Getting Charged Up

by admin on March 24, 2009

This Saturday, I went to Fort Atkinson, WI to show off my electric motorcycle at a small Alternative Vehicles event, hosted by Heart of the City.

While it was a small event, not held in conjunction with any other event, such as Earth Day, or even a Farmer’s Market, it still had some great exibitors.

Attending were representatives from the Milwaukee Hybrid group, bio-fuels, electric bikes, and two different Neighborhood Electric Vehicle dealers.

There was something odd about this event, and it didn’t dawn on me until one of the Milwaukee Hybrid Group commented on it. “Looks like we’re the gas-guzzlers here.”

He was right. The only gasoline powered vehicles were the Prius and Escape Hybrid.

Even the diesel being shown off was 100% bio-diesel. No petroleum there.

As strange as it seems, EVs (electric vehicles) are becoming mainstream in their own small way, at least in some sub-cultures of our society.

Just recently (last Tuesday!) my city has passed ordinance allowing Neighborhood Electric Vehicles to use the public roads. The publicly-owned power utility is going to purchase one or two NEVs for staff to travel between the Utility building and the City Hall. That trip happens several times a day. The two buildings are within two miles of each other. That’s not enough time for a gasoline engine to EVER warm up, KILLING fuel economy – but a perfect use for an Electric Vehicle.

Since the Utility had to replace an aging vehicle anyways, going with an electric vehicle is a great way to not only help the enviroment, but also just plain save tax-payer dollars.

With the City owning an electric vehicle, it helps “pave the way” (pun intended) for private EV ownership, and public and private EV charging stations.

One of the NEV dealers, Green Autos, ( was kind enough to provide me with an EV Charging Station sign. I am hoping to be able to use it as a sample to help spark the imagination of local officials in how we could build an EV-Friendly community.

And this isn’t all about Battery Electric Vehicles either. As commercially manufactured Plug-In Hybrids become the norm, we will already have the charging infrastructure available for them.

Imagine a city in an Economic Boom because it attracts the best customers and employees, who know that employers and retail establishments support clean transportation. Employees could drive to and from work all week without using gasoline. How’s that for an attractive work-place?

Through electric charging stations and other programs, along with our lakes and parks, our city could become an Eco-Tourism destination.

It’s all possible, and it’s all happening right now.

Not long ago, I got an odd comment on one of my web videos. This was one of several videos showing me building an electric car. The posted comment was “Great for you, but what about us who can’t afford electric cars, and don’t have all those great skills you have!?!”

Skills?! When did I get those?
I built my electric motorcycle with pretty much just a socket wrench, hacksaw, and wire stripper!
The electric car cost even less to build than the motorcycle did!

One of my personal heros, Thomas Edison, once said, “Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.”

I didn’t have lots of money, nor plenty of mechanical/electrical experience.

What I do have is a library card and a dream, that we can do things better than we have in the past.

That’s all any of us really needs, just motivation, and a plan for the future.

So, what is it that you can do? Work at it. Dream big. Make things happen.

If every one of use just uses what they have to improve on how we have been doing things, just think how bright our future will be.

Leave a Comment

You can use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Previous post:

Next post: