Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Leilani Münter surprises 16-year-old electric vehicle hero Maxwell

The video of Leilani Munter surprising Maxwell, a 16 yr old EV advocate, with a ride in a Tesla Model S P85D is finally out.  You can check my behind the scenes look of this video here

After watching the vid please go to 100.org and show your support

Leilani Münter surprises 16-year-old electric vehicle hero Maxwell

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Leilani, Maxwell and some EVs

Leilani is simply awesome people

Hopefully by now you have heard of the story about Leilani Munter surprising a 16yr old EV advocate (soon to be Eagle Scout) by showing up to an interview and whisking him off for a ride in not one but two Tesla. Model S 85 and then a P85D.  But what that video does not tell you is the whole story of how this day even happened and what does it all mean and why.

So let me explain since I was there from day one. and behind the scenes  It all started about a month ago when my EV organization - the Electric Auto Association (EAA) which I am a member of the board -  received a note from The Solutions Project or give them a call about a cool new project.  They were looking for a compelling EV story that would really get people to plug-in...so to speak.  Something where Leilani would show up and thank a well deserved EV advocate.  The proposed event would be filmed and posted to www.100.org or the 100% Campaign Project where they highlight people doing extraordinary things for a cleaner planet and affordable clean energy.  I was asked if I knew of anyone among the EV community that might fit this profile.

As luck would have it I had just been introduced to a Mawell Halkenhauser, a 16 year old that had lead an Eagle Scout project to get a public charger installed in his town of Denville NJ.  In short, Maxwell pushed forward and got his town a grant for $10,000 from Sustainable New Jersey to cover the installation costs and along the way received guidance from Tom Moloughney who put him in touch with the right people at ChargePoint for the station.  A truly amazing person, Maxwell had succeeded where many of us had not and this was just the beginning for him.

I got back to my contacts at The Solutions Project on my recommendation, we had a call with Leilani and we were on the way.  Now the tough part, how do we arrange a surprise visit with Maxwell by Leilani, knowing that the camera crew would have to be near to capture the moment of surprise....so the plan was that the camera crew would be the press and they would set up a virtual interview with Maxwell, the Scouts that helped him on this project would also be present....oh and we would do this at Denville Town Hall....oh and we had to do this in a few days....easy.

I got a hold of Maxwell's parents who were awesome in setting up the surprise, they got a hold of Town Hall and the Scout leader, all of the officials were extremely supportive.  Things were looking good, just one snag, we needed a Tesla and not just any Tesla, a P85D.  Leilani was flying up so she would not have her car.  To add more stress we find out Tesla was short on Model Ss, especially the P85D due to an earlier planned event they had set up.  It was the day before and the production company called to say they Tesla had confirmed an 85 - bummer no P85D - but we happily accept whatever they can provide fro us.  We knew Maxwell would be amazed with that, but Leilani driving Maxwell around in a P85D would be even better - what to do.

Now here is where the EAA and it's Ev community stepped in...I sent out a few emails to Model S owners I knew and the search was on for a P85D.  Two confirmed that they were available and had 85s, Andrea and Ken.  They were going to bring them in case we needed them but still no P85D though there was a lead on one that were tracking down.

Day of the shoot and 2 hrs before it all goes down....a text comes in from Roger - he has a P85D and was just getting supercharged in Edison then would be on his way....YES!!!!   He would not make the initial surprise scene but Leilani would get the chance to take Maxwell out in the P85D later in the shoot, we were thrilled.  Two surprises today, one for Maxwell and one for Leilani....this was going to be a great day.

I arrived and saw the Model S parked up along the sidewalk which Tesla provided for the day, inside that Models S was Leilani.  I had never met her before but was super excited to. The crew was scurrying about getting set up - we only had an hour before Maxwell shows up.

Leilani casually putting her gear in the trunk before she goes and hides

After quick introductions were made I got to get into the Model S with Leilani to take a dry run around town and plan the route.  I won't go into a lot of detail but Leilani is the real deal.  She really puts you at ease, very easy to speak to, very much an EV advocate and environmentalist and simply put, good people.  I was really impressed and could not wait for Maxwell to meet her too.

As we continued our dry run and headed down the street and came around a turn Leilani blurts out...oh look there is a LEAF...I said Leilani DRIVE DRIVE!!  It's them!    We thought we were toast....of all the dumb luck...I texted Maxwell's Mom to see if he recognized us and luckily he did not, he just told her he saw a cool black Model S....whew!!  We are back on.

Maxwell thinking he is being interviewed by the press
Who is this pulling up onto the sidewalk?
Did Leilani just call me an EV hero?
Leilani scoops up Maxwell for the EV ride of his life

I'll stop here for now - there is more to this story that I'll share after the high production video comes soon which will initially be posted to www.100.org.  You will definitely want to see it. They recorded Maxwell and Leilani inside both the 85 and P85D as well as those EVs hitting stellar speeds.  It was awesome to witness Maxwell's EV grin grow as he went from 85 to P85D - he did look a little pale after the P85D ride. ;) You will also see areas of the town, one on one interviews and where the chargers will be installed.
Waiting on a side street - Leilani's surprise - P85D

I'm really proud of this day, proud that we made Maxwell's day, probably decade.  Proud that we all came together as EV advocates to support the EV cause and those that support us.  Finally, I'm proud that this effort is for the greater good and proves that we all really can make a difference - taking some text from 100.org - Together, sparking new conversation about what is possible and igniting the human spirit to achieve it. - couldn't agree more.

....and they are back

Looks like Leilani had as much fun as Maxwell

A happy Leilani thanking Roger for the P85D

Before jumping into the P85D Leilani explains the differences to Maxwell

Tracking Leilani and Maxwell in real-time

After the P85D Maxwell was thoroughly impressed

It really doesn't get much better than this

Below are more behind the scenes during that day.  Enjoy

This cameraman was the coolest - check the vid below

Just rolling about town

Andrea giving the Scouts rides

Ken giving the Scouts rides

My NDEW EAA shirt is now complete

Conducting interviews
Leilani and the Scouts

The awesome production crew

Left to right - Maxwell's Mom, Leilani, Maxwell, me, Maxwell's Dad

Team Tesla....well almost, I have an i3

Checking out the new charger location - looks like it was a good day

PS.  After this day the Rotary Club of Denville has said if the project runs out of funds during installation they will cover it.  And Maxwell joined us at a Cars and Croissants and got to drive a Tesla Roadster as well as received numerous congratulations from fellow EVers and car fans alike. One last thing, I was later contacted by another P85D owner right in Denville who is happy to bring his car to future EVents...now we know ;)

Saturday, October 4, 2014

National Drive Electric Week and then some

So we had our National Drive Electric Week September 20th in Morristown NJ and one on the 21st in Montclair - it was EV awesome...but that was not all...never is in the world of an EVer.  I of course had to stop off at Cars and Croissants, before the Morristown NDEW, which was meeting at the Morristown ShopRite.

As soon as I pulled in it was like moths to a flame...well Solar Orange anyway.  It was as though that orange viper was never there.  Folks, car people love the i3, they just do.  To this day, 4 months later and 4,500 miles I'm still asked about it.  Feels good.

I will add that other EVs also draw attention at Cars and Croissants...a good thing all around.  So on with the pictures...I have a lot of them!

I'm not parked for more than a minute and bam!
Folks love the interior - once I open the doors they are all over it
I arrived early so I would have enough time to get to my NDEW event but still a decent number of cars gathering.  Always fun and EVs are very welcome here

After a quick visit it was time for the NDEW EVent in Morristown.  Susatainable Morristown sponsored us and the Parish House of the Morristown Presbyterian Church gave us part of their lot.  Our EAA Chapter, the NJEAA did not disappoint with our turnout.  We had at one time 23 EVs and 27 showed up.  A fantastic day especially because we had a lot of foot traffic come in and talk to us since we were right off of the street.

I've noticed over the years of EV ownership that the questions are far better now.  People are now interested in getting an EV, I rarely here negative comments these days, this is progress.  What I've noticed is that more Mom's are interested in the i3 than ever before.  Especially when they see my child seat in the back they realize this is a real usable car...EVs have come a long way to being accepted and it feels great to being a part of that....and now on with the Morristown NDEW pics

Getting some decent foot traffic

Our friends from Sustainable Morristown surrounded by EVness

Another view....it was a gorgeous day to talk EV

We had a number of people join us after Cars and Croissants

Right along the sidewalk we were

We definitely had a good crowed and it was great to hear that people read about our event and that is why they were there

Sustainable Morristown showing some EVSE tech....soon Morristown will have chargers

A great group and crowd

People stayed until the very end

The B-Class drew a lot of attention as did the my i3

The Roadster really proved that EVs could be fun
Paul from Sustainable Morristown gets to drive a Tesla Roadster - the look on his face says it all
I think I can take him
This is a great view of two amazing EVs
Right to the end we had people wanting to see the i3
That's me with my official EAA 'KICK GAS' NDEW shirt

What a great event and the press picked us up in a few places.  You can see some of those articles here....great images.

The Daily Record has some amazing pictures  - Daily Record

The Morristown Green does as well - Morristown Green

Well that was fun but we were not done yet, the following day we had another NDEW EVent at Nauna's - that is Tom Moloughney's place and as usual this one did not disappoint.

This must be the place - great banner Tom

I arrived eraly to grab a quick boost then free it up for everyone else on their way

Folks are starting to roll in

EVent is under way...someone gets a test drive

That is a pretty blue on the B-Class

We are filling up
Another view
EV central
Some folks planned to stay for a long time
Then a pair of BMW i8s arrive...

What an amazing sight

You have to see an i8 in person to experience it...I had a ride in one a few months ago - amazing.  What is more amazing is we had two with us today - first time ever two that were not press vehicles together in public

Is he handing over the keys?
The i8 doors are super cool
Is this LEAF nervous?

No words needed

I'm looking over two i8s
They do look good together

I would like this car in any color

They also had goodies inside

Just wow
I had to jump in for a photo

How cool is this?

Another great day and my trusty EV assistant says it is time to go

That was one amazing weekend.  Driving an EV has so many side benefits a gas car just can't compete with.