I've only just started with my 1997 Force, my first EV and the first EV in my town. I spent a year researching EV cars and going to meetings and talking to EV fans before I figured out that the Solectrias were one of the few designs that seemed to make sense for a car that you could actually use, rather than keep in your shop and spend money on. Now that I own one I am more impressed than ever at the economy and efficiency of the design. I used to fix cars for a living before "graduating" to fixing computers (all in a former life) so you can bet I went over my car with a fine-tooth comb when I got it and I am still learning tons about it daily.
Since my other "vehicles" are my feet and my bike, I could only afford a really cheap Solectria, so of course I bought a broken one that looks like it had been abandoned for many years. I spent a few weeks rebuilding connectors, cables, troubleshooting voltage surges and other odd bits, and putting in a new gel-pack and so far it seems to run very happily. I have to thank Earl Killian for allowing me to test-drive his 2000 Force while I was still working on mine, it helped give me the inspiration I needed to finish my restoration! I'm also very grateful to Kevin Daugherty at Solectria who I have deluged with questions almost daily and he's always been patient and informative.
As I'm a cheapskate, I put in a yard-sale stereo from an Isuzu that works great and I charge it from a yard-sale contractors heavy-gauge cord I adapted to plug into my 220v dryer outlet, and next I'll explore building a cheap battery monitoring and equalizing system and adding a "time of use" meter that will let me charge it for 1/3d the normal price.
We use it mainly as the "kids to school" car so it puts in 24 miles a day but broken into three 8-mile segments with enough time between to recharge. From what I can tell of the East Penn specs, this amounts to a regular 15% discharge cycle and they claim I can expect 4,500 cycles at that level, or about 4 years or 35,000 miles. That seems incredible if true, so I'm bugging East Penn for more detailed test data and keeping my own detailed records so I can see what's true.
I now run a grants program to help conservation non-profits so I'm happy to finally be able to "walk my talk" and to be able to do it with a machine as superior as the Solectria. I don't exactly have a personal web site yet but my conservation grants program can be found at www.conservationgis.org. (My contact data is under "help".)
Return to the Solectria Owners Website home page
This page last updated 09/22/03