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Published on September 25th, 2019 | by Paul Fosse

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Pictures & Commentary From Oldsmar Drive Electric Event

September 25th, 2019 by  


We attended yet another National Drive Electric Week event this past weekend, this one (CleanTechnica’s 4th? 5th?) was in Oldsmar, Florida, and went quite beyond electric vehicles.

This guy was telling everyone about the 2 billion people in the world who don’t have access to clean drinking water. He asked each person to carry a 5 gallon full water bottle (40 pounds) about 50 feet to enter his raffle. It was pretty heavy, but I am strong, so was able to do it. Then he said some women have to carry it over a mile just to get poor quality water (look at the brown water in his gallon container). The organization he was promoting is called waterforpeople.org. I hadn’t heard of it, so I looked it up on charity navigator and it got a good 4 star rating there.

Next, I spoke with these people about their work with local restaurants to help them replace plastic delivery containers with ones that are degradable. If they are put in a landfill, it may not really matter, but if they get thrown away improperly, plastic waste does a lot of damage to marine life (and to humans like me who eat fish). The organization is too small to be rated.

The next person I spoke to sold electric motors for boats. All her products come from Europe, where many lakes have outlawed gas and diesel engines. These motors could be 3 or 5 horsepower to move small sailboats or bigger motors for bigger boats. Range is an issue, but she said sailboats can recharge their batteries by using the motors as generators (when it is windy, of course), so they don’t have to come to port to recharge. Owners really like the low maintenance of electric motors in contrast to the high maintenance costs of gas and diesel marine engines.

We’ve covered Torqeedo a few times before on CleanTechnica. In 2017, we reported that the motor boat was using BMW i3 batteries.

This solar installer, from 3D Solar, said he gives about 20 quotes a day over the internet. It sounded like he had a highly automated system for designing the solar systems.

This owner and his wife really like electric motorcycles. He has one for long trips and another to race around town. He mentioned that all Harley-Davidson dealerships were getting ChargePoint CCS high-speed chargers and they would be free for all brands of motorcycles and cars. If people abuse the chargers (by using them many hours every day), they will adjust pricing to charge users after a given period of time. Pricing are powerful because they contain information and motivation. Remember to use pricing to solve problems.

I spoke to this owner of this 2019 Ford Fusion Energi, who said although Ford is stopping production of most of its cars (except the Mustang) and moving to SUVs and trucks, the Fusion plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) will continue. Unfortunately, this article says Ford is killing it. With 26 miles of all-electric range, it is better than my 2013 Ford C-Max, but still not enough for many people to use as an EV most of the time. The owner was saving up for a Tesla Model 3.

This Chevy Bolt owner loved to tell others about his car. I didn’t get a chance to talk to him to learn more.

A lot of Model 3 owners came to show their cars and answer questions.

This gentleman (who loves his Model 3) goes over to Melbourne Beach frequently. His wife has a job that gives her big discounts on great hotels, so he stays in 4 star accommodations for less than $100 a night! That’s why he has put on almost 10,000 miles in less than 6 months.

A couple of LEAF owners displayed their cars. I was at this same location a couple years ago and there were about 25 Leafs being displayed, with many owners expressing enthusiasm. The LEAF community doesn’t seem excited any longer. The second generation disappointed many people when it offered such a modest increase in range, and the lack of active thermal battery management makes battery degradation a serious concern in Florida. I looked on Car Gurus today and I saw a dealer selling a 2013 LEAF for $7,000 with only 6 bars (out of 12 when they are new) and only 30 miles of range. I can’t imagine anyone being happy with a car with only 30 miles range, unless you get it for under $2,000. I new battery is about $6,000 and it will likely go bad in a few years too.

A BMW dealer was here giving test rides (maybe drives too, I didn’t ask) in this sporty i8. This $150,000 car has about 18 miles of electric range. The $55,900 Tesla Model 3 Performance is much faster, but if your aim is to impress your friends and turn heads, I think this car is a good choice if you can afford it.

This gentleman loved his Kona. He bought it in Maryland and drove it to Florida (you can’t buy the Kona EV in Florida). He puts lots of miles on it for work and for taking his family to Orlando for fun. As most of you know, those who put 20,000 or more miles on their cars get big savings on gas. I like the car, but expected the rear cargo area to be a little bigger. There is room in the front to make an aftermarket frunk (front truck), but he said he wasn’t going to do it because he heard it would void his warranty.

Here I took a picture with Andy Getch, who was helping out with the booth run by Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. They were giving lots of test drives in a Tesla Model 3 (maybe 30 or 40), so I’m sure a few cars were sold that day.

Conclusion

These events are a great way for people to learn about electric cars without getting the sales pitch they might get from a car dealer. I think they are making a difference, but I am disappointed that the events seem to have fewer people attend them than a few years ago, and we know there are many more EVs sold than 2 years ago.  One problem is the previous wave of EVs and PHEVs are dying. The Volt has been discontinued, Ford is dropping its C-Max Energi and Fusion Energi. Nissan is selling fewer and fewer LEAFs, and people in Florida are rightfully skeptical if their batteries will last. Chevy is losing its tax credit (since the company has sold more than 200,000 EVs and PHEVs). BMW has announced it won’t be updating its i3 nor their i8. Neither Hyundai nor Kia sell their EVs or PHEVs in Florida. Honda doesn’t sell its Clarity EV or PHEV in Florida. Now, with 7 electric crossovers coming out in the next year or so, I think next year will rekindle excitement in the EV space, but excuse me if I’m a little underwhelmed by the EV space today. Of all the plug-in vehicles, only the Tesla Model 3 is really selling well.

Use my Tesla referral link before October 1st to get 2,000 miles of free Supercharging on a Tesla Model S, Model X, or Model 3 (you can’t use it on the Model Y yet). Here’s the link: https://ts.la/paul92237 (but if someone else helped you, please use their link). 
 
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About the Author

A Software engineer for over 30 years, first developing EDI software, then developing data warehouse systems. Along the way, I've also had the chance to help start a software consulting firm and do portfolio management. In 2010, I took an interest in electric cars because gas was getting expensive. In 2015, I started reading CleanTechnica and took an interest in solar, mainly because it was a threat to my oil and gas investments. Follow me on Twitter @atj721 Tesla investor. Tesla referral code: https://ts.la/paul92237



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