The 2012 Boston Green Fest was in full swing in the heart of the historic city and celebrating all things sustainable. Electric vehicles (EVs), hybrids, do it yourself projects and conversion/upgrade kits were all on display for the public. Along with the cars were vendors touting everything from home solar panels to energy efficient light bulbs. Musical acts and artistes from around the northeast region were part of the event showcasing their green works of art throughout the festival.
The One Gallon Challenge
Last year Gas 2 covered the Boston Green Fest’s One Gallon Challenge –a 111 mile drive from Plymouth, Massachusetts (MA) to Boston MA that drivers attempt in a variety of high miles per gallon (mpg) vehicles. The goal, make the journey in just a single gallon of gas. Unfortunately the One Gallon Challenge did not get off the ground this year. But that did not stop past contestants and prior champions from coming and sharing their unique cars.
Jory Squibb show cased his new alterative vehicle the Sun Beam. The Sun Beam is a do it yourself electric assist quad cycle. The vehicle is 1/3 powered by pedals and 2/3 powered by a lithium battery — 600 watt electric assist. This is no roadster, but can get up to 24 MPH and has a range of around 35 miles on an overnight charge. Jory built the Sun Beam for about $5,000 and has the plans and a how to build guide free on his website: http://sunbeamcar.wordpress.com/
Returning Gas 2 favorite Bill Buchholz and his car the Dirigo were at the event. Bill and the Dirigo took center stage as people stopped to admire the Dirigo’s unique design of the fuelefficent car. The Dirgo is a one of a kind three wheeled bio diesel two passenger vehicle, powered by a 28 hp, 3-cylinder diesel engine, capable of achieving 75 mpg at 75 mph. the Dirigo previously competed in the Automotive X Prize, a $10 million dollar prize supported by X Prize Foundation with the goal to inspire a 100 mile per gallon, practical, and mass producible car. A goal that might be coming to fruition — an executive from Ford was present earlier on at the Green Fest to introduce an EV Ford and took interest into Bill’s head turning ride.
Bill explained, “He came to look at Dirgio, sort of rolled his eyes, you know another wacko car. So I said well wouldn’t Ford want to build something with three wheels? And he said, oh it’s got three wheels, and I could tell at that point that the engineer in him was starting to think! It was so inspiring. So he gave me his card and said stay in touch.”
Who knows, maybe we will see design aspects of Dirgio showing up in some Ford models in the near future.
Hybrid “Upgrade” Kits
In addition to returning favorites, hybrid “upgrade” kits had a much more noticeable presence at the Green Fest this year. Randy Brian from New Hampshire was there showing off the ConVerdant system. “We take the Prius and make it better”, Randy said. ConVerdant offers two kits for added electric range; a basic and advanced kit. The advanced gives you the electric capability up to 77 mph, the lower system provide electric capability to 35 mph.
One of the neatest aspects of ConVerdant was the ability to turn a Prius into a in home generator. “We can turn the Prius into an emergency generator for your home. Randy said, “So when the power goes out you can run to the car.”
Randy drove from Concord New Hampshire, about 69 miles away. For the overall trip he averaged 100 miles a gallon for the 69 miles, 2/3 of a gallon and 9 kilowatts using the advanced kit. Not bad.
The other “upgrade” kit was shown by Enginer.Inc. This was a more do it yourself kit that again had two different levels. Depending on the kit the cost is between $2,500 -$5,000. On the drive from Michigan the representative from Enginer.Inc. got about 90 miles per gallon on a generation two Prius using the Enginer.Inc. system.
I found both kits to be very interesting. You do not have to modify the car all that much, to the point where the kit did not void the factory warranty. Also you can install these kits on used cars. Meaning you can buy a gen 2 used Prius, pop in one of these kits and be on your way for a lot cheaper price than buying a new Volt.
An Update From Occupy: Still Pedaling For A Purpose
It is closing in on a year since the Occupy Wall Street Movement began. You do not hear much about the movement in the media these days; coverage shut down once the Occupiers were removed from occupation sites around the nation. However, the movement still exists with actions taking place around the nation to this day.
Occupy was the result of a frustrated nation. Yes, the Occupy movement was leaderless and people attended the protest for all sorts of reasons. Yet there was a common theme – the 99% of people within the United States had had enough with the 1% of America who has the majority of the population’s wealth. That message was made clear through the actions of the Occupy movement and has shaped the social commentary of the nation to this day.
Pedal power projects are springing up around the world. During Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Boston one such pedal power project supplied power that kept the speakers on and allowed the message of the Occupy movement to be heard loud and clear: Melodeego.
Being based in Boston, Melodeego was in attendance at the Green Fest using the Sustainable Sound System to once again power concert speakers to keep the message and music coming. I had run into Melodeego while covering Occupy Boston and was curious to see what the group had been up to and their thoughts on where the Occupy Movement is today.
“There is a lot of press right now about how Occupy is dead and the movement is dying out, our take on it is that it is not. Its alive and it is thriving”, said members of the group.
Since oOcupy Melodeego have put out an album and been working on the bike system. The album is called Fear Them Not and, as the band told me, is heavy influenced by Occupy movement, the Arab Spring movement, and the environmental justice and social justice movement that is going on around the world. Fear Is The Weapon will be the first single and a music video is in the works – check it out.
As for their unique bike system, well that has been all over the northeast and down to DC.
“We share this with middle school kids, we a call it the Clean Green Music Machine. We talk to kids about the environment and one of the things impress on them that this generation coming up is so so important. There is so much tech at their fingertips and if they can innovate the right way to put us as more of a sustainable society. We can do it. But we need them”, said the group. “We want to share this with the world.”
Andrew Meggison was born in the state of Maine and educated in Massachusetts. Andrew earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Government and International Relations from Clark University and a Master’s Degree in Political Science from Northeastern University. Being an Eagle Scout, Andrew has a passion for all things environmental. In his free time Andrew enjoys writing, exploring the great outdoors, a good film, and a creative cocktail. You can follow Andrew on Twitter @AndrewMeggison