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Fred Beans first electric cars expo draws 70

Michael Craner, center, talks about Renew America Roadtrip at the Expo.

In response to the success of National Plug-In Day at the Franklin Institute in September, Fred Beans Family of Dealerships hosted its first E-Cars Expo for the community on Saturday, 3 November, in the Fred Beans Chevrolet showroom at 845 N. Easton Road, Plumstead Township.

The free event drew about 70 people who came to get an up-close look at the Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Volt and Mitsubishi MiEV and to listen to experts talk about electric-powered vehicles. Also on display were the ultra-ecological (and luxurious) Tesla Motors roadster and Tesla Model S sedan.

Ken Dragos of Bedminster loves his Chevy Volt and is happy to tell others why.

It was an educational event that provided information about electric cars’ advantages and the science behind them, as well as details about federal grants to owners of some new e-cars that fund the purchase of home charging stations.

Adding fresh irony to the day’s presentations, many communities in Bucks County and beyond remained without electric power during the expo. The dealership itself and other Doylestown Fred Beans locations lost power for several days after Hurricane Sandy barreled through the region on Monday and Tuesday, October 29 and 30, with Chevy reopening less than a day and a half earlier.


Richard Whiteford

Richard Whiteford, writer, environmental activist and communications professional, spoke on the impact of global warming on Friday afternoon at the Media Day that preceded the public event. In 2006 he won the National Sierra Club Environmental Hero Award and in 2010 he served as an advisor on the Interagency Climate Change Adaptation Task Force for the White House.

Paul D. Heitmann

Paul Heitmann, Utility Solutions for ECOtality North America, on Blink electric vehicle charging stations. ECOtality will oversee the installation of 15,000 commercial and residential Blink charging stations in 16 cities and major metropolitan areas in six states and the District of Columbia. The project is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and, through The EV Project, provides Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf buyers and owners with a Blink charging station at no charge and with funding toward installation costs – through June 2013. ECOtality will also collect and analyze data about driving characteristics in diverse conditions, evaluate the effectiveness of the charge infrastructure and conduct trials to learn what revenue streams might fund the systems.

Oliver Perry, on right, talks to Paul Heitmann.

Oliver Perry, retired physicist and president of the Eastern Electric Vehicle Club, on the realities of owning an electric vehicle. He shared the collected experiences of many EV owners with members of the community at the event.

Beyond Michael Craner, right, is the demo wall-mounted Blink charging station.

Michael L. Craner, engineer, co-founder of Renew America Roadtrip and advocate for electric vehicles and other green energy solutions, on the impact of EVs on the environment. He highlighted his presentations with tales of his experiences in traveling and speaking around the country. Craner and his wife, a physician, have committed their resources and time to pushing for the infrastructure to support EVs and the technology to produce more and better EVs for people to buy. He brought his Tesla Roadster and Tesla Model S luxury sedan to the event and answered questions about his experience traveling across the U.S. to demonstrate the EVs to thousands of people. Craner was involved in producing Philadelphia’s National Plug-In America Day in September.


Chris Byers talks solar.

Advanced Solar Industries’ Chris Byers, marketing & outreach manager, and Fred West, account manager, were on hand to add their company’s solar solutions to the overall renewable electric energy equation. ASI is located in Lancaster County, Pa, and provides renewable energy systems and solutions to businesses and homeowners.

The cars that were on display in the showroom have different ranges per charge and other characteristics, making it possible for buyers to choose a vehicle that suits their transportation needs.

For example, the Chevy Volt is a plug-in hybrid electric. If it expends its battery charge, its small gasoline engine and regenerative braking recharges it, extending the vehicle’s range. So, plug it in overnight, drive to work the next morning on electric power, and let the gas engine recharge the battery to get you home again.

The Mitsubishi MiEV is by an all-electric, 100 percent emissions-free engine that goes about 60 miles on a full charge. If your daily commute is across town, this might be your choice. Nissan’s Leaf, with a range of about 75 miles, has similar attributes for its fully electric engine.

The experts at the expo pointed out that how and where you drive have as much impact on your miles per charge with an electric vehicle as they do when you’re measuring miles per gallon with a traditional gas engine. So those numbers serve best for comparison.

Besides the free Blink home charging station and installation credits, EV buyers can take advantage of tax credits and government rebates that can substantially lower the out-of-pocket costs.

Those attending could snack on local apples and cider from Solebury Orchards as well as bagels and coffee.