The Blog

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Electric vehicles are here and there's a lot in the pipeline.

On Thursday I attended a conference at Stanford University hosted by the University, The German American Business Council and BMW.
The conversation was not about when or if electric cars are coming.  The conversation was about what is coming, and who the leaders will be (BMW, of course, is planning on a leadership role.)
The other part of the conversation was about charging stations and how the grid will provide power.
Overall, an amazing shift in the conversation from merely a year ago.
Many of the challenges are technological, legislative and behavioral.  All of them are able to be solved but I had to mention that there are other great electric vehicles out there (electric bicycles) that can help get people off of their addiction to fossil fuels, reduce congestion, increase health and save a lot of cash!
I also met a former BMW executive who is now teaching at Stanford and expressed interest in my helping with an electric bicycle course that he will be teaching in the Spring.
Could be a lot of fun!!!

I got to drive the electric Mini Cooper.  That was a lot of fun.  What a rocket!!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Woodside High School Electric Rider Project (ERP)

Deciding how to best leverage the Green Riders' cross country adventure has been an exercise in patience.
Planning for the trip and being on the road involved lots of quick decisions that didn't require much collaboration.
Getting this new project going has been the opposite.  I am working within a school system which is amazingly flexible and open but still moves at a much slower pace than I am used to.
Yesterday, I met with two of the teachers who are part of the Green Academy.  The Green Academy is a school within a school on the Woodside High campus and its focus is sustainability and technical skill building for students who are motivated but not inspired by the more traditional academic offerings in high school.
I have been talking with Josh Rubin and Marin Aldrich since the beginning of the school year and yesterday they presented a plan that integrates some of their goals (bicycle recycling project) with my goal of introducing electric bicycles into the high school community.

Sunday Cruise with Liza (Note front wheel hub motor on my recumbent- Sweet and simple)
Below is an outline for moving forward that Marin Aldrich put together after yesterday's meeting.  It exceeds my expectations . . . by a lot!  I am completely thrilled with how much work has already been done by these two remarkable teachers and I can't wait to get going.


Goals:  - to refurbish and resell/donate used bikes 
            - to market, build, and sell electric bikes
            - to involve students at every level of this project possible

1.  All interested students will have their schedule moved (switch with Ann's class) so that they are in Josh's 7th period class.  This will allow us to work with that team of students on A-days from 1:35-3:10.  
2.  Those not directly involved in the bike component of this project will work to accomplish other support activities for the bike repair team: building a shed to protect bikes, working on marketing and sales strategies for both electric and refurbished bikes, capacity-building and networking in the community to find old bikes and sell refurbished ones.  
3.  We will start in January with some of the initial work: training the students on basic bike repair (Marin and Oliver), pulling in former students as repair trainers (Mac, Ricky, Sean), building the shed (Josh and a team of students). 

And yes, that is the same Sean who was part of our cross country team!

So my first job is to get fingerprinted so that I can volunteer with the students.