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Thursday, November 18

3,740 EV miles

For an EV that has a range of 30 miles on Lead Acid batteries, I am managing to consistently to do over 50 miles a day, meeting all my needs.  I charge between uses and it feels good to drive a Zero Emissions Vehicle.

Time to review the process.

A lot of people are asking me what I would do differently if I was to do a conversion again.  So what I think I need to do is go over the problems that I ran into so that it might help those of you who are thinking of taking the bull by the horns and reducing your gas addiction significantly by starting your own conversion.  Over the next few weeks I shall list the things that went wrong and what I did to overcome the problems that presented themselves.  I will also make a list of parts and stuff that I had to buy to get the job done, so that the cost of the project becomes tangible.

But for now lets start at the beginning.
Choosing the car,  It has to be something that you are going to love driving, comfortable, aerodynamic and with great handling.  The body is going to need to be free from rust so that it lasts a long time.  I have fallen in love with my EV and can't stand the thought of it being off the road for any length of time.  It is such a different driving experience.  As an EV it has great acceleration and it holds the road on cornering like nothing else due to its lower center of gravity and extra weight and the way it is distributed.

Having a space to work on it is the key to success.  It needs to be inside out of the weather.  You are going to be pulling it to pieces and you will need to keep things organized and so a clean space is very important. Getting muddled and losing bits and pieces is frustrating and time consuming.

Research as much as you can, I found Jack Rickard and Gavin Shoebridge's YouTube movies a great place to start.  There is a ton of information available from those two people.  Jack approaches everything in a thorough and scientific way, so spend the time researching all you can.

The point at which you will find yourself stuck and alone, and feeling a little helpless, is when you want to get the motor married to the existing transmission.  There are some companies that will do it for you, but you have to send both parts to them and it can take 3 months.  That is really painful and I opted to go it alone.  It wasn't the adaptor plate that posed the problem so much as the coupling and where to get it and which one would work for my application.  No one could help me.  On Gav's site he used a Lovejoy coupling and so I called them up and asked which one they recommended.  They said they could not recommend one as it was being used in a vehicle, and that could have potential liability issues.  That got me a little frustrated.  So anyway I ended up having to just pick one and give it a try.  It turned out to be too small and shattered within the first 200 miles.  It was back to the drawing board and I called Lovejoy again and told them that one of their couplings had failed, and this time the rep did give me a recommendation.  Maybe he sensed that I wasn't going to go away.

I had to get the splined insert that had been welded into the smaller one machined and re welded into the larger coupling.  The larger coupling was made of sintered iron which you cannot weld onto.   I then had to order one side of the coupling made out of stainless steel.  It took over a week to arrive and then a few days at the machinist to get it worked on.   In the meantime I had to change the spacing between the motor and the transmission by adding more spacers ( 2 pieces of 1/2 inch aluminum),  which meant the bracket where the other end of the motor fixed to the chassis also had to be changed.

It has not been a problem since then.  It seems to be a really hardy coupling that can handle the tremendous amount of torque that an electric motor generates.

Sunday, November 14

Chevy Volt meets Grassroots EV at NYU-Poly

On Friday I was invited to make a presentation of the EV at an NYU-Poly workshop about 'Rebooting the Grid'.  One of my friends, Dhirendra Ashar, who is an electrical engineer. set up an invitation with Dr. Andres Fortino.  It was a full day event, which I thoroughly enjoyed.  The problem that was discussed was, what the Power Grid will look like in 30 years when all cars in the US are powered by electricity.  There were a lot of very interesting and smart people there, and we had a great time brainstorming this subject.

We also had an Engineer from GM who brought a Chevy Volt along for everyone to see.  Thanks to Jason Taylor for giving me a great walk through of the Volt.  It is a lovely vehicle.  It has a range of 40 miles on electric power, which as I have found with my EV, with a range of 30 miles, is plenty for all the local running around.  And if you need to go further than that, then the back up gas generator will get you to your destination where you can charge up the car again.  I think that it is going to be a great transitional vehicle for the consumer who is very nervous about running out of power.  Once people experience the joy of driving on clean electricity, they will become more confident with all electric vehicles.

Some of the main ideas that I loved the sound of were, that cars would be a way of storing energy and that they would share it with the Smart Grid.  The technology for this type of sharing is apparently there.  In other words say you had a range of 100 miles on a charge, and your commute to work, and other daily needs, was 60 miles.  You could program your car to let the grid use say 30 miles worth of you energy during the day while you are parked at work, leaving you a buffer of 10 miles.  Your car charges at night while you are sleeping and at a time that is off peak and there is an excess of power being produced by the power grid.

So what happens when you need to go further than 100 miles.  The most attractive idea was the battery swap stations where you drive up to what looks like a car wash and the battery is taken out and a fully charged one gets popped in its place.  This process would take about 5 mins, enough time to get a nice cup of tea, or coffee.

Here is a presentation of this idea by Shai Aggasi.

Monday, November 8

3,400 miles

Just went over 3,400 miles on clean electric power.

Last week my coolant pump quit.  I got a new one and if it turns out that the pump was faulty I will get reimbursed.  Thanks Ryan from EV Source for getting me the new one so quickly.

I was still able to use the EV but had to keep an eye on the controller temp,  if it started to go up to 150 deg F then I would have to slow down or stop to let it cool down, but it never came to that.

Thursday, November 4

An Award!

I received this award at the Harvest Festival.
Thanks to Chris Berlow from UMAC for instigating that.

Gretchin Dizer with me and the EV
Gretchin draws the numbers on the New York Lottery.

Sources for information and Parts

YouTube movies to be inspired by:-

Gav’s EV conversion 1

1 A Convenient Response to an Inconvenient Truth – EV

Converted 1975 VW Bug to electric power

Who Killed the Electric Car (Netflix)



Radio Shack, Ossining

Home Depot

Melrose Lumber, Ossining

Ortiz Welding, Hawthorn

FenBar, Hawthorn

Northeast Battery Corp., Hawthorn


Electric Conversion Made Easy, by Gavin Shoebridge (ebook)