Well after a very long day at 11pm last night we went for the first drive in Michael’s new EV! Just three days after starting the conversion.
We spent most of yesterday wiring – for example I spent some time working out how to connect all the vacuum pump tubes, and some machining was required to get the different size tubes to mate. We also installed the under car cables, and various Paktrkr cables and sensing leads. Andrew did a great job wiring up all the 12V and 96V switches and relays. The controller plate that came with the Chinese kit made a nice base for the wiring.
In the morning we cleaned up and painted the front rack, installing it just after lunch. The metal work looks really nice, the pressure pack black paint makes a very nice finish. The people I worked with (especially John) are much better at the detail work than me, so the overall finish is much better than my first EV.
We had lots of help from many people and visitors over the day. At one stage we had one group installing under car cables, another filling the transmission with oil, another working inside on instrumentation.
In the early evening we were so close that we had to push on. Slowly we wired up the final connections under the bonnet. We brought the electrics up in stages; first we tested the the 12V side – making sure the relays switched when the car key switch was turned to ON. Then we connected the 96V supply and tested the brake pump and DC-DC converter. A little adjustment of the vacuum switch and the brakes were working well – you can feel the power assist on the brake pedal. Then the DC-DC converter was tested by connecting it to the car 12V system. It worked well, around 13.8V with only a little sag even with high beams on.
Finally we connected the last engine cable and tried the motor. Off it went – spinning happily and turning the wheels in the correct direction up on the stands! Great – we were very happy! Even though it was raining heavily we couldn’t help ourselves – it had to be driven! So we took it for a spin around the block. It drives very nicely, the heavy duty suspension Michael had installed made for a nice ride despite the increase in weight. It was very quiet and we could changes gears from 2nd to 3rd just fine without the clutch. A very satisfying first drive.
A few problems still to work through – there is a transmission oil leak and the acceleration of the car seems low (e.g. less than 100A peak current), I suspect due to a throttle pot or connection issue. We are having a break today, but will look into these problems Monday. There will also be some clean up and adjustment work over the next few weeks before heading for official inspection.
We have some YouTube video of Day 3 of the EV conversion taken by an OLPC rigged up by Joel above the car (the video is actually labeled Day 4). You can see the background light level fading in and out as the rain storms came and went over the day. Towards the end we re-mounted the bonnet, then you can see the car disappear and re-appear as it goes for it’s first drive!
Overall an amazing project which has gone forward much faster than expected.