How EV Parts came to be:
Roderick Wilde first got interested in electric vehicles back in 1992 and was a founding member of NOPEC (Northern Olympic Peninsula Electric Cars) the local electric car club in Port Townsend. In 1993 he entered his first electric car race held at PIR (Phoenix International Raceways) in Phoenix, Arizona. He was running a 1979 Mazda RX7 running two strings of Interstate Mega Tron plus batteries at 120 volts with a 400 amp Curtis controller. In a ten lap race to showcase street legal EVs (electric vehicles) he lapped three fourths of his competition and was about two thirds of a lap ahead of his nearest competitor, a Ford Mustang built by the Arizona Department of Transportation. Because of the speed on the PIR track without a roll cage they decided to not have any street electric races there. With a good car and nowhere to race he started experimenting and hopping it up even more and thus began his electric drag racing career.
The following year in 1994 he teamed up with fellow EV enthusiast Bob Rickard to form Wilde Evolutions, Inc. based out of Jerome, Arizona. Roderick had earlier met Bob in Port Townsend, Washington where the Mazda was built. They started off doing electric conversions of gasoline cars and building show quality EVs to gain attention to the feasibility of electric transportation. Later the company switched it's focus to providing products for people to build their own EVs. They produced their first parts catalog in 1998. In 2000 Wilde Evolutions became the world's first online store for electric vehicle component sales.
In March of 1996 at the EVTC and APS sponsored Saturday Night Electric Drags at Firebird International Raceway Roderick was lined up next to General Motors' new electric "Impact" that was the prototype for the EV1. This vehicle had earlier done 183 mph at a track in Texas. With a gearing change the GM team felt no electric car could out accelerate them. When the light turned green Roderick must have been sleeping as the GM car launched ahead of the red Mazda RX7. When he finally woke up and nailed it he stormed past them before they reached the Christmas tree lights and left them in the dust. The crowd cheered and screamed "DC Rules". Earlier in the day in a road race with their 216 volt powered Ford Taurus Roderick had passed all the competitors in the straightaway but spun out in the turn one hairpin. Tom Sneeva of Indy fame was the second one into the turn and hit the Taurus head on in his APS sponsored Ford Probe. In reporting on the event The Los Angelos times referred to Roderick as a "racing daredevil".
That night at a local Pizza eatery the amp heads talked of forming an electric drag racing association. In the spring of 1997 ampheads from around the country gathered in the Wilde Evolution offices in Jerome Arizona for two days of intense meetings to iron out the bylaws and class divisions. Present were John "Plasma Boy" Wayland from Portland Oregon who became NEDRA's President, Roderick who became Vice President, Lou Tauber from Portland also who became the Secretary/Treasurer, Bill Dube, an engineer from Denver Colorado who became the National Tech Director who wrote all the safety rules, Dean Grannes and Stephanie Matsumora who took on the duties of webmaster and membership secretary. Dennis Berube showed up to give his input. This was the beginning of NEDRA which is still growing and putting on EV drag racing events. In 1999 Bill Dube and Roderick lobbied the NHRA to include electric cars and electric motorcycles in NHRA racing. The NHRA had a rule in their book since their formation in 1953 that you must have an internal combustion engine. The new rule allowing electrics was approved and was first published in the 1999 NHRA rulebook.
Around 2001 Roderick's partner in Wilde Evolutions, Bob Rickard, wanted to retire. Roderick wanted to start a new business that encompassed all vehicles powered by electricity. He met "Father Time's" son Tom True who had believed in the viability of EV transportation for years and wanted to be involved in the business so EV Parts was formed. Roderick became the President of EV Parts and Tom True the CEO.
In 2001, EV PARTS was the first on-line electric parts business that you could place an order with electronic payment day or night, and is still the only one that encompasses parts for all types of electric vehicles.
EV PARTS has continued in Wilde Evolution's tradition of regular press activity by being published in both local and national press. They have had 2 shows broadcast by Discovery channel since 2003. The first was the Gone Postal van, which was filmed at the Port Townsend facility and still can be seen on occasion. The next was the Land Rover, filmed in Arizona, which has aired in Canada and will air in the US in June 2008.
With racing in his blood Roderick is still burning rubber and providing more fuel for the "Wildman" handle.
EV Parts is seven years old in May of 2008 and continues to expand. The future plans call for warehousing parts in Europe as well as New Zealand. EV Parts will also be entering the retail on road and off road EV markets and be selling new and used NEVs, full size Electric Scooters as well as Electric assist Bicycles and Golf Cars from their Sequim, WA showroom floor. An R&D facility will be started to produce new products for the growing EV industry.
Roderick still has the car that won in Phoenix so long ago. It has morphed into the "Maniac Mazda", named by fellow EV racer John Wayland.This was the first electric street bodied car in the world to break the 100 mph barrier in the quarter mile. It also holds two class World Records with NEDRA (the National Electric Drag Racing Association). Roderick was one of the founders of NEDRA and has held the position of President, Vice President and Marketing Director in the past. With some driving tips from Chip Hanauer he improved his driving skills and later went on to enter electric road racing at Firebird International Raceway in Phoenix with a converted Ford Taurus which was built in 1994 at his first EV business Wilde Evolutions, Inc, with partner Bob Rickard. The second and third vehicles they built became quite famous.
One was the world's first electric Street Rod named "Lightening Rod II after the late Ed Rannberg's "Lightning Rod" electric land speed racing streamliner. This car was featured on the front cover of the September 1995 issue of "Street Rod Action" as well as in the September issue of "Street Rodder" magazine after being named one of the top ten cars by "Street Rodder" in the Sixth Annual Goodguys Spring Rod and Custom Nationals held in Pomona, California. It was also a featured car in two International Auto Exhibitions and the "Concours de Elegance" in Palm Springs as well as the magazine "EV World" of Tokyo, Japan. In 2000 in took a first place in the Portland Roadster show. It has also appeared on television, most notable ESPN's RPM tonight and "The New Edge" hosted by Ryan Seacrest, as well as on three major German TV networks.
The other vehicle of notoriety was the 1971 British Land Rover Series IIA 88 that they converted to battery power. It entered the San Francisco Clean Air Rally in 1995. It logged a very respectable 50 miles of city and freeway driving in it's over two ton, un-aerodynamic form. It later went to the Easter Jeep Safari in Moab in 1999 and astounded many there by climbing the famous "Dump Bump", an over 50 degree slope that many attempt but according to Jim Allen writing for "Four Wheeler Magazine" "Perhaps one in 50 vehicles is able to scramble up it. Some end up on their roofs. Many scatter drive train parts across the countryside in their attempts." The January 2000 issue of LRM (Land Rover Monthly) from Britain had a great article on this adventure as well as the December issue of "Four Wheeler ".