Craig’s Blog2020-08-13T21:09:33+00:00
804, 2022

Not Preaching to the Choir

By |April 8th, 2022|

ACDC was asked last fall to put together a series of EV and HEV classes for the New England Tire and Service Association. This was held at

This year was different. The price of gas was the highest ever, and the Super Bowl was full of EV advertisements. This event had been postponed for two years. Tony printed 100 copies of the handout, actually two chapters from our new book, just to be optimistic. Deb and I drove the 68 miles to Foxwoods and checked into our hotel room. Then off to the trade show where we set up our simple booth and met some old friends from the ACDC “Emissions“ training days over 20 years ago. The tire dealers just passed by the booth, not even grabbing a free ACDC pen.

Foxwoods a week ago, at an American Indian-owned event center and casino in Connecticut. Tony, the executive director, was hoping for 60 people at the classes, although it was usually a smaller turnout. The trade show was always well attended and everyone always had a good time.

 

Saturday morning we headed to a beautiful carpeted event room with 100 chairs lined up perfectly. We have 60 pens and maybe 50 ACDC brochures. As it got closer to 8 am, more techs, shop owners, salespeople, and others filled up the room. Standing room only. Deb counted 108 people. Many of which were at a casino the night before and then got up early on a Saturday morning. The perfect storm had woken them up. This was a pretty conservative group. Only two owned a hybrid or EV and most were skeptical of all this EV stuff. It was very interactive as I wore a lavalier microphone on my ACDC shirt and walked down the aisles, answering every question they asked. Some were very blunt but respectful. I was not preaching to the choir. These people were not educated about EVs, but that was perfect. Not everyone is up to speed on the advancements of this technology. If you don’t drive an electric car, how would you know where the charging stations are? It was a lively discussion that lasted 3 hours. Did we convert a few? Hard to say, but it did strengthen my commitment to the ACDC mission. As Deb and I drove back to our home in Worcester, Massachusetts, the conversation was about how many people in our industry do not see future unfolding in front of them. Maybe these hundred-plus do now.

2402, 2022

Electric Motorcycles

By |February 24th, 2022|

The basic components of an Electric Vehicle are the same regardless of its size or number of wheels. The two-wheeled EMVs main drawback is range, as a motorcycle is small with limited space for a large battery pack, plus almost all motorcycle riders love the “riding” part. I am one of them, having over 50 years of riding in many places, including dirt and road racing, trips across America, woods riding and camping in Canada during the snowy season. Today, it is the daily commute on the Vectrix when it is a reasonably warm day. It is limited to 38 mph so it is the surface roads in the city of Worcester (pronounced as Woos-tah), Massachusetts that I transverse. After researching and writing the chapter on EV 2 wheelers, it is clear that a high-speed electric motorcycle has to happen for me. The future looks bright for two-wheeled EMVs. Some historical EMVs context.

Introduced in 2006, the Vectrix VX-1 was the “Prius” of large-sized scooters, about the size and performance of a “Silver Wing” from Honda. But unlike Honda, it had no gasoline, as it was pure electric. It was the first commercially available high-performance electric scooter sold to the public. It was capable of over 60 mph (97 km/h), and zero to 50 mph (80 km/h) in 6.8 seconds, with the maximum torque available from zero rpm. It had under 250 parts, compared with 2,500 for a conventionally powered scooter, and had a range of up to 65 miles (105 km) at 25 mph (40 km/h). They were promoted by the governments of the United States, United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands and Slovenia, as the Vectrix was exempt from paying any road tax.

The first Vectrix scooters used NiMH batteries with a manufacturer-claimed life of 10 years and 1,500 recharges. The 125-volt battery pack had a capacity of 3.7 kWh and could be recharged to 80% in two hours from a standard 120-volt American power socket. The battery could also be partially recharged through regenerative braking. Replacement cost of the battery was estimated to be around $3,000 in 2006, almost one-third of the cost of the bike. Many of these VX-1 have been retrofitted with Li-ion cells (Figure 23-6) by the owners using used Nissan Leaf modules and are still on the road today.

501, 2022

Why some Bloggers (like me) miss a month or three.

By |January 5th, 2022|

It is 2022 and I find myself getting up at 6 am most days to make coffee. Decaf. Then off to my home office studying and writing about (you guessed it) hybrid, plug-in, and battery-powered vehicles. Seems like the monthly blog can wait. I am heading down the home stretch on a long, long run. I ran track in high school, all seasons, but cross country was the great teac

her. “Keep running”, Mr. Looney said.

That was a while back, but “Don’t stop. No walking” was a lesson that has served me well. Every successful technician that has the skills to fix a “No Code” modern car or truck, knows the feeling of a shop owner during the first few months of Covid-19 in 2020.

I hope that all our ACDC customers and friends are ready for 2022. The ACDC College Level Book is getting near completion. Many of you bought the E-book for one year and that may expire soon. Others of you bought the e-book with a printed copy to be sent out when it was done. Last January the e-book went on sale with chapters added as they were finished. Thanks for your patience. The first printed copies will go out to the early birds in about 8 weeks.

Once the book is done, ACDC will then add more support materials for our ESP (Education Support Program) schools. This will take the rest of 2022 to complete. Videos, Worksheets, Lab assignments, and more.

Electric Vehicles sold, in every class worldwide, faster in 2021 than in any other year. ACDC is expanding into our entire building this year and adding more EMVs into our fleet. Looks like another busy year.

1709, 2021

ACDC is very busy now after a quiet time

By |September 17th, 2021|

As I look back at my life as a tech, shop owner and now a hybrid / EV training provider, the changes in technology, both the vehicle and information was huge. I started my professional career working on Honda motorcycles after high school in the 60’s. Now I ride an electric two wheeler. My father’s 50’s Ford had a big V-eight engine. Now I drive an all-electric car. My lawn is mowed with li-ion battery power, so a lot has happened in my lifetime.

Staying up with the changes is a full time job. A slogan I used at my independent repair shop was “The difference between a job and a career is about 10 hours a week”. That has never been so true. If you want to study the rest of your life and believe in a cleaner and safer future, then you will love what is coming your way. Motor vehicles will still be fast (even big class 8 trucks) but they will not make a lot of noise. The EV is making inroads over an ICE vehicle. Eventually (and maybe sooner than you think), the world will be a quieter place. City air will be cleaner and the sound of the tires and the air rushing past the EV will be the only noise (unless the sound system is turned up) you will hear.

All forms of motor sports will move to electric fuel or sustainable carbon liquid fuels. Check out Formula E and Extreme E. As you read ACDC’s prediction of the future in our last blog, I hope you saw your place in the motor vehicle repair industry as we move into a new transportation era.

Why did I miss writing my monthly blog? It has been four months. Simply stated “ACDC got very busy”. The pandemic eliminated in person classes, but now we are fully back. More exciting news to come. Stay tuned.

1204, 2021

When the Industry Goes All-Electric Spring of 2021 Blog

By |April 12th, 2021|

The writing’s on the wall for the internal combustion engine. Here’s what the future could look like, through the crystal ball of an EV/hybrid expert.

March 20, 2018 

By Craig Van Batenburg   Updated and Edited December 31, 2020

It is 2048, and most vehicles are battery-powered electric cars. The fuel cell was tried, but the infrastructure was never built out. So the few fuel-cell cars from the 2020s are sitting behind repair shops, and the owners are still thinking about the cost of a new fuel-cell-membrane rebuild kit.

Hydrogen is expensive, and although you can still buy it, the filling stations are getting harder to find – just like gasoline. Diesels started to go out of favor in the 20-teens when Volkswagen brought attention to how dirty they ran and then switched to all-electric vehicles (EVs) in the 2020s.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE

202, 2021

February 2021 A Cult Car the Original Honda Insight

By |February 2nd, 2021|

The original Honda Insight has a “cult” like following. How did this odd looking hybrid attract so many fans? Honda introduced the first hybrid to America in December 1999. It was a month that changed a lot of what we thought we knew about cars. The first generation of the Insight was discontinued in 2006. The Insight prototype, by another name, was first shown to the public at the Tokyo Auto show in 1997. It was a 2-passenger sports coupe. It had been in development for about 3 years prior to that. The Insight, code named the VV, was seen again in the U.S., at another auto show. In the summer of 1999, it was named the Insight and Honda released the details. Before they were sold a few Insights were available to reporters and politicians for road testing. Stan Stephenson, former Editor of Motor Age magazine, and a member of IMPA (International Motor Press Association) had a preproduction Insight in October of 1999. He called me at my home is Worcester, Massachusetts and I flew down to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania the next day for my first drive in what would become my first of many hybrid car purchases. First year sales were limited to less than 6,000 due to lack of production ability. Insights were made in Japan in the same small factory that built the NSX and the S2000. It has an all-aluminum chassis and is very high tech in chassis, aerodynamics, engine, hybrid software and electronics. The first year it was only available with a 5 speed manual transmission.

2006 Honda Insight.

A little Honda History; Honda’s first use of the Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) system was for F1 racing. This was to add more torque to the ICE coming out of the corners when RPMs are low and torque in not enough to get maximum traction. It never saw a race as it was not allowed. This type of system was finally used by FI in the 2009 s season. If you haven’t been keeping up with Formula One racing, take a look. Also check put Formula E. Adding more torque electrically to the crankshaft works great as Honda has proven on and off the track. This Insight was light weight, streamlined, and efficient. It handled well and ran like a Honda. The old Insight was one of a kind.

1401, 2021

2020 … a look back at our Industry and Covid-19 January 2021 Blog

By |January 14th, 2021|

How do you experience 2020? ACDC is a very international business, but most of our business in 2020 was in the States as travel restrictions stopped travel, for good reasons in late February. The human condition was on display as never before. In America, the elderly were hit hard with Covid-19, but the Indigenous American Indians were really left out in the cold. If you were without health problems and had access to good health care, Covid-19 didn’t seem like a big deal to many. It was a test of every countries health care system, but more importantly the amount of trust the citizens of that country had in its institutions and leadership. Would the people do what they were told? Do you have customers that do not take your recommendations on their car repair? Did they read on some website that you were just trying to make money off of them?  People need facts. Have you ever fixed a car without facts? 2020 was a bad year, unless you were in the mask, sanitizer or distance learning business. We also learned who the essential workers are, you!

So here we are in 2021. Covid 19 looks like it will be under control sometime this year. We all hope so. ACDC will be holding classes again at our training center. Our long awaited hybrid-EV book is nearing completion. Next month we will look back at what ACDC did in 2020. It was a year like none other.

312, 2020

December 20 .. My Lucky Day Craig’s Blog 2020

By |December 3rd, 2020|

On December 20, 1977 Van Batenburg’s Garage opened up for business. It was warm for that time of year in Massachusetts. The shop I worked at all summer has closed and I had that American Dream of starting my own repair shop. I had about 450 dollars, a tool box, a 1959 VW bus and a fairly new 1975 CB400f motorcycle. Single (had a college girlfriend), no kids and a plan. I would be honest, work hard, charge low prices, specialize in Honda Cars and Motorcycles, Datsun and Toyota. My brother Clay painted a sign on an old piece of wood while I painted the inside of the shop white and gray. Two bays, no lift. Heat and electricity include in the rent for under $300 per month. The rest is history.

On December 20, 1950 a baby girl was born in Columbus, Ohio to Michael and Lillian Landy. Her name was Deborah K. Landy, now Deb Van Batenburg. We met years later in Boston. December has been a great month for me, as I also celebrate my birthday on the second day of December.

When Deb and I were dating in the late 80’s when I found out when she was born. I was happy to know that I had been celebrating the twentieth for years and so was she. Now we combine those two events into a day of gratitude.

For those of you that started your own shop from scratch, I know that feeling.  Did you name it after yourself? Did you ever wonder why? America was built by dreamers. I hope all you dreamers out there, where ever you live, can have your dreams come true.

Imagine a world of peace, a life of joy, and someone to share it with. What more do you need?     

1611, 2020

Fall 2020 Covid19 , the US election and in person classes

By |November 16th, 2020|

The US election is over, Covid 19 is out of control and has ACDC suspended our in-person classes until February.  Great ending to a very weird year. For those of you who don’t know what my career looked like in the 90s, it started as a management trainer working with the Automotive Management Institute (AMI) out of Texas. The original name of our training company was the “Automotive Career Development Center” (ACDC for short) and that name had absolutely nothing to do with electric cars at that time. As Deb and I traveled the world and helped countless shops get into the hybrid and new EV business, mostly on technical side, we also added management training for those shops. Attracting new customers and working directly with hybrid and EV owners was what they needed. It is time for me to get back online and go through the things that I’ve learned, not just from shops in America, but Europe, Canada, Australia even shops in Africa that work. I think some of their ideas could fit perfectly well here in United States. These classes will be live, and unlike many classes that unmute you at the end, we stop about every 10 or 15 minutes, and check in with all the participants. And if anybody has a question, you don’t have to wait until the end. We start with our basic 9 classes, and then we’ll add more as I get some feel from the people that are taking the classes. The specific topics may need more attention, so after the one-hour long classes are done, specific topic can be covered, sometimes in less than 30 minutes. We start up in December and take some time off for the holidays. It would be great for your management staff, or anyone in the shop, to get a complete picture of how a business works from insurance to workman’s compensation, finances and everything in between. Getting and retaining new customers and more. We will make sure you’re prepared for a future that doesn’t look anything like today as Covid-19, new EV pickup trucks and more will change how we do business.   

Craig van Batenburg

909, 2020

Summer of 2020 Corona Virus … Covid 19

By |September 9th, 2020|

ACDC has re-open for live classes

ACDC is playing it safe when it comes to Covid 19. We are limiting classes to 4 students and not using hotels or restaurants. We are accepting students form the states that our Governor, Charlie Baker, is allowing in without a 72 hour old test that states you are negative for Covid 19 or if you are tested negative. This is about the health and safety of all involved, ACDC and you, the technicians, teachers and others. Before Covid 19, it was explosions at the tire machines, asbestos in brake linings, gasoline vapors catching fire, an A/C hose with pressures high enough to damage your eyes, and a lot more. Staying safe has been a concern for mature people as we witnessed some unsafe antics in the shop by the young and restless.

At ACDC we have been working with high voltage systems for well over 20 years. No problems and we plan on keeping it that way. That same thinking is what we are using as we start up live classes again.

We use the Massachusetts guidelines for training centers.  https://www.mass.gov/info-details/safety-standards-and-control-plan-occupational-schools-and-testing-centers#social-distancing-

The guidelines may change for the better, but we will assume it will stay the same. Our building is 1,000 sq. feet with an attached building of 4,000 square feet. To make this work, ACDC is limiting the number of students to 4 people, less than the allowable maximum in the building.. We will be 6 feet apart and have to wear masks. If you live and/or work in State or Country where the Covid 19 infection rate is rising, ACDC reserves the right to reassign you to a later class. Make sure your travel expenses are refundable. ACDC will provide all the meals, ground transportation in Worcester, and a place to stay. In addition we will supply masks, hand sanitizer and other safety items as needed. You will only socialize with the ACDC staff, use ACDC cars and eat ACDC food. No outside trips are allowed. Once class is over, you may want to tour this part of the country.

Until we have a cure and a vaccine, we will be as careful as we can and still provide the hands-on, in depth training, we are known for.

We have just launching a new web site, www.fixev.com. It was built from the ground up as our old site still ran on a “points and condenser” platform.

Deb, I and all the people at ACDC are working hard behind the scene getting ready for seeing you in person again. We miss you and wish you well.

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