About Us and the Force
We've been following EVs since 1991, when Elizabeth received a copy of "Solo : Life With an Electric Car". This got us interested in EVs as a way to commute without generating pollution. We decided that when the time came to replace our around-town car, the '88 Plymouth Horizon, we'd replace it with an EV. Well, as time went by, we found that there were several companies manufacturing EVs for commercial sale, or we could buy a regular internal combustion car and do the conversion to electric ourselves. For us, the solution that made the most sense was to buy a Solectria.
We bought our Solectria Force EV in December 1997 and have been very happy with it, traveling almost 4000 miles by October 1, 1998.
The Force is rated for approximately 50 miles of travel per charge (at 45 mph). Higher speeds (it has a top speed of 70) will deplete the batteries faster. The great part is, by watching the energy display (the equivalent of a fuel gauge) on the instrument panel while driving, you can adjust your driving to maximize efficiency. While cruising or accelerating, the car operates as you might expect: Power is taken from the battery pack and used by the electric motor. A nice feature of the Force that you might not expect is that when you slow down, the car allows the motor to act as a generator, and as it slows the car, it converts the kinetic energy of the car in motion to electrical energy and stores it back in the batteries, increasing range! Imagine having a gasoline car that created additional gasoline when you slowed down, placing it back into the tank! That's a good analogy for what happens in the Force.
The Force is a converted Geo Metro 4-door sedan. The engine, transmission and gas tank are removed and replaced by an electric motor, custom gearbox and two battery packs (front and rear). There are 13 12-volt sealed lead-acid batteries, for a total of 156 volts. These batteries drive the car, and the higher voltage is converted to 12 volts for the various systems (headlights, stereo, etc).
Frequently Asked Questions
How long is your extension cord?
This is usually asked as a joke as if the car needs to be plugged in to run, but in fact we do carry an extension cord, for what is known as "opportunity charging". If we're out somewhere and the car will be parked for a while, it makes sense to plug in and replenish the charge while the car's sitting. The extension is set up with a standard 120V plug, which will charge the car at a slower rate than normal but will help extend our range. And to answer your question, it's 25 feet long.
The cord also has adapters for various 240-volt receptacles, such as dryers, ranges and RVs, so we can plug in just about anywhere.
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This page last edited May 27, 2001