EV and clean energy advocate visits San Juan Island

  • Mon Sep 4th, 2017 9:02am
  • Life

Contributed photo

Submitted by Bruce Nyden

SJI EV fan and friend of Alan Soule

Alan Soule, will be visiting Friday Harbor Sept. 3, 1 – 2 p.m. at the Mullis CommunityCenter in his well-traveled electric vehicle. His copper-brown Tesla Model S is a rolling billboard for international programs and sponsors supporting clean renewable energy. You’ll know his car when you see it.

He is a passionate advocate for electric vehicles and the use of clean renewable energy as an alternative to fossil fuels. He has crossed the U.S. and back several times in his electric cars over the past three decades and more recently has circumnavigated the globe using only locally sourced electricity.

Early last summer Soule whisked quietly out of his driveway in Sebastopol, California headed for Spain in his 2012 Tesla Model S, an all electric car that requires no oil or gasoline to operate. His plan was to meet up with like-minded EV owners from a dozen different countries. The “meet-up location” was the Arc de Triomf in Barcelona, Spain and the event “80edays” (80edays.com/elduro-2016/) was an EV distance driving challenge ala “Around the World in 80 Days,” a classic novel by Jules Verne. Soule was the US Team Captain and only representative for the US.

The 80edays event objective was to show the World that EVs have virtually unlimited range and can travel to any destination where there is a source of electricity. Each team picked its own route and charging locations and the circumnavigation had to be completed in 80 days. To find out which teams completed the event and what their biggest challenges were, join us for Alan Soule’s free presentation at the Mullis Community Center.

Soule is a U.C. Santa Barbara-trained Mechanical Engineer born in Berkeley, California. He said that the pivotal moment that transformed him into a clean energy advocate was the realization that the persistent smog clouds that hung over the City of Los Angeles would only get worse before they got better and that fossil fuels were unsustainable. Keep in mind that climate change concerns were only beginning to be talked about in the 70s and California’s smog was a much bigger health issue and talking point then climate change.

In 1973 he converted his Mercury Capri to run on propane. Although propane is a carbon-based fuel it has cleaner emissions than a typical ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicle.

When some U.S. auto manufacturers began mass producing EVs Soule began to acquire and field test them in his free time. When General Motors offered the “EV-1’”, the first production car in the U.S., he leased one in 1999 and began logging “electric miles.” When GM ended the trial leases for the EV-1 and virtually all were recalled and crushed Alan began looking for a replacement EV.

In 2008, Soule bought a new two-seat Tesla Roadster. In 2011, he drove his Roadster to Chicago and back to LA on Route 66. This was the first electric vehicle to drive Route 66 in its entirety without a support vehicle.

Soule’s home has also become a model for energy sustainability. He powers his home and cars with solar panels and stores surplus energy acquired in the day time for night-time use.

 

Contributed photo