My first ride in my EV was almost a year ago; you can see the video at firstride.mpeg. But I tore the motor apart before I had a chance to do anything interesting.

Today I took my second first ride. Because I'm having trouble charging the batteries, it was simply a run around the cul-de-sac (very short distance). But I took Eri, Melissa, and Kayla with me.

Now I understand what the "EV Grin" is all about. The car performed beautifully. The weird smell and the crackling noise were gone. The wheels actually slipped when I tried to back out of the garage. It handled nicely, especially considering it's a station wagon.

I called Nathan and bragged for about 30 minutes.

There are a few minor problems. The vacuum pump needs to be moved from "always on" to "on whenever the key is turned on"; no biggie. I'm going to consider doing that for the DC/DC converter, too. I've got to hook up the tachometer, for which I need to determine which of those leftover wires is the gauge's signal (and possibly the power and ground will need to be shared with gauge, too). I need to obtain and install a rev limiter (found a lead on the DIY Electric Car forums). And I need to create a belly pan for splash protection and aerodynamics.

I'll work on all that stuff later, though. Today I'm just excited to have a working EV!

Throughout the day, I took two "shakedown" runs, including one that went for more than a mile. I need to hook up the tachometer so I can tell when to shift! I also don't coast very well, and the transmission makes a weird noise: the whine of gears spinning around. I know that's pretty much what a transmission IS, but this just seems excessive. I remember trouble spinning the wheels when they were up in the air and the transmission was neutral; I only hope it's not bad enough to affect my range.

This evening, I gave Tatiana a short lift. The lights work, but the dashboard is no longer illuminated. (Another thing to add to the list.) I also swapped my E-Meter from displaying Amp-Hours to displaying kilowatt-hours. I didn't actually go a whole mile, but extrapolating, it looks like I'm using 900Wh/mile.

For those wondering, that's a lot! A good electric car only uses 250Wh/mile. An average EV uses around 300 or 400. Big cars can require 500Wh/mile or more. My car isn't that big, and I wasn't going over 30; the aerodynamics shouldn't have had a noticeable effect. At 120V x 55Ah, I've only got 6.6kWh in the car altogether, and I can't use more than 80% of that! That's a grand total of 5.8 miles of range.

I'm afraid it's the transmission. Why should that worry me, when I've already taken the motor out three times, and basically rebuilt the car from scratch? Because it means I'll have to take the whole damn thing apart again!

Tomorrow I'll wash the car off (gently) and take a few more test runs. I might even take it out for groceries. But the real work will be accurately measuring my Wh/mile so I'll know how far it can go. I sure hope I made a mistake with today's measurements!