After about 1 year of part time work my electric car is now on the road and in daily use. There were many challenges along the way, like learning to weld, learning about cars, the various regulations, climbing the Electric Vehicle (EV) learning curve, and several electric shocks!
I have just passed the final government inspection so my EV is now registered and legal. I think my EV is the 5th or 6th registered EV in the State of South Australia.
Amazingly, it actually works! I drive along and use no petrol. Charging from my home PV array I emit no pollution. One very cool thing: I have recycled a 15 year old car, rather than chewing up a large amount of “embodied energy” and precious resources (plastic, steel, labor) that is used to build every new car.
I have a lot to say about Electric Vehicles so will publish a series of posts over the next few months.
Driving an EV
It’s fun and easy to drive. You start off in 2nd gear, and as you slowly depress the pedal the controller starts to gently whine. Then you are off – it accelerates well up to 60 km/hr, better that the original 1.3 litre petrol engine. At about 40 km/hr you change into 3rd gear and the acceleration increases. When you brake you hear a purring sound from the vacuum pump. You rarely have to change down a gear as the car will pull 3rd gear from a standing start. You don’t use the clutch to start, as the engine stops when you do.
When going up a hill you change up a gear in an EV to get more power! This lowers the revs, allows more current to flow and builds the torque. It’s the opposite to a petrol engine that develops it’s power at high revs.
The car is quiet while waiting at traffic lights. You hear birds (!) and all the other engines wastefully idling around you. The car is not silent to drive, you hear transmission and road noise, but not much from the engine, especially at high speed. It sounds very quiet to people on the street.
When you come home just plug in and walk away, like charging a mobile phone. You use 4 cents of electricity for every km traveled. Maintenance costs are near zero as there are very few moving parts (just brakes and tires).
We Need More EVs
To convert a car to electric drive and install home solar panels costs less than a medium size new car. The solar panels would make enough electricity for 60 km travel every day. For free. Such a car would cover 90% of the km traveled by most people every day and last nearly forever. Why aren’t we all doing this?
I listed several EV Resources in Part 1.
Here is my evalbum entry.
Many people have blogged on their EV conversions, here are some EV blogs and web sites that I recommend. Lots of practical ideas and How To knowledge:
- Shaun’s Electric Echo journal.
- Gav’s Electric Vehicle Conversion Blog. Includes lots of video clips.
- Carmel and Nathan are documenting a high powered, long range sports car conversion on Electric Cars for Every One.
- Bruce has a great site that carefully documents his ground up restoration and EV conversion of his Electric Mighty Boy.