I lost another battery; I'm down to 8, the bare minimum. (My voltage converter will reportedly die if I try to run it under 96V.) This one literally melted.
I've been having trouble for a while now; I abused these batteries early on, and they've given me trouble ever since. My big complaint is a complete loss of acceleration; it's as if the power has been completely cut. The radio stays on, but that could be because the 12V battery keeps it running. The second problem is a ground fault somewhere: occasionally my main contactor acts like a buzzer instead of a switch.
Anyway. I was taking an unfamiliar turn, and I used a little more pedal than usual. Silent E lurched forward and lost power, as it sometimes does. This time, though, power didn't come back.
I coasted partway up the driveway to the fire station. I pulled out my meter and started checking batteries. Everything seemed good. When I jumped back in, the car started just fine, and I very slowly crept up the driveway to a nice flat spot.
I checked all the batteries again, then decided to make a dash across the street to the gas station. What the heck, it was downhill; I ought to be able to coast there. But as soon as I pressed the pedal, I lost power again.
The batteries were still fine. I turned on the radio and heater, so I could check under a load.
That did it. One of the batteries registered as -1V. As I sat there, fooling with it, the top terminal started to fall out. There was melted plastic all around it.
I've said before that one of the advantages of an electric car is that it's so simple, you can fix it yourself. I pulled the wires off and rerouted around the bad battery. The wire going to the bad battery reached the correct terminal of the next, due to the weird positioning of my pack, so I didn't need to cut a new wire. (I carry around an extra piece of wire just in case.)
But I did discover that the old wiring had slipped loose; this caused a little extra resistance, and such heating that the terminal clamp melted. (Luckily, I also carry two spare terminal clamps. Just in case.)
Lesson learned. When I replace this pack, I'll get batteries with posts. I'll both clamp and solder the terminal connectors onto the wires. Sheesh.
The car was much more responsive on the way home. It felt like I'd finally gotten rid of all the bad batteries. But my range is now reduced to about 9 miles on a good day; I won't be able to even get to work when it's cold, and when I do get to work, the charging systems had better work or I'm going to be stuck.
The next day I got the power shortage again. I just need to replace this whole battery pack, and rewire the whole car while I'm at it.
Consider me officially depressed.