Monday, May 6, 2013

Helping to Keep Austin Weird

When we first moved to Austin, we saw a lot of these bumper stickers:

We thought it a bit quaint, but it's true! Sunday I got to be a part of some of the weirdness. The AustinEV club sponsored a display at the Mini Maker Faire at the Palmer Events Center on the south shore of Lady Bird Lake.

The list of exhibitors was long and eclectic: everything from vintage costumes to making mud bricks to a huge Lego railway to weaving to robots to home composting to an inflatable planetarium. Click here to a see the exhibitor list. Here's a video that captures the variety of stuff that was going on:

There were all kinds of activities for kids - they could get their faces painted and ride on a big butterfly bike, see a Star Wars Jedi Fighter, and create their own custom bars of soap:

And of course there were the electric cars!

evTD on display

Also on display were a Saturn and a Jeep, so we had a cross section of cars from off-road to sports car to family sedan.

There was a steady stream of interested visitors, almost universally positive about the conversions. This was a very "green leaning" crowd, so there were very few of the critical questions we often field about return on investment or perceived shortcomings. In the case of the evTD, mostly wonder at how a classic like this could be made electric.

Photo courtesy of Mary Jackson
I did chat with one lady who said they were expecting their Tesla Model S delivery in a couple of weeks and several Dell employees who said that there were new charging stations at work so driving electric was starting to make sense. I'm not sure if we moved the EV ball forward much, but there was certainly a positive vibe around this show.

We were positioned right next to the bandstand, so it was a bit rough carrying on a conversation at times. The highlight of the music scene came when the last musical group made their appearance late in the day. The Dead Music Capital Band marched(?) from the main entrance to the stage and gave a concert that had everyone asking "Huh?!"

Austin bills itself as the "Live Music Capital of the World", so the DMC band is - you guessed it - zombies playing tunes to wake the undead. Here's a sample:

Did I mention "Keep Austin Weird"?

In other news, This is the longest trip I've taken to date in the evTD, 39 miles on 57Ah. That's 1.45Ah/mile and extrapolates into a real-world range of 55 miles to an 80% depth of discharge. I'm actually pretty pleased with that given that the evTD has the aerodynamic drag coefficient of a cinder block.

1 comment:

  1. Great write up Fred! That sounds like a terrific festival and I'm sure it was a lot of fun to be a part of. I'll bet the evTD draws a lot of attention, and it's not surprising that it's all favorable.

    There's been someone up in Prescott trying to sell a converted TD just like yours (though not as pretty) for a few months now. Every time I see it, I can't help but think how much better it would be with LiFePO batteries.

    Glad to see you're doing well!