SEVA Meeting Minutes-October 2020

Minutes for the Oct. 13, 2020 meeting of the Seattle Electric Vehicle Association

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

Before the meeting was called to order, President Jay Donnaway reported on, among other things, Pacwesty/EV Works’ refrigerated van conversion.  It’s ready for a soft delivery and it’s been tested hard.

Jay called the meeting to order at 7:01 p.m..  Kevin Boze issued the cry to order.

DRIVE ELECTRIC WEEK – Jay recounted a Drive Electric Week event in September in Steilacoom, joined by a Tesla that drove all the way from New Hampshire.  Vice President Grace Reamer provided a briefing on a more full-fledged event, an all-electric cruise through Seattle on September 27 with 10 cars. This was a pandemic-compliant substitute for the typical Drive Electric Week fall events. Phil Skoog was able to help organize this drive. We had gorgeous fall weather for a cruise through a variety of neighborhoods. We started at Phinney Neighborhood Center, which has two Level 2 chargers. The cruise included Teslas, a Leaf, a Volt, a Bolt, a Karmann-Ghia conversion, and Ed’s purple Arcimoto. We drove with flashers and music playing out the windows and displaying NDEW banners and the oil-free miles signs. We passed a Model 3, who was delighted by the idea of Drive Electric Week, and got attention from a line waiting at a coffee shop. The cruise ended up at the EVSEs in the parking lot of South Seattle College in Georgetown.

PUGET SOUND ENERGY DC FAST CHARGE UPDATE – Jay introduced Melissa Troy from Puget Sound Energy. Jay recounted that SSB 1512 became effective on July 28, 2019, which allows investor-owned utilities such as PSE to use its rate base to set up public EVSEs. They are allowed a profit premium of 2 percent. Melissa reported that PSE calls the program Up and Go Electric. They’re implementing pilots and evaluating the grid impact in the residential, multi-family, and workplace sectors, and also some public locations. They installed 500 units in residential homes over five years. They’re looking for 25 more multi-family locations, in addition to 25 already installed; locations should have 10 or fewer families. So far, 19 workplace units have been installed, with more locations sought. A public-use station is operational in Lacey, and PSE plans for seven more in their territory. Melissa said she thinks the public stations are more than 50 kW. They take all the common charging-network cards. The DCFCs are combo CCS-Chademo. The Lacey location offers several of those, and several Level 2s. PSE is holding events to promote Up and Go Electric. Tom and Cathy Saxton are helping. DCFC costs 25 cents per minute; level 2 costs 4¢ per minute. Jay noted that Up and Go can interface with Greenlots. Jay thanked PSE for finishing up the 500 Juiceboxes. Steve Meginniss noted that California now forbids charging by time instead of energy. Melissa said that their goal was market-based rates. Steve also said that his card’s contactless chip doesn’t work in some EVSEs. Melissa said that they’re trying to get the system to work with phones. There was a question in the Zoom chat as to whether Seattle City Light customers can participate in the multi-family pilot; Melissa said that they cannot due to Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission regulations, which require the pilot to be kept within PSE territory. Andrea Toussignant pointed out that Seattle City Light does currently have a residential program.PHASE OUT OF GAS CARS UPDATE FROM COLTURA – Matthew Metz, the co-founder and president of Coltura, provided an update about their efforts to ban gas cars in Washington.  Coltura advocates that state legislatures require new cars to be fossil-fuel-free. The plurality of Washington’s carbon emissions are from gasoline combustion. Lacking regulatory changes, business-as-usual emissions will decline to 80% of 2008 levels by 2050; however, the state goal set in 2008 is a reduction to 50%. Gasoline is the low-hanging fruit after power plants. Europe is phasing out gas cars. The United Kingdom has changed its phase-out goal from 2040 to 2030.  Germany, however, has issues with its important car-manufacturing industry. California’s Governor Newsom has issued an order to phase out new gas car sales by 2035. Newsom has directed the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to make regulations consistent with the order, but it’s not clear if CARB actually has this authority and 2-5 years of litigation may happen. That could be followed by 2-3 years of court challenges and an application by California to the federal EPA for a Clean Air Act waiver that could take another year. Federal preemption challenges by oil companies and others may take two or more years. After that, Washington state will be eligible to adopt this policy by rulemaking, which would take a year. So Coltura is now working on a Washington bill. This won’t take away anyone’s property, but it will prohibit new gasoline cars from being sold starting with model year 2030. Currently, 300,000 cars are sold annually in Washington, and 96-97 percent are gas. Annual turnover is 6 percent, meaning that starting in 2030, 6 percent of the cars in the state will cease to be gas. Matt said he thinks this will be more straightforward than the current incentive laws, which do not create clear goals and are much more complicated. As a result, landlords, for example, will know how many electric cars they’ll need to provide charging stations for. A strong signal will be sent to all players. Incentives will move from the public to the private sector. A bill was introduced in the Washington House of Representatives last year and got a hearing, but did not clear the Transportation Committee. The Coltura supporters have spoken with legislators, including Senator Saldaña, who was supportive. It might take a year or two to get it passed, partly because everything is slow with COVID going on. The legislators need to hear from constituents; 10 might be persuasive. The key messages include the strong climate action, economic benefits, minimal cost to taxpayers, lower electric rates due to better usage of generating and transmission resources, and it allows transportation dollars to be targeted more to lower-income people. Ed Mills asked some questions to elaborate on this, pointing out that starting in 2030, gas-tax revenues will decline 6 percent annually. Matt responded that the state is going to shift to a road-usage charge. A lot of coalition partners are coming on board, including unions, faith-based groups, Solar Installers of Washington, and Clean Tech Alliance. Polling results are encouraging. By two to one, the general public thinks that electricity is a superior fuel to gasoline for cars. Lopsided proportions agree with statements such as that EVs are better for the environment.  Even 69 percent of Washington Republicans have a favorable view of EVs.
Q&A:

  • Will the proposed regulation apply to used cars? Matt said that the law simply prohibits model-year 2030 or later from using gasoline. Sales of any earlier model years, in any year, are not prohibited.
  • Can a car be purchased in Idaho and registered in Washington? No, the law is specifically targeted at registrations.
  • What is the definition distinguishing a car from a truck? The bill says 10,000 pounds, so SUVs and light-duty trucks will be included in the prohibition. Motorcycles and commercial vehicles won’t; Coltura doesn’t want to pick a fight with the Hell’s Angels.
  • Will pickups and vans used for towing need to be electric? They will; they’re a large portion of vehicles statewide. Brian Hughes and Ed both spoke to issues around range for vehicles regularly commuting or driving heavy loads. Matt thought that range issues should be ameliorated by 2030, or in some cases, the relatively small inconvenience of additional time for charging stops is a trade-off for planetary sake. Ed noted that things might not work well if the responsibility is individual. Grace thought that a bill like this will give notice to employers that offering charging to employees is good for their business. But Ed said that some people don’t have a workplace; they just need to drive heavier vehicles to get their work accomplished. Andrea said that the state has a put lot into developing charging infrastructure and fleet requirements. Phil thought that trucks should follow Tesla’s model and bundle charging costs into the vehicle price.
  • Can the effective date be changed to a fixed number of years after passage, instead of 2030? Matt thought they’d evaluate that, but given that Europe is moving towards 2030, so should Washington. Matt finished with the suggestion that this bill could get other players besides Tesla to invest in charging infrastructure.

SEVA MEMBER SURVEY – Andrea said the goal is collect demographic information about SEVA members to take to Olympia when talking to legislators. She’s put together a draft of 10 questions to cover demographics and opinions.

EV EVENT IN NOVEMBER – The Shop is offering an opportunity for a “Cars With No Coffee” event during COVID. The event will conform to pandemic restrictions including the five-person rule, where cars will park in front of The Shop, and socially distanced and masked people can ask questions about the EVs. It’s proposed for November 21, 10 a.m.-1 p.m..  The Shop has done about eight events, so they have it worked out. Grace said that she just learned that this event can be listed on Drive Electric Week’s page; it will be listed as a private event.

TESLA BATTERY DAY – Grace reported that Tesla has introduced a new form factor with their 4680 cylindrical batteries. This will much increase capacity and efficiencies. Elon thinks the efficiency will improve more than 50 percent. The factory is now producing Model 3s with these new batteries in them. Grace said it will be interesting to see what the new ranges may be. Tesla is also working with new chemistries; they’re trying to eliminate cobalt because it’s difficult to get.

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

  • Jay briefly demonstrated EV West’s web app in development, “the Portal.”  This displays vehicle and charging information.
  • PSE is sending SEVA $500 because we can’t do ride-and-drives with them this fall. Jay had discussed with them virtual ride-and-drives, which are still under discussion.
  • Randy announced that Jack Rickard passed away this past August. His business, EVTV, is continuing.

MEMBERSHIP – Mark Yormark noted that we used to have membership drives, which haven’t happened recently because we have a large bank balance and funding from Seattle Foundation. But Mark thinks that we should continue paid memberships to foster unity. Jay thought it would be a good idea to keep official membership numbers. Jay said that the EAA is getting back in gear. Mark Schiller said he can give an update of the membership roster at the next meeting.

Jay adjourned the meeting at 8:32 PM.  Post-meeting discussion included Jay’s recommending “The Long Way Up” on Apple TV, about an electric Harley adventure, replete with mishaps (such as lacking Level 1 charging), from Patagonia to Los Angeles. Mark and Charlie talked about their projects. Phil asked about getting salvage parts; un-rebuildable Model 3s and even Leafs are crazy expensive. Jay’s mother loves driving the iMiev.

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

Zoom Meeting Recording(s):