Last updated Monday March 26, 2012

Weight Reduction

Friction is ultimate energy waster and contributor of finite range.  

I have measured experimentally that reducing weight will increase the fuel efficiency of any vehicle.  

Swapping out my 1300 lb lead-acid battery pack with a 400 lb Lithium-Ion one would make my electric truck go an extra 40 miles simply because of the weight reduction alone.

I am not ready to spend $9,000 - 12,000 on a new high-end battery pack as of yet. There must be something else that I can remove in the mean time to shave off some weight.

Rear Bumper

I noticed that the rear bumper looks like a parachute and probably acts like one at freeway speeds. One evening, as an experiment, I removed it.

Spare Tire

While I was lying on my back under the truck, I noticed the spare tire. I have not had a flat tire in almost 10 years and every time I did have a flat, it was on a long road trip and there was road debris that caused the flat.

I justified that for my short 20-mile city commute is will within my tolerance of risk. If I had a flat, I could simply call my wife to bring the spare tire to me. Having a flat is greatly reduced if you perform regular tire pressure and maintenance. My spare tire is now replaced with a can of fix a flat and a bike pump.

Heat Shields

The undercarriage is littered with several funny shaped metal pieces that keep hot exhaust lines from damaging other parts of the vehicle or igniting volatile fuel lines. It amazes me that society as a whole has accepted the dangers and risks of driving these explosive time-bombs on wheels. The 225,000 car fires that happen each year in the United States alone don't seem to attract much media attention anymore either.

In any case, these heat shields are not needed in an electric vehicle simply because there are no hot exhaust gases or volatile fuels to worry about.

I removed a good 10 lbs of metal heat shields from the undercarriage.

Tailgate and Bed Cover

The tailgate is a heavy piece of metal. I currently believe that having a tail-gate up may contribute to slightly increased fuel efficiency, but I also know that less weight also helps. If anything, the two competing forces may just cancel each other out.

The Jury is still out weather my truck cover was contributing to good aerodynamics or not. Since the tail-gate was being removed, I might as well throw away the cover too.

All in all, I removed over 150lbs from my truck. Bumper, tailgate, spare tire with mount, Heat shields, and bed cover. This 150 lbs is over 4% the weight of the truck. I myself also lost 10 lbs while converting my EV truck.  

I re-mounted the real license plate and plate lights on the back of the bed. I also added some shameless advertising for this website.  

Next Article:  Undercarriage Cover