It’s Spring Again …

After sitting burried in the snow for the winter, the electric car is back on the road!

When the temperature began to drop last fall it drastically reduced the efficiency of the batteries in the car. Because of that I had to park it for the winter and use my gas/oil burning Jetta. I didn’t do any prep work for it to sit, I just parked it in my driveway – and worst of all the batteries were on about a 50% charge at the time. Luckily, the fact that they were mostly discharged doesn’t seem to have effected the batteries performance now that the car has thawed out.

It hasn’t been quite warm enough to take it to work yet, the night time temps are still below 30 degrees. The forecast looks good and hopefully I’ll be able to take it to work in another week or two. Over the last few weekends I’ve been on a fairly regular schedule of charging the car, driving around town some, and then charging some more. At first the batteries wouldn’t charge at a rate higher than 300w (last summer it would charge at about 650w). That could be because of the cold, or because they sat so long. After a month worth of charge/discharge cycles, the battery pack is back to it’s former self again. I haven’t drained it much more than maybe 70% DOD, but even with that they will still take a charge around 500w. I suspect when the weather warms some, and the batteries get worn some more, I’ll be charging at a higher rate.

There are a few projects that need to get done this summer.

  • Motor Mount. There is a small amount of rust that is starting on the mount, and I want to get at it before it actually becomes a problem. It’ll be nice to get the whole thing apart again – I’ll be able to get some high res pictures of the different components that I didn’t take last year, and we’ll see if I’m able to put it all back together again.
  • Performance Logging. I really didn’t do any of this last year, all I did was record my observations – I didn’t write down any numbers or take any useful measurements. I’ll be recording data directly from my controller, temperature data, before and after voltage readings, tire pressure readings and anything else I can think of by the time I start driving it each day. If you can think of anything else, please send me a message using the Contact Us link or by leaving a comment.
  • Air System. I noticed last year when driving down a dirt road that all the dust that was in the air made its way into the car. It was really bad on a couple of dry days when the dust was abundant. I should’ve thought this through last summer, but there are no more air filters and the outside intake is completely open. I’m sure I threw away any filter boxes or anything that I had, so it’ll be fun to solve this problem.
  • Body Work. The rocker panels and the trunk need some work. The paint could use some attention also. This will be awesome.

I think that’s pretty much the list that I have for this year. I’m sure more things will come up, but there is where we’ll start.