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.