Archive for the ‘electric car’ Category

Stuff I’ve Learned – Electric car wise.

20 September 2009

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:

Ken is in the passenger seat

Ken is in the passenger seat

Ken has number 466 out of 500

Ken has number 466 out of 500

Dashboard - the big circle in the center is the speedometer

Dashboard - the big circle in the center is the speedometer, and the display above and to the left of the steering wheel shows how much charge remains

The front grille of the Mini-E

The front grille of the Mini-E


14 August 2009

I promised I would tell you things I had accomplished this summer, to counter the complaints I made on Monday.  First is the collection of sixty (60) jars of pickles, jam, and dessert topping that now live in our basement.  This is not including the jars that we have given away or consumed the contents of, or that I made in a class.  Or the three unused pint jars that are destined to contain pickled beets as of next weekend.  I am honestly amazed to count up all these jars (though my numbers are miniscule compared to Marisa’s):

  • 4 8-oz jars blackberries in chambord
  • 1 pint jar watermelon rind pickles
  • 8 pint jars dill spears
  • 7 pint jars bread & butter pickles
  • 3 pint jars cucumber relish
  • 12 8-oz jars blueberry jam
  • 4 8-oz jars peach dessert sauce
  • 7 8-oz jars black-and-blue berry jam
  • 9 jars raspberry jam (mixed sizes)
  • 5 jars peach/berry jam (mixed sizes)

Before this summer, I had never canned anything.  But now I am very much on the bandwagon with everyone else in the “canvolution.”


What else?

I acquired a car to convert to a plug-in electric vehicle.  Thanks, Melissa!  Interestingly, I have already gotten two inquiries about the car from prospective buyers (one a driveway-sealer guy driving by, another from a pizza delivery guy) and a tentative recipient of the engine and transmission (somebody the guy next door knows).  Today my minions and I removed the radiators (there were two!), alternator, spark plugs, a belt, the battery, the fuse box, part of the exhaust, the coolant reservoir, and unhooked much of the wiring.  If only I had minions more often!  But they are all off to college and I am off to vacation, and then I will be in school.  I suggested we might work on the car again the day after Thanksgiving.  We shall see.  I am in touch with the minions on facebook, so hopefully we will manage to accomplish more.

I built a foam-cutter.  This is a wooden platform and a taut, vertical nichome wire that I can pass some electric current through.  The current makes the wire hot, so it can cut through polystyrene foam with ease, and with noxious fumes.  It is only for use in a well-ventilated area.  Then I needed a power supply for the foam cutter, and it ought to be variable- i.e. I want to be able to adjust the voltage continuously from 0V to 12V.  It is only partially constructed, but I have all the parts.  I have a nifty new soldering station that made construction of the power supply (I converted a computer’s ATX power supply) easy peasy!

I went to the library numerous times, read a bunch of books, constructed two jigsaw puzzles, read two e-books on my iPod, caught up on some podcast-listening, organized some stuff in my office better, sorted through several large stacks of paper in my office, fixed up a mobile made by one of my students so that it is much sturdier, acquired some uranium-doped glass marbles, took three teacher workshops (one a week long and two 3-day workshops), foisted cucumbers off on anyone and everyone, had jury duty for a day, took a pickling class, picked quarts and quarts of berries, and made pies!

One thing I managed to do that I am very pleased with is getting a lot of unframed artwork that has been sitting around the house (in one case since we moved in) framed professionally.  One of those pieces has not been sitting around that long, it is a watercolor painting by my dad.  We will hang it in the guest room, but we don’t know which will be the appropriate bit of wall, yet, so in the meantime it is on the futon:


All that and I still found time to lie about on my backside doing sudoku puzzles and watching Law and Order and Bones on TV. Which explains why three major projects aren’t finished yet…and I am going on vacation tomorrow!  I will come back and have three days to get my act together before school inservices begin!  ACK!

Electric Car Journey Part 1

16 July 2009

Remember this post?  Melissa offered up her old Civic in the comments.

Melissa drove the Honda up from MD this morning, and we celebrated her getting rid of her old car and me getting a new project with yummy brunch:  popovers with homemade jam (from various makers, none of them me), local organic peaches with cream, and tea.  I wish I had excuses to eat brunch like that more often!

So now I really have to figure out how to make an electric car.  It turns out that the EEVC does not meet in July or August, so I will have to rely on the internet and the telephone for now.  Of course, I am documenting this process in this blog, and the photos will all be on flickr for your enjoyment.  I had some fun taking a few photos of my first day with my base vehicle (click on photo to enlarge):