Monday, July 16, 2007

Who Revived the Electric Car?

Tuscaloosa, Alabama-

James Pearce and his son Johnston know diesels. They have been working with diesel engines for years and after gas prices became prohibitively high, their knowledge of diesel mechanics intersected with their sincere desire to be innovative, frugal, cutting edge and environmentally conscious. Our Tuscaloosa guides and goodwill ambassadors, David and Gina Allgood (more about them above!) drove us out to Hubert and his wife Madeleine's property in the beautiful country outside of Tuscaloosa. There we were shown so many amazing examples of good old fashioned American ingenuity it made our heads swim!James and Johnston collect waste veggie oil and their friends and neighbors bring them their used motor oil for recycling. They run their trucks on the biodiesel that they make from the WVO and recycle the engine oil into heating fuel. Processing the oil is done in the shop using a system that the Pearces have perfected which is very energy efficient by relying on gravity to move the oil from tank to tank. We were nothing short of blown away by James and Johnston's expertise at recycloing waste oil, but it turned out that we hadn't even seen the most marvelous machine yet...the Electric Jeep that this father and son have been envisioning and working on since seeing the movie "Who Killed the Electric Car".
This electric blue, electric powered beauty has been outfitted by parts ordered from a New Hampshire company and before long will be ready to drive this busy family in even the hottest of Alabama summers. The Pearces are going to need reliable transportation as this is the year that Johnston leaves for Warren Wilson college in Asheville NC- the recipient of a well deserved scholarship-and their daughter Julia will enter boarding school an hour away near Birmingham. Thanks a million James, Madeleine, Johnston and Julia for showing us what is possible with alternative fuels and electic cars.

Here are a few of the pictures from our time in Tuscaloosa. We will always remember the beauty and kindness that we've seen here in Alabama and have so enjoyed making new friends and being inspired by the people we've met. Alabama is a beautiful state indeed!

Gina's teacher friend Alice shows us her beautiful backyard flowers

Mavi gets the shot- Birmingham, AL

Kate in Europa Antiques, Birmingham Alabama

More of Kenneth Easterling and his son Kenyon's delicious, worth-their-weight-in-gold peaches

Tree climbing at the University of Alabama Arboretum

Erin Jones of The Left Hand Handmade Soap Company displays her typical altruism

An oil well outside of Tuscaloosa

With our new friends at the Bama Theater balcony
David and Gina Allgood, Mavi and Jeff, Kate, Barbie, Catherine and Jeff

Gina and a lovely sunset! Now we're sitting in the parking lot of The Cleansing Tide Laundromat (everything has something to do with the Crimson Tide here in Tuscaloosa), filtering the grease that we collected from Keqin Pan, an owner of a local Chinese resataurant and heading off to Jackson Mississippi.

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