Last week I got a call from Jack Rickard of EVTV. I was up to my ears in taking care of last minute details to get our television show into production. We were planning on starting last week. EVCcon was starting last Wednesday and I thought I had just too many things going on to attend as well as money is tight with pre-production expenses coming out of my pocket. Well, Jack made me an offer I couldn’t refuse and hired me to come out to the show and film it for him. He and his crew were going to be tied up with being hosts for the show and he really wanted a nice recap video made of the show. I must admit it didn’t take too much arm twisting because I really did want to go. So I gathered together my mobile video gear and jumped on a plane to St. Louis and a car to drive over to Cape Girardeau, Missouri.
The show wasn’t supposed to officially start till Thursday, but by the time I arrive on Wednesday, Jack’s shop was already filled with guys from all over the country and a few from as far as New Zealand. They had electric cars all over the place. One guy who had already gone out and blown his motor was being pushed in and put up on the racks. Hey, if you have to burn up a motor, this is the place to do it. George Hamstra of Netgain Motors was right there to take a look at his motor. There were parts pulled out of other cars and setup on work benches with meters going and teams of guys pouring over them. I have to say I was in heaven.
It started raining later in the afternoon but even that didn’t stop things. Beer was being served and stories were being told. The cars that had already shown up were all top notch. The level of professionalism in the conversions was getting very high. These cars were no longer hobbyist science experiments but full on electric hot rods.
The next day the show started bright and early at the Show Me Center which is there on Southeast Missouri State University. This was a great venue with plenty of space for the vendors as well as all of the cars to line up in the convention hall. The whole day was packed with speakers from everything from DC motors to fuses. It was a complete outpouring of information. This wasn’t book learned stuff but real world experience. Some of the most fascinating speakers spoke on experiments and experience with pushing lithium ion batteries. I just can’t say enough about how this technology has changed the industry. These cells have broken a lot of the rules that we used in the past for lead acid. Not only do they hold more energy but their characteristics are so much better.
Friday brought more great speakers during the morning, but in the afternoon it was time to go play with some electricity. Everyone headed out to the Cape Girardeau Airport where a drag strip and rally course had been setup. Jack had even arranged for a portable dynometer to be setup out at the airport for guys to find out how much torque their cars were actually able to deliver to the ground. Almost 40 electric cars got a chance to run down the strip and get timed. One of the more exciting cars was “Warp Factor” built by Ron Adamwitz. A true drag racer, this car was equiped with two Warp 11 motors linked together and two Evenetics Samba speed controllers. Though not an ideal race track, he was still able to pull out an 11 second run! Everyone hung out at the airport drinking beer and eating hamburgers till late into the night. Some really brave souls left the airport and went back over to the EVTV shop to continue into the wee hours of the morning.
Saturday was more casual as people kind of somber-ed in a bit later. Though not to be outdone, Saturday quickly got going with panels on electric boats and running an EV shop. It was evident to all in the room, that this was an industry with real passion and we were all right on the cusp of something big. After some of the best discussions I have ever been a part of at a conference, we again adjourned to head to a Cape Girardeau park for a public exhibition of all of the cars. With the sun shining and perfect 75 degree weather, lots of town folk turned out to see the cars. After a few hours the police showed up to lead us in a parade through town. All 40 cars got a police escort through all the red lights in town.
To make the whole conference even better, Jack Rickard was the perfect host and made sure that everyone was really well taken care of. All of the meals were catered in so we never had to leave the show center or eat bad convention food. All the food was top notch. On the last night after the parade we all assembled again for a wonderful formal steak and wine diner. Jack in his white suit looked every bit the southern gentleman sitting at the table with his family.
Though Jack had hoped that there would have been more cars and people at the conference, I have to say that the quality of those that showed up was extremely high. It definitely ranks up there with one of the most useful and memorable conferences I have ever been to. I can’t wait till next year and look forward to bringing some of our High Voltage Hot Rods to the show.