Posted 09.14.2009 in Articles by Christopher
EV Quorum is the car club that organizes the Electric Car Guest Drives.
The concept of EV Quorum slowly took shape over the summer of 2013. The idea was inspired as a result of encounters that occured at public charge points all over San Diego. Frequently when I would use a charge point, other EV drivers using one of the charge stations would stop to chat for a while and share information about the locations or reliability status of other charging stations, and generally talk about EVs. Often drivers showed remarkable courtesy in the use of the charge stations. On numerous occasions, another driver gave me the opportunity to go ahead of them when they learned that I just needed a half hour or so to get to my destination, usually heading home after a long day of running around town. They would say "go ahead of me, just plug me in when you're finished. I'll be (shopping/eating/whatever) for a while anyway." I felt like I was part of a community, and it reminded me of the very early days of PCs and of Internet in the early 90s. The people who drove EVs seemed think of them as more than just transportation or a product.
I'd been involved in a few car clubs when I was in my early 20s but the level of enthusiasm I saw was even greater than that. These people, like me, were fired up about driving green. Unlike other car clubs, it wasn't just about the car as a shiny toy. It was about doing something that made a difference, doing their part, being part of the solution. To clean up the air, to use domestically sourced energy, to use renewable energy or any of the other numerous reasons people were enthusiastic about EVs.
There are other EV organizations. I'm glad that Plug in America advocates on government policy. I'm glad that the Electric Automobile Association gives local EAA chapters all over the country non-profit organization charter and status.
But I saw the need for an organization that operated at the roots level of grass roots.
I'm not religious in any way, although I was raised in a Christian household and those teachings are naturally part of my education and value system. A phrase that had particular resonance with me and that came to mind sometimes after a brief meeing with an EV kindred spirit was "For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them." My non-religious interpretation is that community can happen even among the smallest groups. Community in the sense of an emergent property. Community in the sense of something bigger than yourself, or your self-interest.
Sometimes after meeting someone at a charging station we would exchange more information by email. Which new charge station locations had opened up, which ones were free, which ones were out of service. I would usually log that info in the various station finder apps like Plugshare, but it was nice to get or send an email to the people I had met personally.
So after a number of brief ad-hoc meetups with EV folk, I began to think of these minimalist meetings as a kind of free-floating informational network. And I thought about the idea of any meeting of two or more as a quorum.
I decided to make the idea a real club, with a name and some organizing principles, and ultimately some legal structure so that these various meetings that happen all over the place could have a place to tap into. An organization that supported and encouraged tiny, informal meetings of EV folk. A way to give EV people a place to meet and connect or reconnect online. And to plan meetups, even if just a few people showed up to talk EVs.
All this happened at the same time I was planning a classic American road trip, from Seattle, where I used to live and have family, to San Diego where I live now. The west coast print edition of my magazine, Electric Car Insider, was about to launch, and I was going to do the equivalent of a book tour, stopping in towns all down the coast.
So I thought, wouldn't it be great if I had a series of meet-ups in parks all the way down the west coast. And since a lot of people I'll be meeting with and talking are new to EVs - some have never even driven one - wouldn't it be fun to take a few different EVs and let folks drive them? A bit more fun than just reading about it in a magazine. Just a big huge show and tell. And hopefully other EV folks will show up and it will be a big party in the park. Not too big, not very formal. Something on the order of a family reunion or a small car club gathering.
That's the idea behind the series of meetups that kicked off EV Quorum. A group, a little structure, is good to help things run smoothly and safely, facilitate communication and some kind of continuity. So EV Quorum was formed as a club and sponsored the meetups.
It started with an idea, a little planning and the contribution of some personal resources, my EVs, some equipment, some seed money for printing, t-shirts, picnic canopies, etc.
Where it goes from here is up to you.
- Christopher Alan 9/1/2013