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Re: [EVDL] It is time to raise the bar, to more "Sophisticated" Conversions !

On 3 Nov 2010 at 7:35, Steve Clunn wrote:

> Blown controller and 2 year old dying batteries he's ready to sell
> this S10 that he worked on so hard and did a beautiful conversion,
> even painted it . Not only has he lost faith but everybody that has
> watched him over the 2 years now KNOWS ev's just don't work.

Anybody who's followed the hobbyist EV world has seen this time and time
again. To put it bluntly, conversions are NOT for most people. You have to
really, seriously, intensely WANT to drive electric, you have to be able to
maintain your own vehicle, and you have to be wiling to put up with it
breaking more frequently than the typical first-world ICEV.

The automakers have had over 100 years to refine ICEVs. For such complex
machines they are just staggeringly, remarkably reliable. I compare them to
the miracle of late 1970s phono cartridges - who would have thought that a
crude mechanical sound reproducing method could sound so good?

The components we generally use in conversions are just not as robust or as
well integrated as ICEVs'. They require more work, just like early ICEVs
did, and that work is almost always the responsibility of the owner since
there are almost no EV mechanics (yes, Dennis, I know this is what you're
trying to accomplish ;-).

Most of the folks on this list are right there, which is why EVs work for
us.

Probably hundreds or thousands more people with less mechanical aptitude or
patience have tried conversion EVs and discovered that most conversions
don't have the drive-and-forget reliablity they're used to in modern ICEVs.
People are so heavily depending on cars in our society that not having that
reliability puts them into a state of actual psychological despair.

And who can blame them? They are products of an environment that assumes
vehicles are highly reliable. If the car quits and they're late for work,
they fear they may be fired. Sensational news reports have made them
deathly afraid that if they don't pick up the kids at school right on time,
some nefarious attacker will hurt them; or that they'll be killed or maimed
if the car breaks down in a "bad neighborhood." Fear is a powerful
motivator. Just ask any marketer - or politician.

If you want to see what folks with less mechanical aptitude go through,
you'll find a few examples in the archive, people who come to us in despair.
Some get their answers and hang on for a while. Many eventually give up.
Or just ask Gail, who with very little mechanical interest or aptitude has
been been driving electric for about as long as I have - I have a HUGE level
of admiration for her persistence.

Say what you will about the EV1, Ford Ranger EV, and Toyota RAV4-EV, they
mostly managed this problem well. Even most of them had some problems, but
the automakers mostly dealt with this by throwing large amounts of warranty
cash at them. A few other EV manufacturers made some progress against it
but ultimately fell short, partly because they didn't have the same deep
warranty pockets.

The small EV converter who can solve this problem >at a price people are
willing to pay< - no mean feat - will find success. It's not going to be
cheap to do so.

Absent that solution, the only answer I can see is for converters ro just be
100% upfront about the challenges of using a conversion EV, turning away the
drivers who wave fistfuls of money but obvously aren't going to be able to
handle the mechanical and psychological challenges of owning a conversion
EV.

David Roden - Akron, Ohio, USA
EVDL Administrator

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