Friday, August 24, 2007
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Before the cold weather arrives, I need to get a heater system worked out, since there is no hot water for the normal car heater. Some people have simply used 115-volt hair dryers! I guess that would work, but it doesn't seem too "elegant." What I plan to do is install one of the small 5" square "Cube-type" ceramic heaters that you can commonly buy at Wal-Mart. I will mount it in the housing the old hot water radiator and air conditioning unit was in. Then, retaining the original VW heater fan, I can operate the heater just about the way it was before. With the appropriate electrical switches, relays and safety thermostats, it should work very well.
I have gradually stretched the mileage I've driven, the last few trips. Although I have not tried to conserve power at all, so far, a thirty mile trip is no problem. Yesterday, while day-dreaming and driving to Spokane in my Nissan pickup, (77 miles) I figured out a way to drive Sparky from Pullman to Spokane. I could drive to a rest stop, which is about midway, recharge for four hours, then proceed on to Spokane. Even if I started to run short of power on the 45-mile legs, there are a couple of small towns where I could easily get a small "sip" of power to keep me going. I think it would be a fun challange and a way to demonstrate that longer trips are possible, even if inconvenient ... and for LESS than ONE DOLLAR of electrical power. ("Green" power, incidentially, generated by hydro-electric means.)
"Stay Tuned" and watch the progress on these ideas.
Sunday, August 19, 2007
Here it comes, Ladies and Gentleman ... a fully battery powered VW Cabriolet that can run at highway speeds and go fifty miles on a single dollar of electricity.
Passing in review. I got a lot of waves, "All Right's," "I can't hear it," and a few "How fast will it go?"
I was really proud of the car. It never looked better and ran just as expected ... maybe even better! Before the parade started, I opened up the hood for the many curious people to inspect. One gentleman, who gave me his business card, told me if I ever wanted to sell it, he'd buy it ... even after I told him what it would cost.
Of course, there was the always great Washington State University Cougar Marching Band.
I couldn't pass up this photo op with Pullman's Chief of (Undercover) Police. His comment: "Where'd you get that shirt?" (At least, he was smiling!)
Saturday, August 18, 2007
WIRED MAGAZINE INTERVIEWER: One reason people like projects is because they get a sense of control over their environment and technology. It gives them ownership.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Saturday, August 11, 2007
Our original destination was Ferdinand's on the WSU campus. It has great ice cream. Unfortunately, upon arrival, we discovered it was closed on weekends. (What? An ice cream parlor CLOSED on summer weekends???) Anyway, the day was saved by diverting to our alternate location: Baskin-Robbins. Not a bad second choice.
We forgot our camera, so Patrick recorded the event, in front of Baskin-Robbins, using his cell phone camera. Great job, Patrick.
The Grand Rollout of the Electric Jet was 23 miles in length. Upon arrival back at the ranch, the SOC meter (State-Of-Charge) reported 50% remaining power. This was better than expected as we did a couple of miles of fast highway travelling (55mph) and we were carrying four passengers. Cost to recharge the Jet: 43-cents!
When the Jet gets fully broken in, I think a 50-mile range is quite possible.
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
Disappointment Turns Into A Grin!
During my ongoing series of tests and break-in runs, it was becoming quite apparent that things were not going as well as expected. The power was definitely lacking! By now, the car should have been up to at least 75% of final expected performance. But if this was 75%, then I was going to be one disappointed electric vehicle driver! I could just barely get up the rolling hills around here and on the open flat roads, about 45 MPH was tops, with the accelerator floored!
I decided that the coating of "No-Ox" that I liberally slathered all over every battery terminal, in an pre-emptive strike against corrosion, was causing electrical resistance and needed to be removed ... all 32 terminals! Three hours later, I took another test drive - same problem! I was NOT feeling very happy!
As Drew wandered back to the house and I was about to follow, quite disappointed, I decided to check out that "slack." Well guess what: The throttle cable was only opening the controller (pot box) half-way! In other words, I was only able to use half of the power available!
Monday, August 06, 2007
Also today, I did a little electrical revision (rearranged a couple of batteries for a better connection path) and also, with Jacquie's help, applied the yellow "ELECTRIC" signs on the doors. It looks pretty sharp. Maybe tomorrow, I'll post a good photo.