Friday, June 26, 2009

Day 4 2009

Less obsessively photographed detail in this entry and more of an over all view!

Today's tasks included cutting and recrimping of cables in order to wire the front battery box (A7n7), completing the rear battery rack and developing a hold-down system, installing conduit sleeving around all the high-voltage wire, and completing installation of the charger.

But with all these tasks assigned -- where is everybody? The auto lab is empty and so is the welding shop ...

They're all outside looking at the two vehicles Ken and Al of the Eastern Electric Vehicle Club brought to show off and answer questions about.

One of them was this unbelievably super-sweet mini-E. Ken, who's been driving a converted Geo Metro, put his name on the list to lease this vehicle back in late 2008 and just picked it up last week!

Only 500 of these vehicles have been made and 450 made available to eager would-be individual drivers. They were converted new (right off the assembly line, before ICE installation) in a deal between AC Propulsion and BMW/Audi. Featuring a 380-volt system and a lithium-ion battery pack, the mini-E's been getting 110+ miles on a charge -- though it takes some time to achieve full charge with the regular 110-volt charging cable Ken's holding below. (The high-voltage, quick-charge cables won't arrive for another month.)

The second vehicle on show was Alan Arrison's Green Rabbit -- champion of the 21st Century Automotive Challenge at Penn State in April.
Alan's vehicle, a 120-volt, Zilla-controlled, clean and beautiful conversion, drew a lot of admiring glances.

With a 50 mile range and a 60 mph cruising speed, this EV is used daily.

Alan and Ken are active and committed members of the Eastern Electric Vehicle Club who freely give of their time (and sometimes tow miles) to promote the joys of going gas-free.

Alan's battery wiring set-up is as pristine and orderly as his control board. And the professionally done plastic "aquarium" battery boxes offer superior visibility of the batteries. (All the EV components in the mini-E are locked away and invisible to the eye!)
After thanking Al and Ken and bidding them farewell it was back to work on the e-Van. First, the vacuum pump ...

then soldering the thermo-sensor to the motor ...

while Brett continued to work on the battery charger. The van will plug in through its old gas cap as do many EV's, but the location of the gas tank in the wheel well was, well, another Vanagon quirk!

Having been trained on using the grinder, Rudy starts making some sparks.
Then he trains Rob, and so on. We didn't do this kind of pass-along-the-knowledge with the welder, of course -- but everybody who wanted an opportunity to learn to weld had a chance to practice on scrap at least.

Vincent is no longer a novice welder, having done a considerable amount of the work on this rack!
It came to the paint shop so hot from welding that it had to be handled with gloves -- I was told that actually helps the paint stick better.

Our outdoor paint shop. We were incredibly lucky -- after several weeks where it rained every day, we were blessed with perfect paint-drying weather!

The rear rack is painted and ready to be installed on Friday.

And by the end of the day the A7n7 batteries had been wired together

and the former gas cap has such a slick-looking, professional charger outlet

that it almost made me weep with happiness.


Edward said...

Very nice write up on this project. Just for clarification, the Vanagon Gas tank is in the center of the vehicle between the front wheels. There are expansion tanks in the front wheel wells though.

jisaacs said...

thanks for the clarification, Edward!