Despite the legal problems, I take both kids to their first day of school in my EV. This and other rides indicate to me that I'm not done yet. Not by a long shot.
Nothing disastrous, of course. The kids are delighted by their trip. But I notice a few things I don't like much.
For instance, there's a weird lurching as I accelerate. It shouldn't be doing that at all; everything should be glass smooth. As I investigate (discreetly), I realize that it's not really a lurching, it's a hesitation. I'm driving with windows open, because I have no A/C, so I can listen to the motor, and it sounds like the motor is running without loud for the quarter-second of hesitation.
This is a little difficult to explain. The motor under load, as it accelerates, makes a quiet humming noise that escalates in pitch. The only thing I can think of to compare it to is that "whoop-vvmmmmm" that you hear in the movies when someone turns on a really big generator. Only I don't get the "whoop", just the "vvmmmmmm".
Anyway, while the motor is under load, it's louder. As the motor accelerates, the pitch rises. When the car hesitates, the pitch gets quite high and the volume gets quite low. Writing this in text is silly, but I'm a silly sort of person: "VVVMMMMMMM-vip!-MMMMMM-vip!-MM-vip!-MMMMMMM...."
Of course, the harder I accelerate, the easier it is to feel the hesitation. So I don't accelerate hard on these trips.
The worse problem is the vibration. As I approach 25mph or so in second gear, I hear this growling / rumbling noise. The car isn't accelerating any harder. I jam the pedal down momentarily to see if I'll jump around it, but the growling just gets louder, with no acceleration. I shift to third, which takes care of the problem. But the EV listers say it's most efficient (and easier on the motor) to run the motor at high revs, and they all go 45mph or more in second gear.
I try again and discover that the growling occurs later if I accelerate more gently. But my wife hears it, so I don't do that any more on the school trips.
Some experimentation later in the week, as I take round-the-block trips to break in the batteries, demonstrate that at hard acceleration, in second gear, the growl starts at 20mph. Normal acceleration, 25mph. Soft-footing it, I can't get past 30mph.
And then there's the batteries. I've shorted two regulators, so I'm constantly watching their voltage as I charge. But one of them reaches 14.7 volts very quickly, so I either overcharge it for a while, or leave other batteries only partly charged. Since I've already got the voltmeter out, I'm checking the other batteries to see how they're doing. I've fixed one poorly-crimped wire and identified one regulator with reversed connections (I had to remove batteries to get to it and put it back together correctly; then it worked properly!). And why is the EMeter voltage different from the digital meter's reading?
At least the two inaccessible batteries have working, green-flashing regulators. I assume that means they're OK, but I can't reach them to measure and verify.
The EV list seems to think I should use the PFC-20 to individually charge the stragglers. I'm working on it, but I'm still having trouble adjusting the main pack voltage, so I'm undercharging or overcharging in the meantime.
Then I let Eri drive it. She was freaked out over the brake indicator light, which is always on. The vacuum pump is loud, and comes on any time it likes.
So, I've got more work. Here's my conceptual to-do list:
- Find and fix vibration
- Find and fix hesitation
- Rearrange batteries and regulators
- Cut access hole for inaccessible batteries
- Make EMeter and voltmeter agree
- Fix air conditioning
- Hook up a tachometer
- Fix brake light
- Switch vacuum pump to get power from ignition switch
- Switch to manual steering
- Fix heater