From our first build of the burgundy 1957 Porsche Speedster, our mission has been to inspire others to build similar cars using these phenomenal new lithium battery cells.
In our view, the lithium ionic battery made electric cars viable for the first time in history, crossing some threshold of viability that we perceive with a range of about twice the daily drive of the average american driver and with weight and balance and acceleration and stopping power analogous to current vehicles on the road. We thought this was news. And we shared it.
Indeed, many have built such cars. How many? Kind of hard to say. Which is unfortunate. I was recently in a TeslaMotorsClub forum where they basically portrayed ICE conversion efforts as all about lead and junk. When I protested it wasn’t so, they then dismissed it as very small numbers – essentially me and a few friends.
The heart of this is a deep desire among Tesla Model S owners to perch at the top of the pecking order of envirocreds based on writing the hefty check they wrote. Your existence kinds of threatens that as they really don’t know much about their own cars, much less electric cars in general. So the attack was pretty vicious. I responded in kind of course.
But it brings up the issue of visibility.
I get e-mail from people building custom electrics all over the world with many of these communicated to me via Google Translate. It’s a couple of hours each morning for several years just dealing with the e-mail from people doing these builds and I would guess the majority watch the show and build an entire car without ever contacting us at all. So I have a mental image of really kind of a vast number in absolute terms of people out there busily building gorgeous electric cars. In the universe of 7 billion humanoids, the number is actually so small it can’t be detected with test instruments. But in absolute terms I have to believe there are several thousand builds CURRENTLY IN WORK at any one time. That’s not the total number of builds out there. But the total number where they are still working on it.
Similarly, the the regular ICE automobile world, they sell 15 million cars per year here in the U.S.. The couple HUNDRED THOUSAND guys who like to do custom show cars and kit cars, and hot rods, and race cars is relatively a drop in the bucket. But going from a few thousand electric builders to a couple of hundred thousand in the future has me all breathy. You see the 100,000 man army really IS going to happen and about the time we reach that level, you will notice the acculturation to electric drive issue kind of gets solved as part of it.
But currently there is a visibility problem. Each and all of you are viewed by everyone as an outlier-an exception. The garage genius/whacko/crackpot of the local area. And while I see it quite differently, the act of putting ONE or TWO builds in each two-hour episode almost supports that view that there are just a few “exceptions” out there.
So we need to find a way to share what I see so anyone can see it.
This week many of you will have received the first edition of EVTVs Catalog of Custom Electric Vehicle Components. Sure to be a collectible. Collect em, trade em with yer friends. To ensure our ongoing viability into the future, and in a broad sense establish your ability to collectively act as a market for quality components, your group “buying power” if you will, please do order something from it.
But our plans reach a little beyond that. This week I have also added the Registry of Custom Electric Vehicles to our web site menu. This caught Chris Fisher a bit by surprise and he’s been scrambling to staunch the blood flow and arterial spurting as he didn’t quite have it finished yet. As he had targeted November 1 as the opening date and as it is January 14 of the following year I don’t feel to badly about him “scrambling” a bit after months of careful plodding. He’s actually done some phenomenal work and if your point of comparison is EVALBUM, I think you’ll find the results astonishing. I know I did.
The concept here is for individuals to “register” their builds on the web site with uploads of high resolution photographs and all the gory details of what they used in their build. Somewhat like an EVALBUM but without all the bicycles and lawn mowers, this will rather quickly allow anyone to get a view of what hardware is used with what hardware in what type of car and what the currently fashionable components are and how they go together. At some point, you can even then see the market share of one controller vs another, one motor vs another, and one battery manufacturer vs another.
But we have bigger plans yet. We are going to allow both builders and other visitors to VOTE on their three favorite builds. And we are going to use those votes to sort out this database of vehicles in order of ostensible popularity. I wouldn’t take this competition too seriously as it is kind of a dubious and arbitrary judgement based on what cars people like better than others. But it allows us to sort it out.
The world wide web is a phenomenon in many ways. But it’s also a bit like viewing the world through a keyhole. You see what’s on the screen. What’s off the current screen doesn’t exist. And the screen is pretty narrow. We’re going to then take the TOP 100 Custom Electric Vehicles and convert that data and those photographs to print. That will most likely result in a 200 page preface to the catalog with each vehicle getting a facing page 2 page spread with photos and detailed information on the vehicle.
It is of course my hope that the result is more than the sum of its parts. I think we wind up with a 300 page book that essentially puts a peek, a birds eye view of custom electric vehicles worldwide, in your hand. Something you can hold, flip through, show to your friends, and take to the gentlemen’s reading room with you for some high power water closet action. Nothing like a good cup of coffee and some inspired reading matter to really put a point on the morning throne session.
Will it work? Well who the hell knows? It either will or it won’t. Kind of depends on your propensity to support it through book purchases, and the purchase of components from the store. If it doesn’t make economic sense, it doesn’t. And if it does it does. I kind of think it will be pretty well received and in a strange sense kind of bind us all together.
One of the things I HOPE it does is allow me to put in the hand of someone like a Siemens or a UQM or an AC Propulsion or a Yasua to demonstrate that you ARE a market to be considered. That you do have BUYING POWER collectively as a group. IF they can SEE your cars in the hundreds, and if we can be empowered to purchase things in groups of 20 or 50 instead of groups of ONE, I think this will change what is available to YOU the builder and at what price.
It’s all kind of a bit of a plan. As some of you know, I get personally wounded and quite exasperated to hear of people buying components elsewhere because they got $2 off the battery cell. This obsessive Internet price comparison shopping, in my view, leads to a least common denominator vendor model where you pretty much guarantee that whoever you send your $18,000 to will pretty much HAVE to steal it from you to eat and that in both the short and long of it this is a very short view. It leads to weakness, and to just a mess. I rather tongue in cheek offer our “Internet Price Match Guarantee” where if you find a HIGHER price anywhere on the Internet, we’ll be happy to MATCH IT. Unfortunately, and discouragingly, there is a percentage of our viewership that just doesn’t quite get the joke. They obsessively and compulsively focus on the image and glow of every ducat that passes their trembling hand. I can’t help them. But they know not what they do.
My vision is more of a kind of Jack’s version of the group buy, only its a permanent group, a permanent buy, and once established, leads to LOWER prices on REAL quality equipment for all of you permanently. Frankly, I don’t personally need your money. I was kind of well fixed on arrival to this group and an even deeper secret was I was living pretty well when I ARRIVED at the LAST rodeo, the development of the Internet, with Boardwatch Magazine. If anything, having recently hit a new all time high of 309 pounds, a little starving to death around here might not be a bad idea.
I’m a pragmatic. It is not altruism. I’m not a philanthropist. It IS all about me. But what I want is more and better builds worldwide. We need sufficient oxygen to be viable in operation. Beyond that it’s about enabling YOU. We are bringing home the Siemens motor and DMOC controller with the GEVCU, after an annoying year of development. And I have some new announcements I’m about to wet myself to make public in coming weeks.
Already we’ve kind of gotten to become the guys who can write the check on liquidations of Azure Dynamics, Better Place, Coda, etc. and I see this role expanding – to YOUR direct benefit. Every time we pick up a lot of components and demonstrate we can move em, the ability to acquire them at lower prices, and deliver them at lower prices, increases. So my mission is to aggregate and concentrate YOUR buying power to your benefit. And part of that is improving your visibility, which is what the book and the registry is about.
Here’s what I did NOT foresee. I invited a half dozen guys who were already in my mailbox over one thing or another to get on the registry and enter their data. They’ve been terrorizing Chris Fisher ever since and to good effect. One of the things I wanted to do was include live links to your blogs, Youtube channels, web sites, facebook pages, whatever. On MY first visit browsing these new builds, I’m looking at Tim Catellier’s blog and Royce Wood’s blog and Jeff Southern’s blog and it kind of hit me, mimicry being the highest form of praise. Many had their OWN videos. Their own web sites. They had not only built cars, but built everything else that EVTV is. Accounts of builds that ran several years, dozens of photographs, videos, etc. These are enormously detailed. And if you take the blogs and videos and photos of HUNDREDS of builders, it cumulatively represents a VAST body of hard won knowledge and information. You all have been ably documenting your individual builds, and taken together it is just ENORMOUS. But it’s spread around everywhere and nowhere.
If we are successful with the registry, we will in some ways become a portal, a kind of wormhole into an entire universe of information on custom electric vehicles no single person or entity could ever assemble. And in doing so, we’ll create a single point of presence linking ALL of that together. Talk about a head rush….
So this registry, or directory, should up your local blog/video traffic as well. It’s great that anyone can be on the world wide web. The problem of course is being found. I think we can help people find you. I hope you return the favor and link back to EVTV.
I’ve got to tell you I’m more than a little juiced by this. And a little daunted. You’ll learn more from each other than you ever can from EVTV.
Send me all praise and honors. Direct all bug reports, complaints, and suggestions for improvement to Christopher Fisher of course at firstname.lastname@example.org. Direct any actual hate mail or comments about global warming to Brian@evtv.me.