Friday, January 6, 2012

It's Running!

New motor mount with isolation dampers
I found enough time over the holidays to get all the essential things completed.  First I had to redo the motor mount to include rubber isolation dampers.  Thanks to those of you who pointed out I needed these.  Since I already had the motor mount welded without the dampers, it took a little ingenuity to figure out how to add the dampers without starting over from scratch. In the end I cut the original loose from the mounting brackets and installed a new structural element under the original with spacers to make room for the dampers.  Kinda of a Rube Goldberg solution, but it works.

Acrylic battery cover
I also built some acrylic covers for the batteries.  I'd never worked with plastics before and was worried about how hard this would be.  Fortunately for me my son recently learned some plastic skills and he helped me with the battery covers.  It really was a lot easier than I thought it would be.  The material is pretty pricey.  But it will keep fingers, tools, and other junk away from the battery terminals and still allow people to see them.  (I already like showing off my EV).  I still need to fab the acrylic cover for the main electrical board with motor controller, contactor, & DC/DC converter.  Just got the plastic for this cut today, so I should be able to get it done this weekend.

Bed reinstalled on its hinges
My friend, Chris, came over just before New Years and helped me reinstall the truck bed.  This too was easier than I had envisioned.  I welded some stiffeners at the ends the frame's c-channels and then tack welded hinges on the frame.  Chris and I then picked up the bed, set it place and aligned it properly.  The bed weights only about 220 pounds so two people can handle it easily.  I then tack welded the hinges to the bed.  We removed the bed, finished all the welds and reinstalled it.  Now I have a dump truck! 

Pin securing bed
At the suggestion of performance car enthusiast, I used a couple hood pins to secure the front of the bed.  I welded some tabs to the frame and the bed just in front of the wheel wells. The pins are accessible through the wheel wells so it's easy to lift the bed and display the battery packs and charger in the rear. (Please don't comment on the quality of the welds on the tabs for the pin.  I know I've still got a lot to learn about welding.)

I drove around the neighborhood and up and down some big hills to discharge the pack while Chris rode shotgun with the PC hooked up to the BMS.  After a couple of discharge cycles and some tweaking of the BMS parameters, I felt confident that the low voltage warning and the state-of-charge meter were both working properly.  So last week I started my EV commutes to work and back.  My commute is 20 miles round trip and I can make two trips on a single charge with about 10-15% charge left in the battery.  So I can get 40+ miles round trip.  This is a bit below my 50 mile design range, but it also included some highway driving.  Speaking of highway driving, I took it out on the freeway yesterday and today and no trouble keeping up with the average speed on the freeway.  My dash still isn't installed, so I don't know precisely how fast I was going, but I'm guessing about 65 mph and I had not maxed out the system.  I do a peak speed check when I get the dash and instrument panel reinstalled.

Still have a lot of stuff left on the todo list including:
  • Finishing battery and motor controller covers
  • Getting the interior reupolstered
  • Installing gas shocks to aid in lifting the bed
  • Putting a dash cap over the old cracked vinyl dash and reinstalling the dash
  • Installing the EV instruments in the instrument panel
  • Put a 220v outlet outside the garage so my wife can have her parking space in the garage back (I think I'll put this at the top of the list.)
A happy EV driver
I love driving it! It's so quiet.  The loudest noise is when the vacuum pump comes on.  Today guy in another Nissan D-21 followed me off the highway, pulled up next to me at the stop light and said,"Hey is that an electric vehicle?"  When I acknowledged it was he said "I new it.  I new it! I saw your batteries under the bed and knew it must be an electric vehicle."  We held up traffic at the stop light while he took photos on his smart phone.  That was even better than driving by the gas station on my way home.  I love my EV.  Now I need to think of a name for it.

1 comment:

  1. CONGRATULATIONS! Looking forward to my first spin in your new ride!