sustainability week

“FRIENDS IN UNEXPECTED PLACES” (Thursday, October 28, 2010)

Spent the morning catching up on blogs and emails, then headed over to the University of Illinois campus in the afternoon to check out the 2009 solar decathalon house.

Recruited Matt Childress to join me after work for a public talk by my old friend John Passacantando (former Executive Director of Greenpeace), who also happened to be in town for Sustainability Week. John gave a great talk, and also pitched my ride and online petition. Afterwards, I showed him the rocket trike and Matt took him for a spin in the TWIKE. Turns out John also loves bikes and actually used to work in a bike shop.

The three of us later hit an Irish pub for some grub and drinks (thanks, John!) to share some stories from the past and lay plans for the future.

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“ELECTRIC CAR SAVES THE DAY” (Wednesday, October 27, 2010)

When Kevin pulled up to the driveway, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Was expecting something small like a Nissan Leaf. Instead, I was looking at a cross between a silver DeLorean (complete with gull wings) and the Batmobile.

Kevin’s the Team Leader of Illuminati Motor Works, and this was “Seven,” the electric car he and six other team members had spent the past three years building to compete for a $5 million prize at the Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE competition. In June, their homemade, 4 seat, 3155 pound electric vehicle achieved 182 MPGe on a 134-mile run at Michigan International Speedway. Talk about American ingenuity.

So we loaded up the trike, picked up team member, George, and hit the road for Champaign. “Seven” gets 200 miles on a single charge (twice the range of the much-touted Tesla), and I’m happy to report successfully transported 3 adults, a rocket trike, and a trailer 100+ miles to Champaign. This is likely a world record, as none of us has ever heard of an electric car accomplishing such a feat. Whoever thinks electric cars lack for power just needs to ride in one. To demonstrate, Kevin peeled rubber as we headed down the road.

In Champaign, we met up with Matt Childress, who had arranged for our electric vehicles to be displayed on campus as part of University of Illinois’ Sustainability Week. He drove me to campus in his two-seated, fully-electric bike called the TWIKE.

While there, did an interview with Local ABC News affiliate WICD15, which ran a nice piece on their 10:00 news:

Also did an interview local CBS affiliate WCIA3 news:

Then did an interview with Celeste Quinn of Illinois Public Media local NPR affiliate WILL, “A Journey to Promote Green Energy.”

Here WILL provides a close-up tour of the rocket trike’s features:

Then rolled downtown and popped into WPGU’s studio.  You can hear the full interview here:

Then talked to the Daily Illini:

Ended the day by riding around the beautiful campus quad before heading back to Matt’s house to join his family and friends for dinner, where we schemed on ways to mainstream the electric vehicle market.

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