Red Shoulder Hawk

Red Shoulder Hawk

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Chapter eleventy-pupple

in which
We Learn Robert's First Impressions Regarding Living with an EV

Someone thanked me for saving the environment today. Well, you know what, you're welcome! Glad to be of service. I also met someone who knows Jim Begier, I also had no trouble slipping by a large oncoming truck on very narrow Willow Street, I gave Emo of EMO'S a good grin (he's a motorcycle rider as well as the island's best mechanic/machinist, and spotted the Corbin seat right away), I did all my in-town errands, Gerry Mackey accused me of buying a third of a car for the price of a serviceable used car, and several people commended me for finding a way to avoid the ever-increasing price of gasoline. In my goal of engaging people in exploration about how we move ourselves from A to B it's a big winner.

My first impression is unexpected: it's as much work to drive as an ICE (internal-combustion engine) car.

In your ICE car, when the fuel gauge drops below 1/4, you fill up. Driving a manual? At 3000 RPM you shift.

I never have to shift; 0 to 70mph is all part of the wonder of an electric motor. My ammeter tells the amps I'm drawing under acceleration (keep it below 100, my range will increase). The "e-meter" is still a bit baffling; like an 80s style wristwatch with 50 functions, it shows about 12 kinds of information across the same set of LEDs.

I can track voltage drop, the amp-hours I've used up, and the meter's best guess about how much energy I have left. I started at 99% today, and drove it down to 70%. I also finished the day with 156V in the 168V pack. I've been told that when it gets to 135V the pack is fully discharged (no more driving. The batteries are now 750 pounds of anchor. Find a plug).

Here's where the beauty of an on-board charging system (think plug-in Prius) shows up: the user can be completely shielded from all this engineering. The car itself tracks the state of the battery pack, and runs the ICE when necessary. Similar user interface elegance could certainly be engineered into an EV controller, but that's not the Corbin Sparrow. It's a fascinating blend of mobile sculpture and gear-headed-ness.

Perfect for all us DaVinci progeny-in-spirit.

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