Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Another Beetle to Become Electric!

Autopia's Matthew Redd, just released a story on the progress of their new dual project - a Beetle Restoration, and EV Conversion in his story - Our DIY Electric Car Slowly Comes Together.

Unfortuneately - it seems that they broke the basic EV Rule - Son't start with a Rusty Car! The Reason is simple for at least three reasons:
1 - It's really hard to weld batter boxes or racts and trays to a rusty car,
2 - Electric motors will likely run longer than the car at its best,
3 - EV Parts are still expensive - and now you have two expenses to deal with!

He Raised funds for his project by selling his old Mazda 626, but that left him without wheels! He was lucky though - in that he had a friend at ZEV Utah, that loaned him a set of wheels - an EV converted 1994 VW Golf!

About his ride - he says "My daily commute is 10 miles each way, and the e-Golf offers about 40 miles depending upon conditions. On most days it was no problem: the car had plenty of juice to get me to work and back and run a few errands on the side. There is no way that everyone could start driving electrics today, but there are plenty of people of us out there that drive short enough distance in a day that the range problem disappears."

I llike the part where he says "I test fit 10 batteries to see how the Bug’s suspension would handle the 700-pound load. The back end dropped 1.75 inches." which tells me he really needs to consider a small lithium Iron Phosphate Pack for his Beetle. Even my electricfly pack is just 400 lbs, and I am trying to make sure I keep the weight at or clost to that so the car can still cary people!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas to all of you!

Merry Christmas, and may you have a Happy New Year.

Enjoying a Good Christmas Song Video might also be enjoyable, too!

We are going out for Dinner today, to one of our favourite restaurants in Richmond Hill! (No Leftovers, no Dishes, no Baking, no Cooking, just enjoying!)

Tell me your Electric Vehicle Stories you'd like to hear about for the season and the new year! (That's why the blog allows comments!)

The Dream for My electricfly - is full body repair, paint, a set of 160 Ah Thundersky Cells with a good BMS, maybe a new controller, and likely a new charger (needed for the TS Cells!) Also - need new glass (Windshield, at least - it's all pitted!), my aero trim work, and a nice new dash!

Looking to get a safe 80 - 100 km range, with stretches up to 120 - 140 km on good days, and nothing less than 60 km in the winter.

Anybody want to support my dream with a few donations? - Just let me know here!
(I can put up a PayPal Donation button on my web site!)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Another Electricfly Passenger!

After Yesterdays Drive and post Drive Charge - back up to 100% SOC - I decided to take electricfly to work today, and see how well it does for a single drive with the cool weather (+5 Celcius), before the cold snap returns!

At the end of the day - while walking out - I was chatting with a co-worker, Philip, who has been helping me with some new work areas, as he had done the job in the past.
As wee waked out together - I was heading for electricfly - and he walked with me while we chatted. When we got to the car - he asked if I could give him a ride up to Wilson - to catch the bus from there? No Problem - just unlock his passenger door and put my lunch back and Video Phone in the back seat!

He climbed in, and I answered a few questions about the car, and showed him some of the components I have added, and then we were off!

I took my usual detour home, since it was just 0.8 Kms we were there in just a minute - so his ride was short, but he thought it was cool!!

It's one thing to hear about it, another thing to talk about it, but to actually see it works - that's another thing!

Electric Cars Rule!!

Even Bombardier had a hand in trying to make LSV's (Low Speed Vehicles - usually Electric), but that's a story for another post!

It was just 1.5 Kms. overall today - and the recharge was just .44 KwH, about 5.7 Cents worth of Electricity! That - on a Battery Pack that has been beeten up, abused, drained beyone dry, has two sick batteries, (#2, & #7, plus one bad battery - that the PakTrakr Display was warning was failing - #8!)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Road Test Nets 2 new Believers!

After Sitting and not going anywhere while I contemplated the Batteries Conditon and PakTrakr Display saying the Batteries were at 78% after my last charge (did not reach 100% SOC, just sat at 78% - like a stuck needle!), I decided to give them another charge (since the Accessory Battery has pretty much packed it in too - it keeps dropping to 10% SOC), and then take the car out for a drive to give them a cycle!

After Charging - I drove the local neighborhood, side streets, and after a bit - up Willson to Garratt and up Garratt to Bombardier's parking lot. When I poped into the parking lot, I was surprised to see somebody working on their car so late and thought one ov my co-workers had a problem - so I pulled over to see what was up. Turns out it was just two local boyes out tweaking their Woofers in the back of the car under the Street lights in the parking lot.

While chatting with them, one noticed my car - that it was not making any noise - just sitting there! "Is that Car Electric?" He says! Of course - I replied - "Yes!" When they asked if I made it and I told them that High School Students did the Conversion some 14 years ago, The become ven more interested! That lead to a bit of an interesting, off the cuff - 'Show and tell' there under the street lights!

Of course - I showed them under the hood, the PakTrakr Gauges and Displays, and discussed the important things: "How Fast does it go?" "I've seen it up to 105 - 108 Kmh. on the Freeway, but the motor will take it up to 145 kmh with good batteries!"Business Card -

Of course - I took the time to promote the car and the website by Handing out Business Cards.

When I drove away - I still had my drivers window down - and I could hear them shout an excited - 'Yeah!'

Two on base - invited to the Next Electric Vehicle Society of Canada Meeting -

Thursday, December 10, 2009

My First Whitepaper - Free Sneak Highlights!

My first white paper discusses in some detail - Lead Acid versus LiFePO4.

Here is a quick summary of the high points:

  • EnerSys 12V, 17.2AH Sealed Lead Acid Battery at the 1 hour rate deliver just under 60% of their rated power, at 10.3 Ah that means - 0.6C load.

  • 100% Depth of Discharge will shorten the life of the battery to just 250 cycles. That is 1/6th of the life of a smaller 30% Discharge, of 1,200 Cycles.

  • (.3 [30% Discharge] X .6 [.6C Load of 10.3 Amps] = .18 X the Available 1 hour Energy [18% times the 10.3 Ah = 1.854 ah per Cycle] to get to the 1200 cycles!)

  • ThunderSky 40Ah Cell = 1/4 the weight, Enersys costs more than 2.1 times the price.

  • ThunderSky Cell can do 1000 Cycles at 100% discharge, and at 80% Discharge do 3000 Cycles, and at this point, = 64 Enersys Batteries for total energy delivery.

Bottom Line - it covers some excelent general comparisons.

I found some good data on the 20Ah SLA versus a 20 Ah LiFePO4 today too!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

PakTrakr interesting situation

The PakTrakr main display is telling that the pack won't charge more than 78% in this cold weather - but - when I look at the data on the SD Card from the Woodward large Pak Trakr Display with Data Logging, - I see the front remote data says that part of the pack is at 100%, and the rear remote says that part of the pack is at 100%, and - the individual battery chargers are saying each battery is charged to 100% and is stable at about 13.2 Volts, all leaves me wondering what happened?

Current Cold weather, wet & snowy weather, and work schedules make checking it all out a bit more difficult, and other issues of late to deal with have left little time or energy to dig into it!

Likely - my last thought of simply - take the car for a drive, keep the batteries out of the danger zine, and come back and put them right away on the charger is made more difficult due to the Rehab center customer stream that usually is in the way for me to plug in, except for Friday Afternoon and Saturday Afternoon. However - for some reason - this past Friday - there was a late night stream of clients to the center!

If the actual power consumption of my battery pack was measured from the beginning with the Data logging PakTrakr Display - I would have a tally of how many Watt hours I had taken from it - but the pack was driven for wome time with just the analog Voltmeter and Ammeter, so no real way to know! (And those trips where I drained the batteries and limpled along - both in warmer weather the first time, and in cold weather the second time, likely took a lot of life out of the set!)

In any case - we are seeing more and more places supplying and promoting LiFePO4 (Lithium Iron Phosphate) cells and packs for cars and eBikes too! Just looked today for a few minutes at San Diego Electric Bike. they have some good information there, and there was some other good stuff I will report on shortly!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Next Stop: Ultracapacitor Buses

On October 19, 2009, Tyler Hamilton posted this story on the website.

My first glance at the article - caught this paragraph at the bottom of the first page - "The ultracapacitor bus is also cheaper than lithium-ion battery buses," says Ye. "We used the Olympics (lithium-ion) bus as a model and found ours about 40 percent less expensive with a far superior reliability rating." Ye adds that the environmental benefits are compelling. "Even if you use the dirtiest coal plant on the planet, it generates a third of the carbon dioxide of diesel when used to charge an ultracapacitor."

Obviously - performance is important, and range is important - but maintenance can be just as important. Reliability of some Hybrid Buses - is about that of the old Diesel buses. On these - "The ones in Shanghai right now have been on the road for three years without incident, without failure whatsoever, which in the bus industry is phenomenal," says Clare, who adds that his company is in talks with New York City, Chicago, and some towns in Florida about trialing the buses. "It will end up being a third generation of the product, which will give 20 miles [of range per charge] or better."

For the complete story - run on over to Technology Review and read the whole thing!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Coal is Better - when fed to Electric Cars? Yes!

Over at, Nick Chalmers just posted his report and included references on why Electric Cars are Better Even When "Fueled" with Coal.

The biggest problem seems to be - not the facts, but the argument itself!

Additional points not covered by Nick, include the facts that - with an internal Combustion Engine Vehicle - there is essentially no way for you go produce gas at your house, even if you have an oil well in your back yard, and - while many homes over the years have had coal stoves, I know of none that have had a coal powered generator 'on the farm', so to speak.

However - I do know of many solar powered, or solar assisted homes, that use Solar Energy in it's natural forms for heat - hot water and hot air, as well as in conversion systems, using PhotoVoltaic (PV) Panels, for their electrical needs. And - with Grid Tied Solar on your home, and an EV in your driveway - you are both replacing the electricity onto the grid during the day when it needs it most, and therefore reducing the need for coal powered Electricity, and using it from the Grid usually at night - to recharge your EV, when plants are otherwise poluting and the power is going to waste.

If your EV - had a 100 mile range only - and you reduced your commuting distance to 10 miles, you could charge up the car just once a week, yet putting Solar energy into the grid every day! As most homes are not designed primarily for energy efficiency - but for show - the option of a house built to be energy self supporting has not even occured to most buyers yet! Granite Counters, 'Satin Finish Hardwood Flooring' and Classy Carpet is more important! the Same $$ could be used to make the home not a load on the grid, but a supplier to the Grid, and reduce general living and operational costs of the home.

Of course - Nick mentions "An electric car runs off of a power source that can be made from a multitude of different things. From coal, to natural gas, to biomass, to wind, to solar, to wave, to nuclear, to hydro, to oil, to anything else that might come down the pipe in the future (fusion?). It’s “infinitely” dynamic. This does two things: it makes your energy supply more secure and it means your car just became infinitely more versatile. A gas car can only run off of gas or some other form of gas-like fuel." Which is the whole point of the Switch to EV's in the first place - versatility of energy sources!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

First Whitepaper Posted by MyElectricfly

Since I have began to drive this Electric Vehicle, even though it's been converted from a fairly efficient Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) Vehicle to Electric - it is to date still powered by old school batteries: Flooded Lead Acid.

This new Whitepaper takes a good look at the performance issues with using Lead Acid Batteries - even the Sealed AGM (Absorbed Glass Matt) types versus Lithium Iron Phosphate. It compares a fairly common Supplier's Product - the EnerSys 12V, 17.2 Ah Sealed Lead Acid (SLA) Battery, and compares it to one of the Lower Performance Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) cells - a small 40 Ah Cell from ThunderSky.

(I say Lower Performance - in that it is rated for a Max Continuous Load of 3C versus some that state up to 30c Continuous, but cost 4 - 6 X more per cell, and use smaller cells - requiring more work to build a pack!)

Jump over to my web site and read about it here.

As you read it - you will start to see a trend with Lead Acid (PbA) Batteries - they may be fine at low loads, and long run times are fine like that - but bump up the loads to something used in an Electric Vehicle - and you start to see they just poop out before you know it!

If you think this is unfair to PbA Batteries - well - just think of it like this - first - it is very hard to get specific data like that refered to in the article for a reference Lead Acid Battery - and one can only guess why they make it hard to get cycle life specs at varying loads, as well as actual deliverable amp hour capacity at a large variety of run times. They are typically listed in 20 Hour Ratings - meaning - how much energy can it deliver at a specific load over a 20 hour period.

Take another look at the whitepaper, and then come back to me with more than a half a dozen sites that list battery capacity of PbA (Lead Acid) Batteries at increments of 1 hour declining from the 20 hour starting point to 1 hour, and in your research - you will start to see - that so few suppliers list the data, or make it easy to find, and second - when you find it - you will see - how little they can deliver if you crank up the load just a little bit!

The reality is - for my car - since it was built the way it was when I got it - I have to work with the motor specs that I have! It has a GE (General Electric) Motor rated for 20.9 HP at 90 Volts DC X 184 Amps!

Therefore - we should have a battery (pack) that can decently deliver at least a steady 184 Amps without killing the battery, and then - for a reasonable run time to get the desired range.

We will come back and talk more on this issue in the future! (It will be a bit revealing, for many - I am sure!)

Other Whitepapers with more data will be published and listed here, so keep coming back to see them, or scroll to the bottom of the page and enter your email address where it says - * Be notified when this page changes * to get a notice in your email inbox to go look at it again.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

0.2 kWh = 2.6 Cents @ 13 Cents per kWh

That was the cost to recharge my electricfly tonight - just 2.6 Cents Canadian, that's about 2.5 Cents US! I admit, it was just for driving to work, and then back home, and I do make a real short drive to work - 0.7 Km today (back of parking lot - usually 0.9 km!), for a total of 1.4 km home - to work, to home, and the 200 watt hours used to recharge - after all charging losses are burned, still leaves an energy consumption of 142.857 Watt Hours per Kilometer (Km), or 1.9 Cents per Km!

1.4 Km
0.2 kWh Recharge Energy
$0.026 to recharge
142.857 W/hrs per Km
$0.019 Per Km Driving Cost.

Please Remember - this is with batteries that are getting old, some are abused more than others - from driving them before I had installed PakTrakr and Display, on the Freeway, and draining the heck out of them to the point of barely able to crawl! A Few Times! Batteries that I bought - that a good frined told me they don't hold up well! And - Before I charged them up on Sunday evening - I watered them, and 2 cells were just starting to peak out of the water / electrolyte!

Saturday, September 26, 2009


For two more Days! Get it while you can!

You can check it out by going to Alibre's home page and clicking on the announcement banner at the top of the page.

  • If you were ever thinking about moving to 3D but couldn't afford it;

  • If you were ever thinking about taking Alibre Design for a test run, but didn't have $1000 to spend;

  • If you are contemplating staying ahead of the curve in recession by investing in the growth of your engineering department;

Alibre Design Standard is usually $999. That's a $900 savings.
Now is the time to buy! No Stimulus Package can compare to this deal. It really is ridiculous!

If you just want to Try the Program for No Risk - that is - No Money - Just start Here

Still - for $99 - It's not a tough Decision!

Alibre Design is an incredibly easy-to-use and learn 3D CAD system for mechanical design, comparable to products like SolidWorks, Pro/ENGINEER or Inventor, but costs thousands less (Even without this Extra Special Discount!).

The software has integrated tutorials and live support, so it's easy to be productive quickly. And if you need more tutorials - check out Mine!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Pursuing a Battery So Electric Vehicles Can Go the Extra Miles

The New York Times: Published September 14, 2009

SAN JOSE, Calif. — A future generation lithium-air battery might be the much sought after power source for electric vehicles with ranges that match gasoline powered cars of today.

The interest in the as-yet-unproven technology was underscored this summer when I.B.M. said it had begun to pursue a tenfold improvement in battery storage, with hopes of reaching the goal before the end of the next decade.

I.B.M. executives said the company was unlikely to enter the battery business directly but was aiming toward a partnership that would marry its hardware and systems design expertise with ultralight battery technology.

Such a strategy would follow the lead of Tesla Motors, a new California company that produced a high-end electric roadster based on a computerized and sensor-based battery system. Tesla put 6,800 standard lithium-ion battery cells designed for consumer electronic products into a 992 pound package.

“I strongly believe that climbing this Mount Everest of 10 times better, given resources, time and patience, will happen,” said Winfried Wilcke, a physicist and I.B.M.’s senior manager for nanoscale science and technology here at the Almaden Research Center. “This is simply so overwhelming in its simplicity and its clarity and the socioeconomic consequences it would have, that it deserves a Manhattan-like effort.” Continue reading the Original Post Here

Monday, September 14, 2009

Electricfly Continues to Log Energy Consumption

It has been some time since the last post due to continuing efforts in a variety of areas - no the least of which is the logging of PakTrakr energy use data and UM100 Energy Monitor recharge energy consumption data for comparisons.

Of course the time involved with the AeroCap Project and Website development, some time on the website for my electricfly, and duties as the webmaster for The Electric Vehicle Society of Canada, as well as their Editor for EV Surge - Their Newsletter.

Oh yes - I also work a regular Job at Bombardier Aerospace - DeHaviland, full time, as an Aircraft Assembler, and have been spending some time trying to return to the re-design of my first website - Aircraft Computational, wherein I largely was able to collate a large number of interesting links in the Aviation and PC fields - under - links, and to create and share - for free - pdf based Tutorials for Alibre Design - and excellent 3D CAD Solids Modeler.

Beyond that I have been trying to find time to develop our new - Telecommunications Business, which means learning the ropes, and helping people save money on their home phone, Internet, and long distance communications, as well as get good deals on Cell Phones, Home Security, and Satellite Digital TV. Of these - my Favourite is the Video Phone

On to the Electricfly - the Data logging is a process of logging on an SD Flash Memory Card the running data with the Woodward PakTrakr Display with the SD Card Reader/Writer, then taking the card and uploading the raw data to my PC in .csv format and giving it and easily identifiable name to match the date and activity. This is then tweaked - removing the data that is not deciphered, or that is reserved, but not interpreted, and the file is re-saved with a modified name - still as a .csv file.

The new .csv file is then re-saved with a normal excel extension, and the data is then tallied, added, averaged, checked for peaks in a min-max format, and simplified for easier grasping.

Unfortunately, of late I have only been able to log the data and upload it in raw form to the PC for later cleaning up. I did clean up some of the files this spring, but the process is a bit slow, when combined with, or inserted into the flow of everything else to do.

This coming Thursday - September 18th, 2009 - is the next general meeting for the Electric Vehicle Society, and I still have to complete the July-Aug 2009 EV Surge Newsletter, so I have been a bit behind. They are having an executive meeting today to plan some things, which I have committed to attend. So - as you see - the electricfly has some time competition now.

Since the UM100 Energy Monitor does not have any data card storage system, I have captured that data by taking pictures of the monitors display after a charge cycle is completed, along with Pictures of the Odometer and trip meters for reference. This information is compared to the energy consumed between charges according to the PakTrakr Display SD Card data, The UM100 shows time, kwh's used, and as I have programmed the current 13 cents per kwh net that I pay -the total dollars (or cents) worth of electricity used.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Superlattice Power Inc Increased Efficiency of Li-Ion Battery

In a Press Release dated June 24, 2009, Superlattice Power, Inc. announced a battery inovation that can increase the range of an electric car by 1.5 times.

According to the Release: "The new technology was used by EV Innovations Inc. and the driving range of electric car has been increased by at least 1.5 times. Further research work will be continued with a next generation battery pack where the cathode material with superlattice structure will be used and the expected specific capacity is 1.5 times compared to the cathode, LiMnxNiyCozO2."

They have developed a new charging algorithm as well, using a multistage charging rate, unusual in Li-Ion Charging profiles.

According to their website - "SLAT (Or Superlattice Power Inc.) has taken a step ahead to pioneer Superlattice Cathode Material for the use in Lithium Ion Rechargeable. HYBT has successfully introduced Superlattice nano and submicron materials from laboratory to industrial scale."

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Repositioned the Woodward Display for Better Viewing

Well, After Driving the Car since last September with the Woodward Enhanced PakTrakr Display mounted on a new test Cluster location, and noting that it was low and hard to see the information at the bottom of the display - Total Pack Volts - I had been thinking for some time to reposition it up higher for better and easier viewing.

Well Finally - 8 months later - I get the idea, the method, and the bug to get it done! So - now here it is - I simply removed and rotated the two pieces of aluminum angle - which moved the display up about an inch, giving better viewing and clears the steering wheel line of sight better! Also, I inserted a small piece of foam, to bring the display away from the plywood a bit to clear the cable from the voltmeter.

You can see from the comparison pictures - that the displays top edge is now even with the Analog Voltmeter and Ammeter, instead of below them, as it was before. This Side view also shows the SD Card used to log data with .csv or comma delimited format, which I simply open with Excel, and then select the columns of data that I wat, or re-arange them in my own preference for better viewing.

Also - the part that bugged me about making the repositioning, as the data cable coming out, and the thickness of the voltmeter, being thicker than the space from the cable to the back of the Woodward case. So I tested three different materials to prop the case out a bit so the cable would clear. I finally settled on some simple 1/8" thick yellow craft foam, and two Velcro connector squares to set the depth offset so the cable would clear the face of the voltmeter without binding, and yet still have enough grip in the two small 1"x 1" aluminum angles to hold the display.

So - Now - the drive is more comfortable, in that I am not haveing to repeatedly strain or lean forward to see over the steering wheel so as to see the digital valu of the pack voltage on the display, and it is generally more comforatable because it is in a nice Horizontal line of sight with the other two guages!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Driving to work for a week costs less than 16 Cents!

I decided to log the energy and power used for the electricfly for a whole ten trips, 5 to work and 5 to home, and see what was the total energy used! So, for the Week of May 4th to May 8th, I logged the power data on the Woodward enhance paktrakr display with SD card, so I could take each days worth of data and analyse it, then tally it all for the week, compared to the charge afterwords.

The State of Charge (SOC) ran from 100% on the PakTrakr Display (and the Woodward Paktraker Display) at the start of the test, to 52% SOC at the end of the test, however - the battery chargers indicated between 75% SOC and 85% SOC on start up in the battery condition test mode! So - this either means they chargers are optimistic of the batteries energy capacity or the PakTrakr is more pessimistic in its analysis of the battery condition. It also means that when the PakTrakr says the pack is at 20% SOC, I would hopefully have not totally drained the Batteries, and have some safe reserve to maintain their life.

The Average Watt Hours per Kilometer (Wh/Km) ranged from a minimum of 78.21 to a maximum of 193.97 for the week. The Total logged energy used was 1,002 Watt Hours, or 1.002 kWh, while the power used in the 5 hour 50 minute recharge time (It continues in float mode when charged, and I did not check it at any regular interval, so it might have been charged in 2- 3 hours!), was 1.23 kWh according to my energy meter (UPM EM100, from Canadian Tire), for a actual energy efficiency of 81.47%, and a total energy cost at a net rate of 12.7 Cents per kWh equals fifteen point six two Cents ($0.1562) or - less than sixteen cents to drive to work for a week!

While it is true that I live very close to work, just an average drive for the week of 0.92 kms each way or a total of 9.2 kms for the week, the idea is connected to theis next couple of ideas: How much super capacitor capacity would I need for my actual drive to work, best and worst cases, and - would four, 15 Watt Solar Panels (1 amp each) produce enough power for my drive to work and still maintain or recharge the energy used in my drive to work, given the amount of sun available to them usually?

A Short look at the supercapacitor equation is based on the Watt-Seconds or Joules of energy used in my drive to work and home. This comes out to a peak used watt seconds per second of 20,690 and a maximum of 642,415 Watt Seconds or Joules for the full drive to work or home. Of course - the minimum was less, at just 259,044 Watt Seconds or Joules, with a typical value between 280,000 to 380,000 Watt Seconds per trip.

Why use or consider this idea? Well - as the Lead-Acid (PbA) Batteries are really so poor at large loads, and long runs at large loads, this gives a buffer for the acceleration currents needed, and the PbA's can slowly back fill the SuperCap's before and after a drive run so as to have better drive performance, and better battery life.

For Example Minimum Voltages on each Battery for the week, B1=9.1V, B2=3.0V, B3=8.6V, B4=9.1V, B5=8.1V, B6=8.6V, B7=8.2V, and B8=8.7V. Keeping in mind a minimum Voltage of 10.5 Volts, it can be seen that each battery ran below the minimum Voltage, and Battery #2 was the worst, with a Drop to 3.0 Volts at one point under load. Luckily, the BattEQ Eaualizers brought it back up to a good voltage for the next run, but it still dropped down to 6.3 Volts during that run (Going Home on Friday).

Friday, May 1, 2009

Cheap to run but slow to charge!

Well, I drove the electricfly to work today (April 30th, 2009), but my trusty trip meter I use for tracking runs was reset a few times to zero by kids doing the standard 'fingerpokenpeepenlooker' routine while at the show on Saturday! Plus - it had been towed there and back, partially discharged from giving a fellow EVer a quick ride in it one night after my last EVS meeting, and I had driven it to the Bank yesterday, so I decided to charge it up, reset the trip meter again, and stick a notebook back in tha car!

In any case - after charging it up today - I checked the UPM EM100 energy meter I am using to note the numbers - 1.95 kWh, $0.253 at $0.13 per kWh, but it was 8 hours 1 minute and 40 seconds since I plugged it in after work, and I have no easy way to be informed that the pack is full after I leave the car! (Call to the Cell phone or home number when charging is complete would be nice, but I haven't heard of it on the market nor of anyone trying to make such a charger - cell phone interface!

Now the real question would be - how far did I drive on that 1.95 kWh? Good Question - was it 3 km? 5km? More? Less? Well - at first guess - the drive with my buddy was only maybe about 2-3 kms, and the drive in to the show on Saturday was maybe another 1.5 kms, and out about .3 after the show. a drive to the bank is about 1.8 - 2.5 kms, and a drive to work and back is about 1.8 kms - so add it all up and we get an approximate figure of up to 9.1 kms. So - if true - that would be about 214 1/4 watt hours per km! Not so bad, but not my best figure! In any case - that is why I charged it up again tonight - so as to be able to again check the figures with a fresh start!

Plus - using the PakTraker Display with the Data logger with an SD Card, I can compare monitored energy used (watt seconds added all up inside a spreadsheet or two, get my kWh figures and compare that with the power used on the next charge. Today might have been charged up in only 2-3 hours - but I was busy and it was raining outside (still is) do did not check it out a lot over the course of the evening!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

electricfly at The Great Vehicle Adventure

 Well - we did it! We got our handouts, business cards, and flyer's, etc. all done picked up and made it to the show by before 8 AM!

We layed them out on the table, along with a copy each of three different EV Conversion manuals we have, one from the EV Society, a copy of Convert It, and Bob Brant's book on Electric Vehicles.

We also had a sample of a ThunderSky Lithium Iron Phosphate Cell TS-LFP40AHA, - the a 40 Amp Hour cell, with a weight of about 1.5 Kg, and a voltage of about 3.2V Nominal, which I ordered in from The ThunderSky Cells, are rated at 3C Continuous, so these cells could deliver 120 Amps Continuous, according to the specs, and still be ok. Beside that - I had one copy of a Cell from A123Systems, the ANR26650M1 - Like those in their Developer Kits. These Cells can deliver 30C, or 30X their rated capacity (2.3Ah) continuously, that's 70 amps, safely, and up to 50C (115 Amps) for short pulses. The Trojan Deep Cycle Lead-Acid Battery I Installed
These were there to show where Battery Technology is going, and where anyone could go today to buy products in this direction, instead of just sticking to Lead-Acid Batteries like the Trojan SCS-150's that I first bought. The Trojans, while OK to use for testing out wiring, and basic demonstrating runs, truly are not good for the 180+ Amp draws I need for my motor to develop great acceleration, and maintain continuous Highway speeds. that's why I think they are only suitable for LSV's but not for long range ones, though.

another happy customerWe had visitors both old and young, and many in between. The young ones just wanted to sit behind the wheel of everything, push knobs, twist dials, and steering, step on the pedals, and so on, but this one wanted to be 'cool' while we took his picture! Others love to honk the Horn, crank on switches, and of course - the had to close the door to complete the experience!

older and younger visitors investigating electricflyThe Adults were genuinely interested in the idea, the technology, or the possibility - for themselves. Many people stopped buy, and of course - many took Electricfly business cards. While I switched out with Lily so I could see some of the show, I met people and in talking with them, discovered one who wants to convert a Subaru, another that want to convert a BMW Motorcycle, one who wants to know what EV Technology could do for his large trucks in the fleet, and so on. A lot of people want to know what to do to reduce or eliminate their gasoline consumption. Some to save money, others to clean up the air!

Of course the usual questions about Electricfly ranged from how far (per charge), how fast, and how long to recharge?

electricfly at The Great Vehicle AdventureMy current answers - maximum distance or range on a charge I have seen is 38 km, but recommend on batteries installed only about 20 km (12.4 Miles), now that I have the Woodward Display to tell me all the things the PakTrakr figures out, but only shows in two lines, versus the 38 km  (23.6 Miles)  when I just had the Voltmeter and Ammeter in Analog Gauges! That 12 miles might not sound like much - but for the local I live in - it covered about 50 - 60% of the needs by itself!

How fast - is similarly modified now - in that I have done actually up to 108 Kph (Kilometers Per Hour = ~ 67 Mph), but would say that with the new Woodward gauge I can say that these batteries are best only running 25 - 35 amps - so 25 - 40 Kph or 50 Kph for longevity of the batteries at present, but this could be improved upon simply by upgrading to the Thunder Sky Cells like the yellow one shown above, in the 90 Ah or 160 Ah Cell Size. Last of all - How long to recharge - is basically 4 - 7 hours usually, not often much longer. Also - that usually only takes 3 - 5 kWh at 13 cents per kWh, or $0.39 to $0.65 worth of electricity - after taxes, delivery, debt retirement charges, and actual 5.5 Cents per kWh electricity cost!

In a read of todays emails - I came across a link for 4-Cell Packs of the ThunderSky 40 Ah LiFePO4 Cell - in a single pack, ready to install, just add balancing electronics (BMS - Battery Management Systems), it is being sold on eBay for just $259 US - I paid $80+ for my cell, plus shipping and duty from China, so it seems like a reasonable price, and it is my understanding that he got the price due to a very large purchase, netting him a cost of $1.10 per Ah versus the $2,00 per Ah I paid (or more) for mine.

By the time the show finished at 6 PM - we had handout out quite a large number of business cards on the Electricfly, a sizable number of them on our Video Phone (on display on the table - top Picture), and a great many EV Society Member Applications and Newsletter sample pages, answered questions from a number of people, met a few select people of interest in both the EV project and the AeroCap Project, and generally enjoyed the day!

The Towing Layout - Taken After the show - returning homeWe drove out Electricfly to the pavement on the side of the front entrance, and then brought the AeroCap Pickup around to hook it up, but - it was raining a good stream so the hook up was done quickly, and off we went, Electricfly in tow, returning home still in daylight in time to make an easy unhook on the street by the apartment!

{Updated on Thursday January 10, 2013 to correct numerous Missed Typo's and add a bit of clarity. R.W.}

Friday, April 24, 2009

GVA - Move in Day!

So - Friday after work, with a shower and a quick bit to eat, we headed off to the TCC and got the electricfly in, situated, and ready for the big day - Saturday, April 25, 2009!!

Interesting enough - I took the long way around to the dock entrance, as I thought it was on the very North End of the Building, but it was actually on the East Side - facing the Pearson Airport Approach path!

I did not have my camera with me - so I had no pics of the varios vehicles setting up, but there were a lot of interesing samples there - just take a peak at the flyer for the Great Vehicle Adventure!

After getting that done, we headed home, and I went about picking the items I would display at the show, as handouts, cards, flyers, etc. We picked a photo and story overview of the electricfly update that is going into the Newsletter that I am editor for The Electric Vehicle Society of Canada (EVS), and also - the first couple pages of a newsletter for them, a survey, and both a member application and a order form for the EV Conversion Manual they have produced.

We selected Kinko's since they are open 24 hours in some locations here in the city, found out which one, and then did my first attemp of an online order for the material, flyers, handouts, and business cards, so they could do it while we got a bit of sleep!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Preperations for First True Public Showing!

Saturday, April 25, 2009 was the date that The Great Vehicle Adventure Show (GVA) was held here in the Toronto Area, at the Toronto congress Centre, Dixon Road & Highway # 27, in the North Building, A friend of mine suggested I bring and show my Electric Car there. So, finally, on Thursday, 2 days before the show, I called the Organizer, and she was happy to have me add my EV to the list of different vehicles to present there!

So - since I am not sure of the condition of my batteries right now - I decided to tow it there behind my Dodge Dakota Truck with the AeroCap on it.
The Towing Layout - Taken After the show - returning home The Bumper Ball I had, unfortunately had a 1" Shank and I had to run out and buy one with a 3/4" Shank to fit my bumper point. Also - the height of the bumper was higher than the pickup point on the cars front - so the triangle tow bar was slanted way up, giving me a bit of a concern, as I understood that it should be level, to allow the most variation in movement while traveling over dips and hills, etc., but it actually worked out OK.

My Wife (Lily) & I towed the electricfly over to the Toronto Congress Centre (TCC) Thursday night, so after work friday, I just had to go over and bring it inside. We dropped it off in the south parking, where security could keep an eye on it.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A Touch of Spring Cleaning

Well, after a long period of Silence here, I felt it time to add some news!

The car has been parked for most of the winter - not just because of what it does to Lead Acit Batteries, but because the Landlord - while pushing snow in the parking lot - took off the front plate and holder! Just Caught it with the Blade on the Pickup, and ripped it right off - putting a bad 'Z' wringle into them both, plate and holder! I just got them straightened and reinstalled today. I had Danny at Pat's Automotive Service help me out with it, although as he was working on it - I realized I could probably have taken it to work and straightened it out there!

Oh Well - It only cost me $10 to get it fixed up reasonable, and re-mounted on the Front Bumber, but we had to mount it lower to get some grip for the screws, and I would likely need a new bumber to do it right, and get a new Plate - $97 for one Custom replacement!

I also decided to put a bit of charge into the pack, as it said 91% SOC on the Woodward Display when I started out today, and about 69% when I got back home. I think the Batteries are a bit tired, but still - I had them on the charger for 3 hours and 39 minutes before I checked up on them, and they only took 1.02 kWh, or 13.2 Cents worth of Electricity (Including: Electricity Taxes, Delivery & Ontario Hydro 'Debt Retirement Charge!')

Not so bad for a total of about 5.5 Km on the Trip meter, between the last drive and this one - that would be under 200 Watt Hours per Kilometer. Interesting - I was just reading an old post on the EEStor EESU (Electrical Energy Storage Unit), 52 kWh for under 340 lbs (I think it was 336 lbs), so that would be about 60 lbs less than my current pack, and enough energy to push it along for about 250 Km or better!

I have Been looking at the options of Lithium Choices in the mean time, with my general interest leaning towards ThunderSky TS-LFP160AHA Cells. 32 of them give me over a 100V Nominal at about 102.4V, sot 102V x 160Ah = about 16,000 Wh. Using 80% Depth of Discharge gives a usable energy of about 12.8 kWh. If my average power use is 5 Km per kWh - then I can get about 60 - 65 kms on such a pack. However - my basic calculation is about 135 - 140 Wh per Km - sot that would get me about 90+ Km range. That would be enough to cover just about all the local city driving needs, including some trips out to Pickering and Oshawa (might need a bit of a charge while there, but it would still be doable!)

Other thoughts go towards the A12326650M1 Cells, of Which I have already got 24, enough for a 4S6P Pack - or 13.2V x 13.8 Ah, in a really small pack, for a weight of only about 1.68 Kg for the cells + a bit for joining bars and whatever Cell Protection Cicuitry or BMS System might be added with it.

More Lately - I have started thinking more towards Tesla Motors Style of thinking - Lithium-Ion (Cobalt firecrackers) with critical BMS and Thermal management, due to the lighter total mass for a given available energy storage level. Using a Cell limit of 2C means I would need a minimum of about 120 Ah worth of storage for a safe load of 240 amps continuous, but such a pack would be quite a bit less than my current 400 lb lead-acid pack!

Example - the 3.7V 2600 mAh Samsung Li-Ion 18650 Battery: weighs just 46.5 gms or 1.64 oz per cell. Making a 130 Ah Pack at 103.6V would have a Cell weight of just 143.22 lbs, so even doubling that weight for BMS, Cell Protection Cicuits, and Thermal Management, is still just 286.44 lbs, or 113.56 Lbs Less than my current pack, but give a total energy of 13.47 kWh, with an 80% DOD still gives 10.77 kWh usable and about a 54 - 77 Km Range! (Some 2X - 5X my current range!)

If the BMS Complete & Thermal Management weighed in a 50% of the Pack's cell only weight, going to a 103.6V x 260 Ah Pack does 2 things - (1) ends up with an energy storage of 26.94 kWh total at a weight of just 30 lbs over my curent pack, but about 26 lbs less than the batteries that were in the car when I bought it! (2) Provides a minimum Range in excess of 100 Km (107), and a possible range in excess of 150 Km (153) at 140 Wh/Km! This is at an 80% DOD yielding just 21.55 kWh usable!

Also - the 260 Ah Pack allows higher current draws for more spectaular acceleration runs - easily allowing the controller to start over powering the motor with 260 Amps (at a battery 1C Load) or even up to 390 Amps (At a battery load of just 1.5C - within the 2C Limit)! this would be quite spectacular I am sure - as I have never drawn over 240 amps, but with Lead Acit - that gives up power because of the large Voltage Sag! At Highway driving - I used to draw about 185 Amps at about 100 Kmh, but my pack voltage sagged to about 75 Volts, so I was only getting about 13.8 kW out of the motor, but - that still gives about 138 Wh/Km!

Anyway - lots to think about while I go forward with this car, and most things get to be a bit expensive, even just adding the desired remaining instruments could cost from $400 to over $2000! Ranging from eMeter or Link-10, to the eVision from Metric Mind, or a complete custom SVGA 800 x 480 Video Display system, with custom screens.