21c Test Pilot

Produced by
Communications Chairperson
Marvin V. Rush

Vol 1 Issue 8, November 1997


Round 3 to EV1 Club

It's time to celebrate a victory and a hero. During the past month a virtual 'letterstorm' erupted as a result of the revelation that Trader Joe's was supporting the forces against EV's. (Trader Joe's is a popular L.A. boutique food store, specializing in unusual foods and beverages at excellent prices.)

Constance Chesnut with help from several members of the EV1 Club initiated a letter writing campaign to confront Trader Joe's on this issue. There were many letters sent. Several expressed personal outrage and vowed a personal boycott of Trader Joes. Others raised the possibility of going to the media with the story. Here is an excerpt of what was sent:

Mr. John V. Shields, Jr.
CEO Trader Joe's

Dear Mr. Shields,

This letter to you is in response to Patricia St John's letter to me regarding my inquiry about Trader Joe's support of Californians Against Hidden Taxes, an organization parading as a taxpayer protest organization whose main purpose is to prevent the infrastructure of the electric vehicle technology from developing thereby preventing a competing source of fuel for automobiles. As a long time customer and Trader Joe's enthusiast, I was shocked and disappointed by the tone and content of your remarks.

With the exception of you and the oil business, the overwhelming response of most people, and many business and municipalities to the electric car has been very positive. Many cities and businesses such as Ralph's, Bristol Farms and Costco have installed chargers for electric cars. We drivers go out of our way to support those businesses.

The oil business has received many billions of dollars from government subsidies, tax breaks, the occasional military intervention, publicly financed toxic clean up and heath costs from resulting pollution. Have you spoken out against these "hidden taxes"?

The use of electric vehicles will help reduce pollution for everybody, not just the drivers of electric vehicles. This is new technology and needs support. You should be installing chargers for us, not fighting us.

This is a matter of concern to many individuals and organizations who care about clean air and the environment, not just EV1 drivers. Trader Joe's has a reputation as an enlightened corporation concerned about the environment. I and many other electric vehicle drivers, as well as the members of many other environmental organizations, are customers of Trader Joe's and spend a lot of money there. So far, I have informed only the members of the EV1 club (most of them TJ customers) about your remarks.

They were also appalled about the tone and content. I will wait until I hear from you before informing other people who care about clean air, other environmental groups, and the media about your position and your attitude. I await clarification of your position on this matter.

Constance Chesnut

The response follows:

Trader Joe's Company
Corporate Office
Unique foods and beverages at prices everyone can afford.
PO Box 3270 * 538 Mission St. South Pasadena, CA 91030
Ph# 626- 441-1177 *Fax 626-441-9573

Oct. 22, 1997

Dear Ms. Chesnut

I must admit that I have let my personal bias against all forms of mandates color my judgment. I have requested Californians Against Hidden Taxes to remove all mention of Trader Joe's Company endorsement from their correspondence and advertising.

Sincerely yours,

John Shields
Chairman & CEO

Clearly Constance wields a mighty pen...you can too! Congratulations to all who wrote a letter or phoned. If you agree please sign and mail this months letter to Trader Joes. Perhaps we can turn them into active supporters.

Hooray for Sacramento

Great news! EV1 Brand Manager Frank Pereira has decided to lease our cars in Sacramento. This marks the first expansion out of the original sales area.

To the naysayers it shows GMs continuing commitment to make a business out of electric cars. It also means more club members for us. Having a presence in the state capitol is vital. In the near future California legislators and the governor will be seeing EV1s on the road around town. It's much harder to ignore our movement if it passes you at a stoplight.

One of the nice aspects of moving to Sacramento is the commitment of the local utility. Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) has been a leader in electric transportation for years. The charging infrastructure is already partially installed and waiting for cars to use them. Twenty nine chargers are up and running now and fifty more are planned before years end.

Another recent development is roadway signs for EVs. Today the EV1 driver has no easy way of knowing where the nearest charger site is located. In the near future this is what you will be seeing:

$500,000 dollars has been allocated for the signs and the design is rapidly approaching final approval. The plan is to cover the local freeways and surface streets with direction and distance signs that will lead us right to the chargers.

EV1 Frequently Asked Questions

How Far Can You Drive?

I have 2 driving techniques for the EV1: economy mode which has given me up to 80 miles range of freeway driving at 65-70 mph, and a “let’s see what this thing can do” mode around town that yields a range of 45-50 miles. This has proven to be more than satisfactory for my needs. After almost a year and 9,000 miles on the odometer, I have yet to “run out of juice.” The large number of new public charging stations coming on line will allow drivers to extend their range. As of 10/17/97, over 150 public chargers are available at many locations such as Ralphs, Costco, shopping malls, theaters, and even Texaco stations, with more being installed every week. An 85% recharge can be obtained in 45 minutes. New chargers are coming that can do the job even faster.

PUBLIC CHARGING IS FREE. New batteries will be introduced early in 1998 that will double the current range. The EV1 is ready to accept the new batteries with a minor software update.

How Fast Will It Go?

The top speed is electronically governed to 80 mph, ostensibly for safety reasons. However, the EV1 is capable of much more - test cars without the governor have done 183 mph. It’s QUICK! Zero to 60 in under 7 seconds.

Is It a Saturn?

No. The EV1 is the first car to car to carry a GM badge. It is a “General Motors EV1.” GM selected Saturn to market and service the car because of high standards of customer satisfaction Saturn dealerships have achieved.

What Maintenance Is Required?

Basically, none. A free 5,000 mile tire rotation is recommended. There is no oil or other fluids to change. The AC induction motor has only one moving part and requires no service. There is no transmission.

How Much Does It Cost?

The EV1 is currently only available for the lease price of $349/month plus $50/month for the 220 volt home charger. GM is undecided as to whether to sell the cars at the end of the lease, largely due to government regulations that would require GM to support the car for 15 years. Due to the rapidly evolving nature of electric and other advanced vehicles, GM may not wish to support the EV1 that long. Many EV1 drivers want to purchase their cars, and some sort of limited liability waiver may be in the works that would make a purchase possible.

I see collector potential in this car and would like to eventually own it.

What Happens If You Run Out of Charge or Need Help?

After becoming familiar with the range limitations, it's easy to organize trips that will prevent this from happening. If you do run out of charge or have a breakdown, free unlimited roadside assistance is available. Drivers that have experienced problems have reported a high standard of roadside assistance. My EV1 has been extremely reliable.

How Many Batteries Does It Have - How Do You Recharge?

There are 26 advanced lead-acid batteries located in a special tray that is removed from under the car for service. The batteries are in a sealed cage that forms a “T” running down the center of the passenger compartment and behind the seats. There is an additional battery to run the a/c fan, power windows, sound system, lighting system. All batteries are charged together when the plastic charging paddle is inserted into the receptacle in the front of the car. Slip it in, walk away. The GM MagneCharge system is magnetic-inductive. There is no metal-to-metal contact, no chance for electric shock, unlike the conductive system proposed by Ford, Honda, and others. Charging can be safely done in all weather conditions. The batteries have no “memory” problem like Ni-Cads, and can be topped off regardless of remaining charge level. When the car is at home, I leave it plugged in.

How Much Does It Cost to Recharge the Batteries?

I have a separate electric meter for the EV1 charger so I can monitor my energy costs. I have averaged $17 per month, and am driving approximately 1,000 miles on $17 worth of electricity. Charging at public chargers is free for at least the next several years, but eventually, drivers can expect to pay nominal fees.

Scanned from the Net...

GM to develop environment-friendly cars

October 22, 1997. The chief of General Motors Corp. (GM) said  the U.S. auto giant would try to develop environment-friendly vehicles by minimizing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions harmful to health and seeking to improve their fuel economy.

GM Chairman John Smith told a news conference in Tokyo the world's largest automaker would increase its research and development expenditure to this end. "General Motors shares everyone's concern for the environment, and, of course, the world is focused on the outcome of the Kyoto environmental conference" in December, Smith told reporters.

"We have already introduced the world's most technologically advanced electric vehicles in the United States and are working on several alternative sources of propulsion," he said, referring to marketing of the EV-1 vehicles propelled by electric power.

Smith vowed to reveal the outcome of GM's latest technological innovations in the field of antipollution technology during the North American International Auto show in Detroit next January.

EPA Report Shows Substantial Benefits of Clean Air

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released a report showing that from 1970-1990 the public health protection and environmental benefits of the  Clean Air Act exceeded the costs of its programs by a wide margin, reports Environmental News Network.

The EPA found ­ if the Clean Air Act hadn’t been enacted ­ 205,000 Americans would have died prematurely and millions more would have suffered heart and respiratory illnesses during those two decades. The EPA estimates total monetary benefits of Clean Air Act programs ranged from about $6 trillion to approximately $50 trillion, averaging $22 trillion.

The estimates represent the value of avoiding dire air-quality conditions and the resultant dramatic increases in illness and premature deaths that would have prevailed without the Act. By  contrast, actual costs of achieving the pollution reductions over the same 20-year period were $523 billion, which represents a better than 40-to-1 return on investment.

Gasoline Consumption @ Record Levels

Washington, D.C. Gasoline consumption in the U.S. averaged a record 336 million gallons per day for the first eight months of 1997, partly because car buyers are shunning fuel-efficient models, reports the Associated Press. While some cars such as Chevrolet’s Geo Metro achieve 46 mpg in combined city/highway driving, new statistics from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency say nine out of ten 1998 vehicles get less than 30 mpg and nearly one-fifth get less than 20 mpg.

Overall fuel economy for all passenger vehicles has dropped from an average of 26.2 mpg 10 years ago to 1996‘s average of 24.9 mpg, mostly from increased purchases of light trucks, minivans and sport-utility vehicles. One group lobbying federal legislators against tighter fuel-economy standards claims the top ten most fuel-efficient cars on the EPA’s list represent only seven-tenths of one percent of all new car sales, because consumer interest in fuel economy is declining.

EV1 Frame will use exotic Metal Matrix Composite in 1998

IRVINE, Calif  Oct. 16, 1997. Alyn Corp., producer of high-performance Boralyn and other proprietary advanced metal matrix composite materials, announced the signing of an agreement with the Advanced Technology Vehicles Division of General Motors Corp. to provide a major part of the frame for the EV-1, General Motors' entry into the consumer electric vehicle arena.

Alyn will use its proprietary precision pressure casting technology and Boralyn material to manufacture the cradle section of the frame, bringing the advantages of lighter weight and better material properties to the structure. Alyn will be the sole source supplier for the EV-1 cradle commencing in the first half of 1998.

Alyn designs, develops, manufactures and markets consumer and industrial products utilizing its high-performance Boralyn material and other proprietary advanced metal matrix composite materials for a variety of selected markets.

Editors Note:  Boralyn is a very exotic composite.  Until recently it was a classified defense only material. As Bob Purcell says, "this IS rocket science."

Revised Public Charging Protocols

by Don Devlin, Chairman Infrastructure and Protocols Committee

These protocols apply to public charging.  They are designed to help us share the public charging resource with other EV1 drivers and in the future other vehicles using the MagneCharge system.

#1: REMOVING THE PADDLE. All EV1 drivers may feel free to remove the charging paddle from  another EV1 if the charger indicator shows 80% or more unless the driver has indicated on his dashboard that he needs a lesser charge  or a greater, 90% charge.  A 90% Charge would be the MAXIMUM a driver could request. Hopefully this situation  will occur very infrequently but it could mitigate an intolerably long wait to begin a charge. It is hoped that 80% or less will suffice in most cases.

#2: INSERTING THE PADDLE. When leaving a charger the Paddle should, without fail, be inserted into the charging receptacle of another EV1 that is in an adjoining or otherwise reachable slot.

Notes for Protocol #2: Common sense and courtesy should dictate an EV1 drivers actions in most charging situations. Unlike gas propelled vehicles, EV drivers will have to think about the situation they are in as to how it will effect other EV drivers  who may arrive at the same charging location. " Do unto others..."should suffice nicely. .  For instance, in a situation where there is only one charger and the paddle can not reach another slot, the driver should return to his car at the earliest possible time to move his car to another slot or to leave.  On most occasions the drivers should not allow their car to be charging more than two hours in order to make room for other drivers.  If Gas run cars are in the EV slots, management should  be notified and some notice  attached to the offending car, preferably by the management. Some establishments have even elected to tow the vehicles away or to another  more appropriate slot.

SUPPORT THE INFRASTRUCTURE. During this early stage of the charging infrastructure we are faced with many contradictions.  Two EV1s wanting a charge where there is but one Charger creates a problem and an unfortunate inconvenience.  Yet many of the places where Chargers are located complain that the Chargers  are barely used at all. Some say they've never seen an EV1 charging. Therefore it is requested that EV1 drivers try to go to establishments to both support those entrepreneurs and to show themselves as customers and users of the chargers as often as possible even when not absolutely necessary. It boils down to; use the chargers as frequently as you can and be aware of the other driver's needs.

The goal of all EV drivers and others should be to make the EV chargers ubiquitous. When this is the case there will be no need for charging protocols.

Editors Note: We are in process of obtaining new Cards that will replace the present cards that say 80% on one side 100% on the other with  a two sided card that WILL NOW SAY that the driver needs a 70% charge on one side or a 90% charge on the other.

Enid Joffe with EV EDISON kindly consulted with the Protocols committee and agreed to place the two protocols in some clearly seen manner on the chargers themselves. Enid has also decided the time is right for legislation to protect the 'Electric Only' slots from non electric usurpers. We will make efforts to have all new EV1 drivers receive these protocols from the Saturn Dealers and specialists.

Letter Writing Tools

by John Cox, Chairman EV1 Club

Here are some bullet points that can be included in letters to cities and other target audiences. They were provided by the Planning and Conservation League Foundation.

EV1 Owner Comments

Don't be Fooled by Astroturf (Fake Grassroots) Groups Funded by Big Oil


1. '1997 Air Quality Management Plan,~ South Coast Air Quality Management District.

2. "1994 California State Implementation Plan for Ozone, Volume 11, Mobile Source and consumer products Elements Page I-17. Chart of on-road improved control technology measures. Only heavy-duty diesel measures and accelerated requirements for Ultra-Low Emission Vehicles get greater emissions reductions.

3. .'Driving out Pollution: The Benefits of Electric Vehicles," Union of Concerned Scientists, November 1994

4. "Money Down the Pipeline: Uncovering the Hidden Subsidies to the Oil Industry," Union of Concerned Scientists, September, 1995

5. Domestic Fuels Alliance

6. ~Oil Imports, Taxpayer Subsidies and the Petroleum Industry," Citizen Action, May 1995


We have heard from GM that all the slogan words have been used in other car ads.  I would love an ad that had a full body shot of the EV1 with:

(and then in very small print.)
No oil changes
No tune-ups
No stops at the Gas station
No oil spots on your driveway

No Spark plugs, carburetors, fuel pumps,
air filters, catalytic converters,
mufflers or smog.

I think that it would be great. There has been such a movement lately to simplify our lives. And quite honestly that was a major motivation for me with our first conversion.  I really got sick and tired of dragging a car to some indignant "service" station every few months for an oil change, smog check or some problem or another. The EV1 has been and I expect to be by far the least service intensive car I will have owned.

Another idea for an ad would be to have a picture of the EV1 on a golf course with

"This isn't your father's golf-cart"

GM has done some beautiful photography in their brochures, but we no longer see those type of graphical ads. Which is what grabs people visually. We all know it is the visual that people spot when we are driving down the street. Then point excitedly to and shout to their friends "There's an electric car!" I kind of like making peoples/kids day. You know they go home and tell others that they saw an electric car today. ;-)

Sandy Kapteyn

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