Saturday, June 21, 2014

A Little Summer Maintenance

The Electric Booger has been parked since the insurance ran out at the beginning of the month. In Summer I ride my motorcycle exclusively, so no sense wasting money on car insurance when I don't need it.

Today I pumped up the tires and drove it around my townhouse complex just to make sure things are all still good. They are. Funny thing about an electric car. Even after sitting for three weeks just switch in on and drive it. No fuss. It is as if I drove it to work yesterday.

I am charging the pack, letting it float charge all day. It uses about 50 watts to keep the batteries happily sitting at 13.5V. It's something I do about once a month when the car sits.

In a few weeks I will put a permit on the car when my parents come and visit en-route home to Manitoba on their Alaska trip. They have never seen the car before in EV form, so I do not want to waste the opportunity to show it off!

Since it does not look like anybody wants to purchase the Booger, it looks like it is mine forever. So I think I will install my home made Arduino based BMS & fuel gauge over Summer. At least it will keep me interested in the car for the time being. And maybe a cool new paint job? We will have to see.


  1. Hello...noticed your car on Ecomodder, and again in Craigslist. Interesting! I am somewhat interested in such a vehicle....biggest obstacle is I am living in Saskatchewan for the time being, so that whole provincial inspection process comes into play..what a pain. Also winters here are, well....Sask winters! So it'd be a 5 month use vehicle I would think. Insurance relatively cheap though. How long are batteries likely to last? How is the front end? Brakes, tires etc ok? Thanks!.....John

    1. I suspect the batteries should last many years. So far I haven't noticed any degradation at all, but my commutes are short, so it's hard to tell.
      The front end seems to be okay. No clunks are funny squeaks. The brakes are in very good shape. The tires are average, but since they see so few miles, they will probably die from age before the tread is gone.
      As for your inspection goes, unless they get all weird about batteries being inside the car (even though these are sealed AGM batteries), I can't see it being a problem.

  2. Thanks James. The "commute" I sometimes make is about 32 km, but almost all flat, partly on good gravel road, part pavement. Have you driven the Booger that far ever? I guess a guy could put a small generator in the passenger seat for back-up! (would it then be a hybrid?!) Im an avid much does that type of driving affect the range in something like the Booger?


    1. The farthest I have gone is 26 km. Of course on long journey I hypermile as best as I can (NO BRAKES NO BRAKES!!). This route was over small hills and maybe a dozen stops/traffic lights. And it had lots of juice left by the end. I'm sure 40 km is achievable with some care. I definitely see a reduction in kWh/mile when I drive carefully.

      As far as a generator goes, the chargers draw 1050 kW. They add 3.8 km per hour of charging. That's not fast, and wouldn't really add much range as you drove.

  3. Hi James; I recently bought the Electrical components from The Forkenswift. Darin is more into Sailing than cars and drives only when he need to use the highway. He walks and bikes around Brockville. I will be installing the system in a Honda Civic at 96 Volts. Using 10 12 volt deep cycle batteries. I was wondering why you didn't go with 96 or 120 volts... I do know if I had a Volkswagon New Beetle or a Smart Car I would go with 72, 84, or 96 volts. All depending what they could handle when it comes to batteries. But for now, i will stick with 48 volts until i can get a 72 -120 volt controller.

    1. Hey! I saw on Ecomodder that Darin got rid of the remnants of the Forkenswift. A sad sad, but exciting for you!

      The initial reason for sticking with 72V was cost. My used Alltrax 7245 controller was $300 on eBay, where the popular higher voltage Curtis controllers cost $1000+.

      Another reason was my mishmash of batteries. Using different batteries in the same pack required the use of individual 12V chargers. Keeping the pack balanced with a single charger would be impossible. I tried at one point. It was bad. Very bad. With 72V I only require six 12V chargers.

      As for the Forkenswift's ex-motor, I have found that 72V is close to the limit for this motor. At 450A (the limit of my controller), 68V (my battery pack at full power sag voltage) at the motor happens at 3500 RPM. People on suggested that I keep if below 4000 RPM other than brief periods. So using quick math 4500 RPM at 450A requires a 92V pack (72/3500*4500). With less current available with the popular 400A Curtis, that would require a 81V pack (92/450*400). Of course, you can go as high with pack voltage as you want, and as long as you don't rev the motor too high, there is nothing to worry about. For example, a 450A, 200V controller will still only put 68V to the motor at 3500 RPM because that's all the voltage required to reach peak current with this motor.

      Anyway, I wish you much success!