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Taming the hills of Vermont

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Tom Simon

Joined: 18 Oct 2005
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Fri Jun 23, 2006 7:29 pm    Post subject: Taming the hills of Vermont Reply with quote

My name is Tom Simon and I live in Marlboro, Vermont. I have been interested in renewable energy and EV's for several years. I purchased a E-10 from EVermont in 7/05 and put a new set of Deka Dominators in 10/05 and have been commuting to work in Brattleboro every day ever since. The commute is about 20 miles one way, the elevation at my home is 1865' and in Brattleboro is 340' so I cruise down to work between 50-60MPH using around 10AH. My route includes 2.5 miles of dirt road and 2.5 miles on I-91 with the balance being 2 lane secondary road with a 50 MPH speed limit. The stretch on I-91 has a nice hill and I keep up with traffic at 70 MPH. The return trip...another story!
The best I've been able to maintain coming up the hill on I-91 is about 58 MPH. I usual go a little slower to conserve to make sure I make it home and if traffic is heavy may pull over into the breakdown lane. Fortunately, there are several passing lanes coming up the hill and I have several spots I pull over to let the world go by. I usually average between 30-40 MPH most of the way home and it takes me 45-50 minutes instead of a half hour. I bought the truck not knowing if it would make commute.(leap of faith?) My wife was not pleased and still isn't. If it can't pull a horse trailer then she isn't interested.
I use about 30-35AH on the trip home and usually carry about a dozen RR tie blocks of wood to burn every evening since I manage a sawmill(small fringe benefit). The truck has been real dependable. The only problem I have had is a couple of blown fuses for all the accessories(sized too small by previous driver). I've had the brakes worked on several times and it goes much better when the shoes aren't dragging. I also won't leave it on any substantial hill without blocking the wheel(I've found the pickup a fair distance from where I parked it when I returned(fortunately the parking lots were empty at the time).
I have driven 8,275 miles as of today(6/23/06) and used 3050KW. I managed to get a regular KW meter that I carry in the back of the truck to record my electrical usuage with the BC3000. I have a small KILLAWATT unit that I use with the BC1000. I've gone from .467KW/mile in December to .36KW/mile in May. Muddy roads, snow tires and the heater pads under the batteries all suck up a little extra juice. I'm fortunate that the owner of the sawmill is sympathetic to EV's and lets me top off the batteries at work-no charge!
I did manage to find some of the history on this truck from Beth at Solectria. It was sold to Potomac Electric Power in DC in 8/95. Had 36 new Hawkers installed in 1996. Hmmm.. Maj. Rick Cope of the defense dept drove it for several years. EVermont purchased it and Burlington Electric had it for several years. They had trouble finding someone competent to reset the GFCI that kept tripping that they used for charging the truck. (EVermont just completed transforming a Toyota Echo to electric with Zebra batteries which may be of interest to some of you. (100 mile range www.evermont.org)
I've read with interest through all of the posts and feel I'm fortunate not to have some of the challanges that others have had because I'm lacking hours in the day to deal with them.
My truck came with both a BC1000 and 3000 mounted behind the seat which has been real convenient. I'm lacking temperature sensors in the battery compartments for the BC3000. Solectria had only ones for the 1000. I'm told I need 2.2Kohm thermisters but haven't had a chance to track them down. I also had the back light bulb blown on the amp meter guage which was a pain at night because I'm always monitoring what I'm drawing. I managed to exchange the bulb with the one in the voltmeter(what a rats nest of wires under my console). Does anyone have a source for those bulbs? I've also had times where the truck would surge even though I was holding the accel pedal as steady as I could. It seems to have worked it's way out of this over time.
I hope this (brief?) intro has been of some interest and look forward to visiting with any of you through the forum or at tomrsimon@yahoo.com.
Thanks for your time.
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Joined: 26 Sep 2005
Posts: 236
Location: Peoria, AZ

PostPosted: Mon Jun 26, 2006 1:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tom, welcome to the forum. I'm sure I speak for EVeryone here that we are all glad to see another faithful EVer on this list of Solectia owners. First off... too bad that your wife thinks your nuts. Mine did at first until I got her to ride with me several times to get the EV grin going. She thought I was waisting a terrible amount of money on a toy that would be impracticle for us. After a couple of trips, I let her drive, she began to get the grin. I kept emphasising that we were only spending a few cents to go for a sunday drive. (this was during the battery break in) Now that we have put on about 5,000 miles using the truck primarily for commuting to work and back she thinks I'm a genious! I made up a spreadsheet that I use to keep track of the daily miles driven and the amps charged (which I calculate into real dollars and then mileage comparisons) and show her what we would have spent on gas in the car or our other truck. She is a bit of a saver so seeing the difference has really opened up her mind to the value of an EV.

Your experiences with your truck seem pretty typical from what I've seen. One reason for the surge may have been in your POT. If the truck sat for any length of time, the POT may have developed a dead spot. I noticed a little surging on my truck initially but it is all gone now.

As for the lights, unless Azure can help you with the light replacement, I think you may have to look for them under some of the on line electrical places. Maybe if Azure can't provide you with a replacement bulb, they may be able to at least give you the specs on the meter to find a replacement bulb.

My truck also initially had 36 Hawkers as did the one I sold to Art Marquart. I modified mine to the 24 Dominators and Art's has 22 flooded 12v Stowaways. His can deliver more amps but I think his overall power is about the same because of the lower voltage. As you have probably noticed, there are a lot of different versions of the E-10 made by Solectria in the voltage, battery types and chargers used. Art's truck has a BC3000. Yours is the first BC1000 truck I've heard about as most were made with at least the BC3000 or BC3300. Most on the list now have BC3300 chargers under the hood rather than in the cab. The BC 3000 is actually a Brusa NLG 3 version. The BC3300 is an updated Brusa NLG 4 and some have the beefed up NLG4 that will crank out higher voltages for the trucks with 276v systems. Several trucks came with the Hughes Magna Charger as well. These were on the trucks that were distributed to California and Arizona mostly, but a few were out there on the East coast.

Good luck with your truck. As a fellow EVer told me last week, these E-10s are like the Cadillac of EVs. They have all the bells and whistles with the AC drive, PS, PB, AC, Heat and we have accessories that work!

Best to you.

Jeff Wilson
US Army (Ret)

Plug in the cord... not the pump!
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Tom Simon

Joined: 18 Oct 2005
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Mon Jun 26, 2006 4:45 pm    Post subject: Thanks for the Support Reply with quote

Hi Jeff,
Thanks for the response and all the info. I'm going to take your advice and show my wife some numbers. Maybe that will help to bring her around. If you or anyone on the forum happen to be in Southern Vermont, please look me up. We're only 15 minutes from Mount Snow and skiing in the winter time. It's also a great area to enjoy the scenery while hiking, biking, horseback riding, etc. in the warmer months. Of course, it's the best while riding in an EV!
Thanks again,
Tom Simon
2230 Higley Hill Road
Wilmington, VT 05363
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