Monday, July 27, 2009

Good news and moving stuff around...

Well, I finally landed a new job, and it's local so I wont have to move. All great news! Unfortunately, it will take me a few months to recover until I can even think about spending money on the Probe.

As it was, Penny was sitting under my attic, so one weekend morning I single-handedly took it off the jacks, moved all mine/my Dad's stuff to the other side of the garage, rolled it back inside the garage, cleaned up the mess and now I can park next to it and get at my attic!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Bit of a setback...

Well, yesterday I was laid-off. Penny will just have to wait that much longer. :)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Electric Cars On The Way

Hey, James I see your comments but I'm not sure how to respond to you... you can e-mail me at aikeru [at] gmail [dot] com

I think it's always exciting to see yet another manufacturer starting on a BEV :) here's a list of the ones I've found so far:

Who doesn't love the Tesla Model S sedan? 300mi. range with a 45minute "quick-charge" at $49,9k
Tesla is also supplying Mercedes-Benz with batteries for their EV
Remember the "Miles EV"? 80+mph, 120+mi range XS500 set to be $30k-$35k
Subaru's sub-$20k R1e which can recharge in 15 minutes with a 124mi. range
Dodge's beautiful EV sports car 150-200mi., 0-60 <5sec. four hour charge at 220v
BMW's Electric Mini
Nissan's unnamed electric - it will be a 4 door, FWD hatchback. They have the interesting idea of leasing the batteries and having a reduced price for the car itself...
Indian-made REVA Electric Car (75mi., 50mph, 90% charge in 1 hour)
Electric Tango 0-60 in 4 seconds
Mercedes-Benz developing BEV, plans to eliminate fossil by 2015
GM's Chevy Volt - well, it's not 100% BEV seeing as they added a gasoline generator to recharge the batteries, but for people who need 1 car that can refuel at a gas station on a long trip, it may be ideal.
Fisker's Karma is much like the volt, but at $80km, 125mph and a 50mi. range before gas generator
Ford to bring pure Ford Focus BEV to market in 2011
Chinese BYD's E6 who Warren Buffet has invested in
Toyota FT-EV
Mitsubishi MiEV
Th!nk City electric car - a four-seater with 110 mile range and top speed of 65 mph, priced under $25,000, made from 95% recyclable materials
Google invested in Aptera Motors, their Type 1 will sell for $27k
Jeep EV and Chrysler Minivan EV
Lightning GT 0-60 in 4 seconds, beautiful and very, very expensive

Even though it's not at all practical, if you've seen the super-fast "Eliica" electric car, they shoudl be making them for sale at about $255k ea.:

Honda seems to have a negative view of BEV or PHEV...
But Honda will be making a battery electric motorcycle

Check out "Better Place" with their quick-recharge and battery swap-out stations:
They're already doing things in Australia, Hawaii, Israel and elsewhere!

Did you enjoy "Who Killed the Electric Car"? Well, there's a new movie coming out: "Revenge of the Electric Car"

I don't really care for the NEV thing myself, but China's got a cheap one
Chinese "Fly Bo" 40mph with 70-150mi. range at $10k

I got some of my info here:

I'm also still eagerly awaiting the Automotive X-Prize :)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Filling up

This entertaining activity is something the whole family can enjoy! :)
Gas is $2.09/gal outside of my neighborhood and I saw as high as $2.15 on my way to work.
For people like me who are still stuck driving gasoline cars (for now), here's a great site MSN has for finding the best deal:

It also tells you the highest and lowest prices reported for the country (which is usually Alaska oh Hawaii but today it's California). Where I live is usually right about the average.

There was a time with $2.00 was outrageous -- now it's "not a bad deal".

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Current Wishlist

While I'll be shopping around for suppliers, here's my current wishlist to be updated as I discover I need more stuff and as I find better prices.
  • Electric Motor -- looking at a used GE motor or Advanced DC 4001
  • Transmission coupler + adapter plate to the electric motor
  • DC-DC Converter (to get my 120V to 12V power for windows, radio, lights, etc.)
  • Vacuum Pump, Brake Vacuum Switch (like in Ep5 of evcapri)
  • Potentiometer for throttle
  • Voltmeter, Ammeter, any other "meters" I may need
  • Curtis PMC 1221C controller
  • Currently thinking 15 x 8V Flooded Lead Acid Batteries - thinking I may go with Interstate, I have plenty of time to decide
  • Probably 3x Chrome "Electric" Emblems
  • Some kind of heater to replace the heat originally from the engine
  • Some kind of charging system and on-board battery charger stuff
  • While I intend to try and balance the load a bit between front and back (hmmm, do I really, really need that back seat? Not if I am building this for myself... hmmm) probably need to upgrade the springs/struts for additional support
And of course there's the cost of the custom motor mount, battery boxes that need to be made, etc.
Being a computer programmer, I have plenty of spare parts in that regard :) so of course I have a spare 12V computer fan or two that I guess I could use to ventilate the rear battery box.
Finally there's all the other odd bits and pieces like fuses and battery connectors.

I'm sure I'll think of more.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Exhaust Cut Off! :)

Although I'd only removed the exhaust from the engine prior, it's finally off and away!
I had some help from my neighbor, Cody.

I think I will spend another day removing what I can from the underside of the car (ie: gas tank)
I might know of a motor I can purchase but I'm not sure if the timing is right.
Regardless, I'll have some shopping to do once I've removed a few more bits and pieces!!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Iceless Probe!!

Thanks to Brad Pogue's help, the ICE is finally out!! Woooohooo!!

Adjusted EV Calculations

You'll be happy to know I was off on my calculations about the electricity. According to my city's website, the highest price during winter for the first 2000kWh (they actually charge less after this) is 0.087 cents/kWh
This would take the EV cost per mile if at 0.44kWh / mile = 0.038 cents/mile for the electricity.
(12,000mi = $456)
My current car is more like 0.088 cent/mile for gasoline alone at $1.95/gal (12,000mi = $1,056)
If gasoline gets up to $3/gal again it would be 0.136 cent/mile (12,000mi = $1,632)

So I ought to save anywhere from $600 - $1,176 on fuel/year ($50 - $98/month).
Granted I'm not counting maintenance here (like oil, filters, coolant/antifreeze, etc. vs. battery replacement costs) but the ROI has potential if you continue to drive the EV.

I have read one using "$500/year" arbitrary figure for ICE maintenance costs and 3.3c/mile battery replacement but I don't know that I feel comfortable using those numbers.
Really that's not quite 1c/mile extra (+0.041 for ICE, +0.033 for EV) or $96/year savings.

If only solar and wind generators were cheaper for consumers...

Well I do not think electricity itself will get cheaper (quite the opposite) but I do believe batteries will from everything I've been reading in EV news, etc.

Oh, and if you can somehow charge from work... you can get even better savings.

I really believe there is an unquantifiable savings benefit to driving an EV that involves the lack of complexity. To just diagnose problems I've had with other cars, it can cost lots of money, since there are just so many parts and systems and they're buried and interconnected with each other. The more points of failure, the more chances for something to go wrong. Still, I can't think that way in my calculations and I'm not that much of a pessimist. :)

It's really interesting thinking about a car as something that could "pay for itself" (not literally unless I had a truly green solution like wind/solar).

Oh I will add, if your car really gets 50mpg (for the argument of say a Prius driven conservatively) you're more like 0.039 @ $1.95 and 0.06 @ $3 which cuts your overall savings but something to note about all those wonderful hybrid cars? Don't they need battery replacements, too? ;)

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Slightly more empty engine bay :)

My neighbor Cody came over and we hacked away at the engine a bit today. His Dad owns a saw and I talked with some other people that own or know people that own one and somebody is bound to make good on lending me one. :)

He cut some hoses rather hastily and we could smell coolant. I've been told that A/C really isn't worth it/isn't possible by some fellow EV'rs. I could live without it but it's a real shame if that's the case. Cody is also letting me borrow his socket set so I was able to tear into it some more. :)
He should be back tonight and we'll see how much farther we can go!

I've been recommended to get "Freeze Off" and some "Gator Grip Pliers" to deal with the stripped nut(s)... and a heavy hammer.

Shout out to the other EV'rs I've talked to - David, Steve, Mike and Cliff in case they read this. :)

Friday, May 1, 2009

Very little progress

Well I took a couple of small pieces off the engine and tried with that same nut and the one near it.
Here's the stripped nut I can't get off:

So I thought maybe I could remove the one you can't see here

But that is proving difficult without a ratchet for that size nut, since mine seems to have disappeared and I don't have access to my Dad's tools. A friend of a friend might come by tonight or this weekend, although I'm leaning in favor of a local mechanic I've spoken with that seems like he can offer me a good deal and even do some limited welding work. We'll see what happens.

Perhaps this weekend I can purchase some tools to help accomplish my goals. :)

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Getting my hands dirty

Well, I rearranged the stuff in the garage. I wont be able to park in there now, but I have plenty of room to work on Penny. :)
The particular nut that gave me problems before is really stripped bad. I think there's another way to get it off -- the other side is attached to something ... I'll have to get a picture of it, but it's part of the removal of the drive axles.
If that fails, maybe I can cut the nut off or something ... appreciate any help or advice on this one.

Thoughts and figures

OK if I read my electric bill right it's about 0.103c /kWh
Going with 0.44 kWh / mile (have no idea) x 0.103 / kWh = 4.5cents/mile
I read you also should add +3.3c/mile battery replacement so = 7.8c/mile

My current car is rated at 18mpg City / 26mpg Hwy (wow, didn't know it was that bad!) so let's go with 22mpg...
0.0454 gal/mi. x $1.95/gal (current price) = 8.8cents/mi.
at $3/gal = 13.6cents/mi.

If you add oil say $30/oil change x 4 times a year x 12,000mi. = 1cent/mile
so that + filters/etc.

Hmmm... do these figures sound right? I might be off a bit on my kWh price depending on how you're supposed to read the bill (they bill me for water/electric/trash all on the same bill).

I also called around some shops to see what the cost for pulling the engine would be like. I don't want to give up or take the easy way out but I also want to make progress on this.
Well, I found someone who owns their own shop and quoted me $45/hr for labor and said he thought he could remove the engine in about 4 hours easily, but since the transmission wouldn't have any support, I'd have to have it towed back to my house.
Interesting... Also can't have the engine just sitting there so I'll have to convince one of my friends to let me borrow their truck and drop it off at a salvage place or something.

Anyone want to buy a Ford Probe engine? :)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

This project is still alive.

I know. I haven't been around or saying anything. Truth is, I really don't have money for this right now. I intend to change that. Stay tuned.

When I started the project, my Dad was also helping me. He's since moved to Minnesota, so I find tearing apart a massive, heavy object somewhat intimidating, but I can't let that stop me. :)
I also had plans to offset the cost by having a roommate (my Dad, or more recently another individual), but that too isn't working out.
I'll have to find a way to budget this thing. :)

I plan to post soon some calculations on the total cost of the vehicle, technical specs on how far it could actually go and how fast/etc., how much money I'll be saving and all that.

Now and then my coworkers and friends ask, "So what are you going to do with that car?" or "What have you been doing...?" Hopefully next time I'll have something to say. :)