MAX Update No. 20: The Most Real Green Car at the EG

Reader Contribution by Staff
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The EG was a hoot and I’m so glad I went. 

EG stands for Entertainment Gathering, as far as I can tell — I was in way over my head. It featured the most eclectic group of presenters I’ve ever seen in one bunch. My personal favorite speaker was Teller, of Penn & Teller, who spoke of how knowing how something is done does not lessen one’s appreciation of the act, even if the act is magic on stage.

Many other presentations were inspiring: One laptop per child? Good idea. Digital motion control in the arts? I’ll use those lessons to make MAX’s next body. Peter Diamondis of the X Prize Foundation? Heck yeah, but he’d already inspired me. International goofy dancing? The world’s not such a bad place, is it? But Teller renewed my dedication to open sourcing the MAX project. If there’s anything about MAX I’m not telling you, it’s not because it’s a trade secret, it’s because I haven’t figured it out yet.

Photo by Jack McCornack

MAX was well-received, partly because (as a commenter predicted in MAX Update No. 19: A Roof Over Our Heads) it was the only Auto X Prizer that got there on its own steam. The Physics Lab of Lake Havasu folks brought their “Green Giant” SUV, but they brought it on a trailer. ZAP brought a scale model of their much-anticipated Alias trike, which they maybe brought in a hatbox. Both companies have loftier goals than Kinetic Vehicles, and if the cars were being judged by projected performance, MAX would have been the loser. Instead, I was giving rides during the breaks and MAX was getting bonus points for being real.

During my talk, I described my design philosophy as minimalist, and got a good laugh with my definition: A pessimist says the glass is half empty. An optimist says the glass is half full.  A minimalist says “We’re using about twice as much glass as we need here.”

The trip down to California was good fun. I used about 8 gallons from MAX’s 9 gallon diesel tank and a gallon from its veggie oil tank to go the 600 miles from Grants Pass, Ore., to Monterey, Calif., via Los Banos, Calif. The conference was fabulous fun. The trip home, not so fun. I’ll bet you can guess why …?