My Statement to the Virginia DMME

Today is the last day you can leave comments for the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy with respect to an electric car rebate for both new and used Electric Vehicles. If you do wish to leave comments, please try to watch the video attached to the comments form.

For the record, here is my testimony:

Thank you Delegate Reid for proposing HB717. I am sorry it’s taken so long for me to add my testimony but what I want to say is to add, as I said in my committee testimony, that providing Rebates on new and used Electric Cars has long-term CO₂ benefits. Considering first when someone is interested in buying their first vehicle. If we put a rebate on that first vehicle, new or used, then the buyer will be more inclined to stick with electric for the second, third, and fourth car. What’s more, it makes her family more likely to continue the tradition of an electric car family.

Secondly, some of the most polluting vehicles in our Commonwealth are owned by those Virginians of lesser means. The problem for them is that electric cars are too expensive, even used electrics. We need a rebate that puts the $5,000 LEAF into the hands of those folks who now drive the most polluting ICE vehicles of all. This would give us the biggest bang for the buck. They are also usually the least fuel efficient vehicles, and thus moving them to use fuel generated right here in the Commonwealth would greatly reduce our local fuel imports.

That is why we need a rebate of the maximum amount for both the cheapest of vehicles and for first time car buyers.

This is also why it must be a Rebate at the dealership. It shouldn’t be like Maryland where the application is submitted and the buyer has to wait for money allocated in the General Fund. The Virginia bill should be based on a fuel tax, in this case, I think a tax should be passed on all coal and natural gas (CH₄, methane) plants which generate power for the electric car. That would have the dual benefit of pushing Dominion to move more of its generation to renewable. Since electric cars will be generating more revenue for the Power Utilities, using a tax on Dominion to pay for more revenue for Dominion seems very apropos. What’s more, this will get us out of the trap of waiting for more money from the General Fund when many used vehicle drivers can’t afford to wait that long. Indeed, ideally, if the dealership could apply the rebate and then file it with the Commonwealth to be reimbursed, then this would be idea for first time electric car buyers. If that can’t be done, having the dealership file the paperwork and send the check to the buyer would be acceptable.

Beyond that, please consider not the MSRP of a vehicle when setting the cap on the Rebate, but rather the value used to generate property tax. None of the feature add-ons like Tesla Autopilot should put a vehicle outside of the price cap. AutoPilot is a feature that makes electric cars safer, and pricing it out of the rebate could result in fewer cars with that feature and thus less safe vehicles.

I think the Maryland cap of $60,000 is good for Virginia as we are similar states. I would also accept $50,000, which is still available to the base model Tesla if Autopilot is ignored. But the top of the cap should be graded, such that, if the cap is $50,000, a $49,000 vehicle gets a maximum of $1,000, a $48,000 gets $2,000 max, until the price goes down to a point where the full cap can be realized. That would alleviate any shock by the price going up astronomically at $50,001.

As for how to scale the rebate, I would like our goal to be based on the total number of vehicle registrations in the Commonwealth. Ideally, we should target total registrations, like 1% of all vehicles registered in Virginia be the goal for full funding, and 2% of all registrations be 66% of the rebate, and 3% of all registrations grant 33% of the rebate. I don’t think those are necessarily the best drawdown numbers, but I think the drawdown should be in those terms.

Finally, as I said, first and cheapest cars should get the biggest rebate, regardless. But for vehicles not in those categories, that still fall under the price caps, I’d like a sliding scale based on the battery pack size. Any battery rated at least 10kWh or more would qualify for the full rebate, but each kWh less removes 10% from the rebate. Thus, a 5kWh battery gets 50% of the rebate.

Thank you for reading my comments and I look forward to the final report.

Testimony by Jeffrey C. Jacobs to the Virginia DMME

I’m quite fond of the sliding scales in terms of tapering rather than full cutoff for the rebate and the reduced payout for smaller electric car batteries. I didn’t mention the poverty rate and left it vague in those terms, letting others fill in those details. I also spelled Delegate Reid’s name incorrectly, though it is fixed here.

The DMME plans to have its final report ready around October so it’ll be interesting if they incorporate any of my ideas into the final bill. I wish I could have attended the original public session but the news got to me too late. This is all I could do.

I miss cruising upon a cloud these days, but I hope this passes so more can enjoy the pleasure!

Bessie with #CO2Fre

Twice the Electric Car Fun

Today, I attended two, virtual Electric Car events. First, my friend Mark Czajka hosted the first MDVolt virtual meetup. We met Tom Moloughney from InsideEVs. Unfortunately, I was multitasking though this meeting as I also host the Loudoun County Writers Group (LCWG) on Saturday mornings. Normally, I would skip my writing group on Saturdays for one of Mark’s MDVolt events, but this time, I could cheat and attend both, because they were both virtual.

I haven’t spoken much about the Mini-E — so far only in my EVSE installation post — but this car has been on my mind a long, long time.  When the leases were announced for 2009, I jumped on the chance to get one of the 500 East Coast orders.  But alas, my region wasn’t one of the privileged ones, so there was no Mini-E for me.  On the bright side, at least I saved over $800 per month for the last 2 years!

Two Years and 119 Cars! (Today)

I’m so jealous Tom got one of those Mini-Es. I was very desperate to get one back in 2011, when I wrote about it on the Affordable Electric Car Now site, as you can see from the quote above. Tom and I have both been writing about electric cars since 2009 so it’s nice to hear from a kindred spirit. One of these days, I hope he invites me to one of his barbeques.

It was also wonderful seeing my friend dear friend Vanessa Thomas at Mark’s event. She was nice enough to come to my virtual demonstration of #CO2Fre and it was wonderful seeing her here, even if it was hard to see anyone on my tiny phone—LCWG got the computer. Fortunately, Mark uploaded to YouTube, so I could finally the event and focus fully on the content. Check me out in the Pinball video.

Pity I couldn’t show off Bessie with #CO2Fre.

Bessie with #CO2Fre
Picture is #CO2Fre with the Doctor’s car, Bessie © 2020, Jeffrey C. Jacobs

Mark and I agreed we’d not embed the video here, but if you’d like to watch it, you can find it here.

Electric Car Event Number 2

Then, in the afternoon, my friend Charles Gerena from Drive Electric RVA hosted an event with Phil Englander at Hart Nissan in Mechanicsville. Phil gave a great walk-through of the latest Nissan LEAF. Great presentation, Phil and great seeing you again Vanessa. She and I were the only people to join both events!

Phil Englander at Hart Nissan in Mechanicsville walks us through the newest iteration of the Nissan LEAF, which has been sold globally since 2010.

Posted by Drive Electric RVA on Saturday, May 2, 2020

So nice to talk about electric cars since it’s been far too long for me since I was able to cruise on the cloud.

Another Missed Munchie Squad

I got in to cosplay a number of years ago. I was aware of it for quite a while but I really started to take an interest on a trip up to Connecticut to visit me mum. Back then I was in #CO2Fre3 or #CO2Fre2 and in those Nissan LEAFs, I had to stop a number of times to get enough electricity to get to my destination.

So, I stopped a Hotel in Baltimore to use the CHAdeMO charger and get some fuel when I passed some cosplayers going to a convention. I asked to get a picture and kept it as part of my trip log memories on Swarm, as I used to do back then.

Of course I was intrigued so when I heard about this new group, D.C. Cosplay Photo Shoot, forming on Facebook, I joined right away, getting in on the ground floor. I remember that phone call very well as I was driving #CO2Fre home from work. Sarah Brice, an amazing cosplayer in her own right, was there with the other founders. That’s when we planned out what the group would be and how it would be organized. In those early years I was more of a lurker rather than a participant.

I started going to a local Doctor Who convention, ReGeneration Who, now defunct. Seeing all those Whovian cosplays, I decided it was time for me to start building my own cosplays. That’s where I met one of my very best friends in the entire world, Ilona Hull Berberich, who is a dead-ringer for Susan [Foreman].

I was finally ready to attend my first D.C. Cosplay Photo Shoot event. I invided Ilona so I would have someone I met there and we made a great team, having a number of photos taken of us.

From that point I attended a number of D.C. Cosplay Photo Shoot events, building my cosplay database up from a since Doctor Who companion to various other media franchises, getting some great photos and making some great friends.

One of the best parts of all from those events was the Munchie Squad. After an afternoon of posing and snapping picture, we’d all gather and have a friendly meal together. I so enjoyed chatting with my very dear friends Rachael S. Norberg, an amazing cosplayer, and Kevin K. Nguyen, an outstanding photographer, and so many others! It was the perfect capstone to a great event.

But then I got burned.

Back in 2018, Regeneration Who was in its fourth year and they had an amazing lineup. The actress who played Tegan Jovanka, an Australian air hostess, Janet Fielding, was going to be there. Janet, in fact, is one of only a half-dozen my official Twitter aggregators. She’s wonderful! Mark Strickson, who played Vislor Turlough, was also coming. As was Matthew Waterhouse, who lived at the time in Connecticut, where I was born. And also Sarah Sutton, who is the sweetest, and Peter Davison, who was a wonderful Fifth Doctor, and the amazing Nicola Bryant.

I was going to do a Tegan crossplay for the convention. Ilona was coming and would be in a Turlough crossplay. We were both very excited.

I had commissioned a Tegan crossplay months before the convention. I obtained all the COTS elements of the cosplay: blouse, pantyhose, pumps, wig, and purse. I just asked the commissioner for a skirt, a belt, a jacket, and the pill-box hat. I hoped it wouldn’t be too hard. I would have done it myself but I didn’t feel up to the measuring and sewing, especially by hand.

Days before the convention my commissioner said she couldn’t do it. She really, valiantly tried, but it was just beyond her. I hold no ill will and have not asked for my money back but the whole event soured me to cosplay. I prepared and prepped for this perhaps once in a lifetime photoshoot and to come up short. It still hurts, to this day.

Tegan and Turlough meet the 1980s Doctor Who cast
My dead friend Ilona and I are cosplaying Vislor Turlough and Tegan Jovanka as the now-defunct Regeneration Who convention’s 4th and last year. Pictured with us are, in order, top to bottom, left to right, Mark Strickson, Peter Davison, Matthew Waterhouse, Janet Fielding, Sarah Sutton, and Nicola Bryant. © 2018, Bryan Humphrey

All that said, Bryan Humphrey took a wonderful photo!

Today there was a D.C. Cosplay Photo Shoots event in Leesburg, VA. I haven’t been to a photoshoot in years because I have no new cosplays to share but I really wanted to go to the Munchie Squad! I miss all my cosplay and photographer friends, like Rachael, and I go to Leesburg at least once every fortnight, so it would have been no big deal.

But I forgot.

I really miss cosplay. What will you see me as next?

11 Years of Electric Cars

Did you know that as of today I have officially been writing about electric cars for 11 years. Over a decade of Electric Car knowledge dispensed, that’s three times longer than I’ve advocated for the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact and four times longer than I’ve been lobbying in Richmond for the Equal Rights Amendment!

I started writing about electric cars with the Affordable Electric Car NOW! page. While I still write to that page from time to time, I find it hard to keep up with all the EV news these days, especially with so much going on (just look at my site header). And of course, #CO2Fre isn’t at all an affordable electric car, it’s a Tesla #P三D and believe me I still owe a lot of money on her! I love her and highly recommend her, but she’s by no means affordable.

11 Years
Taking #CO2Fre in for HW3.0 Upgrade at the Tyson’s Corner Service Center on the anniversary of 11 Years of writing about Electric Cars. © 2020, Jeffrey C. Jacobs

That said, I never stopped advocating for affordable electric cars like the Nissan LEAF or Chevy Bolt and have lobbied for electric car changing access at apartments and condos #RightToCharge (VA SB630) and new and used electric car rebates (VA HB717) many times just this year.

Electric Cars only for the Rich and Famous?

I began my page with that simple question. Truth is, I’m not rich. Eleven years of writing about electric cars has not made me by any means famous. I’m no PlugInSites or Transport Evolved. I doubt many, even electric car folks, know who I am. I am, by any stretch, neither famous nor sought after.

But today, I can safely answer No to that initial question! Not only are there a number of consumer level Electrics, including the many Nissan LEAFs [proper plural] I drove. You can even get a used LEAF for under $10,000, and maybe even under $5,000, if you’re lucky. I’m still waiting for the Electric Car under $1,000, but it will happen…

Hardware 3.0

The other thing that I didn’t get to talk about Yesterday as I was finishing summarizing the events from Tuesday is that I got a call yesterday seeing if I’d like the Tesla Hardware Version 3.0 upgrade.

Yes!

Tesla HW 2.5
This is #CO2Fre’s current configuration. Clearly shown, just before the upgrade, the Computer is using 2.5 (NVIDIA) version of hardware. Over the weekend, #CO2Fre should be upgraded to 3.0 (Tesla). © 2020, Jeffrey C. Jacobs

I currently have the NVIDIA 2.5 hardware chip in my Tesla. That chip is nice, but it currently can’t see traffic cones or stop signs. Tesla’s own HW3 is supposed to add that support.

I dropped #CO2Fre off this morning at the Tesla Service Center, Tyco Rd. and hope to have the new hardware installed when I pick it up in a few days. I do plan to vote this weekend, so I hope it’s back by then. I also hope it will fix the problem I’ve been having recently with autopilot fails in the rain. Oh, the anticipation!

Thanks for reading. Here’s to another 11 years!

176,749 Electric Miles

I have been writing about electric cars for almost 11 years and been driving them since 2 November 2011. In that time, I’ve had 4 Electric Vehicles, a Red, 2012 Nissan LEAF, #CO2Fre3, a Red, 2013 Nissan LEAF, #CO2Fre2, and a White, 2015 Nissan LEAF, #CO2Fre1.

Now, of course, I drive a 2018 Tesla Model #P㆔D, the current #CO2Fre and with nearly 300 miles range, I can go much farther. With #CO2Fre3, I 42,282 miles in 27 months, and with #CO2Fre2 I drove 50,030 miles in 30 months. I then drove #CO2Fre1 43,326 miles in 25 months.

#CO2Fre
#CO2Fre chilling on a sunny day

The current #CO2Fre I’ve had for 20 months and as of this afternoon I have 41,111 miles on her. This puts my grand total at a over 175,000 lifetime electric miles and one of the highest electric mile accumulation in the Mid-Atlantic, and even then, all those miles driven by myself, not shared among any two or more electric car driving family.

We won’t be so much comparing miles as we try to crack 4 million electric miles total at the Electric Vehicle Association of Greater Washington DC meeting tonight. I won’t update my account on the Wild Apricot servers until we meet as I will be putting a lot more miles on to get to the meeting.

Hope to see you there at the Potomac Library in Maryland, at 19:00!