Sunday, January 11, 2009

The beginnings of an Electric Vehicle conversion project

I'm sure someone's going to give me grief about whether or not a kilowatt-hour is analagous to a gallon of gas, but the blog URL was available and that works for me.

For years, I've thought about doing a project like this. In summer '08, it occurred to me that if I was ever going to convert my own car from gas to electric, I should probably get on with it. Sooner or later, the major manufacturers will get on with making EVs available, then it wouldn't make a lot of sense to go through all of this one your own.

Michele and I started talking about it, and she agreed that I needed some sort of project or hobby to keep from just working all the time. The final straw was an "icebreaker" activity at a men's retreat I attended. We were supposed to identify something interesting about ourselves, and include that in our introduction. It occurred to me that I didn't have anything really interesting since my time living in Germany in the early 90's.

The research and hunt for a donor car began in September. Skipping ahead a little bit, in mid-October, I found a nice little 1997 BMW 318ti with bunches and bunches of miles. 207k of them in fact. It ran fine, and probably would've been a lot of fun to zip around town in as it was. But that wasn't the plan.

So here's a summary of design goals for my EV Conversion Project

  • Target Range: 40 miles
  • Max Speed: 60 mph
  • Typical Top speed: 45-50mph
  • Typical Avg speed: 30-40mph
  • Typical Route: Home -> School -> Church -> Grocery -> Home ~11mi
  • Capacity: 2 Adults & 2 kids + light groceries or school backpacks
  • Total Budget: $15,000
  • Completion Goal: 3/31/09

That's how the whole thing got started. I'll add more entries with pics of the teardown of the "ti". We're still looking for appropriate nicknames for the ride once it's done, so the terms I use to refer to the vehicle may change now and then. I think it'll be related to the number of knuckles that are skinned up.

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