We are a scant 13 days out from the biggest event in our year, the Electric Vehicle Conversion Convention.   We’ve had this annual gathering of cars and EV enthusiasts from around the world each of the past four years and 2015 would have been our fifth season with what has become something of an enigma in the hundreds if not thousands of gatherings around the world.  EVCCON was truly unique in almost every way.  But kind of hard to describe.  If you hadn’t been, it’s seems like much ado about not very much.  And if you had been, it can be very difficult to describe to others.  I took no small satisfaction just in the characterization that it was really quite different and each year we greeted new faces joining the many who return each year.  In all cases, they noted that it was NOT what they expected.  Almost always favorably not what they expected.


It has been a task getting this year’s event together with a small and variable staff in the wake of Brian Noto’s graceless defection.  He was really the mastermind behind the event and it was he who really enjoyed these gatherings.  I had some pretty good things coming together for this year’s gathering, but in the end got caught by surprise from an unusual quarter.

Our venue has always been the airport for Friday’s traditional “playday”.  This was where we weighed vehicles, ran them on the dynomometer, had what we termed a “drag race” but really more of an acceleration test over 1/8 mile.  The SCCA came down to host a kind of “autocross” to demonstrate/test maneuverability.  And so it was a way to examine all teh cars – up close and then see the results in how they performed for power, acceleration, maneuverability, weight, and so forth.  It was never a huge number of vehicles – 35 or so typically.  But it gave a good cross section of the different types of builds that people were doing and how that shook out with regards to performance.

We had the technical presentations variously at the ShowMe Center but in later years most comfortably at the AC Brase arena.

The issue is the litiguous nature of our current very politically correct world.  And so the city requires a 2 million liability insurance certificate for the use of the facilities at both the airport and ACBrase arena, and for some reason the SCCA thought that was a great idea and they started asking for it, though the $2500 we paid them each year was largely their largest fundraiser anyway.  I don’t know what they would have done had we said no, but we never had to. The insurance wasn’t even terribly expensive – about $400 per year.

I guess I’ll never know what REALLy happened but the local insurance agent, Joseph Stahley of WE Walker Lakenan, who has apparently gladly provided the policy for the last four years, and of course without any claims of any sort, played a very strange game over the last six weeks or so if missed calls and calls not returned, assurances that it would be no problem they just had to process it blah blah, and yesterday dropped off a letter at the office with others noting they would not be able to cover the event this year.

At two weeks out, that doesn’t leave much maneuvering room.  Indeed we were supposed to provide the city with written insurance policy 30 days prior to the event.  Got me Joe.  Thanks big guy.

And so it is with deep regret that I announce that we are cancelling EVCCON 2015.

We will of course refund any amounts paid to register for our now non-event.  This is a bit of financial hardship as we have deposits down on everything of course and various materials already ordered in.  But we’ll survive it of course.

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Some of our international attendees have made travel arrangements many months ago and indeed we tend to be one stop on several “world tour” type excursions.  So we are going to hold an open house at the shop and set for those who insist on making an EVCCON without me anyway.  As I also have several inoperative electric vehicles needing maintenance or completion, I’m kind of hopeful of persuading them to have a look and see what they can do.

We do have a few presentations kind of still more or less happening.  Craig Smith appeared to good acclaim at DEFCON about vehicle hacking and has a book out on the topic.  I had arranged to have him come in and speak at EVCCON and we’re going to try to keep that going.  I believe Collin Kidder who is on staff is still planning on coming down and hopefully we can prevail on him to give a bit of brief on SavvyCAN and GEVRET and the due_can library – some of our emerging CAN analysis tools that work with the CANDue Arduino Shield, the Tesla CAN Module, and our EVTVDue CAN Microcontroller board.

I think Ed Clausen will talk on his new non-incendiary BMS design and hopefully John Hardy will still be coming in to describe battery testing.  Beyond that I’m not certain who will show up or who of our speakers will attend.

Our keynote speaker, Damien Maguire, who had absolutely promised he would attend after stiffing me the previous year, has again already cancelled even prior to the announcement of EVCCON cancelation – though just a few days before the insurance hammer had dropped.


So it promises to be a much smaller gathering.  But we will throw open the doors and basically have an open house and open microphone for the event.  That will be very different.  But we’ll have to see.  Sometimes things are not quite what you want, but at other times they can be more than you expect.  We’ll just have to play it by ear.

Again, my deepest apologies for all those who had made plans and are inconvenienced by this unfortunate turn of events.  I am indeed sorry.


Jack Rickard


From: Roy LeMeur
Sent: Thursday, September 24, 2015 9:31 PM
To: Jonathan Head
Subject: RE: Oct 4 Green Light or Cancelled? _DATE CHANGE_

Updated info Jonathan…
Attention: important NEDRA event date change.
We just got off the phone with the track officials in MO. Saturday is fine and will work in EV’s with other cars running that evening.
Doors open at 2:00 pm and Racing will start at 4:00 pm. on Oct. 3rd.
Make sure you bring your generators if needed.
So, if you make it over to Sikeston on Saturday, the doors are open for you to get some runs in that late afternoon and evening.
They are open Friday too.
Sunday is cancelled. Repeat Sunday is cancelled and moved to Saturday.


From: roylemeur@hotmail.com
To: jonathan.head@gpisd.org
Subject: RE: Oct 4 Green Light or Cancelled?
Date: Thu, 24 Sep 2015 13:47:58 -0700

>I wonder if you have info as to the event at Dyno Doms in Sykston MO is still on or cancelled as the EVCON convention was cancelled.

This is still scheduled and on the NEDRA events calender-

From the NEDRA event page-
>For Event information contact our Midwest Regional Director, Tommy The Professor Henderson at central.us@nedra.com or sales@nedra.com or merchandise@nedra.com (yes, he is all three).

We appreciate your interest in NEDRA and Good Luck!

Roy LeMeur
NEDRA Competition Director





36 thoughts on “EVCCON 2015 CANCELLATION”

  1. Jack, sorry to hear about the insurance issues!

    I hearby declare:

    I am still going to attend.

    I am still going to bring my car.

    I don’t want a refund.

    I will be glad to wrench a little on some of your projects. Set up a camera. I don’t think I am shy.

    Still looking forward to seeing everyone. I should show up on Tuesday afternoon.

    I hope NEDRA is still going to have their event on Sunday Oct 4th. I plan to set a record.

    See you then!


        1. Yes, I bought the trip insurance. No, I won’t be canceling. Sounds like the year to bring the steel toed-boots, the safety glasses, and of course, my favorite Fluke. Makes me sorta wish I could bring the whole shop. The way the hack team shatters technical barriers, I’m sure we will discuss how to harden out-front EVCCON 2016 arrangements with back-up contingencies. The business people that forgot how to hustle after 2008 are dying on the vine. They just don’t know it yet.

  2. Dale E. Friedhoff

    HI Jack,

    Sorry to hear about the situation, EVCCON 2015 may just have to be a little different this year. We are still coming. I am sure all of us who still choose to attend will have a great time no matter where we gather, so count Wayne and me in for EVCCON 2015. We will be there. No refund is necessary, use our registration fee to help with your expenses. We will be leaving early Tuesday morning from St. Louis with 2 generators in the back of my truck. We will have to stop and charge a couple of times on our way down. So anyone traveling south on I-55 from St. Louis on Tuesday, stop by and visit with us for a while. Wayne and I will be sitting on the parking lot charging our vehicles at the Cracker Barrel in Herculaneum between 6 and 9 and then again at the Walmart in Perryville between 10 an 3. Hopefully, we will arrive at EVCCON 2015 some time between 4 and 6. Keep the beer cold. We will be needing a few. (Please be advised, the times above are estimated.)

    I am sure EVCCON 2015 will still be a great time for all of us! See you there!

    Dale E. Friedhoff

    1. Dale,
      I’ll be driving down from Valley Park. I had planned on towing the Ranger but if you’re driving your truck, I might as well drive mine!
      I don’t think I can make it the whole way especially with the Rokon in back. It would be damn close without it. Does Perryville WalMart have J1772??
      What’s your phone number/email?

      1. Dale E. Friedhoff

        Hi Bill,
        We have not been able to find any J1772 outlets anywhere between St. Louis and the Cape. We just cannot find any. Wayne and I are taking our generators so we can charge when we need to. Their is a KOA in Perryville where you could obtain a 50 Amp 220 volt outlet, if that would work for you, they do not have any J1772 outlets. That KOA is just a little out of our range so will use our generators. You are more than welcome to drive down with us, but you will need to bring a generator with you. We will have to make 2 charge stops. If you would like to meet up with us, send me an email and we can work out the details (fred2082@hotmail.com).
        I did not know you lived in Valley Park, we are practically neighbors, I live near Hwy 109 and Manchester.
        Hope to meet you at EVCCON.
        Dale E. Friedhoff

  3. Just set up my PC in the pig shed and saw the news. That sucks. You all have my support in spirit – the show must go on in some capacity.

    Looking forward to the arrival of my Dream Siemens Kit here in NZ, it’s going to be a busy summer.

  4. I’m still coming along with the Ranger.
    If there are any attendees without electric transport, I’ll also have the eRokon and two Sondors electric fat bikes.
    Good times will still be had by all, I’m sure.

  5. I’ll be there, too, at least for a couple of days. My Porsche project was not going to be done in time to load on a trailer anyway, but I do enjoy hanging out with you guys! I’m with Doug – no refund for me either. In fact I think we should all kick in for our share of victuals and libations.

  6. Well, that sucks on multiple fronts. I had hoped to see Damien at the convention.

    I have powerpoint slides and can do a run through of SavvyCAN. Talking with the OpenGarage guy will also be interesting. Perhaps I can help him write more of his car hacker’s guide. Also, I’m sure there is plenty to do with Tesla hacking and working on cars. I’ve been super, super busy so maybe I won’t be able to stay past Thursday but we’ll see.

    So, let’s rock.

  7. I’m In, I will still bring the transit connect and we will hack on it! I will be coming down Tuesday morning, and staying as long as there are still people at the shop thru Sunday. Keep my money Jack I will be showing up! See Everyone Tuesday 29-Sep-2015 by 12:00 CST.

    1. Everything on the foundry has been sand blasted and painted. Now it has to be reassembled. If a good video is possible before I’m wheels up, I’m bringing it.

  8. Well, I guess the bad news is there is not going to be an EVCCON this year but the good news…. It won’t cost Robert Felker any ducats to give away his free labor at the open house!

    See you there.

    1. I’ll be there on Friday! I’m happy to bring enough Ducats to get in the door and I’ll work for free if someone can explain to me you how to set up a machine with multiple motors and controllers (for agricultural purposes). If I’d know earlier I could have helped, my son has a degree in special events planning, I’ve been an autocrosser for twenty years, and can also stage a drag race. Plus my brother-in-law is a Farmers Insurance agent in Cape. Oh well, see you on Friday in the cheap seats!

  9. Keep my money Jack. I am going to load up the eMinor and come on over. I need to find someone who can program an Arduino.

    Is NEDRA drag racing Sunday October 4 at Sikeston?

    John Bishop

      1. Thanks John,

        It will be great to work with you. I want to be able to turn on my brake lights with regenerative braking. I have an Arduino Uno, an accelerometer and an automotive relay. I will wire it up but it needs code and I am clueless. I will arrive Wednesday evening.

        John Bishop

  10. Jack,
    Please keep my money, as long as you have plenty of Gin at the bar on Tuesday night.
    The 1939 dodge brothers truck and I will be there sometime Tuesday early afternoon, and will stay through Saturday or Sunday or until the food runs out.
    I have two presentations that I could give.
    The first would be a live demonstration of recording the battery voltages into an excel spreadsheet, using voice recognition. This makes recording the voltages on 80 batteries about a 10 minute process.
    But far and away the most interesting part of that is looking at the battery voltages using an Excel spreadsheet graphing function, which I will show. This whole demo would take about ½ hour. If you had a video projector we could back the back end of the truck through the door into the showroom hook the video projector to my laptop and project the excel spreadsheet action on one of your walls.
    The second talk would also be a live demonstration of using a PLC to control the functions in your car. I know that the community is headed toward controlling things using the CAN – BUS for the propulsion systems. The attendees might pick up some ideas on controlling things like the head lights, taillights, fore way flashers, cooling fans, and other lesser items.. This would be a live interactive demonstration within me programming the system in ladder logic. This would also require a video projector most likely in the old showroom. This talk would probably go about 45 minutes I think, maybe.

  11. Last spring and half of the summer I worked my tail off trying to get the Fiero ready to bring to EVCCON but just did not get it finished in time. This year it was ready and had also been taken to a detail shop to make the old paint look as presentable as possible. The transmission never shifted very good so I decided to go for it and ordered some new shift lever bushings. When I was removing the bracket where the shift lever is mounted, the arm snapped off. The bracket is at a local weld shop and can hopefully be repaired in time to bring the car to the Open House. I will be there either way but really want to bring the Fiero. Looking forward to seeing everyone!

  12. What a horrible way to do business.

    Jack, you might think seriously about reporting this to the MO Board of Insurance.

    I sent an email to the CEO of Sunstar Insurance Group, the parent company of W.E. Walker-Lakenan, stating my displeasure at his underlings business malpractice. In it, I stated that I would not ever be seeking out his company, nor any subsidiary of his company for any service of any type.

  13. Shop time.?
    Sounds like a blast!
    I’ll see you Tuesday.
    And I’ll bring something with to Hack if anyone wants to join in.
    Even just putting on and open house cost $$.
    So please don’t refund my fee, well worth it to play in the shop!

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