SEVA Meeting Minutes – November 2020

Minutes for the Nov. 10, 2020 meeting of the Seattle Electric Vehicle Association

The meeting was by Zoom, again arranged by Ed Mills.

The meeting was by Zoom, again arranged by Ed Mills. Pre-meeting discussion included that Tesla is opening a new showroom/service center across the street from The Shop in Sodo. The showroom in South Lake Union also will be maintained, and other expansions are expected all around the state.

President Jay Donnaway called the meeting to order at 7 p.m. Kevin Boze issued the cry.

RIVIAN PRESENTATION – Jay announced the agenda and then called on Kaitlin Monaghan, who is Rivian’s Manager of Public Policy and Senior Counsel. Kaitlin came a year ago to Rivian from the American Wind Energy Association.

  • Background – Emissions from the electricity generation sector now have been reduced below those of the transportation sector, prompting Kaitlin to shift her focus to transportation electrification. Rivian now has thousands of employees in many North American and European locations. Rivian has not laid off anyone or cut salaries during the pandemic; all are guaranteed full pay. Rivian’s goal is to displace some of the most heavily polluting vehicles. Delivery of their model R1T pickup and R1S SUV is delayed by the pandemic to the middle of 2021. Acceleration will be 0-60 in three (!) seconds, battery sizes up to 180 kWh, and range 200-400 miles. The vehicles will include J1772/CCS charging. They can float in water, climb 45-degree grades, and do “tank turns” with their independent motors. Kaitlin then described Rivian’s participation in the Rebelle Rally, an all-women competition. Rivian entered an electric truck and they’ll collect its performance data from the rally.
  • Direct Sales Policy – Rivian will sell directly to customers like Tesla does. They have purchased a vacant movie theater in California to renovate into a sales location. They want to do something like that in Seattle in 2021. They want direct interaction with customers, and Rivian finds made-to-order sales to be incompatible with dealerships. Direct sales will improve efficiencies and result in lower cost to consumers, but dealerships create barriers to entry. Rivian, and Kaitlin, are working on restoring the federal tax credit and furthering new credits and incentives. Other policy issues they are working on is the direct-sales legislation, ZEV mandates, sales-tax waivers, and EV fees and infrastructure scapegoating of EVs (because of gas taxes). They supported last year’s Washington SB 6082, expanding the Tesla Exemption (from requiring a dealership) to all manufacturers, an effort that SEVA joined. In response to a question from Ed Mills, Kaitlin said that Rivian would support expansion of direct sales to all sorts of EVs, including three-wheeled vehicles like Ed’s Arcimoto.
  • Fleets – Amazon has ordered 100,000 vehicles from Rivian. Delivery will start next year. This will be the R1 van, which initially is going to be produced just for this Amazon contract.
  • Kaitlin Monaghan and Dan West of joined us.
  • ROUTE DEL SOL UPDATE – Jay called on Joel Hayes from Route del Sol, joining the meeting from Mexico. They’re the first electric-powered camper van powered with solar panels to be driving from Alaska to Argentina. They passed through Seattle last year and met SEVA members then. They produce Youtube videos describing their adventures; they’ve put up about 47 videos onto the Route del Sol Youtube channel since they were in Seattle. They also post on Instagram. Joel is now in Encenada, Baja California. In January, their solar panels were ripped from the van in a windstorm and destroyed. They made their way north and tried to get the ruined panels back in working order at a taller, which is a Mexican backyard workshop. That didn’t work. They continued to Encenada. Joel raised some funds for refurbishing. Then the pandemic struck. He’s been stuck in Encenada since, with the sponsoring companies needing to back off. Recently, however, Sunpower and Gulf Energy agreed to sponsor Route del Sol. They’re now in a position to replace the solar panels, which are en route, and make some upgrades to the van such as raising the suspension and enhancing the vehicle’s ability to handle steep, rough hills such as Joel expects to find in Patagonia. Jay asked about the vehicle; it’s a Navistar E-star with a 50 mph top speed and max power 70 kW AC. It has a conventional rear-wheel-drive axle. Navistar itself is out of business now. Joel is considering various efficiency hacks such as independent motors and how best to handle regen, for example going with DC drive and AC regen. The 80 kWh battery, housed in cassettes, is holding up well. Joel’s team added an auxiliary 40 kWh battery and hopes for better integration of all the batteries and the solar system.

    EV EXHIBIT NOV. 21 – Phil Skoog discussed the Nov. 21 all-EV event at The Shop in Sodo. The Shop has two locations, one each in Seattle and Dallas. They describe themselves as “the country club for gearheads.” They have valet parking, wash bays, a detailing service, member lounge, conference rooms, a bar, a restaurant, special events, and 55,000 square feet of climate-controlled storage on two levels. They have about eight lifts to work on vehicles, and they have a card room. The Nov. 21 event, “Cars and No Coffee,” will be a chance for EV owners to show off their vehicles, see other EVs and connect one-on-one in an outdoor location that meets pandemic restrictions. Phil is planning a Zoom call-in during the event, so owners can connect from their cars or from home. Due to Covid, this will not be advertised as a public event; SEVA members are invited but the general public is not. Parking will be in the parking lot, and staff will direct drivers where to park. On Nov. 5, The Shop hosted a display of several notable EVs, including “Shock and Awe” (the electric dragster built by Bothell High School students), the E-Copo Camaro built for General Motors, and the Mustang Cobrajet 1400, which Charlie Tsai’s group built for Ford. The event was put together for a photo shoot for Hemmings Motor News magazine, which is planning to run an article about electric dragsters.

    TOTAL COST OF EV OWNERSHIP – Chad Schwitters reveiwed Consumer Reports’ new article on Total Cost of EV Ownership. Chad said the magazine previously had run inaccurate articles on this subject, but the coverage has improved considerably improved. They included good data such as acquisition price (which uses real-world price instead of MSRP). Consumer Reports projected that EV users in typical states save 60 percent on fuel cost per mile, with Oregon and Washington doing much better that that. Washington does 38 percent better than the national average fuel savings due to our very inexpensive electricity. Fuel costs are at least an $1,100 annual savings based on average driving. Lifetime ownership costs save $6,000-$10,000. Cost savings, as a percentage of a new-vehicle cost, on purchasing a five-to-seven-year-old used EV is two to three times larger than that for ICEs. They used a 200-210,000 mile lifetime. Only the oldest Leafs and Model Ss have that much. As more EVs reach a long lifetime, the favorability of their maintenance savings will further improve.


  • – Jay said that his 2011 Leaf just passed 160,000 miles. It’s on only its second set of tires; the first lasted 78,000.
  • – Jay talked about Leaf battery swaps and EV Works’ business. Their competitor, EV Rides in Portland, has now done 42 Leaf battery swaps. They go straight to the surplus auctions and they have space to part out the cars. The high-mileage Leafs have proven very reliable. Jay’s workplace will be putting a Leaf drive into a VW Vanagon. The food truck is now in its second month of service with the U District Food Bank. Mark Yormark asked if the Leaf motor going into the Vanagon would use the Vanagon’s gearing. Jay said that Vanagon transmissions are unreliable and they’ll use the Leaf’s gear box, running through custom axles. They’re going to use two reassembled Leaf batteries, providing 80 kWh capacity.
  • – Steve Lough asked if there’s an upgraded battery pack for the Mitsubishi i-Miev. Someone in Australia is testing this. The i-Miev won’t recognize a larger battery than it had originally, but it can use the additional reserve capacity. Jay has a salvage-service battery in his i-Miev, which is working well going into its second year and shows 100% capacity.
  • – Grace Reamer said that the pandemic prevents our having a holiday celebration in person for our December meeting. Ideas are sought.
  • – Kent Bakke is heading up the consideration of nominations for the Super Electric Vehicle Advocate trophy.
  • Jay adjourned the meeting at 8:29 p.m.

    Post-meeting discussion included some comments by Stu from Puget Sound Solar, who says that they’re really busy because the tax credits are going declining. EV charging is also going well. Jay said PSE plans to present to SEVA in January about their DCFC program. Mark Yormark displayed and discussed a Model S motor that he’s turning into a project. There were more motor discussions and photos. Prompted by a question from Billy, Jay recounted the performance of EV West’s conversions.

    Minutes submitted by Billy Kreuter, secretary, and edited by Grace Reamer, vice president.

    Zoom Meeting Recording(s):