Tuesday, January 01, 2008

The Right Tool for the Job

"The thing is so reliable, that it's almost boring." -Me to a curious onlooker.

I haven't made many entries of late because there's really not much to tell. I drive the car every chance I get. I travelled 5,200 miles in 2007, starting at the beginning of March on through to December. 2 full months of that, I did not drive the car because I was out of town on business otherwise I'd probably be up to 6,000 miles.

One improvement that I just made was to install the proper sized motor controller for my battery pack. I have been using a controller rated for 72-120 volts, but I've been feeding 128 volts to it, which is risky. I met a gentleman in the online EV community who has a car with a 96 volt pack but his controller is bigger, rated at 96-144v. So basically, he was at risk of his controller just shutting down if he ever dipped below the minimum voltage and I was at risk of blowing mine up by exceeding my maximum voltage. We arranged a swap plus a little cash on my part. So, as the title says- the right tool for the job, for both of us.

I've taken to driving the car for longer distances. I now drive 28 miles (one way) to my military reserve center and I plug it in when I arrive. It's ready to go by the time I'm done at the end of the day.

It's winter now and the cold weather really plays havoc with my lead acid batteries. My range has dropped to a very cautious 25-30 miles. I feel that my battery charger would really benefit from the optional temperature compensation probe. It lets the charger know the ambient temperature and compensate by altering the charging algorithim. Simply put: It charges the batteries a little more when it's cold out and a little less when it's hot out. It's better for the life of the batteries.

As the batteries age, they are beginning to require more water. I used to add distilled water every 3 months. Now it's every month and a half. It's not a big deal and water is cheap. It's merely an observation.

I enjoy driving the car immensely and I've loaded it up with Sirius satellite radio and a new GPS that I received for Christmas. I've shown the car at some vintage VW social meets and the car is always met with wide acceptance.