Electric Auto Association
East (SF) Bay EAA Chapter

Hands-on EV repairs and projects.Hands-on EV repairs and projects
New Location and Events for 2003 year

Chapter Officers 2003 year
Voted PositionMember Name     Volunteer PositionMember Name
President/ChairEd Thorpe     Meeting CoordinatorLloyd Wenzel
Vice President/Vice ChairScott Cornell     Events CoordinatorScott Cornell
TreasurerJim Van Scyoc     Charging CoordinatorMarc Geller
    Website CoordinatorEd Thorpe

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Chapter Meetings for 2003:

  • January - AC Controller design
  • February - Annual EAA National Meeting, Palo Alto
  • February - Charging stations
  • March - Hands-on EV Repairs
  • April - Earth Day Events
  • April - Annual East Bay EV Rally, Concord
  • May - Solar Vehicles
  • June - Adapting EVs to AVCON
  • July - 4th of July Parade, Alameda
  • July - EV Experience
  • August - EV Display and Drive/Ride Rally, Hayward
  • September - Silicon Valley Chapter Rally, Palo Alto
  • September - no regular meeting
  • October - Making use of Public Charging
  • November - Electric Motorsports and the GPR motorcycle
  • December - no regular meeting

January 23 (standard meeting)

AC Controller Design
Location: Alameda

First meeting of the new year. Great turnout - 28 people!

Jack Swartz has been working on development of a new AC controller. His test vehicle proposed is a Mercedes sedan. Through the presentation, Jack described his research, design and testing on a 3-phase controller. Additionally, he presented research on possible NiMH battery pack from D-cells, and other electronic componients.

Also plenty of discussion about production and conversion EVs, and how people can get an EV for local or commute driving. Various legislation was discussed, including an announcement to encourage participation at the annual CARB ZEV mandate changes at the end of February.

February 22 (standard meeting)

EV Charging Infrastructure
Location: Alameda

Thanks everyone for turning out. Another great meeting, with 17 people attending.

Marc Geller, a Ford TH!NK City driver which uses public Avcon conductive charging, led the meeting in discussing the need for EV charging infrastructure. We have the ability as a Chapter to coordinate with local business to install public charging stations around the East Bay.

The outcome was that there are different ways to provide charging. We need to determine what format to stand behind, which will work for the most vehicles. (Thanks to Edward Ang for his summary and leading discussion on the EVDL.)

  1. NEMA 14-50 is the most preferred setup. But we are not certain if it met the electrical codes to put it in public and expose it to weather.
  2. AVCON is the approved standard. But, you can't get 110V from it. (Let's not forget that all NEVs are using 110V charging.)
  3. 110V is needed in any setup because most conversion only uses 110V charging. A GFI protected NEMA 5-20 meets the code and it doesn't add much cost to the setup.

Which only really leaves us with 2 combinations to choose from:

  1. AVCON and NEMA 5-20.
  2. NEMA 14-50 (if it could be made to meet the codes) and NEMA 5-20.

By the way (BTW), here's a simple Poll for people to vote on a preferred standard for charging stations.

note: should provide graphics for each setup for better understanding/clarify.

March 22 (standard meeting)

Hands-on EV Maintenance
by members of the EBEAA

Location: Alameda

Great turnout. Lots of various discussion groups clustered around various EVs. We had Marc in his TH!NK, which he drove over from San Francisco, and Wayne in his newly aquired VW Rabbit pickup truck, down from Vallejo. Ed provided discussion about upgrades to his Sparrow (PFC-50 fast charging, battery voltage monitoring, etc). And other EVs were also present - Lloyd's Honda Civic conversion, the CommutaCar, electric bicycles, and more.

Warren showed up with Jack and some of the group focused on installing the front brakes Warren rebuilt for the club's CommutaCar. The rear brakes weren't quite resolved due to the need for a machine shop to remove the bearings. Certainly would help if there was information thorugh a DL or other source about what size bearings to replace with (but that's another discussion).

Also we'll have last minute discussions about carpooling and participation in the CARB meeting for the next week - March 27-28. Critical meeting to determine if we have an extended backout on production EV availability.

April 26 (standard meeting/rally)

Annual East Bay Rally
Location: Pleasant Hill/Concord

Report and photos by Scott Cornell, EBEAA Events Coordinator.

April 26th was a sunny and cloudy day that threatened rain but the rain never came through. The 2003 East Bay EAA Spring rally was a relaxed gathering of 6 member vehicles, several members and their families, and a few curious passers-by. Donuts, bottled water, and fresh fruit were on the table, as was a collection of EAA rally-specific literature. All in all, we had fun time, good conversations, and planted a few seeds in the minds of our visitors - just as we had intended.

Good conversations and answering questions dominated the day. The usually present competition-for-the-longest-distance mindset wasn't the first thing on the driver's minds (except for Gordon, who really wanted to stretch his new set of batteries).

2003 Rally site and cars.2003 Rally is dedicated to the memory of Carl Schaeffer

We dedicated this rally to the memory of Carl Schaeffer - a long-time East Bay member, E.V. driver and promoter, and a wonderful person, who passed away last month at the age of 98.

Here are the distance run results for the 3.2 mile city driving course:
# Driver Vehicle Class Voltage Batteries Distance Comments
1 Gordon Schaeffer VW Rabbit Conversion 96V Lead Acid 41.5 miles (winner)
2 Bill Nalbandian Bradley GT Conversion 120V Lead Acid 19.2 miles
3 Scott Cornell Kewet EL-JET 3 Production 48V Lead Acid 9.6 miles (note 1)
4 Scott Cornell Karmann Ghia Conversion 90V Lead Acid 12.8 miles (note 2)
5 Anna Cornell Rabbit Conversion 96V Lead Acid 12.8 miles (note 2)
6 Ed Thorpe Corbin Sparrow Production 156V Lead Acid 19.2 miles (note 3)

note 1 - drove to and from rally site - 1.2 miles each way
note 2 - drove to and from rally site twice - 1.2 miles each way
note 3 - drove to rally site from alameda with charging along the way - 35 miles each way

Annual East Bay EAA Rally - Spring 2003 route
More pictures on the meeting history page.

May 21 (standard meeting)

Planting seeds in the minds of young EVers with Solar Toys
Location: Alameda

Scott presented some of his work done with elementary school children and work done by the EV Challenge group with middle school children.

June 28 (standard meeting)

Charging discussion, and how to adapt for Avcon
Location: Alameda

Great turnout! We had 19 people show up, to discuss how they can connect to public charging, and to look at some EVs.

Ed Thorpe, our Chapter president, shared how EVs (production and conversion) can use public charging. For those with EVs (mostly conversions), there's the question of how to connect to what public charging is available. Since Ed drives a Sparrow with a charger that can plug into both 110vac and 220vac, he shared (and demonstrated) how vehicles can be adapted using the AVCON inlet. With this inlet, or the AVCON adapter box available through the EAA Merchandise, an EV with 220v charger can plug into many public-charging stations.

Also had discussion about the state of EVs, the new sticker required for access to public charging parking spaces, and participation in Alameda's 4th of July Parade.

July 4 (parade)

Alameda 4th of July Parade
Location: Alameda

    Great turnout:
  • (red) Ford Th!nk City - provided and driven by Marc Geller
  • (light blue) GM EV1 - provided by Bill Kenney, driven by Kathy Thorpe
  • (white) Toyota RAV4 EV - provided and driven by Michael Schwabe
  • (red) converted Toyota Paseo - provided and drive by Kay Chen
  • (white) converted Honda Civic - provided and drive by Lloyd Wenzel
  • (yellow) Corbin Sparrow - provided and driven by Sue Phillips
  • (white) Corbin Sparrow - provided and driven by Edward Ang
  • (teal) Corbin Sparrow - provided and driven by Ed Thorpe
  • electric scooter - provided and driven by Brian Phillips
  • electric scooter - provided by Edward Ang, driven by a friend of the Phillips

Pictures available on Edward's Movingcam website.
Edward and Kay came the furthest, up from Newark/Fremont area. And wonderful BBQ afterwards, with other member participation. Definitely becoming an annual event. Great to see other EVs (mostly nEVs) in the parade. Strong commitment by the community to get away from ICE vehicles in the parade environment.

July 26(standard meeting)

The EV Experience
Location: Alameda

At last month's meeting, 10 members got together to hear how Wayne Foss recently joined the EV scene. He shared how he bought an electric VW pickup for commuting and for use in his car upholstery business. After getting the first vehicle, he has picked up a second EV pickup as a backup, and has worked on upgrading the voltage and other aspects of the original EV.

We had a lot of great discussion about learning the care and feeding of EVs. Wayne's main concerning has been maintaining and watering the flooded battery pack, which he checks and adds water on a monthly basis. This frequency is because he is logging about 70 commute miles daily, which is a lot. Also, he's investigating how he can recharge more quickly, right now takes all day, on 110vac with the original charger. We discussed different options, from tandom chargers to upgrading to a PFC charger, to even having a larger battery array to dump charge.

Many thanks to Wayne for sharing with us. Also had a show-and-tell of his '81 pickup after the meeting.
Gathered around Wayne's EV Pickup. Wayne explaining the battery pack.
Gathered around Wayne's EV Pickup.
Wayne explaining the battery pack.

August 21 (standard meeting/rally)

East Bay EV Display and Drive/Ride Rally
Location: Hayward

In April we held our traditional Distance Rally in Pleasant Hill/Concord area, on the east side of the Caldecott Tunnel (part of major coast range which separates the Richmond/Oakland/Hayward/Fremont area from the Martinez/Concord/Walnut Creek/San Ramon area of the East Bay). So, to encourage members to gather with their EVs, we are starting a second annual rally in the Hayward area in August. Not quite as hot weather-wise as Concord for this time of year, it should be a pleasant time to display our various EVs, from electric bicycles and scooters to cars and pickups and other electrics.

This event has plenty of space for display, due to the large parking lots. We can easily accommodate members who wish to drop-off the vehicles the night before, for charging, etc. Public 220vac charging is available at the adjacent Chabot College, and there is a variety of 110vac charging. Please email EAA-contact-at-excite-dot-com to coordinate any individual arrangements.

Rally route

We have a 2.2 mile and 1.1 mile loops. Longer loop is for EV cars/trucks/etc and the shorter loop is for EV scooters/bicycles. These loops take our EVs around the Mall site, along side the I-880 freeway and past the local flea market being held at the local Community College. Flat streets, from 25mph residential to 35mph main streets (3 lanes wide), with minimal stops. We encourage the public to come and take a ride as we drive these laps, to get a first-hand experience about why EVs can solve the air pollution problems we have in the Bay Area.

With these shorter distances, any EV from scooter to car can also test out their distance capabilities. We will have refreshments for all participants and an table for distributing information.

October 25(standard meeting)

Charging Standards and Adapting Conversions with an Avcon Inlet
Location: Alameda

After August and September Rallies, the issue has come up of where people can see and purchase new EVs. Well, unfortunately all the automakers have wimped out and the last production EVs were the 200 Toyota RAV4 EVs which were sold last year. And for the next 8-10 years the major automakers - Chevrolet (S10 EV pickup), Daimler-Chrysler (EPIC EV minivan), Ford (EV Ranger & Think City), General Motors (EV1), Honda (EV+ minivan), Nissan (Altra EV minivan) and Toyota (RAV4 EV) - are all sidestepping EVs by focusing on producing ~250 (combined total) fuel cell vehicles and various gas-electric hybrids.

Since this leaves us with older "production" EVs and conversions, we have to live with much shorter driving ranges. Typically conversions have 15-40 miles per charge range. For local use and short-range commuting this range works well. In order to extend the driving range, and to gain exposure to the public, we need to use the public charging stations.

So we had lively discussion about the merits of public charging - does it promote EVs to the public or put them down by having the EV recharging out in the open. Also we discussed what's involved adapting existing vehicle charging with an AVCON inlet and 110vac vs. 220vac charging strategies .

The USPS recently lost its EV delivery vehicle program. Ford wanted out and, with some built-in obsolescence in batteries and poor maintenance programs, they were able to cancel the last major EV program. As a result, the California USPS locations with charging stations now have excess equipment - the charging stations. The EAA was able to coordinate the donation of these stations, to be relocated for public use, provided the EAA provides the disconnection and removal of this equipment.

If everything coordinates well, we have the opportunity of removing the first charging stations after our November meeting, at the Shoreline USPS location. More details at our meeting.

November 22 (standard meeting) Electric Motorsport
Meeting Location: Alameda

We had Todd Kollin of Electric Motorsport coming to talk without about electric scooters, but more importantly, electric motorcycles. His company is located here in the East SF Bay (Oakland) and markets and builds the electric scooters and the GPR motorcycle.
Side view of GPR EV motorcycle & info. Rear view of GPR EV motorcycle & specs.

He shared with us how he's gotten involved with electric motorcycles and how the GPR is filling a nitch for EVs. Currently he custom builds them to his client's specs, based on the Spanish Durby motorcycle chassis. Customization focuses on gearing for speed performance and packaging with either Hawker-like no maintenance PbA or Evercel NiZn batteries. The overall package weighs in at less than 300 pbs, with the torque of a 600cc motorcycle while the performance of a 125cc motorcycle.

The DC brush motor is able to deliver about 55 mph performance, but can be geared up for 65 mph or geared down to more range at 45 mph. With PbA pack it gets about 25 mpc (miles per charge) range, or about 40 mpc with NiZn. In the future he plans to as 2-3 gearing to enhance the performance.

At EVS-20, where he displayed this NiZn GRP, he saw the motor manufacturers moving towards multi-pole motors, 7-16 phase async AC, which is brushless DC. He also raced his PbA GPR at Woodburn 2003. Photos on the Megawatt Motorworks website (second page, halfway down). Didn't set any records, but he had a blast racing with other EVers.


The EAA is a non-profit organization for the promotion of clean, quiet electric vehicles (EVs) for personal transportation. Check for the EAA Chapter near you on the National EAA page: http://www.eaaev.org

SF Bay area EAA Chapter Web pages:

North (SF) Bay
San Francisco
San Jose
Silicon Valley