SEVA Meeting Minutes- May 2020
Meeting was by Zoom. (See video below)
Ed Mills was the Zoom host.
There was a peak of 26 participants.
Jay called the meeting to order shortly after 7 PM.
Jay called on Theo Michel, who asked about the bill regarding the transition to a vehicle-miles-travelled tax. Jay then asked Grace to cover that in a government-affairs report, including an update about vehicle purchasing during the quarantine restrictions. Grace says that we have moved into Phase One of the reopening. Auto dealers are included in Phase One provided conditions are met, but these are not yet completed. Touchless test-drives and deliveries will be required. Tesla has already been doing this for the past two months. Through this week, only essential workers or customers with totalled or end-of-lease cars may be served. Guidelines are not yet completed which will determine whether (touchless) test-drives and sales may be offered to additional customers starting next week. Grace expects “pent-up demand” when sales are opened. Tesla has some Model X’s on the lot, but right now not many Model 3’s or Model S’s. It will take a while to get dealers restocked from the factories, which have been shut down for seven weeks. Tesla’s factory has started operating again, after a disagreement in California between the county and the governor as to who has authority to permit the reopening; the governor would permit the reopening, but Alameda County’s health department said they had the authority. Other manufacturers’ factories are about to reopen. Masks and social distancing are required in the factories. The first cars that Tesla will produce will go overseas or to farther parts of North America due to the long transport times. So we may be waiting another month for Teslas to go on sale around here. Here, it’s an analogous situation as with Alameda County; King County Public Health is stating more strictly than Governor Inslee that anyone outside needs to wear a mask. So anyone coming into a car dealership needs to wear a mask, although it’s not clear if businesses will be required to enforce this rule.
Jay said that in addition to socially-distant car buying, there may be socially-distant events. Phil visited Triple X before our show was officially cancelled, and found out that all the other car clubs have been cancelling as well, so they weren’t expecting us. Jay has spoken of one possibility with Tacoma Power. They were receptive to the idea of one-on-one, concierge-style test drives. Jay asked if anyone was interested in driving around a test rider, everyone wearing masks. Deb said there would be a liability issue should the EV owner infect the rider. Grace agreed that liability is an issue and a release should be signed by the rider. Grace said she’s familiar with procedures for sterilizing cars; she does that daily at Tesla. So she’d be interested as long as there are protocols in place.
Jay then returned to Theo for an update about the VMT tax. The bill changed quite a bit, but then didn’t pass out of committee. Theo thinks the changes were favorable. The bill no longer includes specific numbers for what the charges will be for each type of vehicle; instead, the rates are to be proportional to impact. Though it’s now more vague, it’s not as directly disadvantageous to electric vehicles. Jeff Finn said he was following the bill and spoke to the executive director of the transportation commission. The original bill did not reflect the report that the commission gave to the legislative committee. The commission will work on getting it more in line. It will be a work in progress and may take a number of sessions to get there. The bill is SB 6586, said Theo. Jeff said the most important bill passed in the last session was the ZEV mandate. Jeff talked to one dealer who was upset that he couldn’t compete, because the way the manufacturer would offer the car, there would be no profit to the dealer.
Ed Mills asked how one gets a bill going. His three-wheel Arcimoto doesn’t qualify for the EV tax credit, yet does require a motorcycle license endorsement and a motorcycle helmet, which Ed thinks makes it more dangerous. Due to the “Tesla law”, he had to act as a dealer, buying it from the factory in Oregon and importing it into Washington. The factory itself couldn’t even arrange to truck it to Washington. Jeff said meet with your legislators over the summer; find one who will sponsor a bill, which will be a big lift.
Grace asked if the Tesla bill got traction this year; she thought that the dealers had come down hard on it saying no. Jeff said that it was the automobile associations who opposed the ZEV mandate; some dealers did not. Keep in mind, said Jeff, that car dealers provide a lot of sales-tax revenue to the state. They have a lot of clout. And most sales aren’t electric vehicles.
Jay reported that Ford claims to have produced an electric race car. Ron Easley and Charlie are involved with this. Ron said they had just completed building the battery pack when the quarantine began. Work on the battery has continued some. Track testing will be a challenge during the shutdowns; they’ll need to go some distance to one that’s open. The project is to make a drag-strip-only car. Stock Ford Mustang body. Four inverters and two dual stacks. 1400 horsepower, could be higher with upgrades.
Steve Lough said he clocked 72 miles on a charge on his Mitsubishi during the warm weather, and there were two bars then remaining.
Charlie talked about the horsepower measurements of the Ford project car. It could be higher with a heated pack. Jay asked Charlie to tell the story of how he got involved with EV work. It started with his son’s interest.
Jay called on Theresa Ramsdell to talk about the Tesla Owners’ Club. They’re still figuring out how to do Trivia Night by Zoom. They’re hoping to do virtual meetings with electric-bike clubs and such.
Jay asked Brian Hughes about his vehicle. The body is repaired. Mechanically it’s pretty good. The inverter was glitched out. There were troubles with the regen; Brian turned it off to prevent faults in the inverter. Then the inverter would mess up even without regen. Brian has found other problems, and he’s found faults in the inverter.
Jay has been picking up used EV parts on Craigslist. Age is catching up with some of these things, including Steve Lough’s moisture-in-the-conduit problem.
Steve Lough congratulated Grace and Kevin on their wedding anniversary, and Mark Yormark on his beard.
Jay reported on EV Works on Bainbridge. They acquired Ed’s NEV, which will be used for local food delivery on Bainbridge. They’re working on a refrigerated delivery truck and on two Volkswagen projects, including putting a Leaf drivetrain into a Vanagon. They’re hoping to serve owners of 2011 and ‘12 Leafs, but they present some problems and EV Works is hoping to hear from 2013 or later owners. There are corporate politics around a project upgrading a Ford Focus battery. They’re delivering groceries in the 1969 VW Bus conversion. Similar service for Town and Country Markets in Silverdale and Ballard will be starting.
Billy asked Theo to talk some more about the podcast. Theresa, an economist, started the podcast in early 2019. Theo started co-hosting later in 2019 after getting in touch with her to see how he could contribute. Theo’s own background is computer science, but he researches EVs thoroughly for the podcast programs. Billy highly recommends the program. Theo mentioned the electric-boat episode from around December. The podcast is named “Let’s Talk About Electric Vehicles”. One place it can be found is iTunes.
Good of the order. Jay has envied an Elec-Trak electric lawn mower by General Electric, which has a cult following. He has stumbled into a mess of them from the estate of a former dealer. Get in touch with Jay if you want to look into them further.
Grace reported that last month she bought a Rad Powerbike, model Radrunner. She ordered it over the phone and it was delivered the next day. Grace gave it to her daughter, who needs it for an early commute to an essential-worker job.
Grace asked if anyone wanted a walk-around of the Model Y. There should be a test-drive car at the Renton store soon. There can be a walk-around remotely using Grace’s phone.
Jay adjourned the meeting in the vicinity of 8:10 PM. Informal discussion proceeded for roughly another half hour.
Zoom Meeting Recording(s):