AltCar Expo 2012: Update
That time of year has rolled around again for the AltCar Expo at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. Despite the fact that I have not scheduled an official unveiling and christening, there is no reason to skip such an obvious showcase. I will be there with the 914 EV starting early on Saturday morning at the shaded outdoor charging stations, and will be there all day. I’ll pop the hood, hand out cards, answer a zillion questions, and show off all the work I’ve done over the past 2+ years. If you have been following this blog, it would really anchor the moment to see your smiling faces there. Hope you can make it!
**UPDATE – Early Saturday morning I drove the Porsche 914 EV to the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium and grabbed a good charging spot under the solar carport before the event started. It was an amazing rush finally driving the beastie that has taken 2 1/2 years to bring to life. Aside from a slight shimmy that indicates the need for a proper alignment, the car ran smoothly and with ample pep. It flowed along easily with freeway traffic in 3rd gear at 60mph, and when I felt the urge to make a move, there was still plenty of juice to accelerate into open space. Top speed was an easy 90mph, with more top end to explore at a future date.
After arriving at the auditorium, I took my parking ticket and headed for the outdoor solar car port. Santa Monica installed this solar array to provide clean power to the auditorium as part of a green initiative. Some of that power is also directed to the EV charging stations that occupy space under the shade structure. Clicking on the image above will allow you to zoom and read the text, which is interesting and informative.
It costs $10 to enter the auditorium lot, and parking spaces are first-come-first-served, but the good news is that the EV charging is free. I grabbed a spot nearest the entrance, and plugged into a 220 volt Level 2 public charger for the very first time. I inserted the J-plug into the receptacle under my front license plate, toggled the pilot signal switch, and the giant contact relay inside the charging station clunked into service.
After grabbing some really tasty organic vegan food from the event vendor inside, I spent the rest of the day planted mostly here. There was so much interest in the Porsche that I barely made one quick pass through the event hall before returning to my spot. Both front and back hoods were popped to showcase the battery packs and various EV components, while a steady stream of enthusiasts swung by to examine the work, ask questions, compare notes, and tell stories. It was an interesting and varied audience. Some were either in the midst of an EV conversion or debating whether to start one. Some had prior experience with the Porsche 914, and one was even wrestling with keeping his own ’73 original, or converting it to electric. Fathers brought their young sons closer to peer into the motor bay at the batteries and controller. Jimmy Young, founder of the Ventura County EV Association and converter of a ’68 Triumph Spitfire, dropped by to rant, rave, and discuss the future of the electric car in California. His excellent reporting on the show features a cameo of the electric Porsche at bottom. Even a few Ford and Coda exhibitors dropped by to inspect the work and talk tech. Most of my weblog cards were gone by the end of day, which was a sign of a successful showing. With a smile on my face, I spent the rest of the weekend chauffeuring my lovely wife to her surprise birthday events in the electric Porsche. I couldn’t have offered her more style and class.