Thursday, October 20, 2011

Electric Truck: Range is everything!

Well, I managed to repair my odometer and speedometer. I found a blown diode. After replacing it with another one I had on hand, the gauges came back to life. Yeah!

I completed my pizza pan hubcaps and they are working out well.

Over the weekend, I threw the hubcaps on my Honda Accord (same rim size as my truck's tires) for a 640 mile journey to Southern Utah and back. They worked great and contributed to a 46mpg average fuel mileage. Not bad for driving 70mph the whole way. I have found that I suffer from helium foot. I tried to maintain 75mph but am so used to only going 55mph back and forth to work, my speed kept dropping.

I almost drove the whole trip on one tank of gas. We were running late coming back so I drove a little faster, hurting my mileage a bit. I chickened out and got some more gasoline just 32 miles from my home.

Still, not bad for $48 worth of gas (~7.5 cents per mile).  What am I doing talking about gasoline?  Granted it's an amazing fuel but I am trying to quit the stuff?  I'm hooked. We all are!

Anyway, back to the Electric Truck.  The hubcaps along with the newly painted grill blocking metal sheet, contributed to my new distance record of 64 all electric miles on a single charge.

I actually made it home no problem with 59 miles on the odometer. 59 is a crappy number to end on so I kept driving around the city until I reached 64 miles.  Those last 3 miles were pretty rough though. 

I completed the modifications to my battery charger so it can charge a depleted battery in only 7 hours instead of 13-14 hours.  It now runs on 240 volts at 25-28Amps.  This required me to upgrade the internal wiring from 14AWG to 10AWG since it was getting very hot with all that current flowing. 
I put the battery charger to the test by driving 85 miles (spanning 2 quick charge cycles).  I drove 15 miles, climbing a steep grade up a 1000 foot hill to the Bountiful Temple.  

After returning back home, I only had time to plug in for 90 minutes before driving in to work (20 miles).  After returning from work, (20 more miles), with a very depleted battery, I charged up for 3 hours before running a few evening errands (15 more miles).  I plugged the truck into the charger late that evening.  By 5AM the next morning, the battery was full and my truck was ready for me to take in to work again. Excellent! 

My last crucial hurdle will be to solve the overheating issue that still plagues the slightly undersized motor speed controller.