Friday, August 7, 2015

National Drive Electric Week in OKC and Lubbock(?!!!)

I watched a video by a guy named John Gallagher this week. And I was excited by what he had to say.
You see, John Gallagher is organizing a National Drive Electric Week gathering in Oklahoma City. It shouldn’t be surprising that there will be such an event in OKC, but it is. OKC, like my own hometown, is just not that interested in such things. We are conservative and extravagant in our thinking. Why would we be interested in something thrifty and short range when our surroundings encourage us to seek comfort and rugged utility? Why drive a Leaf when I can have a well-appointed four-door Ford F150 for similar money? Why worry about the environment when I can worry about paying the bills and keeping myself distracted? Having the gathering in OKC is the first of three surprises (for me) in John’s video.
The second surprise in the video is that John does not own an electric car. He explains that he does not own one but he does understand that electric cars are the obvious and appealing next step in personal transportation. I always expect the organizer of such an event to fall into one of two camps – the old-school early adopter or the very enthusiastic newcomer to EVs. Just so you can visually follow my thinking – I expect the old-school guy to be driving a Ford Pinto he converted to electric in the 1980’s or maybe he stumbled upon an old and neglected Citicar and lovingly restored it. (Sigh) The newcomer, on the other hand, I picture driving a Tesla, wearing a Tesla hat (and possibly monogrammed Tesla underwear), and wearing a T-shirt that commands, “Question Internal Combustion!”
The third surprise in John’s video is learning that he drives an oil tanker truck for a living. Yep, he pulls up to a drilling site, fills his truck with crude oil, and delivers it to a pipeline to be pumped cross-country to a refinery. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. That’s how he pays the bills.
So, here’s where it gets a bit sticky for me. That guy is up in OKC organizing a Drive Electric Event, and there is no drive electric event happening in Lubbock, Texas. And that guy doesn’t blog all the time about electric vehicles. That guy doesn’t own an electric vehicle. I own several – a few of them even run! Hmmm…
So, I’ve been asking around to see if anyone has any plans for National Drive Electric Week in Lubbock. The answers have been communicated more by puzzled looks and silence than actual answers.  So, let’s see. Nissan sells electric vehicles. Mitsubishi sells electric vehicles. Ford sells electric vehicles. Chevrolet sells electric vehicles. Kia sells electric vehicles. BMW sells electric vehicles. Cadillac sells electric vehicles. All of those companies have dealers here in town; however, very few of those actually sell electric cars here. I know that Nissan, Ford, and Chevrolet do. Cadillac maybe. [In case you are asking about Tesla at this point, just know that Texas lawmakers do not like Tesla and continue to aggressively work at keeping it illegal for Tesla to sell new cars here. Snagging lobbyists…]



When I search for public EV charging in Lubbock, I only find the Nissan dealership. [Last minute update: Googlemaps is now showing Rick's Tire Warehouse and Dave's Custom Carts as possible public charging stations, but I have not verified either.] [Another update: Rick's Tire Warehouse reported back that they do NOT have an electric car charging station.]
So, where would be a logical place for a Lubbock EV event? We can’t really gather around the one (or one of the three) charger(s) in town, can we? Should we ask a local battery retailer to sponsor an event? How about a local eating place? The Rust, Inc. crew gathers at Jumbo Joe’s. The guys with shiny old cars often gather at Sonic. Maybe we should gather at a local park.

Speaking of “we”, will this be just like junior high where I show up and wonder where everyone is? I am seeing more and more EV’s around town. Last week I spotted a black Tesla Model S in town. Yesterday I spotted a white BMW i3 - the second one in town. One of my co-workers just texted me a photo of a Tesla Roadster he spotted in Lamesa, Texas, a small town about an hour south of here. And I am seeing more and more Leafs. I did see a guy riding a Zero FX on Slide Road recently. It's not a revolution, but they are starting to show up. The real question is will they show up to an event? I am waiting for a Field of Dreams voice of inspiration, but it just has not happened yet.
And why should I bother? Is it because I would love to have an electric car to replace my beloved (but flawed) Lucy? No, what I’d really like is for a whole lot of us to find some form of non-polluting personal transport, and an electric car seems a great place to start.
May we reach our destination without destroying our home.