Red Shoulder Hawk

Red Shoulder Hawk

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Fall EV Display and Ride-Along Rally

Today I'll bring you a peek inside the world of the EV owner. The venue is the EBEAA (Don't ask me what that acronym really stands for) rally at Chabot College in Hayward. I went with the yellow car. I washed her first and everything. Amanda had sent me a message telling me to be very sparing with the water, and I was. Still, she sparkled!

Chabot is located a bit down the freeway from me. The tiny little car did just fine and together we caused no accidents among the larger internal combustion engine vehicles. In fact, I discovered we were everybody's sweetheart: lots of friendly waves, honking, and pictures taken by camera phones.

The EV owner loves to give rides in his or her car. This is a Ghia that drag races on batteries! You can tell I'm a complete noob on all this stuff. I really am not all that interested in whether you've got a 7" or a 9" in that chassis. I do know that bigger is better. But a 9" DC motor in a lightweight car like a Ghia is a bit too much horsepower.

EV owners mingle with ICE (internal combustion engine) car owners without animosity. When sheltered among their own kind, however, talk turns to peak oil, charging using solar panels, 7" versus 9," 196 volt systems and 30 amp chargers, mods and conversions and wiring diagrams, legislation that slows the penetration of EVs into the market, Ford and GM's car crushing program, and sciatica caused by extravagant EMF fields. The technobabble flows far too fast for my brain to process, so I'm sorry but I can't bring you the whole experience.

I participated in the secret EV owner ritual at the electronic equivalent of the watering hole: modifying plugs and adapters for a quick recharge for the trip home. I had to sustain another several rounds of electro-mechanical hacker speak. Some of it seeped in this time; when charging, if the current is held constant, then you end up needing more power as the pack fills up, but if you let the current vary, then the power requirement drops as you the pack fills.

At least, I think that's what they were saying. On the way home, the belt started getting really loud. I thought perhaps I'd picked up some dirt?

When I got home, my car's new girlfriend was parked out front. I thought my car was the girl... Well, I've always wanted to-- um, never mind. Still, I wonder who wears the pants..?

Since I can't keep a clean mind, I figured I might as well keep a clean belt. I pulled the Sparrow's belt housing. Sure enough, it was a bit dirty, and I as I cleaned it, I couldn't get it to stay clean. I eventually realized the cowl around the small sprocket on my 8" motor was dropping gunk onto the belt. I dug a bunch of oily gritty stuff out. How did it all get in there? What was the first owner doing? How did he get so much crap in there in only 2700 miles?

My Sparrow now has 3015 miles on her.

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