The Trip Home (gas: $3.28/gal, electricity $0.10/Kw)

Posted in Aquisition at 10:29 am by Administrator

Brand New 1974 Chassis

March 28-29 2008 – Upon initial inspection the car looked fantastic! One broken window on the passenger side. The Odometer read 00157. This turned out to be actual miles on the drivetrain which wasn’t included. The 1974 VW Pan looked to be in like new condition. The drivers door was loose so we closed it and latched it.
The trip was smooth sailing right up to the point where we got on 406 and I heard a dragging noise. Apparently the Drivers side headlight was not actually connected to the car except by gravity. This caused the headlight to bounce up and out through the hole it is supposed to sit in, fall down under the car and get caught on something. Before I could get the jeep and car stopped, the scraping had ceased. I got out and checked for damage. One headlight assy, missing. The rest of the car seemed OKMost of the Car Made it Home I looked for the headlight, but to no avail. I got in the Jeep and reluctantly drove off. We made it out of LA alot faster then into LA, even with the car in tow. Down the grapevine, into the valley.
I had to stop for gas and a drink of gatorade. I inspected the car and everything was fastened down and I still had “most of the car” The rest of the trip was pretty smooth. We arrived back at the homestead on March 29 2008 @ 0230. I had a beer and read my mail. There was the book I ordered from Amazon with a picture of the author on the front cover. His name…
Michael Brown. I went to bed with dreams of passing all of the gas stations I saw on this trip.


The Aquisition

Posted in Aquisition at 7:31 pm by Administrator

Bradley On  Ebay

Drove to LA to pick up the Bradley GT II that I purchased on ebay! The reason I chose this particular vehicle is because of the light weight of the fiberglass body. The car was a kit in the late 1970’s early 80’s. Towards the end of its run, Bradley started producing electric conversion kits for the Bradley GT II and eventually started producing completed, turn key if you will, Bradley GTE’s. I thought ebay would be a good place to start and I found one! Albeit not electric, and it didnt have an engine or tranny. Still I bid on it and got it for $499.00
I decided that this would be a good trip for my mom who rarely gets to go anywhere as she cannot drive. We left the central valley at 0700, headed for LA and made all the way to the bottom of the grape vine in great time! No traffic jams, beautiful.

At the bottom of the “Grape Vine” we decided to stop and get a bite to eat. Since it looked like I would be running a little late (my reservation for my tow dolly was for 1200, and it was now 1130), I decided to call U-Haul in Gardenia where I had a tow dolly reserved, and let them know where I was so that they could continue to hold the dolly. I left the restaurant and walked to my Jeep; my own private phone booth, “No problem, the woman at U-Haul said. And it wouldn’t have been had I not locked my keys in “my own private phone booth”. I called up my roadside service and they said they would send someone but it will be 40 minutes. So thinking that it was only 40 min, I called U-Haul again and let them know that I was DEFINITELY going to be there and explained the details of the current situation. “Fine” said the woman, “Just let us know when you are on your way”. So we waited…
45 min had passed and still no tow-truck. I called my roadside service again and found out that the Truck was sent to the wrong place. They were looking for me in a city that was about 100 miles from my then, present location. They said they would send another truck, this time to where I actually was, but it will be another 40min. I said “OK send them”, then went in search of a coat hanger. While I was trying to open my Jeep with a credit card and a coat hanger (which I subsequently did), a very nice gentleman offered me the use of a very “special hammer” designed to break glass in case of an emergency where one may have to break out of ones vehicle. I opted for the credit card and coat hanger method.

I got the Jeep open, canceled the tow-truck, told the guy with hammer “no thank you”. I called both U-Haul of Gardenia and the guy I bought the Bradley from, Immo, to inform them of the current situation. I really was on my way. It was now 1400.
After climbing the Grape Vine, it suddenly occurred to me that “It is Friday and I should be entering L.A. right around 1630 “Rush Hour”. Who ever came up with that term has obviously never driven in “Rush Hour”. There is no rush except for the anxiety buildup within each of the vehicles occupants which are “stuck” in rush hour traffic, and it usually last from about four o’clock in the afternoon until sometimes seven thirty or even eight o’clock at night.
We arrived at the U-Haul in Gardenia before closing. I said “I made it!”, gave them my reservation number and they informed me that my reservation had expired as of NOON! “I know”, I said, “that’s why I phoned three times”. “Each time I was assured that all was well, and I had nothing to worry about”. A woman asked me “Who did you speak to?” and I said “I didn’t get her name, I didn’t think I would have to defend my courtesy call, but her voice sounded very much like yours” of couse this didn’t score many points. What can I say, I was tired.
The reality of the situation was sinking in. It was like watching all of my carefully laid plans unravel in front of me. I had just driven 300 mi only to find my reservation was canceled. Fortunately there was a dolly in the yard and I was able to rent that one. They did remind me that if I was going to be late I should call… it was at that point, I vowed to myself to never use U-Haul again… Er after this… and rented their Dolly for a two leg, one way trip home.
The first leg was to pick up the car. I called Immo to let him know that we were with dolly in tow and on our way. We arrived and loaded the car on the Dolly. I noticed the rear hatch was not bolted to the car, so Immo bolted it using 4 brand new bolts, washers, and nuts, a great start for my new EV project.

CARB’s Decision, Helped Make Mine

Posted in Aquisition at 2:07 am by Administrator

On March 27 2008, the California Air Resources Board met and decided, in spite of public opinion, that they were going to once again lower their own standards and conform to the auto and oil industries request to further boondoggle the general public into thinking , technology is too far behind to come up with a car which does not depend on their greed, and that we don’t have a choice. Thanks alot CARB; your decision prompted my decision, to show everybody I know, We do have a choice!
I had been thinking about the idea of an electric car for some time, and then I watched the movie “Who Killed The Electric Car” (another “special interest” moment in California’s Legislation history). One of CARB’s accomplishmentsI was determined to find and buy an electric car. This was a daunting task. I tried an on line search and discovered, certain auto manufacturers have links that say “electric car” but when you go there… (in one case) I was taken to a sight advertising Hummers…
This method of finding an electric car proved to be a futile one, but it showed me, the automobile industry realizes the need, but still wants to cram there over-powered gas hogs down our gullible collective throats.
I did discover that Tesla Motors www.teslamotors.com out of San Carlos CA has, in production, a roadster that is all electric, will go from 0-60 in less then 4 seconds, and has a range of 220 miles on a single charge. That is the car for me!
Even though I was truly elated to find out, the area I grew up in is where this pioneering spirit is taking place, I couldn’t fancy the idea of taking out a second mortgage to buy a car. Don’t get me wrong, if I could afford a Tesla Roadster I would buy one, and I really appreciate what the Tesla team has accomplished, and the business model they are using. I just can’t afford a $92,000 automobile right now.
I did more research and found, there are little companies that convert ICE (infernal* combustion engine) vehicles, into electric vehicles. One of these companies is Electro-Automotive in Felton, CA. I searched their website and many others for information on electric car conversion. I got excited, I ordered a book from Amazon called “Convert It!” I found myself checking all of the vehicles on the road, on my way to work, to see if any of them were “without exhaust pipe”, so far I havent seen one. I called Electro-Automotive and spoke to a man named Mike Brown. He was very accommodating, and answered all of my questions about the difference between AC conversion and DC conversion. I decided that I would be gaining much more knowledge from this experienced craftsman in the near future.
We keep hearing all of this talk about Hydrogen. I was a great advocate of the Hydrogen Powered vehicle until I realized the cost, and the time it will take to build an infrastructure to support it.
Then there was the idea of alternative fuels. Question: How much grain or corn does it take to make one car go 32 miles? We are already seeing the impact of our not exporting grain and corn. Nations are hording food. There are even recent instances of “rice rationing” here in the U.S. What kind of a monster would take food from people, so that he/she could go 32 mi? After much research I decided that the electric car is the most efficient, energy wise, and will fit my needs. I will need a car that can go from my home, to my work approx 26 miles, part of the route being at freeway speeds, sit in a parking lot for eight hours, and then take me back to my home (another 26 miles), at night, on one charge. Then, I could plug it into a 110 outlet and be ready for work the next day.
If I put solar panels on the roof of my home, which I also plan to do, I can have my transportation cost next to nothing. Sort of a DIY infrastructure.
Now with CARB’s decision I’ve decided… It is time to act! WE HAVE A CHOICE.

*not a typo