A week and a half ago I attended my first EEVC meeting, finally. I joined over the summer. It was a very interesting meeting and I look forward to more of them!
As a result of that meeting, I have also joined the Electric Auto Association (EAA).
So what did I learn? I learned about some of the differences between alternating current and direct current electric vehicles, including differences in cost and in operation. One of the members had brought in an alternating current controller for show and tell. He is installing it in his Saturn station wagon conversion. I learned about transmissions, like YES, I really need to pull out the automatic transmission on my Civic and replace it with a manual transmission…but I won’t need a clutch. Really. Also, I learned that lithium-ion batteries (Li-ion) need to be clamped together to avoid having them change their shape by bulging out on the sides. That is not a problem with lead-acid batteries.
Then after the meeting, member Ken offered rides in his Mini-E, which he was lucky enough to acquire one of the 450 1-year leases available in this country (NYC area and LA area only!). These cars can go over 100 miles on a full charge, are silent, zippy, and you can change the color of the LED-interior lighting scheme according to your whim. I got to drive it around the parking lot of the school where the meeting was. The Mini-E has much stronger regenerative braking than my Prius — take your foot off the accelerator pedal and you immediately slow down dramatically! It seats only two, due to the fact that the entire back-seat area is taken up by 5,088 Li-ion batteries!
Here are my photos of Ken’s car: