Category Archives: Event

2015 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS)

Known locally as “The Detroit Auto Show”. For this years show I was only really interested in 3 cars: The new Volt, the Bolt concept car, and what kind of treatment would my beloved FFE get? There wasn’t anything else “new” that I was interested in (or that I haven’t seen before)–at least with respect to plug in cars.
The new Volt: This car is really sharp compared to the old Volt. To my eyes it looks a bit sleeker and more modern. In addition there is sort of room for 3 in the back seat:
2016 Chevy Volt
2016 Chevy Volt
2016 Chevy Volt
2016 Chevy Volt
The Bolt concept car: This is GM’s 200 mile concept EV. I like the looks of it–to me it has a very similar form factor to the Ford Escape, or C-Max (although it is a bit smaller than either):
Chevy Bolt
Chevy Bolt
Chevy Bolt
The Focus Electric: Last year Ford had all their plugin cars off to the corner of the display, almost as an afterthought. This year the plugin section was a little more prominent in with the cars. As for the FFE: It was smack dab right in the center of the Ford display!
Focus Electric
Focus Electric
Unfortunately we decided to go to the show at the same time as everyone else from Southeastern Michigan and thus I wasn’t able to get many clear shots of any other cars of interest (not that there were many more of interest than mentioned above). Tesla only had Model S’s on display of which all of them were packed with people.
Tesla Model S
A few other items to note: Aside from GM having the Volt/Bolt up on a prominent display and VW mixing the eGolf with the other Golf’s most other manufacturer’s plugin cars were off to the corner, almost as an afterthought. Even Nissan had their only Leaf way in the back of their display.
Nissan Leaf
The other observation was the demographic of people taking pictures: Those taking pictures of plugins tended to be younger college age (especially around the less expensive plugins like the Leaf or the Smart car). Those taking pictures of your typical ICE vehicle were more middle aged (except for Tesla–everyone was taking pictures of Tesla’s).

GM Takes a big step forward, Ford a few steps backwards

Today and tomorrow are the press preview days at the North American International Auto Show. First up on the block was GM/Chevy with a big announcement: the new Volt 2.0 and a “Bolt” concept car:
This is huge: Chevy showing a 200 mile BEV for around $30,000. If GM can get this guy to production before Tesla’s Model 3 then GM will own the BEV market (and before the Leaf 2.0 which is also rumored to have at least 150 miles of range). Announcing these new vehicles at a time of record low gas prices does show that GM, at least, does get it. GM does understand that EVs are the future (or at least that the future is going to include all sorts of alternatively powered cars, not just ICE).

In contrast, what did Ford show off today? Performance vehicles: The new F-150 Raptor, a race ready Mustang GT350R, and it reintroduced the GT halo car. Granted both the GT and the F-150 will be powered by an Ecoboost V6 instead of a V8 (much to many gear-heads disappointment). Also granted that Ford does have a full stable of vehicles and customers (probably more ICE customers than BEV customers anyway! LOL) but its been a long time since the Blue Oval has released any encouraging electrification news (There have been no substantial changes to any of their plugins for a good 3 years now–FFE, C-Max Energie, and Fusion Energie).

Realistically, looking at the timing of my lease, if I were to hope to get anything new it would have to be announced this winter as anything announced next winter would go into production long after my lease is up. I can still hope Ford will announce something EV related at the Geneva auto show in March. That show, however, is for the global market and anything announced there would not be sold in North America within the lease time period either. Which leaves me with a huge question mark come next year: What will my next car be (reasonably sure it will be a plugin)?

Going green by….painting?

Ford has partnered up with artist Trina Merry to paint their plugins and people to match their surroundings in an effort to showcase the “greenness” of the cars:

The good news here is, of course, that they actually show an FFE! This is one of the very few times where I’ve seen Ford include the FFE along with the Energi vehicles.

Maybe, just maybe Ford will promote the FFE more?? Naaahh what was I thinking…!! LOL

Update: They’ve produced a video only on the FFE:



Go Play on the Freeway they said!

This post is only tangentially related to EVs: The road.

One of the major freeways in the Detroit area is I-96. It runs through the heart of downtown and many of the western suburbs. Completed in 1977 it is heavily used and by the 2010s or so it was in dire need of some repairs (like much of Michigan’s infrastructure). Michigan’s Department of Transportation (MDOT) asked local residents and businesses their opinion on how to proceed with the re-build. The public was given two options: Completely close the freeway for a summer or extend the work over several years (most likely 3) using single lane closures (the work would also include rebuilding many of the bridges over the section being rebuilt). The public overwhelmingly chose the shorter option: complete closure for a season. Thus back in April of this year a 6 mile section of I-96 was closed and work started on the rebuild immediately.

Tomorrow (9/22) the road opens back up bright and early for the morning commute. Before the opening, however, MDOT decided to hold a small “party” out on the road surface and invited everyone in the greater Detroit area to come and join in…and boy did they! (Hence the reason for this post.) We did drive the FFE to the event so I guess it is EV related.
I-96 and all the people!
I-96 and all the people!
I-96 and all the people!
I-96 and all the people!

Happy commuting!


Drive Electric Week–Ann Arbor

This year the National Plug In Day event, er sorry Drive Electric Week, for Southeastern Michigan took place in Ann Arbor at Briarwood mall. This is a very popular mall with a lot of traffic–a much better location than behind a parking structure at a community college where last year’s event took place.

In addition, this year the timing worked out for me: The event was originally planned for Saturday but there is a U of M football game on Saturday (many people attending the game park at the mall and take the shuttle and traffic near Ann Arbor on game days is a nightmare). I would not have been able to attend the Saturday event with my son’s sports schedule.

Now on to the event; I loaded up the FFE with some EVSE’s and a table to display them all:
Loaded up
Arriving just prior to the official start I setup my display:
All set up
The EVSE table
On display I had the Juicebox, a Clipper Creek LCS-25P, and the Ford Level 1 charger. I was surprised to learn that many of the EV drivers haven’t heard of the Juicebox. This was most likely due to the fact that the majority of cars that showed up were Volts which doesn’t need much more than what came with the car (in fact many of the Volt drivers just used the included Level 1 charger).

The car tally for the event was:

  • 1 C-Max Energi
  • 1 Jet Electrica
  • 3 Tesla Model S
  • 2 Focus Electrics
  • Half dozen or so Volts
  • 3 Battery Scooters
  • Many battery bicycles

Shortly after setting up I was asked to assist with placing the signs around the mall. I only mention this small detail because we used a Tesla Model S to drive around and place the signs–my first and only ride in a Model S. What struck me the most about the Model S was how similar an experience it was to riding around in the Focus Electric. Now before anyone gets all bent out of shape, think about it a little bit. They are both EVs and they both exhibit all the common qualities that makes everyone love an EV: the smooth and quiet ride. As far as acceleration: Yeah the Model S has that in spades (and this was only a 60) over the FFE.

During the show/event I noticed that when people would show up to see the cars they tended to gravitate to my small display first. I’m not sure if that was because I had a lot of stuff to look at with the EVSE’s on display, that I was always by the car, or simply because of my car’s color. I did get a few comments on the color and how striking it looked compared to the other cars on display (most of the other colors: The Ford’s were their Ice Storm color, the Volts and Model S’ were various colors of: Silver, Black, White, etc.).

I would estimate that throughout the day I spoke with about a dozen people. Some happened to be driving by the mall and noticed the cars, some were already going to the mall for other reasons and noticed the cars, the remaining few (about 3 or so) actually looked up the event online and came specifically for the show. All of the discussions were positive–I may have even sold an EV or two (perhaps even an FFE–there was a gentleman and his friend who were really interested in everything about the FFE).

If you’re still reading this far, you’re probably thinking: Enough blabbing already! More pictures. Ok here is the Jet Electrica:
Jet Electrica
Jet Electrica

Here are the converted electric bicycles: (These were very popular with everyone taking at least one for a spin.)
Electric Bicycles

Finally, some wide shots:
That's it
In the lot near Sears
Model S

On the whole everyone seemed to agree that it was a good turnout (given the fact that the date changed only two days ago) and it was much more visible being at a popular mall right by the busiest entrance.


Drive Electric Week Event

I’m off to the Drive Electric Week event in Ann Arbor. Hopefully I’ll be able to update the post throughout the day as the one or two people show up.
All packed up:

I have a table that I’ll use to display some EVSE’s (The Ford one, a Clipper Creek, and the JuiceBox).

Update 1: sitting here with two FFEs, two Volts, a C-Max Energi, and a Tesla Model S. That’s right FFEs here outnumber Leafs (0) and Teslas!

Update 2: lots of Volts, 3 Tesla Model S’s and about 6 curious passers by (a couple mentioned they showed up specifically for this).

(pictures will be posted later.)

Update 3: Back from the event and well rested now. Time for a proper post about the event. I did learn that:

  • Updating the blog in bright sunshine using a mobile device is near impossible
  • I was much more busy than I had thought I would be and thus didn’t have time for artful blog posts.



Michigan EV Show & Rally

Today was the Michigan EV Show & Rally (mentioned in a prior posting). This is an EV show given by a local community college. I went to this show about 3 years ago. At that time there wasn’t many production EVs available (I think the Volt had just been released at the time). The show resembled Maker Faire more than it did an EV show with all the custom conversions.

Today’s show was a lot different, there were may production EVs on display (and the mix resembled the mix of EVs that I see every day on the road here in Southeastern Michigan). They were handing out this chart showing available EVs (it looks a little dated).

As far as the vehicles that were there:
and more Volts:
Oh wait, there is a Leaf in there and waay in the back is an i3.
In fact there were two i3s there both were unsold and presented by a local BMW dealer (although the dealer’s location is at least 50 miles from the college–I strongly suspect that the two pickups with car hauler trailers in the parking lot was how the i3s got to the show):
i3 on the left at one of the College’s four Chargepoint stations (C-Max Energi on the right; there was 3 C-Max Energi’s there).
Ok but wait: Wasn’t there an FFE there? Well yes: mine but mine wasn’t on display–was there one on display?
Can you spot the FFE?
Well yeah its really easy to see the FFE, and the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid (which is kind of goofy here: The show was mostly for EVs–at least the plugin variety. Lincoln doesn’t have a plugin yet).
What else was there? This cool converted S-10 pickup:
S-10 EV
A couple of full size hybrid pickups (presented by power companies interestingly enough)(Yes that is a Cadillac ELR in the background):
Dodge Hybrid
Here is the aforementioned Cadillac ELR:
Leafs were also plentiful:

Like I said: The mix matched my daily observation of EVs on the road here in Southeastern Michigan: Many Volts, a few Leafs, one FFE, a few C-Max Energi’s, one Lincoln MKZ, a couple of i3s (although I haven’t yet seen one on the road). Strangely enough there wasn’t any Tesla’s there (either Roadster or Model S–I was there pretty early–I arrived just as it opened at 9am and cars were still showing up so it is possible that a Model S and/or Roadster showed up later).


2014 Michigan Electric Vehicle Show

On June 7 is the Michigan Electric Vehicle Show at Schoolcraft college.

Michigan EV Show


Click here to see Schoolcraft college on a map.


National Plug in “Day” has grown…

National Plugin Day has grown: This year it is now National Plugin Week!

If you recall, last years event around here wasn’t that big. Maybe this years will be different.

Perhaps you may even see me there…?


A Tesla first…

Big news today in the Tesla world: A first ever cross country trip using only Tesla Superchargers was completed this weekend by a father daughter team.

You can read up on their adventures in the Tesla Motors forums here.

The story is very interesting and very well planned: Some of the Superchargers were not even available yet when they started the journey! Very brave souls indeed.

If you look at the Supercharger map currently the only way to go from NY to LA is via a circuitous northern route via Chicago, South Dakota, down through Colorado and Arizona–a very long drive to say the least but through some of the most scenic areas of the country. Many on that forum are proclaiming this as a historic moment like the first trip from NY to Paris by plane, etc. I don’t think I would go that is historic as far as EVs are concerned though.

Kudos to John and his daughter for having the time, courage and energy to try it.

Hopefully soon there will be other long range EVs that will be able to easily accomplish the same feat (I might add affordable to that as well).

Looks like some media is picking it up:

Green Car Reports

Daily Kos

Inside EVs

Update: Now Elon Musk will be taking the trip as well.

Update 2: The story is now on Tesla’s website.