Electric Car R&D Project

Published 3:58 pm Tuesday, December 11, 2012

BUCKINGHAM – It appears that a research and development project involving electric vehicles could soon be underway in Buckingham.

During the November board of supervisors meeting, supervisors adopted a resolution of support for grant funding for the proposal.

Referencing a letter from David Slutzky, Research Associate Professor for the School of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Virginia, County Administrator Rebecca Carter said they were asking the board for a resolution of support for funding through the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission for a project that would be carried out in Buckingham.

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In his letter, Slutzky explained that the grant proposal recently submitted by UVA on behalf of Evo Motors LLC is for Phase I of a research and development project to develop prototypes of electric vehicles in Buckingham County.

Slutzky wrote, “It is a two-part applied research and development project. In Phase I of the project (first 18-24 months), we propose to manufacture two prototypes of a proprietary electric vehicle design, which has been developed with private investment funds.”

He continued, “In Phase II of the project (next 12-18 months), we propose to develop a production vehicle for commercialization and local manufacturing job creation.”

In the letter, Slutzky explained that the Buckingham location is within relatively close proximity to UVA. “This will enable active collaboration between the University and Evo Motors; and it will mean that all of the anticipated manufacturing jobs will be located in Buckingham County.”

Slutzky added, “In addition, the project proposes to create several unique educational opportunities for students from both Buckingham County as well as the University.”

He concluded, “We hope that you will support the project proposal since it includes many benefits for the citizens of Buckingham County.”

Carter shared that they have found property toward the northern end of Buckingham and have acquired a lease on the land.

“They would have three or four jobs to start with. They would actually be engineering and researching the development of building two electric vehicles if they get the Tobacco Commission grant to do so,” explained the county administrator.

She stated, “They are not asking for any money. They are asking for the county to say we think this would be a good thing to happen and we think it would be really good for Buckingham County.”

At that point, Supervisor Bill Talbert asked Carter what was her recommendation.

She responded, “I would say that we send a resolution of support for this.”

With that, Supervisor Cassandra Stish exclaimed, “Motion made.” After a second from Supervisor Joe Chambers, the board unanimously adopted the proposed resolution.

More Golf Carts for County Roads?

A public hearing in October to consider rescinding the Golf Cart Ordinance sparked increased interest in adding more county roads to the ordinance. Currently, the ordinance only allows use of golf carts on Route 703, Jonestown Road.

Following that October hearing, not only did supervisors keep the ordinance intact, they also discussed adding more roads.

Subsequently, the county administrator advised supervisors during their November meeting that if they have roads they would like to add to the ordinance, they should submit them to her.

Carter explained that before a road can be considered for inclusion in the ordinance, it must undergo a review by VDOT

Because a public hearing is required before amending the ordinance to include additional roads, Carter recommended that to save money on public hearing notices, supervisors compile a list of the requested roads. Then the list could be forwarded to VDOT for its review. After the VDOT review, one hearing could be scheduled.

For a road or section of road to be eligible for consideration, the posted speed limit must be 25 m.p.h.

According to the county's ordinance, anyone operating golf carts on any designated county highway must have in their possession a valid driver's license.

Moreover, the golf cart must be insured by a policy of liability insurance with coverage of not less than $50,000 per accident; or the owner of such a golf cart may self-insure the liability coverage if the Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles has issued a certificate of self-insurance.

Update on Crossroads Community Services

Will Rogers, Executive Director of Crossroads Community Services, provided supervisors with a packet that included information not only on Crossroads but also from the Virginia Association of Community Services, which includes 40 community services boards.

Rogers said that in FY12, Crossroads served over 7,839 individuals. He explained that the number grows when you take into account not only their family members but also their communities.

Sharing information from brochures included in their packet, Rogers said Crossroads provides a two-week camp, Camp Unity at the James River State Park. The camp is for youngsters who are physically disabled as well as intellectually disabled. Moreover, he said they offer camps at the 4-H facility.

Continuing, Rogers offered that along with day support services for intellectually disabled individuals, Crossroads also provides residential services and mental health recovery services.

While sharing about Crossroads, Rogers voiced his support for a request made earlier in the meeting by Emily Marshall regarding assistance for Madeline's House.

“Madeline's House is a worthwhile organization and needs to be supported by all the local governments involved,” stated Rogers.

Adding what he described as a marketing ploy, Rogers reminded that Crossroads provides commercial heavy cleaning services by individuals who are intellectually and physically disabled.

After Rogers' presentation, Supervisor Talbert, who represents Buckingham on the Crossroads Services Board, stated, “I have really, really learned a lot about this organization since I have been representing the board here.”

Sharing that he did not know what would happen to those served by Crossroads if it did not exist, Talbert added, “I thank you for the work you do.”

Addressing Rogers, Talbert stated, “As director, you do a marvelous job. I appreciate you and all your staff.”

Noting that along with attending the Crossroads board meetings he has visited some of the programs, Talbert told the audience, “Your tax dollars are well spent.”

During her administrator's report, Carter shared that the Anti-Litter Taskforce has been awarded a grant award of $8,121 through the Recycling and Litter Programs of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality's Division of Land Protection and Revitalization.

Referencing a Memorandum of Agreement between Virginia Department of Health and Buckingham County Water System, Carter explained that if the board approves the memorandum, the new water plant would receive $22,013 to be used in conjunction with fluoride treatment.

Carter added, “I'd like to commend Mike Markley (utilities director) for working to get this grant money.”

Subsequently, the board unanimously approved the memorandum of agreement.

In an informational item, Carter included a letter from the Heart of Virginia Free Clinic in Farmville that is now opened to patients from Amelia, Buckingham, Charlotte, Cumberland, Lunenburg, Nottoway, and Prince Edward.

Carter told supervisors that if they knew of anyone who would like more information on the Free Clinic, her office would try to assist them.

The clinic is open on Tuesday evening from 6 to 9 p.m. Eligibility interviews are held on Tuesdays from 5 to 7 p.m., and on Wednesdays from 1 to 3 p.m.

Patients must be between the ages of 18 and 64, and show proper identification. According to the information in the board packet, eligibility is determined by the Federal Poverty Level Guidelines.

Supervisor Stish noted that the Free Clinic is on Facebook.