Saturday, June 28, 2008

Electric Vehicles visit Beaver Island

The electric vehicle (ev) show was held on Beaver Island and was great way to see what is available. This is the Think car.

I liked this ev!
Pedicabs and EV's!

Just plug them in and go.

It was hard to see any "engine" in these. The engine is very small and just runs the wheels. It is mostly batteries.

Beaver Island already has about 5-6 free charging stations. This one is at Central Michigan University's Bio Station.
A very efficient GEM utility vehicle.
We like this GEM. Fits four people or two people and a large dog!

Anne looking good in the red EV!
Cary checking out the dashboard -- not much there!
Even the island dogs love the EV's!

An electric scooter for the Historical Society raffle.

All 13 EV's came on the ferry from Charlevoix on Friday, June 27. It was fun watching them debark.

Then and now! The old Caddy must take lots of $5.50 a gallon gas vs. the EV's -- no gas!!


The Beaver Island Electric Car Show on June 27 and 28, 2008 was informative and fun to see. We got there early to see the electric cars come off the ferry from Charlevoix. I think the boat guys enjoyed driving those cuties off! The Beaver Island newspapers and us bloggers were there to take photos.
There were Zenn cars (, Miles Electric Vehicles ( and Gems ( . Gem stands for Global Electric Motorcars, a Chrysler Company. The Gems and Miles cars were accompanied by the authorized dealer, Vic Staley, from New London OH at North Central Zenn. The Gems were accompanied by Frank Veraldi from Fox Charlevoix ( The Beaver Island organizer of the ev show was Dan Wardlow who brought his blue Zenn and graciously allowed folks to take it for a spin – which I did! What fun and so quiet. Of course, no gas motor, just batteries (about 7 batteries) and a little motor to run the wheels. The parking brake was on, I turned the key, put the button to forward, took off the brake and off we went! I think I got up to 25 mph. There was room in the back for 2 people if you had a seat installed or a dog. When we got back from my spin, the button went to neutral, turned the key off and put the parking brake on. That was it! Plug it in around the island at various free charging stations when needed, or at your home overnight.
We wondered about over-wintering an electric car. You can find some place to overwinter where it would be charged/recharged once a month. It would be hard to put a solar trickle charger on all seven batteries like we presently do for our car. Maybe some enterprising islanders will work something out for overwinter care for electric cars.
Jeff Connor was also there from Inland Motors. He is retrofitting a Dodge Dakota into an elective vehicle. He recommends that as it has all the “comforts” of a regular car (heat, a/c, radio, plush seats, larger tires) but no gas motor. He will also service ev’s on the island.

The prices ran from around $8,000 for a used GEM to around $15,000 for the utility truck. They basically pay for themselves, especially here on Beaver Island with gas presently at $5.50 a gallon. The cost per “gallon” is about 2.5 or 3 cents (in electricity costs). The Zenn dealer told us the batteries would last about 3-5 years, probably longer on a part time use and would cost about $1500 to replace all seven batteries.

According to the GEM literature, owning a GEM eS Model (small utility vehicle) versus a combustion engine car for 3 years (3600 miles) would be:

GEM Combustion

Costs $8,000

Insurance $900
Electricity $90
No tailpipe emissions.


Cost: $20,000

Insurance $3,000

Fuel: $750 (right now gas is $5.50 a gallon on Beaver Island)


Thursday, June 19, 2008

Death of the Electric Car

Mitsubishi's iMiEV is an electric car built on the company's 'i car' platform. The electric iMiEV is only a test vehicle at this point, but it can go for about 100 miles on a full charge with its lithium ion battery pack.

In 1996 electric cars were starting to appear all over California but they were all gone by 2006: destroyed--crushed and shredded by General Motors who made them. They were fast, quiet, and used no gasoline. Who Killed the Electric Car is a DVD by Sony Pictures which discusses the death of the electric car and by who/what. It is a very interesting look.

The movie states that the cost to run an electric car is about 60 cents a gallon (if it took gas). An electric car runs on rechargeable batteries, supplying electricity to an electric motor. The motor triggers the transmission which triggers the wheels to move.

In about 1996 the California Air Resources Board (CARB) adopted the Zero Emission Vehicle in California, requiring 2% ZEV in 1998, 5% in 2001 and 10% in 2003. Then the auto companies got the board to lower the standards and in 1999, GM bought the Hummer. Guess what? They started pushing Hummers vs. electric cars!!

In 2003 President Bush started a push for the hydrogen fuel cell car. Because hydrogen fuel cell cars can't be powered at home (such as with an electric socket) but need a whole infra structure to "fuel" cars they are not very convenient.

In 2006 GM started recalling all its electric cars and crushed them all, then eventually shredded them! All the GM EV cars are gone!

The movie looks at several "suspects" in the killing of the electric car:

Oil Companies
Car Companies
Hydrogen fuel cells

The web site for the movie: Who Killed the Electric Car is full of information and facts that are seen in the movie. Check it out if you can't see the movie.

By the way, Beaver Island (Michigan) is having an electric car show on June 27 and 28th. The ferry will be bringing the cars over to the island from Charlevoix (Michigan) on the 27th and they will be parked in front of the Shamrock. People can drive them and talk to the salespeople. Check it out!


Saturday, June 14, 2008

Beaver Island

Some Beaver Island photos here. The water is blue and inviting!
An old log by my cabin.
This looks like a painting doesn't it? But it is tanins running into Lake Michigan on the sand.
A view of Lake Michigan.
Walking the sand.
Marsh Marigold.

Beach stones.
This is the boat ramp at the campground on E. Side Drive.