Friday, August 24, 2007

To Colfax and Back

With the idea in the back of my head of driving the car to Spokane, I decided to push the mileage a bit to see how the car holds up. I figured a trip to Colfax would be a good test.
If I do a Spokane trip, my first and longest leg will be about 45 miles. The distance to Colfax and return, I figured, would be about that distance. So ... about 2PM, I headed out to Colfax.
With the top down, 90 degree weather and great music blasting away, nothing could have been more fun. The trip TO Colfax was very easy. I held between 50-55MPH because the electrical power consumption greatly increases with only a 5-10MPH increase at highway speeds. (The speed limit on Hwy 195 is 60) I'm sure I could easily have boosted the speed to 60 or 70, but my range would have suffered badly. At 55MPH, I was comfortable and not holding up traffic too much. (It's a single lane highway, so when I had four or five cars backed up behind me, I pulled over and let them pass.) As I sailed into Colfax, with the SOC (State-Of-Charge) meter showing 60% remaining power, I was pretty confident, until it dawned on me that most of the trip to Colfax had been downhill!
I gave the battery pack about a 15-minute recovery rest and turned back to Pullman and the RJ Ranch. The uphill grade leaving Colfax was immediately noticeable. I was pulling 300 amps for a much longer period of time than I was comfortable with, but ... there was no choice, if I intended to get back home ... and not creeping along at 10MPH, with a virtually dead battery pack.
I pressed on, at my usual 50-55MPH and hoped for the best. To make a long story short, I kept my speed up and rolled into the RJ Ranch barn with the SOC meter reading 0% and the odometer reading 45 miles! (After about ten minutes of rest, the SOC climbed back up to 20% remaining.)
It was a successful trip and proved it is likely I can drive to Spokane. Of course, when I reach the the highway Rest Stop, the midway recharge point on the way to Spokane, I better bring a good book, because I'm probably looking at a five hour recharge.
I'll report tomorrow how long it took to recharge the pack from today's trip. It should be the same time at the Rest Stop. Even though the charger will pump out 22 amps for recharging, I've throttled it back, for today's test, to 14.5 amps, which is about the max. I can draw from a common outlet without fear of tripping the circuit breaker that feeds the outlet I'm plugged into.


P Daisley said...

When you get here I've got a long, heavy duty extension cord and a couch! Will AAA or USAA roadside tow you if the battery pack doesn't quite make it?

PS we've goat a "Maggie Moos" ice cream parlor nearby.

Roger Daisley said...

Roadside Service:

Yes, I have roadside service. It's called "Jacquie, bring the portable Honda generator."