Every cause needs its champion, and for plug-in hybrids, that person is Felix Kramer. Founder and lead strategist for Calcars, Felix is a master of sythesis, taking technical complexity and minutia and producing a clear and crucial movement for our transportation future.
Felix’s own plug-in hybrid, an 04 Prius converted by EnergyCS, needed The Vitals last week, and what an honor it was to provide. The Prius usually goes to the dealer, to demystify the technology and spread the word among Toyota’s own, but it took a break to support our new business. Great conversation and 4 quarts of rerefined oil later, Felix has been kind enough to endorse us on the Calcars website:
For more from Felix, I highly recommend the Calcars’ news group. Sign up here…
The Prius is radical: both “rad” and iconoclastic. EV Mode stands in evidence of both. If you’re not familiar, there is a wiki on EV Mode and its button:
But you can experience it first hand on our shop car or your own Prius, so long as it is an 04 model or newer. Toyota offers a stock EV button (pictured on LG’s car) available through Sigma Automotive ($235 parts and installation) particular to 04-05 and 06-08 models. Coastal Etech offers a very slick alternative using the “cancel” function of the cruise control branch. (LG’s price for the part and installation: $170.)
EV mode greatly amplifies the thrill of regular “stealth mode”, with greater power and speeds up to 34 mph, and it eliminates the anxiety of making minute trips (for street cleaning, e.g.) in the seven seconds before the ICE turns on. You will also know the hunger for longer EV performance, and therefore bigger battery capacity, of the plug-in hybrid community—those that spend long weekends in the confines of their garages troubleshooting circuit boards and investigating lithium-phosphate chemistry, in the pursuit of the coveted AER (all-electric range).
My mother lives in Cleveland, Ohio—a long way from most places, including Luscious Garage. To compensate, she likes to travel: sometimes by plane, as in last week, but more often via internet. Since our website launched, my mom has been especially fond of the blog, to keep up on our developments but also to interact—in the form of comments. She’s now commented on nearly every blog post, and as a reader you might wonder, “Who is this person?”
Well here she is, during her recent visit to town. What a cutie!
Unconditional love is always nice, but it really comes in handy when you take a big risk, like opening a business. Mom—I know you’re out there—I just want to say *THANK YOU* for all the support and enthusiasm. You’re beautiful and fabulous and an inspiration to me on this luscious journey. xoxoxoxo and come back to visit soon!
In the debate over alternative transportation, hybrids and battery-electrics are often posited in competition. After the EV1 fiasco (re: WKTEC?) EV enthusiasts are understandably miffed by all the hybrid attention. “If not for the ZEV mandate, we would never have seen today’s hybrids!” “Hybrids are a conspiracy to keep us using gasoline!” “You want low emissions? How about no emissions at all!”
In fact, hybrid-electric vehicles (HEVs) and battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) need each other. For all its benefits, the hybrid is still a transitional technology, a bridge to full electrics. And full-electrics need battery R&D—which hybrids help motivate and finance. Then there’s cultural shift and acceptance (topics for another blog).
Whether you love HEVs or BEVs, the San Francisco Electric Vehicle Association (SFEVA) is a safe-haven, a sewing-circle, and a spearhead for progress. It’s closely affiliated with Plug-In America, the primary advocate for plug-in hybrids as well as conventional electrics. Plainly, it’s the best way to talk to people at the forefront of this movement. It’s an honor to have this exceptional EVA chapter right here in San Francisco.
Needless to say, Luscious Garage does not view hybrids and electrics in opposition, and supports the SF Electric Vehicle Association both as a commercial member and, now, by proudly hosting its monthly meetings. The first is Saturday, September 8th, from 11am-1pm.
For more information, check out the SF EVA website:
and Plug-In America:
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One of the uglier parts of business, I find, is asking for business. Some people have no problem with this: advertising is just another way of exchanging information, awareness even. But I hate to bother. I hate to monetize information, let alone my passions.
That said, we are now “open for business” and most people have no idea. So we are faced the challenge of letting people know. The best approach has been an initial guerilla effort where we leave some kind of notice on hybrid cars around town. It’s obvious, but it’s also polite and appropriate: people can absorb the information without an audience, in the context of their car.
The exact kind of “notice” has been a subject of debate. At first I thought flyer, like a concert notice. But a piece of xerox paper feels disposable, like impending waste, an obvious insult to our environmental goals. So the flyer gave way to postcard with some kind of technical tip, something glove box caliber. That gave way to a business card. A business card, something tangible but still managable, can be saved without too much imposition. If it is disposed, it is small. FYI, our cards are 100% post consumer recycled product printed with soy based ink. Great job Bacchus Press.
To our recipients, I apologize for interrupting your life with an advertisement. Your car is an important part of your life, your contribution, including your environmental impact. LG exists to support this part for the better. Hopefully you’re excited about the prospect of a hybrid-focused garage. I met a woman today, in the course of leaving cards, and during our conversation I said of LG, “It’s time.”