Monday, August 18, 2008

Half-Day Workshops September 20 & 21

On July 28 Bill, the e-van and I rendezvoused at NMTCC with Anna, who would like to see her vanagon begin the journey towards becoming an electric vehicle!

Anna and I were put in touch by Jim Crater, the visionary who runs Recycling Services, Inc. down in Pottstown, PA -- Jim has a wealth of encouragement, ideas and resources to draw on in a variety of fields including electric vehicles, alternative energy, interesting solar applications (like their Mobile Solar Electric unit that powers speakers with the sun!), durability, composting, preservation of open space & organic farming. Jim's an advocate of networking and practices what he preaches by putting people in touch with each other. So if you're in his neck of the woods, don't fail to check out the recycling center (on Tuesdays & Saturdays) and introduce yourself.

Van looked great and started up fine ...

Anna got to test drive it, so she knows what kind of handling and response she can expect from her converted vehicle.

Her current vehicle is a veggie-oil burning Jetta converted by greasecar. Bill and I were happy to get to look at it! In the trunk is the metal tank for the veggie oil and a jug of her home-filtered fuel.

Anna knows a lot about how her adapted engine works but she did have some questions about hose position -- seemed like some of them were too close together and rubbing -- she and Bill had an enjoyable time troubleshooting and chatting. Anna's conversion will happen under the auspices of the Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Association, which will provide non-profit status for the project. We don't have a schedule yet for the conversion, but are standing by as she seeks funding for it! Stay tuned!

As far as the existing e-van goes, Bill anticipates using the van for regular commuting this fall, once it is fully re-registered as a modified vehicle. (It's insured and registered now, but we didn't re-title it yet.) We will bring the van with us to MAREA's Alternative Energy Festival September 19-21 in Kempton, PA, where we're presenting half-day workshops for folks interested in an in-depth introduction to the EV conversion process. Here's the official description from the program:

Electric Car Conversion Workshop

Converting a gasoline powered car to electric power is not a small project, but you can have a car of the future now. This half-day workshop explores the design options, conversion process and hardware selection for going electric. Offered twice, Saturday 9AM and Sunday 9AM. If class size is exceeded, a third session may be offered Saturday afternoon. Fee: $15. Coordinated by Jenny Isaacs of Bucks County Renewables.

You can sign up now at the Energy Fest website! We'll have Anna's van as the "before" model and plenty of opportunity to get a close look at the e-van and ask Bill questions about the process.

There are lots more activities and educational workshops available (even a weekend-long class on converting your diesel to a WVO vehicle like Anna's greasecar!) so do check out the website and plan to join us at the Fest. It's always a wonderful time.


AB said...


Thats awesome what you've done with the van. Is there any chance of getting some specs on the modified van (i.e. type of motor, batteries, controller. distance travelled on one charge). I currently have one of these vans and I'm using it for my wedding car at the start of next year and then I was going to sell it due to the huge amount of petrol it uses. However if I could do an electric conversion I'd love to keep it.

jisaacs said...

ab, we have fairly standard components in the van: 9" Advanced DC Motor, 20 6-volt deep-cycle lead-acid batteries (manufacturer: US Batteries), and a Curtis Controller. You can see details on the system components here

As far as range -- we are still pushing to break 30 miles on a charge, which gives an effective range of 20 miles (because you don't want to drain the batteries all the way down on each run). We have to get the van street-legal before it can be used daily and that is still in progress as the heater-blower core needs replacing.

Thanks for posting! Let us know if you undertake a conversion -- and don't hesitate to post any and all queries here if you have them!

Ben said...

Well done! really helpful information on the converting process, and almost anyone can attempt electric car conversion with electric car conversion kits, and if you have the tools, space, and the right plan. I think conversion kits works best.