Thursday, July 22, 2010

The “Snake” drives Mini-E #183

If you don’t know who I’m talking about, stop reading.

I had the great honor of meeting a childhood hero of mine tonight a real automotive pioneer and four time NHRA championship winner. American and International Motorsports Hall of Famer, The “Snake” Don Prudhomme.

This is the way it went down.

I walked into our Rotary club meeting in Carlsbad, and three friends were around the “Snake” One of them introduces me and says to Don “Peder’s a pioneer car guy too, he drives an electric mini BMW.” Don’s eyes lights up and he says “No shit, is it here ?" (sorry for swearing) I say “yes it’s out in the parking lot.” “Don says “Can I drive it?” Peder’s eyes light up! I say “No shit! (sorry for swearing) Hell yes you can drive it.”

Don and I go for a 10 minute spin in Mini-E #183 with Don behind the wheel (sorry Mini-E overlords) I’m in the passenger seat with an automotive god driving my Mini-E! He has a little fun with it loves the torque and the instant acceleration, He talks about 100ths of a second and racing . He loves the regen and instant throttle response. He’s smiling ear to ear! He’s hugely impressed. We get back to the Rotary club and the prez is pissed because I drove away with the program.

I could care less. I am in car guy nirvana!

I used to race Hot Wheels with the Snake and Mongoose. I used to build Revelle models with Testers Glue and paints of the Snake and Mongoose. I used to watch drag racing with the Snake and Mongoose. I used to beg my dad to take me to the races to watch the Snake and Mongoose.
Two gear head car guys loving a drive in the Mini-E. Sweeeeeeeet!

We drive by the old location of the Carlsbad Drag Strip (now a business park) off of Palomar airport road where Don used to drag, He pulls a U turn, chirps the tires a bit steps on it until about 70 mph, and we drive back the one mile to the Rotary meeting place on Palomar Airport Road.

He tells me “I’m pushing the envelope of cars.” I know what he means. I tell him "BMW is pushing the envelope and I'm just a driver", he says "So was I "

Don’s top speed was 307 MPH. I’ll settle for 70.

Top question of the night was what was the biggest technical improvement in drag racing?
His answer was safety. He buried a lot of his fellow drivers in the 70s, some right here in Carlsbad. He credited Don "Big Daddy" Garlits with moving the engine from in front of the driver to the rear of the driver as the biggest technical change in drag racing that saved the most lives.

I’m in a dream, It just gets better and better being a Mini-E driver.



Leviton is in the "EVSE" house, always has been.

Here’s a little secret for you that I as a Mini-E driver with 18,000 miles will gladly share.

Public charging stations and range anxiety are way over-rated and over-hyped. Not to say that we won’t need public charging stations, we will need them and they will primarily be along transportation corridors for longer distant travel. We also need them emotionally as sort of a security blanket to sooth our apprehensions and transition to a more limited range. A security blanket that is reassuring but serves little other purpose.

Pundits, analysts, government and the E-car media are all gushing stories and programs around public charging stations.

The Secret?

I have publicly charged my Mini-E exactly 4 times in 14 months, I have plugged it in 400 times with my home charging. Even imagining a world with abundant charging stations that were free to use, for the most part I would not use them as the range of the Mini-E gets the job done for all my trips returning home to it’s charging cocoon and with no effort or worry is ready for me when I wake up with 100% charge. Talk about a sweet dream! I could see myself maybe once every two months needing a public charger for a longer trip.

Public charging will at best represent a small 20% of the charging marketplace. Immediately from there, the percentages will begin to decline as battery prices go down and range goes up.
The big market and the one that is flying under the radar screen?

Home charging.
Home charging will represent 80% of the marketplace and will grow from a market size of a few hundred chargers today to eventually 100 million chargers in a few short decades representing 1/3 of our nations fleet that will have a plug to plug into a home charger.
Leviton , a quiet giant has been working hard the past few years and is now entering that home charging space.

You may or may not be familiar with Leviton, but its products are in over 90% of us households and it’s manufacturing, distribution, sales, and brand loyalty from the electricians that will be installing your home station, position the company perfectly in the home charging space.
As an EV driver I had the honor of a few friendly visits with Mini-E #183 to Leviton’s facility in Southern California during the development of the EVSE and I wish them great success with their EVSE rollout.
PR Releases below.

Mini-E #183, 18,000 trouble free sunshine powered miles.

Press Release
PR Contact:
Pamela Winikoff
631 812-6155

Leviton Announces Residential Charging Stations for Electric Vehicle Market
Leviton introduces Evr-Green™ line of electric vehicle supply equipment

Melville, New York, July 20, 2010 – Leviton today announced its entry into the Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) market with a full portfolio of residential charging products. The Leviton Evr-Green™ line of EVSEs includes Level 1 and Level 2 residential charging stations. The product line will debut at the Plug-In 2010 Conference and Exposition in San Jose, California on July 26-29, 2010 in Leviton booth #310.

Leviton has developed an industry-first plug-in prewire system for the Level 2 EVSEs.
According to Mike Mattei, vice president and general manager for Leviton’s Commercial and Industrial Division, “As part of Leviton’s commitment to creating a sustainable future, we now offer a complete solution to EV charging. Leviton provides the charging stations as well as installation by certified contractors and extensive customer service. Evr-Green chargers comply with all industry standards, are backed by the industry’s only ten-year warranty, and are compatible with all the major EV manufacturers.”
The Evr-Green Level 1 portable cord set empowers consumers to charge their EV anywhere a standard outlet is available. Leviton also has developed a unique receptacle for EV owners to plug in their Level 1 cord set. In addition, Leviton’s Level 2 residential charging stations range from 16 Amp to 32 Amp charging levels. Both Level 1 and 2 EVSEs have SAE J1772™ connectors that are compatible with all North American plug in vehicles. Leviton will also provide a wide range of “smart” options and features for their residential products.

About Leviton
Leviton Manufacturing Company is the largest privately held global provider of electrical wiring devices, data center connectivity solutions and lighting energy management systems. Founded at the turn of the 20th century in America, Leviton has grown to become one of the preeminent leaders in the electrical industry. Today Leviton's product portfolio consists of over 25,000 devices and systems used in homes, businesses and industry. Proven to be a smart choice, nine out of ten homes throughout North America have Leviton products installed in them. Builders, electrical contractors and other industry professionals rank Leviton products #1 in brand preference. To request more information about Leviton’s Evr-Green portfolio, please visit For more information, contact Leviton Manufacturing, 201 North Service Rd., Melville, NY, 11747,

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 4th of July!

A simple 4th of July message.

Our forefathers founded a Union of States, a nation of independent, self reliant free people. On this Independence day we are reminded of that with patriotic gatherings and fireworks.

On this Independence day we are also sadly reminded that we are today, more so than ever, dependent on foreign lands and kings for oil, for energy. We continue to choose to bespoil our country's natural treasures and increasingly give away our independence and wealth to foreign lands and kings. It is not our Presidents or our Congresses that are to blame. It is "We the People" that choose to do that. We get angry at our President and at Corporations, but we blindly ignore our own use of oil. We the people.

Let us face honestly our great challenges with new opportunities, with imagination and creativity with independence, self reliance and better choices.

God bless those that have served this country and those that have sacrificed their life for our great nation. Their oath to this country's independence was eternal.
The least we can do is make better choices for our nations independence.

Happy Independence Day!

Peder Norby