This ‘ECOGEECO’ leads by example


For Jason Quail, the most important reason for living green is improving the environment for those who will inhabit the planet in the future.

This is why two years ago when he and his wife Jeannie thought about which new car to purchase, their decision centered on keeping the world healthy for future generations.

Quail describes their thought process at the time.

“We needed to go with something clean, in order to make the air we breathe better from now on, primarily for our children,” he explains. “We have three great boys, 11, 8, and 5. If we all keep doing what we are doing, then the beautiful planet we grew up with will not be here when they have kids of their own.”

The Quails considered the hybrid option, but nixed the idea because they would still be using gas.

Quail is from Canton, Pa., and has also lived in Elmira, N.Y. He now lives with his family in Bentonville, Ark., where everything is close by. The Quails had recently purchased a Chrysler Sebring for long trips, and didn’t need another vehicle capable of going hundreds of miles in one journey.

This factor, along with the zero emissions benefit, sold Quail on an electric car.

The ECO ONE electric car
He now drives a Global Electric Motorcars (GEM) E6, which is an un-enclosed vehicle. It uses six DEKA 12-volt gel batteries. He dubbs his EV the ECO ONE.

It averages 25 miles per charge during the summer, and 15 miles per charge during the winter. Quail uses it daily to drop his son off at school, as well as running errands around town.

Quail also drives himself to work at Walmart in the ECO ONE, a two-and-a-half mile trip each way. He recently hit 3,900 miles on the ECO ONE’s odometer.

And yes, undeterred by cold, Quail drives his the breezy and open ECO ONE year-round.

Quail has always been a do-it-yourself type, making gadgets run on solar power. This hobby spurned his interest in environmentalism, and naturally led him to find a way to run the ECO ONE on solar power.

Quail decided to modify his EV to operate on solar energy, partly because it was so cost-effective. He installed nine solar panels, which together generating 42 watts of power, on top of the ECO ONE . The energy produced by the panels feeds into an auxiliary battery he installed.

Quail estimates he’s saved over $600 in gas money since purchasing the ECO ONE. He can charge the vehicle for $25 per year on the freestanding solar system he’s built in his backyard for household use. Quail, who has Farmer’s Insurance, has also saved money in insurance costs due to “alternative fuel discounts,” he says.

I wanted to do something to make the world a better place, and with ECOGEECO I do. Right now it’s all about making the world a better place one child at a time.
— Jason Quail, a.k.a. ‘ECOGEECO’

The ECO ONE is classified by law as a low speed vehicle, which means it has a top speed of approximately 25 miles per hour. As a low speed vehicle, he can legally drive on streets with speed limits of 35 miles per hour or less.

ECO ONE EV attracts plenty of attention
Quail has discovered two things about being restricted to 26 miles per hour, he said. The first is that there is always a street he can take set at 30 miles per hour, to avoid higher-speed roads. The second, which seems to be true of motorists at any speed, is that hurried drivers eager to pass him usually end up stopped at the same red light as the ECO ONE.

“Anyone that has ever passed me is always sitting beside me, or the exact same car is in front of me at the next stop sign or red light,” he explains.

His electric vehicle draws a lot of attention from other motorists, Quail says. He usually has to factor an additional 15 minutes into his travel time when running errands to answer questions and plan for a crowd.

“When I pull into the parking lot on a store trip or to pick up pizza I have a small, or sometimes large, crowd form around me with a whole lot of questions about anything and everything,” he says.

eco-geeco1-frontThe reactions range from surprise to delight, and are always met with a friendly response from Quail.

“Anytime we are driving around town and there are people walking around they smile and wave,” he says. “I like it too because it brings out the good side of people. If we can bring a smile to their faces, then that makes us feel good too.”

The positive feedback he got from driving the ECO ONE around town inspired Quail to use his car to teach children about the fun in helping the planet.

ECOGEECO – following in the footsteps of Captain Planet
“I had a car that was like no other around and the kids like it a lot,” he explains. “I had a way to get kids to think green in a fun way.”

As a kid, Quail looked up to superheroes like Captain Planet and Superman, who helped the planet as well as helping others. These characters inspired him, but he saw no real equivalent for today’s children to look up to.

This planted a seed in Quail’s mind. He wanted to give children leadership, and he wanted them to have some fun in helping the planet.

He wanted to share his knowledge and passion for green living in a way that would interest kids. So in the summer of 2009 he developed his alter “eco,” ECOGEECO.

The concept of the ECOGEECO is aimed at teaching kids fun things they can do to help the planet.

Quail visits schools and appears at events as the ECOGEECO, teaching kids about ways they can be sustainable in an entertaining way. To make sure he keeps the material engaging and effective, Quail solicits the input of his three sons, Jaiden, 5, Jarred, 8, and JonLuc, 11. They make sure the message is upbeat, positive, and interesting for kids.

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Quail sees the potential in children for being responsible caretakers of the earth, which is why he has dedicated himself to teaching them ways they can help save the planet.

“I wanted to do something to make the world a better place, and with ECOGEECO I do. Right now it’s all about making the world a better place one child at a time,” he said.

The four environmental R’s: Reduce, re-use, recycle and re-think
One of the concepts the ECOGEECO teaches in school visits is the four R’s: Reduce, Re-use, Recycle, and Re-think. As part of “rethink,” Quail shows students how to “Upcycle.”

“Up-cycle is a word I heard on Planet Green one day and it is one of the things I try to do whenever I can. To up-cycle is to use something in a way that it was not originally meant for in the first place. If you up-cycle something, then it keeps it out of the dump or saves the energy needed to recycle it,” he notes.

Quail is working on creating a U.S. flag made entirely out of aluminum can tabs, an example of up-cycling.

Pictures of the flag are on his website, Quail uses his website, as well as a Facebook page, Twitter feeds, and photos on Flickr to blog about and record the events he attends and projects he’s working on.

He is also now a guest host on the internet station called Get Yur Geek on Radio. He will do a weekly 20-minute spot on green tech. The first installment of his segment will air this week.

Environmentalism a year-round commitment for ‘ECOGEECO’
He also has a YouTube channel, which will soon feature “green newscast” videos by his sons. They will use the newscast to describe the events they attend with their father and projects they are working on.

Also coming soon for the Quail family is a long list of events, including two school visits, a green expo, the Race for the Cure, and a tree planting ceremony. ECOGEECO hopes to volunteer for 52 events this year, in a goal he calls “52 Saturdays.”

As well as events, Quail is “always on the look-out for green projects”, he says. He already has plans to add a second battery pack to the ECO ONE to add distance (up to 35 miles on a charge). He also plans on making his electric lawn mower solar-powered, and on making “solar glow jars” for his boys by charging solar garden lights on a window sill during the day.

Whether volunteering at an event, working on green projects, or blogging about the green lifestyle, Quail always keeps in mind the benefit a healthy planet will have on future generations.

“The kids are the goal,” he says. “The more I help them in a fun way, the more fun I’ll have being ECOGEECO and saving the planet. I save the planet, and save money, and the whole time we have a lot of fun doing it.”

For more on Jason Quail, a.k.a. ‘ECOGEECO’, go to–>

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