Ok almost ready to have this thing certified. I took it to Consulmotive the other day, and John mentioned his wish list for finalities.
1) Basically I need to make sure all bolts in my battery box are of the hightensile kind, including the big metal brackets that hold the box onto the chassis frame. This meant a hunt around for a store that could provide 140mm HT M8 which was a simple task since his shop was just around the corner from Industrial Fastners who's kind sales staff filled my order in 5 minutes.
Other toDos remaining is an install of a fire extinguisher, cover the box to IP22 standard (no finger-sized spaces) and to draw up a "Things I have installed, and what they are.." map to show him the work I've done.
In the meantime, I've also been working on the tachometer.
My plan is to use an arduino to drive a hall effect sensor which will sit close to a nylon collar around the spare motor shaft I have at the front of the vehicle. The nylon collar has 2 magnets embedded in it to latch the sensor on and then off each rotation of the collar. The arduino will automagically tell me the RPM of the motor, and by some mathematical trickery then be able to tell me speed, and distance travelled (the van is direct drive, remember!!)
Below is a shot of the nylon collar on the lathe, its a 60mm round bar surprisingly cheaper to source from England than any local supplier. Thank you eBay offcut reseller from England. Off to a good mate of mine Scotty who has a handy little modelmaking lathe and kindly allowed me to supplement his beer intake in return for some lazy evening lathe action.
Below is a shot of the Arduino ready to install. Its currently driving a red LCD but the general lighting scheme in the van at night is orange (all incandescent console lights) so I'm sourcing an orange/black serial LCD which are apparently quite rare in this China vs US rare-earth trading war environment that's happening as we speak. LittleBirdElectronics have been very patient towards my insistence.
I'll post a video once it's installed and live.
In my test driving phase, I'm slowly learning the ropes.
My initial impressions were of shock and disbelief that I could actually make this van work as an EV. It's an odd feeling after so long planning and researching that I may just wake up and it's all been a dream.
Been musing over a few of the nuances of owning an EV at all. Here's a couple of them :
1) It's still an A to B solution. If I want to go from one place to another and arrive dry and comfortable, I use a vehicle. This van is no different to an ICE except the sitting in traffic is complete silent, and I can now hear people on the footpath talking.
2) Going DirectDrive is by way far and beyond the best decision I've made. The motor is REALLY ballsy, and moves the van along hardly raising a sweat, and the Zeva controller, even with its throttlebox nunaces (it sometimes needs a jiggle of the throttlepot cable to get it moving) has been exceptional.
My test drive has taken me to work and back, so basically basically here how it goes.
I live in Coogee which is has many beachside hills. My street is steep coming out of it, and the motor/Zeva pull 180amps to climb. Short climb, then flat/downhill to Anzac Parade which is a 60-70kph arterial. No probs.. I sit on around 60amps on cruise on flat.
Down into the CrossCity tunnel and up over the Anzac Bridge, a rise which is not insignificant. At 70kph on the uphill grade, I pull 200-250 amps.
Still no problems, and I have plenty in reserve should I need to drag off a Porsche or something
Down through Balmain and park for the work day.
Interestingly my eXpertPro says I've use 22% of my pack for the 22 kilometers journey which is not a bad (random) calibration eh?
At the end of my day, I come up out of our work carpark , up a very steep driveway full of roadhumps and bumps (Balmain is crazed with speedhumps and my front springs no likey
, up Darling St (steep in places) through Balmain, back over Anzac Bridge, along freeway to Airport, off to Maroubra, past EastGardens Shopping Centre and up into Coogee and home, all at 60-80kph... still no problems.
If I try to push it and drive it hard, I'll be lucky to see the heat-overload warning LED flashing and if it does, I ease off the throttle and within 30 secs, it's back to green and ready to be abused again.
I love it.
3) Direct drive off from a standstill is NOT a tyre smoking solution. Once I hit 20kph however, I have easily twice the pick-up that I used to. From 40 to 70kph the van is very raw, and has a lot of grunt.
4) Simplicity. I put in the key, turn it, wait for a click, and its ready to drive. So so simple.
5) Old cars are loud anyways. Road and wind noise, squeaky suspension bushings and springs, body creaks, I never know how loud they are until now. It's a bit unnerving at first, but I'm learning the various sounds and actually has improved my driving style to be much smoother.
6) Old differentials do like having flywheels. My motor has none, so at speed I can hear the diff growling just on the overrun. I'm guessing its the cogs bounce-meshing at the pinion/crown interface, resonating along the driveshaft.
Am not quite sure what to do about it, but a tail-shaft guy says I can improve it by straightening up the tail shaft a bit. I'd like a silent diff but it's part and parcel of an old car.
7) I can feel that the driveshaft itself is out of balance, but only slightly and nothing I would have noticed as an ICE. Will fix soon.
8) I can hear the freakn tweety birds in the trees when I drive down the street. So minor, yet so pleasureable.
9) the Whirr of the Kostov fan has become my new companion. I've driven beside my wife's car for speed calibration and to gauge sound versus speed. I can now comfortably guess my roadspeed based on the pitch of the fan, so I'm now inclined to leave the fan alone to do its thing. Once I have the tacho/speedo in, and I'm absolute on fan tone, I doubt I'll even use it much.
10) I miss the excuse to drop into a petrol station for a snack. I actually do feel kind of guilty using their facilites at all, tyre air, windscreen wash, toilets etc since I'm only ever going to be stockin up on gum and Coke and maybe the odd brakefluid.
More ramblings to come once I get it certified.
When that days come, well, I'll be digging through my old drawer for something I bought a few years ago. The ubiquitous and long awaited silver/chrome letters to be mounted up next to the Morris Messenger chrome text on my rear door. E-L-E-C-T-R-I-C.