Arc 1 Conversion Journal 10/1/2013 Big EV Grin - DIY Electric Car Forums
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Arc 1 Conversion Journal 10/1/2013 Big EV Grin

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Posted 10-01-2013 at 10:03 PM by AviatorBJP

So, this is only my third blog entry, and my car has been done for a month! I am not a very good documentarian... Sorry. My car is the ARC 1 over in the garage section of the forums, for anyone who wants to take a look.

This car has continued to exceed my expectations.

In just the first month, I have done about 400 miles of driving in this car. I have never run out of juice... in fact, the batteries have never been below 60% SOC except on range tests. I have quickly recovered from any range anxiety I had at first, despite having a relatively small battery pack.

The vehicle isn't going to win any drag races, as it has a purposefully undersized motor; but it keeps up with traffic and gets me to highway speeds in a normal amount of time. Still no official 0-60 time to report.

The car looks great, in my opinion, with an obnoxious bright-green paint job. The front bumper has been fiberglassed, bondo'd, and sanded smooth, so it looks very futuristic. (this was part of waterproofing the engine bay) The car turns heads at every intersection, and people stop me in the parking lot to ask about the "Electric" emblems on the car.

Under the hood of the car is less pretty, but much more interesting. I always get a reaction from people when I pull back the insulating cover from the battery pack. I tried to build the car in such a way that every component was easily accessible and visible. This makes it easy to walk through the systems with people who are unfamiliar with electric vehicles.

The car can recharge on a 220v outlet, but I have never done that yet, since I don't have that type of outlet in my garage. But I have been very happy with charging on a standard 110v. A recharge after my typical commute is less than an hour. I typically plug it in every time I come home, and unplug it to leave. I am now getting confident enough to leave the charging cable at home.

The car has its own driving quirks, but myself, my wife, and others that I have let drive the car got used to the feel within the first few minutes. The biggest deal is that it is a manual transmission (minus the clutch) and people unfamiliar with shifting get nervous. For those people, I tell them to keep it in 2nd gear. I like to use 1st and 2nd personally. The other big difference is that it is a manual steering rack. I have grown to prefer the feel of it over a power rack, and my wife seems to like it too. She has even given me a few tips on driving it.

I still need to get the car on a set of scales, but based on weighing the components I removed from the car before recycling them, and weighing the new parts before they were installed, I am estimating the car is about 240 pounds lighter than the stock model.

I mentioned before that I waterproofed the engine bay. The bumper no longer has air inlets, and there is a flexible belly pan underneath. I have driven in heavy rain, and splashed through a few big puddles. I have avoided pressure-washing and car-washes, just because its better to be safe than sorry.

Sometime in the future, I plan on making this car an electric-electric hybrid. What does that mean? Well, there are some interesting batteries being developed with huge energy storage, but they are one time use cells. So I would do most of my driving on the rechargeable LiFePo4s, but on long distance trips, I can switch to the long-range single-use pack. Alternatively, I could always add to my LiFePo4 pack, and throw in a more powerful motor.

Anyways, This forum was a huge help to my project. Thanks to everybody that has offered advice, shared their experience, and inspired me with their builds. I might get around to another blog post in another year... we will see. Happy driving everybody.
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