The Little Red Hen

rickard

“The Little Red Hen” by Joseph Jacobs

There once was a farm with a big red barn. And in that big red barn, there lived many animals, the smallest of which, was a little red hen. The little red hen may have been little, but she was the most active resident of the farm. When she wasn’t laying eggs, she spent her time clucking and walking about the barn, pecking at the seeds on the ground, or gathering up twigs and hay to make her nest. She kept everything in the barn tidy and clean.

One day, while she was pecking at the ground, she discovered some leftover wheat grains that the farmer had left behind. She knew that the wheat could be planted, and then made into delicious fresh bread.

So she went to the pigsty, where the pig was eating from a bucket of slop. “Excuse me, cluck cluck, I need someone to help me plant this wheat,” said the little red hen.

“Oink Oink, Not I,” said the pig, as he went back to his slop.

So the little red hen went outside, and found the cat, who was lying in the sun and playing with a ball of yarn.

“Cluck Cluck, will you help me plant this wheat?” said the little red hen.

“Meow,” said the cat. “Not I. Can’t you see that I’m busy? Meow.”

The little red hen was frustrated, but she did not give up. She walked all the way out to the pond, where the duck was lazing around in the cool water. “Cluck cluck, will you help me plant this wheat?” said the little red hen.

“Quack, quack, Not I. Maybe I will help you later, when I am finished with my swim,” said the duck. “Cluck cluck, then I will do it myself,” said the little red hen.

So the little red hen went off on her own, out to the field, and found a nice spot to plant the wheat. When she was finished, she went back to the barn to rest.

Soon, when the wheat had grown tall and golden yellow, the hen became excited to make bread from it. But first, she had to harvest it.

“Who will help me cut the wheat?” asked the little red hen.

“Not I,” oinked the pig, who was lying in some mud.

“Not I,” meowed the cat, who was taking a catnap.

“Not I,” quacked the duck, as he waddled back to the pond.

“Cluck Cluck, then I will do it myself,” said the little red hen.

After she cut the wheat, the little red hen was tired, but she knew that the wheat had to be taken to the mill so it could be ground into flour.

“Who will help me mill this wheat?” asked the little red hen.

“Not I,” oinked the pig.

“Not I,” meowed the cat.

“Not I,” quacked the duck.

“Cluck cluck, then I will do it myself,” said the little red hen.

Once the wheat had been ground into flour, the little red hen knew it was time to bake the bread.

“Who will help me bake the bread?” she asked, although she already predicted what the answer would be.

“Not I,” oinked the pig.

“Not I,” meowed the cat.

“Not I,” quacked the duck.

“Cluck cluck, then I will do it myself,” said the little red hen.

So she made the flour into a loaf of bread, and put it into the oven. Then, she sat and rested. Soon, as the bread become hot and soft, the air filled with the sweet smell of freshly baked bread. The pig and the cat and the duck all came running into the big red barn.

“Who will help me eat this bread?” said the little red hen.

“I will!” oinked the pig.

“I will!” meowed the cat.

“I will!” quacked the duck.

“Cluck cluck, well,” said the hen, “Did you help me plant the wheat, and did you help me harvest the wheat, and did you help me mill the wheat, and did you help me bake the bread?”

The other animals all shook their heads no.

“Then I will eat the bread myself,” said the little red hen. And she did.

In the darker originally Russian folk tale version of this story, it did not end quite so amicably. They killed the little red hen, took her bread and each animal presented a different theory as to how they were actually entitled to the bread all along.

It made quite an impression on me at age six when my father related the tale. I suppose it still does. In the Ronald Reagan version of the tale, in the end the farmer (the government) steps in to make sure the bread is taken from the little red hen and shared around with ALL the animals so it will be “fair”. I like that version even better. At least they didn’t kill the little red hen as long as she didn’t resist.

We published our first video in May 2009 but did not begin weekly production until November of that year. We have just completed five years of producing EVTV on a weekly basis and this episode appears to be our 255th episode of EVTV, just over 2 hours and nine minutes in length – essentially the length of a feature length film.

To do that, I rise a little after 5:00AM most days and go until supper at about 8:PM pretty much seven days per week. We shoot various little pieces during the week and collect em from our friends and on Friday shoot a “show” kind of tying it all together. I edit basically all day Saturday and usually have it compressed and uploaded by early Sunday if things go well. Late Sunday if not. I have a tendency to “nap” a bit on Sunday afternoon before hosting a family dinner that may include people from all over the world actually at a large round table in the dining room of my home. This then, has represented essentially my life as we know it for a little over five years.

We sport a fairly well defined mission here. It is to convert the orb on which we live and depend from fossile fuel archaic technologies to electric magnetic drive for personal transportation. We don’t really need 25 words to describe it. I wouldn’t characterize it as either a good or bad mission and it may or may not be one you share. But it is ours. And we are not the slightest bit confused about it.

Along the way, I realize that the vast majority of even our well wishers find it a bit of a grandiose vision, that one little red hen could imagine he could change the personal transportation habits of an entire planet is absurd. I do not spend any time defending this as it is kind of a nonsense conversation. But the effort is not salutory, nor titular. Nor is it deranged by my own surreal reality distortion zone. But I will tell you that you should consider, just consider, that I MIGHT know something you don’t.

I realize that this is immediately translated into my personal belief system, an opinion in a sea of opinions. I really don’t have a mission to convert you to that “view” or persuade you as to how I “know” rather than why I “believe”. But I would suggest and offer this. You are not precisely who you have been led to “believe” you are, and the world doesn’t actually work quite the way you have been led to believe. And you were led. And for very specific reasons.

First, you are each rather amazing spirits of enormous power beyond anything you likely imagine. And second, we are all interconnected in ways you are entirely oblivious to. I guess I would think of “interconnected” as a weak word only implying the level of interaction you have with essentially everything and everyone, and most particularly everyone and everything you do NOT see or hear. And in our media age, also powerful forces have a heavily vested interest in convincing you that you are actually little, and ugly, and your mother dresses you funny. And you are out of synch with the rest of the planet. And indeed powerless to do anything about it. And your best bet would be to sit on the couch quietly and watch events unfold on the television.

In the ultimate of realities, the beat of a butterfly’s wings in Oaxaca does in fact impact the weather in Maine. Much the greater every breath you take is determinant of the future of the human race and the little blue marble.

Note that our mission really ISN’T about selling electric vehicle components. I could care less. It IS currently where we get oxygen and validation, but even then it isn’t quite what it seems. On a free cash flow basis EVTV will run about $750-800,000 dollars in the negative this year, and that roughly twice of last.

I’m not after your sympathy here. Along the way we have amassed kind of a treasure trove of electric motors, controllers, batteries, and bit parts of all manner and I’m frankly at this point a bit beyond my accounting structure to tell you to what extent. But to use the restroom at the shop I kind of have to weave a tortured path through the piles.

You might notice at the moment a kind of a bizarre twist – a HEAVY and bizarre promotion of hydrogen powered “electric” vehicles combined with a dizzying freefall in the price of oil and gasoline. Having taken this kind of ride at least once before, I can tell you the more bizarre and accentuated the counterwind, the closer we are to victory. Just prior to collapsing, they kind of throw everything including the kitchen sink at the wall in a last desperate spasm of resistance.

What will follow will be what looks like capitulation but is actually a retrenchement. Mark my words here. Our next enemy is currently our friend the Electric Utility company, source of all good electrons. Have your Solar panels ready and be prepared to have them DECLARED ILLEGAL in many areas of the country. Having an untaxed or uncertified solar panel will be FORBOTTEN as the battleground lurches/shifts rather violently and quite suddenly.

Along the way of all this, we have endured much derision from the farm animals. But five years into it we have a bit of momentum and “mind space” among those likewise devoted to electric vehicles worldwide. It is now rare for our Amazon cloud to receive referrals from search engines and search terms. I would say 90% of all contacts are now “direct” meaning that the individuals knew precisely where to go or already had us bookmarked. And that should give you a clue as to WHY I originally selected, and note that this was over five years ago, the .ME domain instead of .COM. It gives me better measurement of this. We call it MINDSPACE. We are harder to find. But you do find us.

Hard won, and hard earned. And so it comes as no surprise that others, who didn’t plant the grain, nor water it, nor weed it, nor harvest it, sure would like the bread and in fact if you look at it with JUST the right level of rationalization – shouldn’t they really be entitled to it anyway?

This exhibits in ways innocent and ways not so innocent. Michael Bream and his co-conspirator the otherwise unknown “Hutch” introduced the EV Show on December 1, just in time to cover us for our missed Thanksgiving episode. While comical in their adoption of the black shirts and maple table top, their attempt at being overweight teletubbies is actually quite flattering if unoriginal. But note they DO kind of tout themselves as EV WEST, not EVTV.

And we did not precisely invent the genre, though we did attempt a bit more advanced and original form. I was struck by the efforts of one Gavin Shoebridge of New Plymouth New Zealand. Here’s his first show. Somewhat shorter than ours.

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Some seven years ago, Gavin purchased a 1987 Mitsubishi Tredia with a locked up motor for $180 and towed it home. Despite having no mechanical skills or automotive background, he set out to convert it to electric drive. Many were doing so at the time and indeed he found essentially all his information online. What Gavin did differently was that he documented his build on video and posted it to YouTube. Everyone knew it as Gav’s EV. I consider him the father of the genre.

Recall my admonition that if you take a junk car and put $20,000 of electrical components in it and make it drive on battery power, you have essentially created an electric junk car. Gavin successfully completed his build. But on the next New Zealand road inspection, the car was found to have too much rust on the frame. And it would be horrifically expensive to fix something like that. His first move, to buy a junk car for $180, was rather his undoing. They would not license it for road use unless he spent several times what it was worth to redo the frame.

So he sold it to another enthusiast who was simply going to harvest the components back out for HIS build. And with the money from the sale, a fraction of what he had invested, he took his wife to Tahiti for a week’s vacation.

This kind of ended his EV career. He tried to restart it by selling DVD’s of his videos and doing EV reviews and kind of having a show. But as we know, the body politic likes FREE very well, but $12 just isn’t part of the game. Today he has relocated to his wife’s hometown in Bratislava Slovakia. But he continues to avidly follow electric cars (and of course EVTV).
But note we never were EVTV – just like Gav’s Ev. We were just EVTV.

Matt Hauber of EV West actually worked at EVTV for over six months on starvation wages – though I did give him a nice little cottage to live in. His expressed goal was to have an EV conversion shop and sell EV components from the very beginning. We not only supported him in that, but in the end kind of shoved him out the door. He kept talking about his dream while hanging here. And I eventually bought a Siemens generator from him for $1000 that I didn’t have a clue what we would do with, and told him he should really go to San Diego and just DO IT instead of talking about it. With that tiny pocketful, he did so.

The Siemens generator is on the Azure Dynamics test bench, and Matt is indeed living his dream in San Diego, whining about how hard it is every step of the way. But he IS doing what he loves and I suspect he’ll find a way to make it work. Their recent innovation of a interference fit Siemens motor blank is very interesting. He’s quite talented mechanically.

So while the show actually beyond a copy goes to a comic parody, we love it. They are hard at work establishing their own brand, and while a bit of coattail riding is going on here, it’s all in good fun. That the component sources, prices, and the projects they go into all appear to be some sort of secret is a little strange. And of course Jehu, mystified by his scorched contactors gives comic relief. In truth, we’ve all kind of shared product finds back and forth for years and indeed supply each other with things in a pinch. And sorry Hutch. We need Hauber at the desk.

Brand is, in the end all we have from five years of 24×7 work. We can’t not be EVTV. And you can’t be. Ironically, if I GAVE you the brand you can’t be. And indeed it is unlikely that I could NOT be EVTV.

Along the way, we have experimented. Anne Kloopenborg approached me several years ago with a pretty basic request. He wanted to be me. It’s an amusing enough concept and was delivered kind of up front and dead pan. So I gave it some thought.

I had actually predicted the death of distributorships by Internet via Boardwatch Magazine in 1994. The Internet has a rather immediate flattening effect on distribution networks and most comically, geographically apportioned ones. If it’s not across the street, a location in Georgia and a location of a product in Pomona are all the same thing. I explained to Sebastien Bourgois that the distance between any two geographic points on the Internet could indeed be easily measured, but it always came out to precisely ONE CLICK away from any other point.

But the existing stake holders IN distribution networks have striven mightily, heroically, and almost violently in trying to maintain them in the face of this fact. Today’s epic battle between Tesla and the automotive dealership franchises is that exact battle and I view the dealerships as basically engaged in an act of gravity defiance, the walking dead. Momentum, tradition, and legal apparatchik work to give them the illusion of life. But it is a falling forward momentum and when they hit the ground, the outcome will then be obvious to everyone in arrears as always inevitable.

But there actually IS a bit of geography involved yet on the Internet. We found an avid and ready market for components in Europe. But a combination of VAT taxes, customs duties, and the elimination of air freight on batteries to pose some real challenges in getting products to people in timely fashion. At one point, one of our viewers paid MORE than the PRICE of our already pricey eGearDrive to SHIP it to Europe quickly, than he paid us for the eGearDrive. I was enraged by this. Sure, we found a way to do it. But it was not a thing that should rightly be done.

So let’s get out of the box here. How could we ship things to Europe where the end user THINKS they are getting them in a few days, when battery shipments have to go by freight on ship, and how to do that at a reasonable price.

The answer was a little grim. IF we could predict what they would want, BEFORE they wanted it, and IF we had shipped it six weeks before, it would look like it was available overnight. Kind of a time warp or wormhole. In fact we call it the wormhole.

Running some models, we determined that IF we discounted the price to Anne a bit, AND he priced the goods at the SAME price in Euros as we did in Dollars, that the result would STILL be less in almost all cases, than if they bought directly from us and shipped it from here in a faster manner. And the difference would result in HIM having almost exactly the same margins as we did although we would have to give up a few points in our sales to him. But they were bigger sales if he stocked enough stuff for it to work.

We didn’t charge a franchise fee. We just let him start with a large order and of course he became EVTV.EU. A European “franchise” of EVTV. We taught him to shoot and edit video, and kind of insisted he actually join EVTV in that he had to shoot a video each week. He quickly became quite good at it.

The problem was, he had an ulterior motive. He really didn’t want to BE EVTV as he had professed. He wanted to BE New Electric. But he really wanted to transfer the good will and value, and all of the advantages of being EVTV into the New Electric brand.

This came to a point just a couple of months in. I told him then if that was what he wanted, he should go DO New Electric, just as we encouraged Hauber to go DO EV WEST. If he worked at it over a few years, it would come. Momentum is hard initially, but it accrues to little hens who plant carefully and water carefully. But no, you can’t BE EVTV AND be New Electric.

MacDonalds provides a pretty cool analogy. Almost all MacDonalds are owned by independent franchisees. We have one here in Cape Girardeau and in fact he owns three locations. But nobody knows his name or the name of the LLC he owns that in turn owns the franchises. He has to get all his stuff from MacDonalds. And he has to train all his people to use the MacDonald equipment to make MacDonalds hamburgers exactly the MacDonalds way.

Now since almost anyone could make a better Hamburger than MacDonalds, why would he do this? I was on a Mediterranean cruise and took a tour in Italy. Our guide pointed to the MacDonalds just outside the pier gate and turned to me and said “US Embassy”. I could only nod. They were everywhere we went. In every country. With identical mushy hamburgers at all of them. I won’t actually eat one. But apparently BILLIONS will. And our local franchisee here in Cape Girardeau has grown enormously wealthy trading on that universal brand, those very consistent hamburgers, and doing it the MacDonalds way.

I probably couldn’t do that. I want to create and innovate and do it my way and I’m enormously sympathetic to those who do likewise. And so I told Anne two years ago he really should BE New Electric and do it his way. He declined. He just found the brand recognition and component line too attractive and he should be EVTV. He swore loyalty.

I took that as a commitment. It wasn’t really as it turns out. More of a fraud.

In recent days, he and Kevin Sharpe devised an EV gathering in Frome UK. They approached me about it. I asked them directly how it was to be branded. They didn’t seem to have any strong feelings about it. And so I offered that if they titled it EVCCON Europe, we would be happy to promote it on EVTV and indeed Brian and I would appear there on March 29th. They agreed and made all sorts of noises leading us to believe it was an enthusiastic agreement.

AFTER we came out announcing it as EVCCON and noting we would be meeting our viewers there in person, I was kind of surprised to see it announced on Autoblog Green as EVOlutions Shows – a new event “in the spirit of” EVCCON.

When I inquired as to what was going on, I encountered a most amazing series of artless evasions. Finally Kevin allowed as how he had “too much invested” in the EVOLUTION SHows brand to write it off. To my knowledge, they had done one previous show in Scotland that was by all accounts a total failure and no one has ever heard of the brand. I immediately informed him we were OUT of that deal. But I found it very curious that he had this epiphany AFTER deriving the promotion and announcment and imprimateur of EVTV.

But ok. When you think about it, a critical part of EVCCON is seeing the EV set and spending time in the shop, drinking beer and doodling with electric cars. Anne is moving into a nice new facility with white floors. Why don’t we just do a small weekend on March 29th at his shop in AMsterdam. Apparently about 20 people had already “signed up” thinking it was EVVCON in the UK. We could at least entertain any who felt misled and in any event, it would be more EVVCON like in an EV shop than it likely would be in a Cheese and Grain shop.

What I heard then was fanstastical. The weather wouldn’t be good then. And it would be very difficult to prepare such an event in four months. Some coffee and hamburgers? A microphone? An afternoon car show? What are you talking about?

And so a bit of digging was in order. What I found was disheartening. Distance being a defender and my trusting nature being somewhat easy to take advantage of. The New Electric brand was as it turns out not only alive and well, but quietly promoted quite beyond EVTV and at every opportunity. He had apparently been working to abrograte our agreement commencing the day he recommitted to it, and has been working hard ever since, although in stealth mode, hoping I wouldn’t notice.

Obvlivious, I apparently didn’t. Meanwhile he has found common ground with Kevin, and has every intention of pursuing the event in the UK.

So we’re feeling a bit slimed by this. I call it BrandJacking – that’s where you desperately want the promotional advantage of being EVTV, along with the goodwill and sales accruing, but your objective is to transfer that to the new brand as quickly as possible. In other words, just steal it outright to the degree you can get away with it.

I’ve been slimed. And I do have a bit of red ass on over it. Remember, I had actually ENCOURAGED him to be New Electric two years before. He insisted he would loyally be EVTV in all cases. It was a lie.

Like all things Internet, it is easy enough to unwind. I’m sure he’ll find new parts sources and we will resume the struggle to ship to European customers directly. In effect, he got away with it, using us long enough to establish himself – apparently the plan all along. Oh well…

So while I’m personally wounded by the sense of betrayal, as a functional matter it really doesn’t. Ironically, the issue with those who steal and cheat is the ultimate irony – it just never does quite work out for them. When every soft issue becomes an opportunity to gain a bit of advantage slyly, you do so because you come to believe you have to in order to survive. And if you believe that, then you DO have to. But long term, it never quite works out for them.

You see, to have good bread, you have to plant well. You have to water well. You have to weed well, You have to mill well. And you have to bake well. And ultimately, we are all interconnected…

And if he’ll steal a little from me, he’ll do the same to his customers, or Kevin, or whomever. The capacity for rationalization, once set upon, is boundless.

We don’t beat up our vendors or our suppliers or our customers or UPS or anyone we deal with. And we don’t have to…We reserve that treatment for OUR EMPLOYEES ONLY. And they’d better get back to work…

There may be any number of electric cars shows held this year throughout Europe and in the formative stage of an industry we view ALL of them as enormously positive for the cause.

But there will be no EVCCON.EU this year and we wont’ be traveling to Europe for any of them. If anyone feels misled by our announcement of two weeks ago, I deeply regret and apologise for any inconvenience. Contact me directly and we’ll do what we can to make that real…

And in the meantime, it has caused us to reexamine all of OUR business dealings. We are currently NEGOTIATING with Arduino to find a way to send them $1000. No, we don’t want to license their logo or their name or be certified as anything in particular. But our line of GEVCU and CAN bus items, which do not infringe their brand in any technical sense, do leverage the existence of the Arduino IDE to program it and the Arduino ecosphere. We regularly mention that it works “like” Arduino and if you can program using the Arduino IDE you can program the GEVCU. So some transference is inevitable. And we don’t need a free ride.

In a tiny way, we’ll give Arduino a little shove. And as they prosper, in a tiny way we will. And it all feeds on itself in some hidden,but very real and very cummulative ways. Postives cause positive echoes, and negatives, cause negative echoes. We are all interconnected much more powerfully than we have the tools to observe.

Jack Rickard
Producer Rotundus
EVTV Motor Werken.

49 thoughts on “The Little Red Hen”

  1. In these days of shaky morality it is far easier to ignore our own complicity and or gullibility. What I’ve always enjoyed about EVTV is Jack’s honesty and self deprecation. Jack and friends get my vote because I trust them to bite the bullet and produce results especially when they make mistakes. And who doesn’t? I know almost squat about this subject but continue to believe that I can produce a good result just by following along with EVTV.
    And I do agree-What goes around comes around.
    Yippee Ki Yay MF!

  2. Yes petrol prices here in UK are dropping like a stone. I’ve seen it advertised at around $7.00 for a US gallon. I have been wondering how much this might be an effort to undermine EVs. As for Toyota’s absurd fuel cell car I again wonder how much oil company money has gone in to subsidising the whole effort. The research, development and infrastructure investment is mind boggling, not to mention giving away free fuel

    1. I am afraid it is because of Karin and me.

      We used to drive a VW Golf stationwagon for some 13 years. It consumed the most green fuel of all future and past times “Super Plus” 100 Octane. Then came so called green fuel E10, a fluid corroding aluminium engines and fuel pumps and hoses. We found fewer gas stations with our 100 Octane fuel than we find power sockets today.

      Since that very day when we silently passed the gas station showing them our middle fingers, they dropped prices and cannot understand why we wont come back.

      Same about range anxiety. Fuel prices climbing we bought fuel only for a fixed amount of money. Range dropped below the range of our i-MiEV.

      We dont own the only EV in our little county and ours was not the first one but we do see more and more of them. There are so many of us we do make an impression on the oil maffia. They seem to be loughing but they have begun fighting and gas stations have begun dying.

      Fuel cells look interesting but since the age of the Zeppelin we have not found a way to reliably store hydrogen. Methane and bigger works but they insist on hydrogen because they want it not to work. Processing the fuel for the fuel cell takes a ridiculous amount of energy but hey they are still building gassers although Detroit is dying.

      Apropos vacuum tubes, when I passed my hamradio exam 1973 at the age of 17, transistors still had a long way to go. Even today some enthusiasts build their own vacuum tubes. I have seen it, some 8 or 12 tubes still connected by glass tubes to a vacuum pump, filaments heated to glowing white not read and an anode current that makes the anode radiate x-rays. That has to be done to get rid of gasses. Finally a blow torch cuts the hoses and seals the vacuum inside. The tubes proofed to be better than the originals. The guys who build them were old enough not to worry about the x-rays.

      Building electric cars is much like building vacuum tubes. First you have to make the smoke and then you have to find a way to seal it inside.

      Jack, it is not your fault, is it? After all you have shown Mitsu how to build the i-MiEV. They would never have done it if you had not shown them it could be done. It is interesting, each of us has made his impression on the ecosystem. It is worth the trouble.

      Cheers
      Peter and Karin

  3. Jack, just to say I admire what you do with EV’s but I admire more your stand in life. You nail it perfectly. It’s worth little but you have my most sincere support.
    Has it stands, I now understand why I have a friend, sending 2 emails per week to Anne asking about CAM72’s an it simply has no answer.
    A very sad day for me here in Europe…

  4. Another great blog. Your Little Red Hen story reminded me of something similar. Years ago a journalist was interviewing a saint, Mother Teresa. This journalist said, “Mother Teresa, you have rescued thousands of people from the streets of Calcutta, but you live in a country with millions of homeless. Don’t you get overwhelmed by the enormity of the problem?”

    Her answer was priceless, “If everyone did what they could in their own communities, we wouldn’t have Global problems needing Global solutions.”

    Jack, keep doing your good works. The value of your contributions are immeasurable!

    Ed

      1. The rotten scoundrels.

        I get 14p for every kWhr I generate off my roof regardless of how it is used and another 4p for any I don’t use and feed back. I think it is some kind of obscure target related to the production of CO2: not relevant to anything much but I don’t send the money back

  5. And when gasoline falls to $2 per gallon and electric vehicles continue to sell, what then? I think the realization that it’s about more than the direct cost filling a tank of gasoline. The realization that these purchases result from other legitimate preferences by real people. Or at least the nagging feeling that there must *be* a reason….

    Much like the Grinch looking down on Who-ville wondering why the people still found reason to celebrate, despite the (mistaken) reasons having all been diligently removed.

    The onlookers might puzzle and puzz….. And some of their brains will grow 3 sizes when it hits.

    Far from being the death of the EV, a year of cheap gas may ultimately do more to cement their legitimacy than another five years of high prices.

  6. The manipulation of energy prices and the rouble is the bullet that missed the victim and shoots the shooter.
    Product-export countries like Germany are losing their ability to sell their ever more expensive wares, while the cheaper energy still needs paying for.
    Meanwhile inside the Russian bubble the income to energy value is more or less a constant.
    Other producers of energy are in dire straits because their extraction is greater than $80/barrel. Especially the USofA. They either keep on extracting or let the well die, permanently.
    Only Saudi is running level. Qatar is still extracting at a profit.
    .
    H2 be blowed. That is possibly the best thing that will ever happen to energy companies.

    Celso, I have a question about the situation of small private Solar installations. Is this something in their contract or plain, simple theft?

  7. I for one am not going to miss watching that cheesy electric boat promo for New Electric for the 487th time…

    Jack – what about your own shiny red “Speedster of the water”? Is that still coming, or are you just settling for the insurance money from Dropit-Hitit-Leaveit?

    1. My understanding is that Mr. Kloopenborg has the money from the insurance company in hand. And he has a strangely tortuous and twisted but at least lengthy line of reason why MY $15,000 somehow belongs to him now. It never ceases to amaze me how I get into these things, usually intending to help someone, but in the end they have some rationale for transferring it permanently from my pocket to theirs without actually performing any of the originally described “service” or product.

      Jack

      1. Ouch. This story just gets better.

        If it is a small consolation, I believe the boat that Mr. Southern is currently working on for you is much more your style. Mine, too.

      2. Wow! Perhaps Anne got into a cash flow situation and used your $15,000 to make payroll, pay vendors, etc. Still, that doesn’t make it OK. When he received that check it should have been put in a separate account, because … It is not his $15,000. It belongs to Jack.

        If Anne does not make this right he deserves to be branded with the same contempt we have toward the crooks who sold the same set of batteries multiple times. It is stealing your customer’s money. He agreed to supply you a Delta flyer boat in return for payment of $15,000. You have held up your end of the bargain. He should supply a replacement boat or refund your $15,000. While he is out some money, that is the deal he made. You don’t get to renegotiate the deal after it is agreed to. Reputable business people don’t expect the customer to pay for their mistakes.

  8. I had that feeling there was trouble in “paradise” -so to speak, between you and that ‘New electric’ guy from Europe. That is just really bad. You may have to find another guy there to get things going since you have a lot of following out there.

    1. When I buy solar panels it will be on a cash and carry basis. No agreements or handouts with utilities will be involved. I have 6 foot concrete walls. How long will it be before they come-a-knocking with an attempt to violate my fourth amendment rights? All incentive programs have the potential of being a crowbar to break into my rights at a later time. Is it true you can be arrested in Oregon (USA) for collecting ground water on your property?

      1. The New Electric boat commercials have two different drivers. After talking with both gentlemen involved I’ve always had the suspicion that Anna is a less-than-51% owner of his endeavor.

        1. Stan,
          I think this is what you are talking about. Not likely that its a very enforceable thing anyway.
          http://www.ncsl.org/research/environment-and-natural-resources/rainwater-harvesting.aspx

          It was my take that Anna always intended to be his own company. He offered Jack an avenue to get product into the EU and to make it easily available for EV builders to get their parts and make a profit in this new market. Anna intended to represent EVTV but never BE EVTV. Yes, he can represent EVTV and still be his own company. It was and should still be a win win for both of them. Anna wants to grow his business.

          As for solar. No they won’t be illegal. The utility companies are fighting companies like Solar City so they can’t lease panels but the individual person or company can still buy and install their own solar panels. I don’t see leasing as a good option anyway. Incentives will go away eventually and you may be charged a fee to connect but they will never be illegal. But this is not new news. Many have known for years that the incentives will someday go away.

          1. This all is one of the downsides of how everyone has been handling the cooperation between companies and people in the EV space. Often people are working together with a nudge, a wink, and a handshake. Everyone is just sort of trusting that everyone else will do what they expect. Often this works out fine. Sometimes things happen and feelings get hurt. There are lots of reasons this can happen. Sometimes people legitimately act pretty poorly. Sometimes it’s a misunderstanding. I know nothing of this situation between NE and EVTV. Sometimes situations change and people change. Quite often things go on behind the scenes that change the dynamic of the relationship. I’m saddened to hear that things seem to have gone totally south between EVTV and NE / EVTV EU but I trust that both parties will pick up their respective pieces and carry on. There are still a lot of exciting things happening in the EV space that are positive!

          2. Anne and I had that discussion in eggregious length and involving probably 40 lengthy e-mails over a year ago and before he really got very far in to the “being EVTV” in Europe. The irony is that at that time, I encouraged him to go BE New Electric, but explained to him the long and tedious and detailed reasons that he would not be able to BE EVTV at the same time, or really derive the benefits of promotion or brand recognition that would grant him. Indeed it became a three way discussion with a young man in the UK who wanted to be EVTV.UK.

            I was kind of limp on the entire thing. It was mildly interesting as there is kind of a “geography” involving shipping times, currencies, shipping rates, and customs duties. So my initial “no absolutely not” was kind of teased with a concept that if a LARGE investement in stocking inventory locally in Europe was made, the products could be made to show up at the door of European customers rather quickly, if you could accurately predict six weeks ahead of time what they might want to order then.

            But there was no misunderstanding. I was quite clear there could be no “being EVTV” until sufficient good will was transferred to the new brand for it to make it on its own. As I understand it, despite vowing brand loyalty forever, that’s precisely what he went to work on the next day. I hadn’t paid much attention until the really wierd EVVCON Europe episode. I have a bad tendency to trust people somewhat blindly assuming they will always react to things the way i do myself.

            My advice to him though was that he SHOULD pursue the New Electric brand thing. He was certain he’d rather be part of EVTV.

            The Little Red Hen is all the explanation I have. The irony THERE is the little red hen hasn’t really ever baked any bread. Lots of action here. Some cash flow, and they all think somehow we’ve made it and they want some of it – and if they have to look exactly like us to get a part, well and good enough. Unfortunately, it remains kind of a cash sinkhole and indeed, the burn is INCREASING not easing up.

            We HAVE had an interesting effect however. We encounter more goodies of use to EV’s at a faster pace. If we carry any of that in our inventory, it causes the inventory to grow, ergo the cash sink. But the sales don’t keep up. So we just wind up with a more crowded building full of stuff we’ve spent money on, that sells slowly. But I can’t help myself. The Andromeda Interfaces EVIC is a case in point. The HPEVS line expansion is as well. The deal direct with UQM on the CODA inventory. Etc. etc. So the concept of profit gets pushed further and further out, while the inventory of aging parts keeps growing.

            So the hen keeps planting. And the hen keeps watering. But we never get any bread. This doesn’t seem to stop those who are sure there MUST be a pony in that pile somewhere, and it rightfully belongs to them. Maybe if they just wear the same colored shirts, the world won’t know and it will all come to them.

            What we HAVE built is recognition and mindspace for the show. There really isn’t a way to put two dry cells in a weed whacker in India without us finding out about it. But it’s also true that no one in India would bother to run an electric weed whacker without watching an episode or two of EVTV first.

            Again. Anyone can do it. It just takes five or six years of working seven days a week at it. But no one wants to do that nor even acknowledge that that is how it happens. In the world of a viral Internet, can’t you just aim a camera, wear the right shirt, and they come?

            Not really. So we have become a controversial nexus in the EV sphere. Cool to a degree. But again I was amused to see a mention on DIY where someone was asking where they could get a reasonably priced AC drive system. The respondent went on at length as how we stole equipment, marked them up sky high, made a fortune on them, and really was in the business of stealing the bread out of the mouths of children of poor slobs such as himself, probably in league with the devil incarnate. But he did note at the end, “but that’s about the lowest price you’re going to find on an AC drive system.” How we manage obscene profits, sky high margins, AND have the best value at the lowest price is a bit left to the imagination. But I recall “note to self” – ” man are we good or what?”

            So there are some child minds at play here. Everything shoudl be free. Damn all those who charge for stuff. But if you really need it, go see Jack.

            I’ll admit our relationships are a bit mercurial. It would be much more pleasant if I just didn’t notice when they cash my check and defraud me of delivery of the goods – or when they want to steal from us outright. Unfortunately, I get a little touchy over it. Greed IS involved. It’s just not mine that is the problem. And indeed the universe of custom EV conversions is unfortunately still far too small for there to ACTUALLY be anything to fight over as many of our vendors such as Netgain and EVnetics have unfortunately discovered. So the greed is all based on sugary VISIONS of sugar plums, not anything at all real.

            I hope that will change. And we continue to believe in and invest in this space with the assurance that at some point components and parts for custom electrically driven automobiles will indeed be huge. But it is rather up to us to help it get there. And frankly, that is just a function of enabling YOU to build better cars with better parts at less expense.

            We actually not only know exactly how to do that, but I’ve done it once before. But it’s a bit like crawling through 40 miles of piss, blood, razor blades and broken glass on our hands and knees over the course of eight or ten years. THEN we get to become an overnight success story.

            Ok. I can do that. And if I alienate a few opportunists and fast buck/fast build guys along the way, I don’t actually care. They were never going to make it anyway. Those ever on the alert for a shortcut will find one. But it never leads anywhere.

            I kind of wish we had more of teh old Boardwatch readers following this. They would get a big laugh out of it at this point.

            Jack

      2. In the UK there is are businesses which will in effect rent your roof for 25 years to install solar. You get slightly cheaper electricity. They put up money for the installation and take the government incentives.

        Not the way I did it. The installation cost a bit but I get all the incentives here on out

  9. The "comic relief" Jehu

    Another fallout? It’s hard to keep count. Of course logic dictates that it must be everyone else, what a bunch of cheaters, wannabes, copycats and otherwise shady characters we are. Poor Jack

  10. You fall out with so many people. It’s like a soap opera. It’s hard to keep up with it.

    I’m glad Brian came back, and I’m glad you started working with the Ass Clowns again. They are fruitful relationships. So is your one with Anne.

  11. Hi Jack and Brian
    I Believe! !
    Electric cars and trucks are our future!
    I hope you keep up the fight to change the world view about ICE. You have changed my view, and I convert as many people as will listen! I guess things will ebb and flow with more options for getting a factor electric car. Until the car industry realize the people want a normal looking car, to be electric. I think we’ll be seeing more fugly Nissan leafs, yeck!
    P.S. I’ll never miss an episode.

  12. Jack
    Your the best.I watch your show every week and unlike Anne you actually understand the product you discuss/display.Keep up the good work and I hope to meet you at EVCCON.2015.My interest in EV has come about by your excellent show.Electric cares are the future.
    Wesley Bell
    Australia.

  13. In my memory this is the fourth time that the price of oil has crashed; each time following an uptick in EV construction. It could be that it is just market forces at play, but it seems curious that, at least in my locale, the price of gasoline has dropped by over 30% while the price of diesel has dropped only about 7%. It appears that even though the numbers are still quite small, the perceived threat of EVs to the status quo is real.

    Keep up the good work, Jack.

  14. BMW Super fast miscalc charger

    The high power 3 phase plugs in europe are CEE 400V / 16A and CEE 400V / 32. Those are the biggest you can get without moving a lot of red tape, in germany at least. 400V means 3 phases of 230V. So you have got 3 x 230 x 16. That looks like 11 kw or 22 kw and will melt your 16A or 32A fuse within 20 minutes.

    Our single phase chargers can do 3.3 kw that is 14,5 amperes not 16 and that is too much for our domestic Schuko sockets but CEE 230V / 16A can do nicely. John Hardy might call them Blue Command plugs and sockets.

    The e8energy charger can do 20 kW CHAdeMO and Franken Plug. It connects to the CEE 400V / 32A sockets and it can be programmed to do 10 kW only if you only get CEE 400V / 16A sockets because you are too far away from your power network. I guess BMW will buy the e8energy because it has a reasonable price tag and a good history. I have tried the e8energy charger at Mitsubishi Ruesselsheim with our i-MiEV. It took us some 15 minutes to charge to 80% but our battery was far from empty.

    D-6542 Rüsselsheim, Stahlstrasse 42
    Mitsubishi Motors Deutschland GmbH, http://www.mitsubishi-motors.de
    2 Anschlüsse: 1x Schuko (0kW), 1x CHAdeMO (20kW),
    lemnet.org Nr.: 7133 WGS84: 49.975748 , 8.424829

    http://lemnet.org/map/?hl=de&destination=ruesselsheim

    Of coarse there are bigger chargers but you either have to run them from batteries or you have to move a lot of red tape and install a fixed charger than cannot be moved or unplugged.

    Up to 80%, dont discharge below 20%, take away VAT and phase of the moon. Yes BMW can fool their costumers to believe they might be able to fully charge in 30 minutes. May be that is the reason why tax officers are after them because it is the same math they used to calc their taxes.

    Only seen 50% of the video. Still need some 8 hours to download the rest.

    Cheers
    Peter and Karin

  15. Few words about that “Skoda 100” car chosen by Gavin Shoebridge for his (impossible) conversion:
    Skoda is a Czech company and has nothing to do with russian Lada. It is one of the oldest car companies, its founders made the company, called Laurin & Klement, roughly in the same time when Benz and Daimler founded theirs. Their cars were quite good actually.
    Nowadays Skoda is a part of Volkswagen group and they are producing budget version of VW lineup. Btw the quality of cars built in Czech Rep. proved to be higher than built in german VW factory and this caused some problem of internal competition inside the company.

    1. Busted. Ok I did malicioiusly slander Skoda without ANY first hand information at all. I read a review of one that had been produced in Russia many years ago. I have no idea as to their quality.

      Gav apparently likes them. And I heard from him directly this week.

  16. I have almost a year under my belt in a Smart ED and basically I love it too. At the end of 2013 Smart was trying to clear the way for the 2014s and so they offered a deal I couldn’t refuse: $800 down and $99/month. We rolled some of the upfront costs into the lease so I actually paid $238 down and $124 per month including tax, title and registration. Since $83 of that is the battery rental, the car itself is only $41 which I still chuckle over. The car isn’t the most comfortable ride on our pothole-strewn streets but it’s still basically comfortable and a blast to drive. It’s a 3 year lease with 10,000 miles allowed per year but that’s not going to be a problem for me. It’ll be a year in 3 weeks but I only have 5500 miles on it. My 18 mile daily round-trip commute isn’t stressing it too much.

    I first realized I was in a cult car when I found that every other Smart driver waved at me as we encountered each other. I used to have the same experience in my Miata. Strangely it doesn’t happen in the Ford Ranger.

    1. Concur. Very cult. I know a couple of people here in CAPE GIRARDEAU if you can believe it with 2 or 3 of them in their household. That’s the GAS ones. Numerically, they haven’t done well. But with the people who like them, they really like them.

  17. Jack,

    Your comment about the stupidity of car executives reminds me of an old joke. We could easily replace the phrase “computer salesman” with “automotive executive”:

    What is the difference between a computer salesman and a used car salesman? The used car salesman knows when he is lying.

    1. It very rarely happenes,
      that is why I remember every time our car is in a garage, mostly to change wheels sommer or winter. Every time our car silently wheels around us in our back it gets us goose bimples.

      Too all who deserved it – happy holidays
      and too all who dont as well.

      Peter and Karin

  18. I was very interested in the EVIC Jack has mentioned in two shows now. It seems like a very good product and has a nice fit and finish, but it does look limited to specific hardware at the moment. I have been looking at doing something similar in a more do it yourself fashion. Here is what I have so far. For around 450$ a little tinkering to get the fit and finish right and some software ( which EVTV land excels at) you could have something similar without limitations.

    Controller, this is a UDOO similar to a quiad core version of the raspberry-pi but it has a arduino due built on to the board. Runs linux. Also has WiFi built on so auto launch the GEVCU website in full-screen mode and you are half way there. (135$)
    http://shop.udoo.org/usa/product/udoo-quad.html

    CANKIT, the EVTV candue shield. This would add native can-bus to the UDOO. (149$)
    http://store.evtv.me/proddetail.php?prod=ArduinoDueCANBUS&cat=23

    3 Amp car car power supply. This takes 12v constant, 12v accessory, and ground and drives GPIO to intelligently shutdown and start up the Controller. The code is written for the raspberry-pi, but I am sure it could be ported over easily. (25$)
    http://www.mausberrycircuits.com/collections/car-power-supply-switches/products/3a-car-supply-switch

    7″ Touchscreen, 800×480 capicitive touch screen lvds monitor made to be used with the UDOO (125$)
    http://shop.udoo.org/usa/accessories/video-kit-7-touch.html

    Double din dash kit for your car. In my years as a car audio installer I have found a 7″ screen will fit very nicely in a standard double din opening. Theses kits can be found for almost all cars (20$ and up)
    http://www.metraonline.com/parts/MET-TURBOK/M-TURB_KIT

    1. Yes, Merry Christmas Everyone! I saw my first BMW i3 on the 405 in Irvine CA today. Driver was being passed, and white knuckling it, at 65mph (104kph). Not my thing but not a bad looking car. It still had paper license plates but I think it will go faster? 🙂

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