Roderick is currently the president of EV Parts, Inc., www.evparts.com, an online company that supplies electric vehicle components to over 45 countries. He first got interested in electric vehicles back in 1992. He was a founding member of NOPEC (Northern Olympic Peninsula Electric Cars) the local electric car club in Port Townsend, Washington.
In 1993 he entered his first electric car race held at PIR (Phoenix International Raceways) in Phoenix, Arizona. 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.
He still has the car that won in Phoenix so long ago. It has morphed into the "Maniac Mazda" which is the first electric street bodied car to break the 100 mph barrier in the quarter mile on September 12th, 1998. It still holds a class World Record with NEDRA (the National Electric Drag Racing Association) www.nedra.com after ten years. Roderick has held the titles of President, Vice President, and Marketing Manager of this organization. He is currently the Vice President. With some driving tips from Chip Hanauer he improved his driving skills and later went on to 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 in honor of his good friend 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 featured in the April 2009 issue of Street Rodder magazine in an article on Electric Street Rods. In addition it was a featured car in two International Auto Exhibitions and the Concurs 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 with host Ryan Seacrest. Ryan is now quite well known as the host of the popular American TV Show American Idol. Ryan rode shotgun next to Roderick in a drag race against the quickest production car in the world at the time. This was a 450 horsepower Dodge Viper. They easily beat Viper. Roderick was also featured on three different 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 over a two ton, un-aerodynamic form. It later went to the Easter Jeep Safari in Moab Utah in 1999 and astounded many there by climbing the famous Dump Bump, a slope of over 50 degrees 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 2000 issue of Four Wheeler. In 2008 the Land Rover was featured on Discovery Channel's new show "Mean Green Machines". It was most recently aired this year in 2009 in Eastern and Western Europe on Discovery Science.
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 Angeles 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 first 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 and who wrote all the safety rules, Dean Grannes and Stephanie Matsumura 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. This was a major milestone for the acceptance of all electric vehicles.
In the spring of 2001 Roderick participated in the World's First Transcontinental International Electric Auto Rally in Costa Rica. He was sponsored by Tom True to attend this rally. It took place over several days. There were participants from several countries including Japan and Korea. The rally started in the town of Porto Viejo on the Atlantic coast and ended up on the Pacific coast at Puntarenas where they were greeted by many dignitaries. Roderick got the opportunity to meet the acting President of the country as well as the Minister of Energy and the Environment. 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 Vice President.
In 2003 Roderick was approached by Craig Piligian of Pilgrim Films and Television to do a reality TV show based on high performance electric cars. Craig's production company also produced the very popular series "American Chopper" which was on the Discovery Channel at that time. They came to an agreement that was put in writing to produce a pilot for a potential TV series. Roderick had ideas of what type of vehicle he wanted to do but they turned down the first two suggestions. One was a stretched nose 33 Ford. They settled on doing an ex postal van that Roderick named "Gone Postal". They had to build the van in six stressful weeks and debut it at "The Strip" drag strip in Las Vegas in January. The one hour pilot titled "Sucking Amps", www.suckamps.com, was first aired on the Discovery Channel on April 22nd, 2004.
EV Parts is many years old now and continues to expand. With racing in his blood Roderick is still burning rubber and providing more fuel for the "Wildman" handle. He has also appeared on TV in China as well as Germany, on three different networks, and on ESPN's RPM tonight as well as many TV news segments. He has been written about in many newspapers including the New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The LA Weekly, The Washington Post, The Seattle Times, and too many smaller papers to list. In the Washington Post on June 17th of 20004 Roderick was quoted as saying: "It makes political sense to reduce reliance on foreign oil. Whoever has the energy has all the power". Later Roderick was even quoted on the front page of the August 1st, 2007 issue of The Wall Street Journal stating that: "Getting electric cars gong in the US is like trying to shovel sand back into a Tsunami." He continues to be extremely opinionated and does not shy away from sharing his opinions.
He has also appeared in many magazines from around the world including Der Spiegel from Germany, EV World from Japan, BBC Top Gear from England, Land Rover Monthly from England, Wired from the US, as well as Make Magazine, Four Wheeler, Car and Driver, Street Rodder, Street Rod Action, Southwest Airlines' Spirit magazine, Electrifying Times, Electric Car Magazine, Holiday Inn's Navigator magazine, Electric Scooter Magazine, as well as online zines such as Megawatt Motorworks. Roderick can be contacted by email at Roderick@evparts.com· Lives in Port Townsend, WA