The North American EV Infrastructure Conference and Exposition (NAEVI 98), titled "A New ERA Begins", was recently held at the Civic Plaza in downtown Phoenix, near the empty NBA Key West Arena and the new Bank One Baseball Park, home of the new Arizona Diamondbacks. Major automobile companies previewed their 1999 Electric and Hybrid Models and other companies previewed their new charging systems, battery, fuel cell, and ultra capacitor technology. Toyota displayed their 3 models, the Prius hybrid, RAV4 EV, and e-com, Honda, their EV Plus, Ford, their Electric Ford Ranger PU, Nissan, their Altra electric stationwagon with Lithium Ion batteries, GM, their EV1 and electric S10 pickup, and Daimler Chrysler their EPIC electric van. Click Here for enlarged pictures and description

Many companies also displayed their latest electric vehicle battery charging systems. Aerovironment, of Monrovia CA, and pioneer of the EV1, released their just completed, Posi Charge, fast charging station, designed to fast charge an electric vehicle in less than one hour. The advantages of fast charging of course is the fact that makes possible charging stations equivalent to gas filling stations so, lets say, you can drive your EV in to a Texaco Star Mart in LA where they hook up a inductive charging paddle or a conductive charging Avcon Connector to your EV. While you are having a coffee or snack break, your EV batteries are being replenished with electrons instead of gasoline. In 20-30 minutes of fast charging you are then on your way for another 70 miles of pollution free commuting and errands. Ford Motor Company announced at this conference that they would have available for their 99 electric Ford Ranger's, fast charging capabilities for their lead acid battery pack. The 99 electric Ford Ranger will also be equipped with Panasonic Nickel Metal Hydride batteries, giving it about a 110-mile range instead of the 50-70 mile range with lead acid batteries.

Throughout the 3-day EVent, conference attendees were allowed to drive all the EV's provided by the major car manufacturers. Attendees were continually hearing the confrontation between the automakers that were using inductive charging systems and ones that were using conductive charging systems. Each automaker thought their charging system was the best and let their rival know that theirs was the best, usually in a humorous way, Conductive charging uses a direct contact plug or connector (like a standard wall socket or electric range plug). While inductive charging uses and indirect or magnetic field contact paddle to transfer the electrons to the EV batteries. Proponents of inductive charging, including GM, Toyota, and Nissan believe that even though the inductive charging system is more expensive, it is safer and easier to use. Whereas the recently formed Electric Vehicle Conductive Coalition, (EVC3) including most of the manufacturers, Daimler Chrysler, Ford, Honda, BMW, Peugeot, Renault, VW, all use and support conductive charging. Advantages of conductive charging include higher efficiency, lower equipment costs, ease of fast charging, and longer history of proven technology.

Experts from major corporations gave informative lectures on their latest products, including fuel cells, Lithium Polmer, Lithium Ion, NiMH batteries, new advanced magnetic motors, marketing of electric vehicles and hybrids.(Details of these technologies are presented in Preview 2000). SUBSCRIBE TODAY!. Barbecues sponsored by Ford and banquets with lively discussions made this Conference exiting and informative. Highlight of the conference was witnessing Dr Paul McCready, founder of AeroVironment, demonstrate an incredible wind up bird that flapped its wings and flew in a 30-foot upward spiral. He called it the "orthacopter".