club members and their families who brought their cars and their smiles. Mission Accomplished.

Charging Protocols

Several Club members have brought up an interesting problem. The situation will arise as more and more EV1s venture out and begin using the public charging sites.

Imagine you pull up to a popular mall and both chargers are in use. You look at the display on one and it reads 60%. The other one is at 92%. The cord would reach the space next over where you are parked. You planned to be at the mall for about an hour and you need the charge to get home. What do you do ?

Don's answer is to have a card on the dashboard of every EV1 that uses public charging. On one side it says "I NEED A FULL CHARGE 100%." On the other side it says "YOU MAY UNHOOK AT 80%." Club member Don Devlin also suggested a clock face like people set in their windows to indicate when they will be back. Don proposed we discuss this at our next meeting. Sounds good to me.

Range Tips for Your EV1

by Marvin Rush

    The cruise control will do anything to keep you at the set speed. That means on hills the car will accelerate hard and on downhills it will go into regen. This wastes energy. Instead use a gentle touch on the throttle for up hill and allow the car to roll on downhills. Your speed will vary a bit but your range will go up.


    Before you leave think about the route you are going to take. If you can avoid hills without going very far out of your way then do it. Hills take energy and regen returns only 20% of the energy expended. Avoid hills for maximum range.


    Use the coast down button as a slowdown brake. When you are approaching a stop. Look far enough ahead to plan your stop. Let the car roll as much as possible. When you need to slow down use the coast down button to gently slow the vehicle. Finally as the need to slow down increases use the brakes. If possible use them gently. Good stopping requires planning.

    Get in the habit of looking ahead and slowing accordingly. Remember you only do these things when conditions and traffic allow. Always be prepared to maneuver or brake quickly to avoid an accident. Safety first.


    During normal driving on the freeway keep the coast down button off. If you are going too fast on a downhill use the coast down button to slow you down. For example, you are doing 65mph on the freeway and the road begins a downhill section. Let the car get up to about 69mph and then use the coast down button on the shift lever to reduce your speed back to say 63mph. Then release the coast down button and repeat the procedure. Always consider the traffic conditions before using this technique. Generally this is safe when traffic is light.


    Above 30mph the windows down creates more drag than running the fan at a low level. Also when using the fan be sure to set the ventilation button to outside air. This allows cooler outside air to enter the car. When it gets too hot use the lowest setting on the air conditioner.


    Parking in a shady spot will reduce the need for cooling when you get going again. Open the windows for a mile or so to let the cooler outside air cool down the interior. After a few minutes close the windows to help aerodynamics.


    On cold days parking in a sunny spot that is out of the wind will help keep the car warmer. If you can park facing the sun the large windows will act as a greenhouse to further warm the car. Warm car=warm batteries=more range.


    Drafting behind a larger vehicle can extend your freeway range. Large trucks create a zone of low pressure air behind them. This zone is about 3 car lengths long behind the truck. Race car drivers use this technique all the time. If you drive in this zone your wind resistance will drop about 30%. This is equivalent to a 25% increase in range. This technique requires a great deal of skill and concentration. It is very effective but it can be dangerous. At no time should you follow so closely that you cannot see and avoid danger. You must preserve your stopping room. Done carefully and with your full attention you can extend your freeway range.


Media Day BBQ?

Well this sounds like fun. Does this mean we get to roast all the TV reporters that just don’t get it? Who knows what will happen. Come to the meeting and you will help decide. The plan is for this to be our coming out party. A chance for us to introduce our club to the news, print radio and television people. If it goes well perhaps we will get some favorable press. As many of you know we were already featured in the LA Times when they covered the Earth Day Celebration in Manhattan Beach. The day isn’t only for the media. We will be having a Bar B Q and the families of all the members are invited.

Delco: the truth is out there

Little is known about this top secret organization. It is said that they have a metal room where they keep an EV1 with its skin torn off. Many strange electrical devices are hooked up to it and white lab coated scientists and engineers spend their days performing mysterious experiments on it. The EV1 club is launching an investigation of this. We will get to the bottom of it and you can help. Just bring yourself and your EV1 to Delco Propulsion on July 19, 1997. More details will follow.

Tell no one.

Internet Tip

Here's an internet tip from member Don Devlin.

Go to http://cyber411.vicinity.com/cyber411/mapit1.html and get the mileage distance from your home (or other place) to all Public Chargers. It takes about 15 minutes to get all of them. Maps and instructions how best to get there are included. Give it a try.

Scanned from the net...

GM CEO sees new electric car battery soon

CHICAGO, Reuters via Individual Inc.: General Motors Corp chief executive officer Jack Smith said Thursday the company expects a new battery for its EV1 electric vehicle to be on the market by the end of 1997 or early 1998.

The new battery could double the current 70-mile range between charges required by current lead-acid batteries, Smith said. But it will cost five times as much, he said after a speech to the Executives' Club of Chicago.

The new battery will be interchangeable with lead-acid batteries, he said.

Hospital Installs Charger

Laguna Hills, Calif.- Joining other Southern California businesses an Orange County hospital is now offering free EV charging, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Saddleback Memorial Medical Center in Laguna Hills came up with the idea to do so after cardiologist Richard Caso, began driving his General Motors EV1. Dr. Caso, a member of the EV1 Club, uses his car in his daily commute between his home, office and the hospital.

The hospital's chief operating officer, Nolan Draney, said "We're a community hospital. We thought this would be an investment in the environment of the community." The self-serve, free charging station is located in the parking lot in front of the hospital's emergency room.

EV charging equipment supplier Edison EV said it expects to put at least 30 more chargers in public locations such as restaurants, shopping centers and business complexes in the Orange County area by the year's end.

Edison offers $1000 Incentive

New EV1 owners to follow?

Rosemead, Calif. -- Edison International has earmarked one-half million dollars to give its employees even more reasons to buy or lease electric vehicles (EVs). As part of its employee incentive program, the first 500 employees to order purpose-built EVs -- not conversions -- will each receive $1,000 that may be applied toward the cost of the EV, registration, insurance, charger installation or at-home charging costs. The company also hosted a ride-and-drive event this week to expose all its employees to the economic and environmental benefits of driving an EV, and so they would be better prepared to answer customers' questions. Edison spokesperson Wendy James said, "All Edison employees, regardless of their primary work assignments, are considered by their friends and neighbors to be 'experts' on all things electric == including electric vehicles." Edison is also holding drawings that give employees a chance to commute to work in an EV for a week.

Don Devlin Speaks his Mind

Dear 21c TEST PILOT,

Several thoughts occur to me about the club and I would like to share them with you and the other officers of the club. It was of course pleasant and fun to see so many of the EV1 cars and owners. Outside of my EV1 and the Saturn Dealership I have never seen an EV1 anywhere before. It was also nice to hear such unanimous enthusiasm for the car. I share it completely. I hope always to have an EV from here on. I was shocked to see how old the lessees are as a group. Made me feel like a youngster again. The age of the group is in direct opposition to the general Idea held by almost everyone that the people with the car are young, hot, yuppy types. Of course they may be the ones that didn't show up.

I had intended to lash out at the meeting at what I believe to be the worst marketing campaign I have ever observed. I was prepared to make a forceful case. I was, behind the scenes, slightly involved in the marketing efforts for "Independence Day" which won the Movie industry award for best Marketing of a feature film in 1996. My son as I think you know co-wrote and Produced the film. I have spent more than thirty years with marketing of the films that I myself produced. Some of them were good some not so good but nothing compares to the poor marketing of the EV1 in my opinion.

On hearing the sweet, good natured, cheerleading remarks of everyone that preceded me (Ed Begley, excluded).I decided to refrain from saying anything that smacked of substance. (I was interviewed by the advertising agency people as I was getting into my Car and gave them a full dose of my negative opinions as to their campaign.) I did of course join the club but I can't imagine ever attending a meeting like that again. I've been a cheerleader for the car from the moment I leased it and for along time before that. I have however been more than a cheerleader. I have been an advocate for several of the things I think most of the EV1 owners want very much. I have been a strong advocate for the right to purchase the vehicle. I have been a strong advocate for the charging infrastructure. I have been an unrelenting advocate for the changeover to the advanced NiMH batteries and for the rights of the initial lessees to have them placed in their vehicles. I'm sure you know there have been rumors that even after the next generation of EV1 comes out with NIMH they might not be placed in the first generation. etc.etc. I have been requesting that GM break its deadly secrecy rituals and begin informing us of its thoughts, conflicts and decisions. Also that they use our input directly as one part of their decision making process. A website would allow us to know each others minds and concerns. Solid information could be delivered quickly to all of us.

That is also what I thought the EV1 club would be about. If this group takes no positions about substantive matters it will, I believe, be ineffective and dissolve quickly. The automobile companies have been fighting the electric vehicle movement for years. Chrysler and Ford still are and GM is of two minds. I hope this does not inhibit the club from becoming a forceful voice for our thoughts and Ideas. Thanks to you and the other officers for your time and energies.


Don Devlin

Editors Note:
The opinions expressed are those of the author.

21c welcomes all correspondence from members. All will be published, space available. e-mail to: mrush@concentric.net. Dissent is healthy