Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Top speed adjusted +5 mph to 80

Monday, July 21st, 2008

Confirmed on a test track with a professional driver. Do not try this at home. :)

Some good press

Friday, July 4th, 2008

Alison Tully of the Burbank Leader came by last week to see the car and interview me. Read the article here:

Idiosyncrasies of lead-acid

Sunday, May 18th, 2008

You may have noticed how if you leave a flashlight on until the bulb is dim, then turn it off and set it aside for an hour, then turn it on again, it regains some of its brightness.

This property seems to be typical of all lead-acid chemistries. I drove the car to Northridge (16 mi) this morning and back, and after 32 miles of highway driving it was done – pedal to the metal just to keep up with traffic. I had breakfast and went back to the car an hour later, and it had “grown amps”, from 102V to 118V. I knew the voltage would not last long, however, so I took it out around town and got another 8 miles out of it before it was back down to 98V. Kaput.

So 40 miles is pretty much the usable range, and 65 mph the top speed. Both are a bit less than I expected but acceptable. The part that does take some getting used to is this: with internal combustion you can expect the same performance on a full tank or 1/8 tank, but not so with batteries. Performance gradually decreases from the first time you step on the pedal until the batteries are drained. It is not a linear decrease (barely noticeable for the first 20 miles) but something to be aware of.

two steps forward…

Sunday, November 11th, 2007

When you perform this amount of disassembly on a ten-year-old car you’re bound to come across peripheral problems which, if not addressed now, will require attention somewhere down the road. Though it makes sense to take care of them while the car is apart, it always throws a wrench into your carefully-planned scheduling.

Case in point: when testing the motor this week it proved essential to know the car was in neutral, but when I attempted to shift the shifter fell through the bottom of the car. After 2-3 hours of dissection I discovered all that was holding the shifter in place was friction and a bit of glue (yes, glue). So another hour or so was devoted to putting the shifter back together, but in the process I did come across a forum online for Aspire owners. The comments were fairly evenly split between admirers and detractors (”It aspires to be a car” wrote one poster), and in the mix was a poor soul who couldn’t figure out why his shifter had fallen through the floor.

Back to the motor testing. We hooked up the car’s original 12V battery to the motor and darnitanyway if with a few good sparks that sucker didn’t start spinning like a top. Somewhat reassuring as I have had it now for six months and it is getting less accessible by the day. Also accomplished this weekend: cutting the side panels from HDPE for the rear battery box; mounting the controller on its bed of heat-transfer grease; ordering the electrical connectors for recharging the car; ordering a cake pan to act as a water shield for the brush end of the motor.