We are a scant 13 days out from the biggest event in our year, the Electric Vehicle Conversion Convention. We’ve had this annual gathering of cars and EV enthusiasts from around the world each of the past four years and 2015 would have been our fifth season with what has become something of an enigma in the hundreds if not thousands of gatherings around the world. EVCCON was truly unique in almost every way. But kind of hard to describe. If you hadn’t been, it’s seems like much ado about not very much. And if you had been, it can be very difficult to describe to others. I took no small satisfaction just in the characterization that it was really quite different and each year we greeted new faces joining the many who return each year. In all cases, they noted that it was NOT what they expected. Almost always favorably not what they expected.
It has been a task getting this year’s event together with a small and variable staff in the wake of Brian Noto’s graceless defection. He was really the mastermind behind the event and it was he who really enjoyed these gatherings. I had some pretty good things coming together for this year’s gathering, but in the end got caught by surprise from an unusual quarter.
Our venue has always been the airport for Friday’s traditional “playday”. This was where we weighed vehicles, ran them on the dynomometer, had what we termed a “drag race” but really more of an acceleration test over 1/8 mile. The SCCA came down to host a kind of “autocross” to demonstrate/test maneuverability. And so it was a way to examine all teh cars – up close and then see the results in how they performed for power, acceleration, maneuverability, weight, and so forth. It was never a huge number of vehicles – 35 or so typically. But it gave a good cross section of the different types of builds that people were doing and how that shook out with regards to performance.
We had the technical presentations variously at the ShowMe Center but in later years most comfortably at the AC Brase arena.
The issue is the litiguous nature of our current very politically correct world. And so the city requires a 2 million liability insurance certificate for the use of the facilities at both the airport and ACBrase arena, and for some reason the SCCA thought that was a great idea and they started asking for it, though the $2500 we paid them each year was largely their largest fundraiser anyway. I don’t know what they would have done had we said no, but we never had to. The insurance wasn’t even terribly expensive – about $400 per year.
I guess I’ll never know what REALLy happened but the local insurance agent, Joseph Stahley of WE Walker Lakenan, who has apparently gladly provided the policy for the last four years, and of course without any claims of any sort, played a very strange game over the last six weeks or so if missed calls and calls not returned, assurances that it would be no problem they just had to process it blah blah, and yesterday dropped off a letter at the office with others noting they would not be able to cover the event this year.
At two weeks out, that doesn’t leave much maneuvering room. Indeed we were supposed to provide the city with written insurance policy 30 days prior to the event. Got me Joe. Thanks big guy.
And so it is with deep regret that I announce that we are cancelling EVCCON 2015.
We will of course refund any amounts paid to register for our now non-event. This is a bit of financial hardship as we have deposits down on everything of course and various materials already ordered in. But we’ll survive it of course.
Some of our international attendees have made travel arrangements many months ago and indeed we tend to be one stop on several “world tour” type excursions. So we are going to hold an open house at the shop and set for those who insist on making an EVCCON without me anyway. As I also have several inoperative electric vehicles needing maintenance or completion, I’m kind of hopeful of persuading them to have a look and see what they can do.
We do have a few presentations kind of still more or less happening. Craig Smith appeared to good acclaim at DEFCON about vehicle hacking and has a book out on the topic. I had arranged to have him come in and speak at EVCCON and we’re going to try to keep that going. I believe Collin Kidder who is on staff is still planning on coming down and hopefully we can prevail on him to give a bit of brief on SavvyCAN and GEVRET and the due_can library – some of our emerging CAN analysis tools that work with the CANDue Arduino Shield, the Tesla CAN Module, and our EVTVDue CAN Microcontroller board.
I think Ed Clausen will talk on his new non-incendiary BMS design and hopefully John Hardy will still be coming in to describe battery testing. Beyond that I’m not certain who will show up or who of our speakers will attend.
Our keynote speaker, Damien Maguire, who had absolutely promised he would attend after stiffing me the previous year, has again already cancelled even prior to the announcement of EVCCON cancelation – though just a few days before the insurance hammer had dropped.
So it promises to be a much smaller gathering. But we will throw open the doors and basically have an open house and open microphone for the event. That will be very different. But we’ll have to see. Sometimes things are not quite what you want, but at other times they can be more than you expect. We’ll just have to play it by ear.
Again, my deepest apologies for all those who had made plans and are inconvenienced by this unfortunate turn of events. I am indeed sorry.
From: Roy LeMeur
Sent: Thursday, September 24, 2015 9:31 PM
To: Jonathan Head
Subject: RE: Oct 4 Green Light or Cancelled? _DATE CHANGE_
Updated info Jonathan…
Attention: important NEDRA event date change.
We just got off the phone with the track officials in MO. Saturday is fine and will work in EV’s with other cars running that evening.
Doors open at 2:00 pm and Racing will start at 4:00 pm. on Oct. 3rd.
Make sure you bring your generators if needed.
So, if you make it over to Sikeston on Saturday, the doors are open for you to get some runs in that late afternoon and evening.
They are open Friday too.
Sunday is cancelled. Repeat Sunday is cancelled and moved to Saturday.
Subject: RE: Oct 4 Green Light or Cancelled?
Date: Thu, 24 Sep 2015 13:47:58 -0700
>I wonder if you have info as to the event at Dyno Doms in Sykston MO is still on or cancelled as the EVCON convention was cancelled.
This is still scheduled and on the NEDRA events calender-
From the NEDRA event page-
>For Event information contact our Midwest Regional Director, Tommy The Professor Henderson at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com (yes, he is all three).
We appreciate your interest in NEDRA and Good Luck!
NEDRA Competition Director