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How it all began
In April 2014, three retirees, Jim Murphy, Fred Hibbs and Dan Wild went to a Bristol Battery Electric Vehicle event chaired by Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield where they met Mike Schooling who runs Indra, a local business converting conventional vehicles to electric power.
It was a homely affair in a church hall with about 30 people attending; bring your own food and limited charging available from 13 Amp sockets. It was announced that this was the last meeting with this organiser and Nikki asked for someone to come forward to take the event on.
On the way home Jim and Dan thought they could take on organising an EV event. In their home town of Malvern, the district council had recently installed 6 Type 2 chargers in the car park adjacent to Priory Park and the Malvern Theatre complex. With onsite catering and large seating areas, there was clear potential for putting on something a little more professional. "The Electric Automobile Association" - ElectrAA - was born.
The first events
The inaugural event took place on 21st September 2014 and with Indra's’ generous sponsorship, the event was free to anybody interested in electric vehicles.
The district council offered support as part of their initiative to reduce vehicle emissions; the local MP accepted the invitation to be patron; the Chairman of Malvern Hills District Council opened the proceedings and Robert Llewellyn was the first speaker. Other speakers included Simon Crowfoot of Ecotricity, Kevin Sharpe of Zero Carbon World, Paul Faithful, the prototype 3 wheeler Morgan developer, and Indra and ElectrAA's own Mike Schooling.
They had over 100 registrants. On display in the park were electric BMWs, Teslas, LEAFs, Zoes, Mitsubishis and Mike Schooling showed a Mazda RX8 that Indra had converted to electric power. It was such a success that it was decided to run three more events in 2015.
It soon became self-evident that the original team needed strengthening. Fortunately, several volunteers came forward with the skills to fill the gaps. Sheila Joynes and Stephen Bell undertook the role of Ambassadors, attending events across the counties and spreading the good word of electric vehicles, whilst travelling the UK in their own Nissan LEAF. Such is their enthusiasm for the Leaf they upgraded their original 2014 24kWh model to a new 62kWh 3.zero e+ in August 2019.
Through Sheila and Stephen, ElectrAA has also added their skills in video production and photography. You can see examples here.
The newest recruits to ElectrAA are Mark Garnett, David Dewson and Peter McCree and a partnership between ElectrAA and Classic Shows has enabled us to exhibit electric vehicles at events with over 20,000 attendees.
ElectrAA has indeed come a long way since it was a hobby project for three old fogeys and a whizz kid!