I've always considered Independence Day to be Silent E's birthday.

This makes it her third, and I'm sorry to say it hasn't been a happy one. The most recent battery problem has sidelined her while I decide what to do next.

Obviously, the right thing to do is to replace the battery pack. But the original pack suffered from two problems: insufficient capacity and clamp-on terminals. I believe -- without much evidence, I must admit -- that the clamps to the 2/0 wires are the source of a lot of heat, and it's killing batteries. However, switching to higher-capacity batteries means rebuilding the battery boxes. And switching to screw-on terminals means rebuilding all the wires. And returning to 144V means buying a bunch of new regulators (I've blown up a bunch of mine).

If I'm going to go to that expense, I may as well go for some serious range. I'm considering large AGMs, or even lithium. I've run some numbers, and I've discovered that about 200Ah in a 144V battery pack will get me close to 100 miles.

All I have to do is sell all my spare internal organs. Or make it big with an iPhone app in a difficult economy.

Well, happy birthday anyway, Silent E. I promise to get you back on the road as soon as I can afford it.