National Drive Electric Week, Las Vegas Event, 9-20-14
This was a wonderful event. My friend and photographer Brent Hatcher and I stayed through most of the event. The people who brought their vehicles were all very nice people. They wanted to share their positive experiences with driving EVs and they succeeded in doing that. I estimate that perhaps a couple of hundred people attended over the course of the day.
It would be fair to mention that I still reluctantly drive an internal combustion engine (ICE). My next car will be an EV. Not that I needed much help really based on what I’ve read at www.CleanTechnica.com and elsewhere online, this event played a favorable role in that decision.
Volunteers for the National Drive Electric Week Las Vegas Event
Ted Buban, Las Vegas
Rufus Perry, Las Vegas
Nissan Leaf owner
Mark Larsen, St. George, UT
Mitsubishi i-MIEV owner
Gary Rickling, Las Vegas
Chevy Volt driver (loan from local Findlay Chevrolet dealer)
Stan Hanel, Las Vegas
Frank Scandura, who owns Frank’s European Motors.
Gary Rickling, i-MIEV owner
Gary’s i-MIEV is rated to have a range of 62, but he can get 70 driving in the city (the Las Vegas valley is pretty flat). He bought his car in 2012 i-MIEV in 2013 so they gave a big discount of $11,000 plus with the $7,500 tax discount, he got it for $16,000 and change. Gary and his wife have two cars. The 2nd car, an ICE vehicle is used for longer trips.
When he got the car, his co-workers told him it was ugly.
Gary retorted, “Think of me every time you are filling up your gas tank.
Gary uses the www.ChargePoint.com mobile app to find charging stations sometimes.
Frank Scandura, who owns Frank’s European Motors
It was a pleasant surprise for me to see a car service company owner there. Frank is famous in Las Vegas for servicing Mercedes and other European imports. One might think that car service owners would dread the advent of the direct drive EVs, but Frank welcomes them. He’s gone through many car changes over the years and seems to welcome them all. He even gave me an autographed copy of his book How To Take Care of Your Vehicle So It Will Take Care of You.
Rufus Perry, Tesla owner
“If everyone would not look at the challenge of going green and lessening our dependence on fossil fuels and coal as unreachable or unattainable, they can drive a Tesla or Leaf or whatever. If they can get away from the fossil fuel business that we have been tied to for 100 years, it will help us. It’s the little things that can help. This world is warming up and fossil fuels will be our demise if we don’t do anything about it.”
Rufus said he can get a “200-mile charge in 20 minutes” with the Tesla Supercharger.
It’s a brave new world.
One of the coolest things that I saw during the day was when Rufus showed us how the Tesla charging plug when taken off the Tesla Supercharger unit will open the recharging panel door on the side of the Tesla since it has an auto-recognize feature built into it.
Mark Larsen, Leaf owner
Mark has owned his Leaf for 2.5 years. His model has a 73 mile EPA-rated range (117 km), but the newer models get 83 miles (134 km). Mark has been getting 100 miles (161 km) around town and about 60 miles (97 km) on the highway.
“There are compelling reasons to transition to an electric vehicle, no matter one’s political persuasion. They break our dependence on foreign oil, are cleaner for the environment, are cheaper to fuel and maintain. But the icing on the cake is that they are simply better cars: more powerful, more nimble, more reliable, quieter, safer, and funner to drive. Everyone’s a winner!”
Mark is a member of the Electric Auto Association www.electricauto.org, Plug-In America www.pluginamerica.org, and www.PlugShare.com. He has installed a Milbank RV panel in his garage to power both a 240V charging station for his Leaf and a NEMA 14-50 outlet for visitors’ EVs.
Mark has a hybrid garage since his wife has an ICE. They take it on longer trips. Mark said he likes the concept of the Nomadic Power http://nomadic-power.com extended range trailer. When they are available he said, “Yeah, that’s a good idea. I’d do that.”
Mark installed over-capacity solar on his rooftop. He has enough for his house and for his EV. He sends excess into the grid. His Leaf has saved him over $3,000 in 2.5 years in gasoline savings. He’s saved several hundred more than that if we take into account his solar panels.
If you are interested in learning more about EV plugs, please visit Mark’s site at
Thanks to Mark for help on this article.
Ted Buban, Tesla owner
“Never buy and ICE,” Ted started. This man is decided, leaving no room for ambiguity about how he feels. He told how he made a trip to Michigan and back saving $1,600 in gasoline costs.
“The only reason they have hybrids is to keep us on gasoline. We don’t need them.”
Jay Leno has a 1914 electric car that still runs.
Jay Leno in his century old 1914 Baker Electric.
Photo credit unknown & unlicensed, even commercially.
For more on Baker EVs, see wiki
Ted continues, “Hydrogen is bullsh*t. They use it in rocket ships because it’s explosive.”
“The cost to put up a plug for EVs is $200 including union labor. What about [the cost to put up] a gas station?” We of course know that fast charging stations cost more, but Ted was just stating the minimum amount needed to get the job done, to switch to EVs.
Speaking of Elon Musk: “He’s going to change the world. He’s what the world needs right now.”
“I got 14 miles beyond zero [miles] once in my Tesla. I called Tesla and the person tells me I have 5% charge remaining. He knew exactly where I was through GPS and I told him I didn’t know the location of an RV park where I was headed and he gave me exact directions how to get there. I’m always 2 minutes from Tesla by phone.”
There is nowhere I won’t go [in my Tesla].
“Tesla is behind 20,000 cars. They all have names and deposits on them.”
The most fun of the day was a ride Brent and I took with Ted in his Tesla. We went from standing still zero to 75 MPH (120 KPH) in 5 seconds flat. To say it was fun is an understatement. I doubt I’ll ever forget the exhilaration. It was a blast that was unlike any car experience that I had previously had and I’ve been in some fast cars.
“This car is funner than sh*t. There’s nothing like it.”
Tour of Las Vegas Charging Stations
Stan brought us on a tour of several EV charging sites in Las Vegas. We saw two Tesla Supercharger stations replete with large AC to DC converter boxes that serviced four charging bays.
One of the interesting things that happened was a home-made 1965 Mustang retrofit that showed up at the event.
Thanks to Stan Hanel for organizing this event and to Mark Larsen shown here in his tee shirt that was on message.