We’ve had a little time to recover and the post event depression is lifting. In these type of events, I spend five or six days, shall we say, overstimulated AND overserved of the humble leakage from my garage still at the same time. Post event, I’m pretty much a collapsed heap.
But things are brightening a bit now as I recover and indeed it would appear EVCCON 2012 can be declared a modest success. Just prior to the event I did an interview with local reporter Jacob McLellan on a local show called Cape Chronicles. Shared herewith, in all modesty I thought I sounded very good on this show. A little perkier before than after.
Many of you had requested video of the event. I can’t host the event AND shoot video and more to the point, post event I don’t have time to WATCH that much video, much less edit it. So my reply was that it wasn’t happening. I loathe the NO word actually and so gave it some further thought. We hired Andrew McClary who is starting his own competing video called Electric HotRod Television to come up from Florida and shoot the event. Andrew uses a bit of a different technique taking many short shots and then artfully blending them together into kind of a montage. Narrative is not apparently his strong point. But the purpose was to give you a good feel for what EVCCON FEELS like. And I think he did a marvelously artful job of it. I fear THIS is the kind of video you wish we did. It can never be. But I get it. It’s eye candy.
Anne Kloopenberg of New Electric in Amsterdam gave one of the more interesting sessions on electric boats. As George Hamstra was showing off his new Netgain Impulse 9 Outboard Motor at the event, interest in electric boats is picking up. We’re circling the concept of doing a boat project. I think this can be HUGE. I suspect the electric boat building world will actually in some ways eclipse electric car conversions. The advantages are just to obvious, and the boat guys too willing to spend, for this not to have life. There are some slightly different metrics with boats having to do with motor duty cycle and of course the marine environment. But I’m picturing a little Speedster of the water and I can’t get the image out of my head.
In any event, Anne (pronounced AH-NAH) has travelled a long ways TWICE now to EVCCON and is becoming one of our more effective supporters of the event. We’re hoping that like Noah, he marches Europeans two by two onto his ark and brings them over for 2013. Remember Anne – west to the Gulf of Mexico – right turn and merge onto the Mississippi, – we’re the first house on the left after the bridge.
In any event, he did a video on the “grudge match” which was between the two EVWEST attendees, our former intern Matt Hauber and his partner Michael Bream. They had some weeny excuse for not bringing their car and instead brought a ziplock bag full of differential parts from it to show. But they lined up on the drag strip with Hauber in my over drive trained 57 Speedster and Sebastian Bourgois’ Porsche 911 with TWO Netgain Warp 9’s in it.
Anne captured this race on video.
Incredibly, my Speedster with Hauber at the wheel creamed the Porsche 911 with TWO Netgain Warp 9’s on board by two car lengths at 14.4 seconds. Lots of grousing about the controllers not being set up correctly on the Porsche. WHATEVER….. The owner has QUITE a bit of pull around EVnetics as I recall. Excuses are for girls. And then too, the Speedster is easily 600-700 lbs lighter. On the dynamometer, the little Speedster cranked up 160 HP while the 911, after some serious adjustment to the controllers, wowed the crowd at 356 horeepower.
The dynamometer, a last minute addition at no small expense, was a HUGE hit. After the sun set, a group of guys migrated to the beer trailer, conveniently located right next to the dynamometer. And then they started cheering and betting on outcomes as one car after another crawled onto the roller and made three runs with the results shouted out by curiously beer emboldened observers. Admittedly this WAS a hoot. Subsequent to the exhausted dyno crews cutting this off in the late hours of the evening, thirty or forty retired to our shop at 601 Morgan Oak for a few more beers and some raucous battery debate while attending to Jason Horak’s again ailing Daytona. We cut it off promptly at 4:00AM sharp so I would look and feel my best introducing the first session the next (same) morning at 8:00 AM. Thanks guys. Very considerate. I wouldn’t have wanted to drive from the shop directly to the ShowMeCenter arena that morning. The 2 1/2 hours sleep was marvelous.
And word of EVCCON appears to be spreading. There are now over 75 EVCCON Videos on YOUTUBE. Click the link to get a listing but it goes on five pages now and climbing. As I predicted four years ago, video is just becoming ubiquitous. A print magazine is just too old school for this age. I wanted to do one. But it was video. And now EVERYONE is doing video. It is the new communication medium. I predict that within two more years, the world wide web will look like video with a few text blogs like this kind of wrapped around it on the edges. YouTube as we know it almost won’t make sense other than a storage bank for web videos which it is more or less morphing to now. EVERYONE watches YouTube videos, and very few actually go onto YouTube. Kind of part of the weakness of their business model frankly.
We have about 1000 viewers on YouTube almost entirely because they have technical difficulties with the JWPlayer or still suffer bandwidth limitations. It’s a paler version of EVtv but it more or less works.
The discussion thus far about EVCCON 2013 has focused on upgrading the playday from a few hours in the afternoon to an all day event. Morphing the 1/4 mile drag race to an 1/8th mile that would be both safer and more of advantage to the very quick start advantage electric cars have. I don’t really know much about drag racing which is ironic. I have a home in Denver that is sufficiently close to the world class Vandemeer raceway that I could throw a cat from the porch and probably land it with suffiicent accuracy to stop or at least delay a race. I’ve called around some of the strips here in Missouri and the 1/8th, I am told, is immensely more popular with the builders and the spectators than the 1/4 ever has been in this part of the country.
Nobody can quite explain to me why this is except in vague terms I don’t quite grok.
The other consideration we are discussing is that we are talking about finding sponsors for $10,000 in purse money to be spread across several of the pro classes for various finishes. I think NEDRA has about a hundred and sixty different classes defined so everyone IN NEDRA is technically a record holder of some sort. I’m thinking a relatively large purse for the top finishers in an OPEN class and then a couple of voltage classes. Everyone will still get to use the strip. But we’ll make a serious attempt at attracting the top talent. That MIGHT help push EVCCON into a viable number of attendees and cars.
As announced in our last show, I am trying to get up to speed on this genre. We are actually sponsoring WARP FACTOR III for 2013 and hope to see a big yellow EVTV.ME on the side of that black stealth fighter at an event soon. My impression is that most of the “sponsorship” of NEDRA cars has been “in-kind” parts and components. We may be the first cash sponsorship on the circuit. (That should cause some yowls of rage and correction). I suspect mostly on technicals.
What IS clear is that our attendees have a LOT of fun at this part of the event and in future events we would want to expand it somewhat to accommodate. I don’t think we can get to the TOO MUCH FUN part easily.
Beyond that, in the light of day, I have to say this. I refuse to be a safety Nazi and so pretty much just let EVCCON happen with the intention of surviving the consequences if possible. But I have to say, this is the nicest bunch of people I’ve been privileged to meet with. They are all quite intelligent, have very deep reservoirs of common sense, are a bit older and more mature than the ISP crowd (some of them ARE the ISP crowd but older) and I really didn’t see ANY of the negatives I commonly cringe at in crowds of fellow humanoids. It may just be that small is a good thing, and we ought to focus on quality over quantity in any event. My trade show experience indicates that if we could get 350 of them to show up, there’ll be another 1000 attendees show up to watch THEM. But as I say, we are kind of rethinking the whole thing all around.
And this is a lesson of life, engineering, and electric cars. Rarely do you come up with the perfect thing the first time. It takes time, trials, and tuning – prototype, test, and reprototype, to normally get a thing to really be useful.
Much to Rich Rudman’s and even last year Dennis Doerfel’s surprise, EVTV belongs to me. i do it. I present it. You can watch it. Or join the nearly 7 billion who don’t. My way or the highway. EVCCON really is NOT. It’s about you. And it becomes what you make of it. I do editorial selection to try to keep the value high. But it is intentionally without a specific theme or point of view. I can kind of see it morphing more toward people who want to build an income producing hobby or business in the EV space and less just “electric cars are cool”. But it is really all about you. The feedback is invaluable to EVTV. And hopefully it helps promote EVTV, along with all the valiant vendor efforts out there. But it is intended to be a meeting, a convention, with different points of view and a variety of players. If you have an idea for a boat session, we try to accommodate that. If you as a vendor want to have a private “dealers” meeting at EVCCON, we’ll try to accommodate that. If you want to have association and organizational side meetings, we’ll try to accommodate that. But it is its own thing. And if you want more of it, feel free to step up with suggestions. So far these are mostly about how I can spend more money on it. But some have actually been very very good and are incorporated in what you see.
Realities being what they are, of course we have to assess viability. But the event is sufficiently popular that our inclination is to find a way for it to be viable. The number of RETURNING attendees was very impressive. And os it may just be like the electric car itself, a thing you have to experience to appreciate. No doubt the logistics are indeed heroic to participate. The ones who have apparently find it worth it. I need to find some way to expand on that, so it can be bigger, better, and more valuable yet. Some days are harder than others on the Internet. So too in EV space.
We’re working it. It’s ok to chime in with help and ideas. We can all stand around and watch Jack work. Or we can work together. The outcome kind of depends on the mode. If you’re waiting to see if I can do it, I already did. Twice. And a good time was had by all. If you want it to move from that, be a player.