On Saturday, September 8th, Team Marine had the honor of presenting our finished electric 1971 Super-Beetle at National Plug In Day. Electric engineering chief Patricio Guerrero and Left Coast Electric sponsor Gadget drove the car to the event from the Left Coast Electric garage in Inglewood to the event in Long Beach. All Team Marine members arrived at the event around 9a.m, and waited for the car, named Volts Wattson by the team and Gadget, to pull into the parking lot around 9:45. Upon its arrival, Volts received a fantastic round of applause from team members and some surrounding electric car owners. We set up immediately, pulling out free-standing posters, and brochures printed by Jason Vasquez (our sponsor at Wells Fargo), as well as hundreds of copies of our team card– printed on recycled paper. The back seat of the car had been left out so that those wishing to see the conversion process could see each individual battery pack with ease. Both the hood and trunk of the car were pulled out as well, so that the motor, motor controller, DC-to-DC converter, the throttle, the fuse box, the charger, and the additional lithium iron phosphate and lead acid batteries could be seen.
At the start of the event, Team Marine members moved to a central area of the event to listen to various speakers talk about the event. The speakers were preceded by a video conference call with representatives in Amsterdam, who were holding their own National Plug In Day event. The crowds in Long Beach and the crowds in Amsterdam waved at each other through the video, and excitement was shared all around for the growing international popularity of electric vehicles. Viewers clapped and smiled as Plug In Day leader Paul Scott spoke with the event leader in Amsterdam about the day’s success. The event had already ended there, and the representative in Amsterdam recalled that the day had shown how quickly the number of electric vehicles is increasing everywhere. Following the video conference, numerous speakers expressed their gratitude to all those who support alternative energy, and all those who have given endless time and energy to the fight against combustion engines. Chancellor White, and Len Pettis from the Cal State University Chancellor’s Office and Vice Mayor Robert Garcia each spoke eloquently about the day’s significance for the future of electric cars.
For the remainder of the day, Team Marine received a constant flow of curious visitors to the car, as well as some media representatives. We were excited to share our project with numerous students of Santa Monica College, as well as many electric car owners presenting their own vehicles at the event. Most people were surprised by the car’s durability and distance range, which matches that of a Nissan Leaf. By the end of the day, all of our cards were gone, and we had collected a pile of cards from people and organizations interested in partnering with us, or writing a story about our project.
The team left the event at 2 p.m, with renewed hope for the future of alternative energy, and many plans for partnerships with other electric vehicle supporters. Team Marine would like to thank Kitty Adams from Adopt-A-Charger for hosting the event and organizing the press conference as well as the raffle its prizes. We would also like to thank Zan Dubbin and Paul Scott from Plug In America for their support in our project as well as their warm welcome towards us in their event. It was fantastic to see eco-celebs Chelsea Sexton, and Ed Begley Jr. at the event, as always. And, last but certainly not least, we would like to thank Roy Persinko, who photographed the team, and fed us as soon as we grew tired and hungry.