TecKnow's News & Events
EV Club Meeting at Higgins Group Office
Wednesday, 6/21/18 5:00pm–7:00pm
EV Club of CT and TecKnow met on Wednesday, June 27 at 8:00 PM, at the Higgins Group office in Westport, CT.
Special guest Gabriel Shenhar, Associate Director of Auto Test Program at Consumer Reports attended the meeting. The group discussed club business, upcoming events, and other EV Club members gave updates on their activites.
Ribbon-cutting for Largest EV Charging Station in Connecticut
Wednesday, 6/21/18 5:00pm–7:00pm
TecKnow participated in a ribbon-cutting for the largest cluster of charging stations in Connecticut. The event was hosted by the Electric Vehicle Club of Connecticut, Connecticut Fund for the Environment, and the Connecticut Electric Vehicle Coalition on June 13, 2018 at 5:00 PM in Hartford. This event was open to the general public.
777 Main Street in Hartford is a LEED Certified Platinum building with 285 apartments and 40,000 square feet of commercial space. The development includes a total of 29 EV chargers: six Tesla superchargers, eight Tesla destination chargers, eight Clipper Creek level 2 chargers, and six level 2 and one level 3 DC SAE combo ChargePoint chargers.
A reception and panel discussion of EV policy in the Penthouse of 777 Main followed.
Moderator and panelists:
Claire Coleman - Energy and Environment Attorney at CT Fund for the Environment
Matt Macunas - Legislative Liaison and EV Policy Specialist at CT Green Bank
Kerri Enright Kato - Director of DEEP's Office of Climate Change
Emily Lewis - Policy Analyst at The Acadia Center
An array of new electric vehicles were displayed, including BMW, Nissan, Chevrolet, Tesla, and Honda.
About 777 Main
777 Main was designed and developed by Becker and Becker. Principal Bruce Becker, also the president of the Electric Vehicle Club of CT, stated, "80% of EV charging is done at home. Residents of apartments and condos typically have less access to charging, which is a significant barrier to ownership for a lot of people, especially in cities. The ambitious emission-reduction goals set by the state underscore the importance of increasing the number of EVs from the 6,264 registered as of March. This project in Hartford, CT serves as an example for adding charging features in housing developments as an impetus to accelerate EV adoption."
The Electric Vehicle Club of CT was launched as the Westport Electric Car Club in 2009, the first EV club in the state. Local residents advocated for sustainable transportation and worked successfully with the State of Connecticut and Town of Westport on a number of projects, including the first installation of solar panels on the roof of a Metro-North depot and expanding the number of public charging stations. The club has staged public-learning events, EV road rallies and showcases, and works with the legislature to advocate for EV-friendly policy.
For more information on the Connecticut EV Club click here.
Westport Electric Car Club Changes its Name to the Connecticut EV Club
Westporters own 266 electric vehicles. That’s the 3rd highest number in Connecticut. Greenwich leads, with 511.
But — at 1% of our total registered vehicles — we do rank first in the largest number of EVs per capita. That’s 3.5 times the statewide average.
Those are a few of the interesting facts to come from the Connecticut EV Club. That’s the new name for the Westport Electric Car Club. As EV popularity rises — there are 35% more plug-in vehicles in the state than a year ago — the local organization is growing too.
Bruce Becker is taking over from founder and longtime president Leo Cirino.
One upcoming initiative: lobbying legislators to change the law prohibiting Tesla from selling directly to customers. (Connecticut allows cars to be purchased only through independent dealerships. Tesla sells direct from the manufacturer.)
State residents have reserved over 3,000 Model 3s — Tesla’s highly anticipated $35,000 vehicle. Club officer Barry Kresch estimates that 250 to 300 of those are in Westport.
So — despite the club’s name change — our town will continue to have an outsize influence on statewide EV policy and affairs. “This is an environmental-thinking place,” Kresch says. “Its leaders are very green-conscious.”
And, he says, with 20 or so public charging stations — including both train stations, the library and Staples High School — Westport’s commitment to electric vehicles remains strong.
For more information on the Connecticut EV Club click here.
TecKnow participates in Westport Connecticut's 7th Annual Maker Faire
Saturday, 4/21/18 10:00am–4:00pm
Join us in the courtyard at Bedford Square in Westport and participate in TecKnows “Future is Now” Smart Living demonstration. Homepods will be on hand controlling and monitoring the TecKnow office above while rocking in the courtyard below with "BandWith". Use the Jedi voice commands to lock a closet, turn on a light, turn off a screen, and then, play a tune with one of our three young local musical acts (TBD, Anais & Zach, and Phat Chance). Come join in with the band as we showcase amazing talent, amazing technology, and TecKnow Smart Living Ecosystems.
The Maker Faire is a family-friendly event that celebrates arts, crafts, engineering, food, music, science and technology. It’s a place where people show what they are making, and share what they are learning.
As the IoT superhighway rolls out, TecKnow leads the way designing, installing, programming, training, supporting, and showcasing, Smart Living Ecosystems for your daily life.
Check out the Event at westport.makerfaire.com
Phil Levieff Is In The TecKnow
Dan Woog Blog Post
Phil Levieff takes his hands off his Tesla’s steering wheel. The self-driving car zooms up Sturges Highway. It avoids an oncoming vehicle. It does not crash into a mailbox on my (passenger) side.
We arrive safely at Levieff’s house. We get out in the driveway. The garage door opens. The car drives itself inside, and parks.
We walk around the back. Levieff talks into the air. The back door unlocks. We stroll inside. He commands the lights to go on. Instantly, they do.
Of course, there’s only so much that technology can do. Levieff has to light the logs in his fireplace himself.
But that’s about it. Levieff is an early adopter. His car and home are as cutting-edge as 2018 gets.
The house includes 177 connected devices, operating in 24 zones. His voice controls lights, locks, thermostats, TVs, music, security cameras, alarms, blinds, fans, garage doors, solar storage and irrigation.
But Levieff’s home is not just a one-off. His business — TecKnow — works with leading tech companies to “build the home infrastructure of the future.” It’s an attic-to-basement, indoor-and-out service that customizes and integrates the best home automation technology for individual homeowners.
They design, install and program your “smart home ecosystem.”
And — this is key — they teach you how to use it.
Think about how many features of your smartphone you don’t use — either because you have no idea they exist, or you can’t figure them out.
Now multiply that by an entire house: TVs, music, kitchen, HVAC. You may not understand it all.
But Levieff does.
The 1988 Staples High School graduate has been a tech geek since his days building the first networked gaming PCs. He spent 23 years working for Automatic Data Processing (ADP), leading sales, marketing and strategy teams.
Now he’s struck out on his own. All he has is an Apple Watch, Apple TV remote, iPhone, iPad, Mac, and a Dick Tracy-like, intriguingly technologically advanced home on the Westport-Fairfield border, where he lives and utters voice commands with his wife and 2 kids.
Well, okay. He’s also got a great logo. It suggests the power of a voice, a Wifi geofence and the sun to efficiently run a home.
And Levieff has clients, both for new construction and retrofits. He’s turned Robin Tauck’s new Old Mill home into a smart marvel. He’s working with other homeowners in the area, and Massachusetts. Oh, yeah: Ralph Lauren too.
Levieff has spent the past few months offering demos to builders, architects, brokers, developers and skilled workers.
“A lot of people have tried and failed in smart home technology,” he says.
He is adamant he won’t be one of those.
After all, when it comes to home ecosystems, Phil Levieff has the “tech know.”
Local Group Wants Tesla in Connecticut
Some area residents, including Westonite Demetri Spantidos, have started a group hoping to bring Tesla to Connecticut.
The Connecticut Tesla Owners Club is the brainchild of Spantidos, Fairfield resident Phil Levieff, and Westport resident Dawn Henry, each the owner of a Tesla automobile.
The Tesla car company focuses on sustainable energy. It was founded in 2003 by a group of engineers who wanted to prove that people didn’t need to compromise to drive electric — that electric vehicles can be better, faster and more fun to drive than gasoline cars.
In 2008, Tesla launched its Roadster electric vehicle followed by the Model S, a premium all-electric sedan, which was named the best car in its class, combining safety, performance, and efficiency. In 2015, Tesla introduced the Model X sport utility vehicle which holds 5-star safety ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Last year, Tesla began production on Model 3, a low-priced, high-volume electric vehicle.
Tesla vehicles are produced in Fremont, Calif., and the company famously eschews traditional sales methods by third-party dealerships. But while Teslas are available for sale in some states, they aren’t for sale in Connecticut.
“It’s all politics,” said Leveiff. “Franchise laws and car dealership lobbies are keeping Teslas from being sold in Connecticut and it’s a blow to the state.”
Spantidos believes Connecticut politicians have set lofty goals for the state to become more green and keeping Tesla out of Connecticut is the state’s loss.
“If companies like Tesla don’t come in, these goals will never be met,” said Spantidos. “Connecticut is keeping out the one company that is singlehandedly forcing the world to adopt sustainable energy and electric transportation.”
Spantidos, a Greek immigrant who came to the United States in 1967, has lived in Weston for 16 years.
He has had a Tesla for five years and considers himself an early adopter of the Tesla brand in Connecticut.
“I was the only one in the area driving a Tesla around here for a while but now I see a lot more,” he said. “Weston actually had a few Tesla owners early on; I remember seeing five or six Teslas around town a few years back.”
Levieff agreed with Spantidos and believes keeping Tesla sales out of Connecticut is purely political due to pressure from car dealership lobbyists.
“Lots of area politicians like to say they support green initiatives but they’re supporting the car dealerships,” said Levieff. “They’re the ones stopping green innovation from coming to Connecticut.”
A Westport native, Levieff lived in Boston and New York City for years before moving to Fairfield in 2010. He is a big believer in the goals of Tesla and its founder, Elon Musk.
“I don’t think we’re just following the company blindly. We believe in its mission to educate and run the world on green energy,” he said. “These are pieces of technology that can help change the world.”
Dawn Henry, a Westport resident, has had a Tesla Model X since August 2016.
“I’ve spent the majority of my life in Connecticut, I love living here, and I am proud of our state. I would like Connecticut to be known as a business-friendly place, and one that welcomes not just the old-school industries like finance, but also young, innovative high-tech companies,” said Henry.
She continued, “I think it’s a drag on our state’s brand image to shut the door on innovative companies, like Tesla, simply because they don’t fit the old way of doing things.”
Connecticut Tesla group
Spantidos said the Connecticut Tesla Owners group has about 70 members and is growing rapidly. The group consists of both Tesla owners and people interested in buying a Tesla in the future.
“Most people don’t know that you can’t even buy a Tesla in Connecticut,” said Spantidos. “We want to educate those people so they are aware of the facts.”
The group attends a variety of events in the area to showcase their cars to others. They also host their own quarterly meetups for people interested in Teslas.
One feature of Tesla cars is the ability for them to back up without a driver in the car. Levieff likes to showcase this feature because, he said, most people have never seen a car drive without a driver.
“I can always produce a moment where someone saw a car move by itself for the very first time in their life,” said Levieff. “People don’t forget that. They become very interested in Tesla.”
Levieff often jokes that making the car move on its own is equivalent to using “the force,” like in a Star Wars movie.
“That always has the kids’ attention,” he said.
The group plans to continue working to educate people about Tesla and its mission and endeavor to enact a possible change in Connecticut legislation.
“We’ve been networking with gubernatorial candidates to see who we’d be willing to formally endorse,” said Levieff. “It’s interesting for us to see where each politician stands on Tesla coming to Connecticut.”
TecKnow Co-Sponsors Westport CT's Kitchen Crawl
10/7/17 Westport, CT
TecKnow participated in driving VIP guests for Westport's Kitchen Crawl. 11 Tesla owners/designated drivers shuttled 35 guests from house to house teaching about EV technology, semi autonomous driving, and the IoT superhighway through their cars. Over 300 people attended this years Kitchen Crawl across the tri-state area raising over $16,000 for Foodrescue.us
TecKnow Leads Tesla Owners Club Events:
Southern CT Tesla Club Meet Up (Fall 2017)
Thursday, 9/28/17 7:00pm
20 Connecticut Tesla owners, reservation holders, and enthusiasts gathered at The Pearl at Longshore for our quarterly meet up and to help raise awareness on Tesla’s challenges in Connecticut.
Tesla Owners Take Action
Fairfield County Tesla owners come together to create the Southern CT Tesla Club where local Tesla owners, reservation holders, and EV enthusiasts across Connecticut meet quarterly to learn new things about their cars, socialize with other EV enthusiasts, and learn how together we can help bring Tesla to Connecticut. Sadly, Connecticut is 1 of 4 states where you can not test drive or buy a Tesla.
Connecticut's Largest EV Showcase
TecKnow shared a vision of the future at the Fairfield County EV Showcase, showcasing EV technology and Tesla autopilot hardware.
First Selectman Mike Tetreau of Fairfield addressed the crowd. Other politicians attending were Connecticut Republican Senators Ton Hwang and George Logan.
TecKnow Hosts Connecticut's Smartest Home Demonstration
Thirty of Fairfield County's largest builders and real estate brokers were semi-autonomously driven to TecKnow's first smart home ecosystem demonstration. Voice access and control throughout and outside the home were showcased. All attendees saw something they have never seen before, and left with a better understanding of the future of smart home technology.
TecKnow was part of the team to deliver 10,000 signatures to the Capitol in Hartford from CT residents supporting Tesla's direct sales model in Connecticut.