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Introductory message and Force questions

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  • monty@robotics.usc.edu
    Hi All, My name is Jim Montgomery and I live in Redondo Beach, CA (about 25 miles south of Los Angeles). I ve been driving EVs since 1992. My first EV was a
    Message 1 of 16 , Dec 3, 2000
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      Hi All,

      My name is Jim Montgomery and I live in Redondo Beach, CA (about 25
      miles south of Los Angeles). I've been driving EVs since 1992. My
      first EV was a Pontiac Fiero converted to electric by Solar Electric
      Engineering (aka US Electricar) in May 1992. I began leasing the
      Honda EV Plus in June 1998. I put 36,000 miles on my Fiero before I
      donated it to a local trade-tech school so the automotive students
      there could learn about and work with EVs. I've put 31,000 miles on
      the EV Plus to date. My current daily commute is 80 miles roundtrip.


      I'm seriously considering getting a NiMH Force and would like to ask
      some questions. My primary concerns are reliability and also repair.
      Since the closest Solectria dealer is 500+ miles north of here I will
      be on my own in keeping the Force operational. I have been following
      Solectria for quite some time and have been impressed with their
      product in terms of performance, consistently winning the Tour de Sol
      (think that is the name of the event) and setting impressive range
      records in the process.

      My impression of the Force is that it is a pretty robust vehicle and
      it built using "black boxes" that greatly simplify problem diagnosis
      and maintenance. If a component fails, it can be removed, and either
      repaired or replaced fairly easily. Is this a fair assessment?

      Also, what is the maximum number of miles anyone has put on a NiMH
      Force to date? I will be driving upwards of 20,000 miles per year
      and wonder how soon I should expect to replace the batteries.
      Does anyone know what a NiMH replacement pack goes for? What are the
      make and model of the batteries?

      Fially, I do a fair amount of freeway driving, what % discharge can
      I expect driving at 65-70mph for 50 miles of my 80 mile commute. I
      am working on getting charging at work but don't have it set up yet.
      The EV Plus can just barely make the 80 mile round trip on one charge.
      I do have access to an AVCON style charger at the U. of Southern
      California where I consult and can stop there on the way home if need
      be.

      I've been wanting to support Solectria for quite some time but could
      not afford the price of a NiMH Force. AB2061 puts it close to
      affordable for me.

      (warning! soap-box mode coming ;-) ) I'm am extremely frustrated
      with the big Automakers right now. In good faith, I leased an EV
      Plus to support EVs being produced by the big companies. I feel
      betrayed. They all have produced wonderful EVs and have done
      everything to make sure they fail in the marketplace, from making it
      difficult to lease them, to having no product available to lease, to
      spreading false and misleading information about them. I testified
      at the various CARB ZEV mandate meetings earlier this year and saw
      first-hand the full court press applied by the automakers to kill the
      mandate. I breathe polluted air everyday in Los Angeles and watch
      the motor oil/engine exhaust deposited on roads from ICEs go into our
      storm drains and out into the ocean after rainstorms. I want to do
      my part to improve the environment and driving an EV is one way to do
      so. Once you drive a clean, quiet, convenient EV you never want to
      drive a smelly, noisy fossil-fuel vehicle again. The big Automakers
      have lost my dollars for the rest of my life. I'm ready to support
      the little guys (again!). I hope the day comes when Solectria, AC
      Propulsion, Innevations, It's Electric, ZAPP, Sparrow, Enova, etc are
      the big names in personal transportation and GM, Ford, Toyota, Honda
      and the rest of the status quo dinosaurs are relegated to the ICE
      scrap heap of history. Optimistic I know, but it's nice to dream :)

      I look forward to joining the ranks of the Force drivers soon!

      warm regards,
      jim montgomery

      --------------------------------------------------------------------
      Jim Montgomery
      Member Technical Staff, Jet Propulsion Lab, NASA 818-393-1202
      Robotics Research Laboratory, University So. California 213-740-7288
      monty@...
      monty@... http://robotics.usc.edu/~monty/
      --------------------------------------------------------------------
    • Tom Hudson
      ... Yes, the major components are made by the Swiss company, Brusa. Solectria has done an excellent job of making their cars VERY easy to service, using nuts
      Message 2 of 16 , Dec 3, 2000
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        > My impression of the Force is that it is a pretty robust vehicle and
        > it built using "black boxes" that greatly simplify problem diagnosis
        > and maintenance. If a component fails, it can be removed, and either
        > repaired or replaced fairly easily. Is this a fair assessment?

        Yes, the major components are made by the Swiss company, Brusa. Solectria
        has done an excellent job of making their cars VERY easy to service, using
        nuts and bolts with 7/16” heads wherever possible. To remove the
        controller, you remove 4 7/16” nylock nuts and disconnect a few cables with
        a small slotted screwdriver. The charger is the same deal. Need to get
        into the battery boxes? The front has around 10 bolts, the rear has
        something like 20, all 7/16”.

        I had a charger fail about a year into owning our car; Solectria FedExed out
        a replacement the next day and it took about 10 minutes to replace it, and I
        ’m not a car mechanic. That’s the only component failure we’ve had in three
        years.

        Spend the extra bucks and take the Solectria service training. It’s well
        worth the money, because you’ll get the service manual and you’ll get to
        “field strip” a Force with a Solectria technician.

        > Also, what is the maximum number of miles anyone has put on a NiMH
        > Force to date? I will be driving upwards of 20,000 miles per year
        > and wonder how soon I should expect to replace the batteries.
        > Does anyone know what a NiMH replacement pack goes for? What are the
        > make and model of the batteries?

        Our car is lead-acid, so I’m no help here.

        > Fially, I do a fair amount of freeway driving, what % discharge can
        > I expect driving at 65-70mph for 50 miles of my 80 mile commute. I
        > am working on getting charging at work but don't have it set up yet.
        > The EV Plus can just barely make the 80 mile round trip on one charge.
        > I do have access to an AVCON style charger at the U. of Southern
        > California where I consult and can stop there on the way home if need
        > be.

        My guess is you’re going to be in a similar situation with the NiMH Force.
        I think it’s rated for 100 miles at 45MPH; you’ll probably get less than
        that at freeway speeds, though my experience is based on lead-acid
        batteries.

        > I've been wanting to support Solectria for quite some time but could
        > not afford the price of a NiMH Force. AB2061 puts it close to
        > affordable for me.
        >
        > (warning! soap-box mode coming ;-) ) I'm am extremely frustrated
        > with the big Automakers right now. In good faith, I leased an EV
        > Plus to support EVs being produced by the big companies. I feel
        > betrayed. They all have produced wonderful EVs and have done
        > everything to make sure they fail in the marketplace, from making it
        > difficult to lease them, to having no product available to lease, to
        > spreading false and misleading information about them. I testified
        > at the various CARB ZEV mandate meetings earlier this year and saw
        > first-hand the full court press applied by the automakers to kill the
        > mandate. I breathe polluted air everyday in Los Angeles and watch
        > the motor oil/engine exhaust deposited on roads from ICEs go into our
        > storm drains and out into the ocean after rainstorms. I want to do
        > my part to improve the environment and driving an EV is one way to do
        > so. Once you drive a clean, quiet, convenient EV you never want to
        > drive a smelly, noisy fossil-fuel vehicle again. The big Automakers
        > have lost my dollars for the rest of my life. I'm ready to support
        > the little guys (again!). I hope the day comes when Solectria, AC
        > Propulsion, Innevations, It's Electric, ZAPP, Sparrow, Enova, etc are
        > the big names in personal transportation and GM, Ford, Toyota, Honda
        > and the rest of the status quo dinosaurs are relegated to the ICE
        > scrap heap of history. Optimistic I know, but it's nice to dream :)
        >
        > I look forward to joining the ranks of the Force drivers soon!

        I hope you will, too, Jim. I’m in total agreement with you re: the Big
        Three. Have you read “Taken For a Ride” yet? I was so disgusted after
        reading it that it’ll be very hard for me to ever buy one of their products
        again. If they really wanted to, they could be producing lead-acid powered
        Force-class EVs for under $20,000. But no, they hand-build a few two-seater
        EV1’s (with every concept-car whistle and bell imaginable to jack up the
        price tag) and then cry to CARB that they’re too expensive and nobody wants
        them (despite waiting lists in California). I could go on and on.

        If you want more feedback from a VERY satisfied Solectria owner, I’ll be
        more than happy to respond. We liked our Force so much, we went out and
        found a used Solectria E-10 pickup, and bought it as well. Check out our
        websites below.

        -Tom

        Thomas Hudson
        http://asterius.com/solectria/ho -- Our Electric Vehicles
        http://asterius.com/solectria/ho/pvs.htm -- Solar Power
        http://asterius.com/solectria -- Solectria Owners Website
      • Peter Belden
        Jim- I can add another good work about Solectria customer service. I ve had my lead-acid force for just under a year and the only problem has been that the
        Message 3 of 16 , Dec 3, 2000
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          Jim-

          I can add another good work about Solectria customer service. I've had my lead-acid force for just under a year and the only problem has been that the charger croaked spontaneously one night after about three months. The dealer drove to my house the following day in person and replaced the charger at no cost. I have no car repair knowledge at all but with one tool we were able to switch out the chargers no problem. The reason I was given for a likely cause of the dead charger was that the dealer may not have been treating the car well before it was sold.

          I call Solectria customer service (Jason) all the time with little random questions and although there isn't always someone to take the call, they always get back to me quickly. I also stopped by Solectria this summer while on vacation. I got the factory tour and they were very friendly.

          Lastly, through our local Electria Auto Association and fellow Force owner Will Beckett, I was able to get an adaptor box that enables me to charge at Avcon charge sites for Hondas. There is a Costco on my commute and since I'm right at the edge of my range I occaisionally stop there for a mercy charge.

          -Peter
          Palo Alto, CA
          ----- Original Message -----
          From: Tom Hudson
          To: force_ev@egroups.com
          Sent: Sunday, December 03, 2000 5:51 PM
          Subject: RE: [force_ev] Introductory message and Force questions


          > My impression of the Force is that it is a pretty robust vehicle and
          > it built using "black boxes" that greatly simplify problem diagnosis
          > and maintenance. If a component fails, it can be removed, and either
          > repaired or replaced fairly easily. Is this a fair assessment?

          Yes, the major components are made by the Swiss company, Brusa. Solectria
          has done an excellent job of making their cars VERY easy to service, using
          nuts and bolts with 7/16" heads wherever possible. To remove the
          controller, you remove 4 7/16" nylock nuts and disconnect a few cables with
          a small slotted screwdriver. The charger is the same deal. Need to get
          into the battery boxes? The front has around 10 bolts, the rear has
          something like 20, all 7/16".

          I had a charger fail about a year into owning our car; Solectria FedExed out
          a replacement the next day and it took about 10 minutes to replace it, and I
          'm not a car mechanic. That's the only component failure we've had in three
          years.

          Spend the extra bucks and take the Solectria service training. It's well
          worth the money, because you'll get the service manual and you'll get to
          "field strip" a Force with a Solectria technician.

          > Also, what is the maximum number of miles anyone has put on a NiMH
          > Force to date? I will be driving upwards of 20,000 miles per year
          > and wonder how soon I should expect to replace the batteries.
          > Does anyone know what a NiMH replacement pack goes for? What are the
          > make and model of the batteries?

          Our car is lead-acid, so I'm no help here.

          > Fially, I do a fair amount of freeway driving, what % discharge can
          > I expect driving at 65-70mph for 50 miles of my 80 mile commute. I
          > am working on getting charging at work but don't have it set up yet.
          > The EV Plus can just barely make the 80 mile round trip on one charge.
          > I do have access to an AVCON style charger at the U. of Southern
          > California where I consult and can stop there on the way home if need
          > be.

          My guess is you're going to be in a similar situation with the NiMH Force.
          I think it's rated for 100 miles at 45MPH; you'll probably get less than
          that at freeway speeds, though my experience is based on lead-acid
          batteries.

          > I've been wanting to support Solectria for quite some time but could
          > not afford the price of a NiMH Force. AB2061 puts it close to
          > affordable for me.
          >
          > (warning! soap-box mode coming ;-) ) I'm am extremely frustrated
          > with the big Automakers right now. In good faith, I leased an EV
          > Plus to support EVs being produced by the big companies. I feel
          > betrayed. They all have produced wonderful EVs and have done
          > everything to make sure they fail in the marketplace, from making it
          > difficult to lease them, to having no product available to lease, to
          > spreading false and misleading information about them. I testified
          > at the various CARB ZEV mandate meetings earlier this year and saw
          > first-hand the full court press applied by the automakers to kill the
          > mandate. I breathe polluted air everyday in Los Angeles and watch
          > the motor oil/engine exhaust deposited on roads from ICEs go into our
          > storm drains and out into the ocean after rainstorms. I want to do
          > my part to improve the environment and driving an EV is one way to do
          > so. Once you drive a clean, quiet, convenient EV you never want to
          > drive a smelly, noisy fossil-fuel vehicle again. The big Automakers
          > have lost my dollars for the rest of my life. I'm ready to support
          > the little guys (again!). I hope the day comes when Solectria, AC
          > Propulsion, Innevations, It's Electric, ZAPP, Sparrow, Enova, etc are
          > the big names in personal transportation and GM, Ford, Toyota, Honda
          > and the rest of the status quo dinosaurs are relegated to the ICE
          > scrap heap of history. Optimistic I know, but it's nice to dream :)
          >
          > I look forward to joining the ranks of the Force drivers soon!

          I hope you will, too, Jim. I'm in total agreement with you re: the Big
          Three. Have you read "Taken For a Ride" yet? I was so disgusted after
          reading it that it'll be very hard for me to ever buy one of their products
          again. If they really wanted to, they could be producing lead-acid powered
          Force-class EVs for under $20,000. But no, they hand-build a few two-seater
          EV1's (with every concept-car whistle and bell imaginable to jack up the
          price tag) and then cry to CARB that they're too expensive and nobody wants
          them (despite waiting lists in California). I could go on and on.

          If you want more feedback from a VERY satisfied Solectria owner, I'll be
          more than happy to respond. We liked our Force so much, we went out and
          found a used Solectria E-10 pickup, and bought it as well. Check out our
          websites below.

          -Tom

          Thomas Hudson
          http://asterius.com/solectria/ho -- Our Electric Vehicles
          http://asterius.com/solectria/ho/pvs.htm -- Solar Power
          http://asterius.com/solectria -- Solectria Owners Website


          eGroups Sponsor


          To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
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          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Bill Passman
          I drove my 93 force for 2 1/2 years with no problems at all. They make a very reliable product. The controllers are built to last. I only had to change
          Message 4 of 16 , Dec 4, 2000
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            I drove my '93 force for 2 1/2 years with no problems at all.
            They make a very reliable product.
            The controllers are built to last.

            I only had to change batteries.

            No data on NiMH lifetimes. Try the ovonic website for specs.
            -----------------------------------------------------------
            Bill Passman, Quarry Technologies 781.505.8300 x329
            8 New England Executive Park, Burlington, MA 01803
          • David Roden (Akron OH USA)
            ... Are they still using Ovonic NiMH? Last time I checked (it s been a year or two), these were in very limited production, and pretty scary in the price
            Message 5 of 16 , Dec 4, 2000
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              On 3 Dec 2000, at 21:32, monty@... wrote:

              > Does anyone know what a NiMH replacement pack goes for? What are the make
              > and model of the batteries?

              Are they still using Ovonic NiMH? Last time I checked (it's been a year
              or two), these were in very limited production, and pretty scary in the
              price department - $2,500 per 12-volt, 85 amp hour module. The car needs
              at least 13 modules, so about $32,500 for a complete pack. They may have
              dropped in price by now - I sure hope so! As for cycle life - I'd guess
              about 1500 cycles.

              Someone please correct the above if it's wrong.

              I think Solectria ran a Force in a recent Tour de Sol with Gold Peak NiMH
              (from Singapore), which I think may be significantly less costly. I
              don't know whether they put those in the production cars - call them and
              ask.

              I think Panasonic is also building small runs of NiMH now - isn't that
              what the Toyota RAV/4-EV uses? Those might be an option. They could
              hardly be any more expensive!

              Saft nicads supposedly give a bit less range than NiMH, although I find
              that hard to believe since they are actually rated for more amp-hours
              (100). They are a much better value. A full pack will be around $8,600
              and will last at least 2500 cycles - about 8 years of normal use.

              These have been backordered for a while because Peugeot has sold quite a
              few of their electric 106s in France (over 6000) with these batteries.
              They are supposed to drop a bit in price when Saft gets their new plant
              online and gets production caught up.


              David Roden - Akron, Ohio, USA
              1991 Solectria Force 144vac
              1991 Ford Escort Green/EV 128vdc
              1979 General Engines ElectroPed 24vdc
              1974 Honda Civic EV 96vdc
              1970 GE Elec-trak E15 36vdc
              = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
              NOTE: If you receive an email which exhorts you to "Send
              this to everyone you know," you don't know me.
              = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
            • Mark L Villemaire
              Hi All, I m presently driving a Force with NiMH. I also got a price list from Solectria abount 6 months ago. Car with Lead $30,000, with NiCAD $40,000 and
              Message 6 of 16 , Dec 4, 2000
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                Hi All,

                I'm presently driving a Force with NiMH. I also got a price list
                from Solectria abount 6 months ago. Car with Lead $30,000, with
                NiCAD $40,000 and with NiMH $50,000. These prices are very close
                to the quoted price (<$1000?). The car has 14, 13.2 volt Ovonic
                batterys. The car can go about 35-40 miles at 60 MPH before getting sluggish.
                At 45 MPH I've gone about 60 miles before getting
                sluggish.

                I got the car used (16,208 miles) and was told by Solectria, that
                the batteries were replaced very soon after the car was put on the
                road. The car presently has 20,651 miles on it.

                Mark Villemaire
                monty@... wrote:
                >
                > Hi All,
                >
                > My name is Jim Montgomery and I live in Redondo Beach, CA (about 25
                > miles south of Los Angeles). I've been driving EVs since 1992. My
                > first EV was a Pontiac Fiero converted to electric by Solar Electric
                > Engineering (aka US Electricar) in May 1992. I began leasing the
                > Honda EV Plus in June 1998. I put 36,000 miles on my Fiero before I
                > donated it to a local trade-tech school so the automotive students
                > there could learn about and work with EVs. I've put 31,000 miles on
                > the EV Plus to date. My current daily commute is 80 miles roundtrip.
                >
                >
                > I'm seriously considering getting a NiMH Force and would like to ask
                > some questions. My primary concerns are reliability and also repair.
                > Since the closest Solectria dealer is 500+ miles north of here I will
                > be on my own in keeping the Force operational. I have been following
                > Solectria for quite some time and have been impressed with their
                > product in terms of performance, consistently winning the Tour de Sol
                > (think that is the name of the event) and setting impressive range
                > records in the process.
                >
                > My impression of the Force is that it is a pretty robust vehicle and
                > it built using "black boxes" that greatly simplify problem diagnosis
                > and maintenance. If a component fails, it can be removed, and either
                > repaired or replaced fairly easily. Is this a fair assessment?
                >
                > Also, what is the maximum number of miles anyone has put on a NiMH
                > Force to date? I will be driving upwards of 20,000 miles per year
                > and wonder how soon I should expect to replace the batteries.
                > Does anyone know what a NiMH replacement pack goes for? What are the
                > make and model of the batteries?
                >
                > Fially, I do a fair amount of freeway driving, what % discharge can
                > I expect driving at 65-70mph for 50 miles of my 80 mile commute. I
                > am working on getting charging at work but don't have it set up yet.
                > The EV Plus can just barely make the 80 mile round trip on one charge.
                > I do have access to an AVCON style charger at the U. of Southern
                > California where I consult and can stop there on the way home if need
                > be.
                >
                > I've been wanting to support Solectria for quite some time but could
                > not afford the price of a NiMH Force. AB2061 puts it close to
                > affordable for me.
                >
                > (warning! soap-box mode coming ;-) ) I'm am extremely frustrated
                > with the big Automakers right now. In good faith, I leased an EV
                > Plus to support EVs being produced by the big companies. I feel
                > betrayed. They all have produced wonderful EVs and have done
                > everything to make sure they fail in the marketplace, from making it
                > difficult to lease them, to having no product available to lease, to
                > spreading false and misleading information about them. I testified
                > at the various CARB ZEV mandate meetings earlier this year and saw
                > first-hand the full court press applied by the automakers to kill the
                > mandate. I breathe polluted air everyday in Los Angeles and watch
                > the motor oil/engine exhaust deposited on roads from ICEs go into our
                > storm drains and out into the ocean after rainstorms. I want to do
                > my part to improve the environment and driving an EV is one way to do
                > so. Once you drive a clean, quiet, convenient EV you never want to
                > drive a smelly, noisy fossil-fuel vehicle again. The big Automakers
                > have lost my dollars for the rest of my life. I'm ready to support
                > the little guys (again!). I hope the day comes when Solectria, AC
                > Propulsion, Innevations, It's Electric, ZAPP, Sparrow, Enova, etc are
                > the big names in personal transportation and GM, Ford, Toyota, Honda
                > and the rest of the status quo dinosaurs are relegated to the ICE
                > scrap heap of history. Optimistic I know, but it's nice to dream :)
                >
                > I look forward to joining the ranks of the Force drivers soon!
                >
                > warm regards,
                > jim montgomery
                >
                > --------------------------------------------------------------------
                > Jim Montgomery
                > Member Technical Staff, Jet Propulsion Lab, NASA 818-393-1202
                > Robotics Research Laboratory, University So. California 213-740-7288
                > monty@...
                > monty@... http://robotics.usc.edu/~monty/
                > --------------------------------------------------------------------
                >
                >
                > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                > force_ev-unsubscribe@egroups.com
              • jim montgomery
                Thanks to everyone for the responses. I appreciate the reliability and ease of upgrade experiences. Helps put my mind more at ease since I will have to do
                Message 7 of 16 , Dec 4, 2000
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                  Thanks to everyone for the responses. I appreciate the reliability and
                  ease of upgrade experiences. Helps put my mind more at ease since I will
                  have to do all maintenance and repair myself.

                  Regarding the NiCads, I spoke with Doug at Solectria and it sounds like
                  they will be phasing out the use of NiCads due to the complicated watering
                  system (I think that was the main reason). So, due to my range
                  constraints I will have to go the NiMH route.

                  The replacement cost for the Ovonics batteries scares me. I hope either
                  the price has come down or Solectria has alternate suppliers such as
                  Gold Peak or Panasonic that are less costly. I don't like the idea of
                  being dependent upon GM for my replacement batteries.

                  One other thing that concerns me is the performance becoming sluggish
                  after 35-40 miles at 60mph. Define sluggish.... does top speed start to
                  drop or do you just lose acceleration. Losing acceleration is okay,
                  losing top speed is not. In the Los Angeles area traffic flows at
                  70-75mph and faster. I was planning on driving my Force between 65mph
                  and maxed out on the freeways.

                  Are you noticing any drop in max range after 20,000 miles on the pack?

                  thanks everyone for all the help :)

                  jim

                  ps. and no, Tom, I haven't read "Taken for a Ride" yet. I'll have to add
                  it to my reading list. Thanks for the tip.

                  On Mon, 4 Dec 2000, Mark L Villemaire wrote:

                  > Hi All,
                  >
                  > I'm presently driving a Force with NiMH. I also got a price list
                  > from Solectria abount 6 months ago. Car with Lead $30,000, with
                  > NiCAD $40,000 and with NiMH $50,000. These prices are very close
                  > to the quoted price (<$1000?). The car has 14, 13.2 volt Ovonic
                  > batterys. The car can go about 35-40 miles at 60 MPH before getting sluggish.
                  > At 45 MPH I've gone about 60 miles before getting
                  > sluggish.
                  >
                  > I got the car used (16,208 miles) and was told by Solectria, that
                  > the batteries were replaced very soon after the car was put on the
                  > road. The car presently has 20,651 miles on it.
                  >
                  > Mark Villemaire
                  > monty@... wrote:
                  > >
                  > > Hi All,
                  > >
                  > > My name is Jim Montgomery and I live in Redondo Beach, CA (about 25
                  > > miles south of Los Angeles). I've been driving EVs since 1992. My
                  > > first EV was a Pontiac Fiero converted to electric by Solar Electric
                  > > Engineering (aka US Electricar) in May 1992. I began leasing the
                  > > Honda EV Plus in June 1998. I put 36,000 miles on my Fiero before I
                  > > donated it to a local trade-tech school so the automotive students
                  > > there could learn about and work with EVs. I've put 31,000 miles on
                  > > the EV Plus to date. My current daily commute is 80 miles roundtrip.
                  > >
                  > >
                  > > I'm seriously considering getting a NiMH Force and would like to ask
                  > > some questions. My primary concerns are reliability and also repair.
                  > > Since the closest Solectria dealer is 500+ miles north of here I will
                  > > be on my own in keeping the Force operational. I have been following
                  > > Solectria for quite some time and have been impressed with their
                  > > product in terms of performance, consistently winning the Tour de Sol
                  > > (think that is the name of the event) and setting impressive range
                  > > records in the process.
                  > >
                  > > My impression of the Force is that it is a pretty robust vehicle and
                  > > it built using "black boxes" that greatly simplify problem diagnosis
                  > > and maintenance. If a component fails, it can be removed, and either
                  > > repaired or replaced fairly easily. Is this a fair assessment?
                  > >
                  > > Also, what is the maximum number of miles anyone has put on a NiMH
                  > > Force to date? I will be driving upwards of 20,000 miles per year
                  > > and wonder how soon I should expect to replace the batteries.
                  > > Does anyone know what a NiMH replacement pack goes for? What are the
                  > > make and model of the batteries?
                  > >
                  > > Fially, I do a fair amount of freeway driving, what % discharge can
                  > > I expect driving at 65-70mph for 50 miles of my 80 mile commute. I
                  > > am working on getting charging at work but don't have it set up yet.
                  > > The EV Plus can just barely make the 80 mile round trip on one charge.
                  > > I do have access to an AVCON style charger at the U. of Southern
                  > > California where I consult and can stop there on the way home if need
                  > > be.
                  > >
                  > > I've been wanting to support Solectria for quite some time but could
                  > > not afford the price of a NiMH Force. AB2061 puts it close to
                  > > affordable for me.
                  > >
                  > > (warning! soap-box mode coming ;-) ) I'm am extremely frustrated
                  > > with the big Automakers right now. In good faith, I leased an EV
                  > > Plus to support EVs being produced by the big companies. I feel
                  > > betrayed. They all have produced wonderful EVs and have done
                  > > everything to make sure they fail in the marketplace, from making it
                  > > difficult to lease them, to having no product available to lease, to
                  > > spreading false and misleading information about them. I testified
                  > > at the various CARB ZEV mandate meetings earlier this year and saw
                  > > first-hand the full court press applied by the automakers to kill the
                  > > mandate. I breathe polluted air everyday in Los Angeles and watch
                  > > the motor oil/engine exhaust deposited on roads from ICEs go into our
                  > > storm drains and out into the ocean after rainstorms. I want to do
                  > > my part to improve the environment and driving an EV is one way to do
                  > > so. Once you drive a clean, quiet, convenient EV you never want to
                  > > drive a smelly, noisy fossil-fuel vehicle again. The big Automakers
                  > > have lost my dollars for the rest of my life. I'm ready to support
                  > > the little guys (again!). I hope the day comes when Solectria, AC
                  > > Propulsion, Innevations, It's Electric, ZAPP, Sparrow, Enova, etc are
                  > > the big names in personal transportation and GM, Ford, Toyota, Honda
                  > > and the rest of the status quo dinosaurs are relegated to the ICE
                  > > scrap heap of history. Optimistic I know, but it's nice to dream :)
                  > >
                  > > I look forward to joining the ranks of the Force drivers soon!
                  > >
                  > > warm regards,
                  > > jim montgomery
                  > >
                  > > --------------------------------------------------------------------
                  > > Jim Montgomery
                  > > Member Technical Staff, Jet Propulsion Lab, NASA 818-393-1202
                  > > Robotics Research Laboratory, University So. California 213-740-7288
                  > > monty@...
                  > > monty@... http://robotics.usc.edu/~monty/
                  > > --------------------------------------------------------------------
                  > >
                  > >
                  > > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                  > > force_ev-unsubscribe@egroups.com
                  >
                • Noel Adams
                  35-40 miles seems very low for NiMH. That is the sort of range I would expect from Lead Acid. However, NiMH does degrade with age and it appears that some of
                  Message 8 of 16 , Dec 4, 2000
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                    35-40 miles seems very low for NiMH. That is the sort of range I would expect from Lead Acid. However, NiMH does degrade with age and it appears that some of the Honda EV+ vehicles have been getting lower milage as they have been recharged a number of times. As far as I know that has not happened yet with the Toyota RAV4 although some of them have now been through 1000 charges. Best guess on NiMH is about 6 years before their range gets below acceptable levels. I have seen various prices for renewal and initially Solectra were selling a pack for around $32,000. However, I have seen quotes as low as $18,000 in recent times.

                    On Mon, 04 December 2000, Mark L Villemaire wrote:

                    >
                    > Hi All,
                    >
                    > I'm presently driving a Force with NiMH. I also got a price list
                    > from Solectria abount 6 months ago. Car with Lead $30,000, with
                    > NiCAD $40,000 and with NiMH $50,000. These prices are very close
                    > to the quoted price (<$1000?). The car has 14, 13.2 volt Ovonic
                    > batterys. The car can go about 35-40 miles at 60 MPH before getting sluggish.
                    > At 45 MPH I've gone about 60 miles before getting
                    > sluggish.
                    >
                    > I got the car used (16,208 miles) and was told by Solectria, that
                    > the batteries were replaced very soon after the car was put on the
                    > road. The car presently has 20,651 miles on it.
                    >
                    > Mark Villemaire
                    > monty@... wrote:
                    > >
                    > > Hi All,
                    > >
                    > > My name is Jim Montgomery and I live in Redondo Beach, CA (about 25
                    > > miles south of Los Angeles). I've been driving EVs since 1992. My
                    > > first EV was a Pontiac Fiero converted to electric by Solar Electric
                    > > Engineering (aka US Electricar) in May 1992. I began leasing the
                    > > Honda EV Plus in June 1998. I put 36,000 miles on my Fiero before I
                    > > donated it to a local trade-tech school so the automotive students
                    > > there could learn about and work with EVs. I've put 31,000 miles on
                    > > the EV Plus to date. My current daily commute is 80 miles roundtrip.
                    > >
                    > >
                    > > I'm seriously considering getting a NiMH Force and would like to ask
                    > > some questions. My primary concerns are reliability and also repair.
                    > > Since the closest Solectria dealer is 500+ miles north of here I will
                    > > be on my own in keeping the Force operational. I have been following
                    > > Solectria for quite some time and have been impressed with their
                    > > product in terms of performance, consistently winning the Tour de Sol
                    > > (think that is the name of the event) and setting impressive range
                    > > records in the process.
                    > >
                    > > My impression of the Force is that it is a pretty robust vehicle and
                    > > it built using "black boxes" that greatly simplify problem diagnosis
                    > > and maintenance. If a component fails, it can be removed, and either
                    > > repaired or replaced fairly easily. Is this a fair assessment?
                    > >
                    > > Also, what is the maximum number of miles anyone has put on a NiMH
                    > > Force to date? I will be driving upwards of 20,000 miles per year
                    > > and wonder how soon I should expect to replace the batteries.
                    > > Does anyone know what a NiMH replacement pack goes for? What are the
                    > > make and model of the batteries?
                    > >
                    > > Fially, I do a fair amount of freeway driving, what % discharge can
                    > > I expect driving at 65-70mph for 50 miles of my 80 mile commute. I
                    > > am working on getting charging at work but don't have it set up yet.
                    > > The EV Plus can just barely make the 80 mile round trip on one charge.
                    > > I do have access to an AVCON style charger at the U. of Southern
                    > > California where I consult and can stop there on the way home if need
                    > > be.
                    > >
                    > > I've been wanting to support Solectria for quite some time but could
                    > > not afford the price of a NiMH Force. AB2061 puts it close to
                    > > affordable for me.
                    > >
                    > > (warning! soap-box mode coming ;-) ) I'm am extremely frustrated
                    > > with the big Automakers right now. In good faith, I leased an EV
                    > > Plus to support EVs being produced by the big companies. I feel
                    > > betrayed. They all have produced wonderful EVs and have done
                    > > everything to make sure they fail in the marketplace, from making it
                    > > difficult to lease them, to having no product available to lease, to
                    > > spreading false and misleading information about them. I testified
                    > > at the various CARB ZEV mandate meetings earlier this year and saw
                    > > first-hand the full court press applied by the automakers to kill the
                    > > mandate. I breathe polluted air everyday in Los Angeles and watch
                    > > the motor oil/engine exhaust deposited on roads from ICEs go into our
                    > > storm drains and out into the ocean after rainstorms. I want to do
                    > > my part to improve the environment and driving an EV is one way to do
                    > > so. Once you drive a clean, quiet, convenient EV you never want to
                    > > drive a smelly, noisy fossil-fuel vehicle again. The big Automakers
                    > > have lost my dollars for the rest of my life. I'm ready to support
                    > > the little guys (again!). I hope the day comes when Solectria, AC
                    > > Propulsion, Innevations, It's Electric, ZAPP, Sparrow, Enova, etc are
                    > > the big names in personal transportation and GM, Ford, Toyota, Honda
                    > > and the rest of the status quo dinosaurs are relegated to the ICE
                    > > scrap heap of history. Optimistic I know, but it's nice to dream :)
                    > >
                    > > I look forward to joining the ranks of the Force drivers soon!
                    > >
                    > > warm regards,
                    > > jim montgomery
                    > >
                    > > --------------------------------------------------------------------
                    > > Jim Montgomery
                    > > Member Technical Staff, Jet Propulsion Lab, NASA 818-393-1202
                    > > Robotics Research Laboratory, University So. California 213-740-7288
                    > > monty@...
                    > > monty@... http://robotics.usc.edu/~monty/
                    > > --------------------------------------------------------------------
                    > >
                    > >
                    > > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                    > > force_ev-unsubscribe@egroups.com
                    >
                    >
                    > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                    > force_ev-unsubscribe@egroups.com


                    _______________________________________________________________________

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                  • Noel Adams
                    I believe that GM sold their share of Ovonic to Texaco. Kind of out of the frying pan into the fire. ...
                    Message 9 of 16 , Dec 4, 2000
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                      I believe that GM sold their share of Ovonic to Texaco. Kind of out of the frying pan into the fire.

                      On Mon, 04 December 2000, jim montgomery wrote:

                      >
                      >
                      > Thanks to everyone for the responses. I appreciate the reliability and
                      > ease of upgrade experiences. Helps put my mind more at ease since I will
                      > have to do all maintenance and repair myself.
                      >
                      > Regarding the NiCads, I spoke with Doug at Solectria and it sounds like
                      > they will be phasing out the use of NiCads due to the complicated watering
                      > system (I think that was the main reason). So, due to my range
                      > constraints I will have to go the NiMH route.
                      >
                      > The replacement cost for the Ovonics batteries scares me. I hope either
                      > the price has come down or Solectria has alternate suppliers such as
                      > Gold Peak or Panasonic that are less costly. I don't like the idea of
                      > being dependent upon GM for my replacement batteries.
                      >
                      > One other thing that concerns me is the performance becoming sluggish
                      > after 35-40 miles at 60mph. Define sluggish.... does top speed start to
                      > drop or do you just lose acceleration. Losing acceleration is okay,
                      > losing top speed is not. In the Los Angeles area traffic flows at
                      > 70-75mph and faster. I was planning on driving my Force between 65mph
                      > and maxed out on the freeways.
                      >
                      > Are you noticing any drop in max range after 20,000 miles on the pack?
                      >
                      > thanks everyone for all the help :)
                      >
                      > jim
                      >
                      > ps. and no, Tom, I haven't read "Taken for a Ride" yet. I'll have to add
                      > it to my reading list. Thanks for the tip.
                      >
                      > On Mon, 4 Dec 2000, Mark L Villemaire wrote:
                      >
                      > > Hi All,
                      > >
                      > > I'm presently driving a Force with NiMH. I also got a price list
                      > > from Solectria abount 6 months ago. Car with Lead $30,000, with
                      > > NiCAD $40,000 and with NiMH $50,000. These prices are very close
                      > > to the quoted price (<$1000?). The car has 14, 13.2 volt Ovonic
                      > > batterys. The car can go about 35-40 miles at 60 MPH before getting sluggish.
                      > > At 45 MPH I've gone about 60 miles before getting
                      > > sluggish.
                      > >
                      > > I got the car used (16,208 miles) and was told by Solectria, that
                      > > the batteries were replaced very soon after the car was put on the
                      > > road. The car presently has 20,651 miles on it.
                      > >
                      > > Mark Villemaire
                      > > monty@... wrote:
                      > > >
                      > > > Hi All,
                      > > >
                      > > > My name is Jim Montgomery and I live in Redondo Beach, CA (about 25
                      > > > miles south of Los Angeles). I've been driving EVs since 1992. My
                      > > > first EV was a Pontiac Fiero converted to electric by Solar Electric
                      > > > Engineering (aka US Electricar) in May 1992. I began leasing the
                      > > > Honda EV Plus in June 1998. I put 36,000 miles on my Fiero before I
                      > > > donated it to a local trade-tech school so the automotive students
                      > > > there could learn about and work with EVs. I've put 31,000 miles on
                      > > > the EV Plus to date. My current daily commute is 80 miles roundtrip.
                      > > >
                      > > >
                      > > > I'm seriously considering getting a NiMH Force and would like to ask
                      > > > some questions. My primary concerns are reliability and also repair.
                      > > > Since the closest Solectria dealer is 500+ miles north of here I will
                      > > > be on my own in keeping the Force operational. I have been following
                      > > > Solectria for quite some time and have been impressed with their
                      > > > product in terms of performance, consistently winning the Tour de Sol
                      > > > (think that is the name of the event) and setting impressive range
                      > > > records in the process.
                      > > >
                      > > > My impression of the Force is that it is a pretty robust vehicle and
                      > > > it built using "black boxes" that greatly simplify problem diagnosis
                      > > > and maintenance. If a component fails, it can be removed, and either
                      > > > repaired or replaced fairly easily. Is this a fair assessment?
                      > > >
                      > > > Also, what is the maximum number of miles anyone has put on a NiMH
                      > > > Force to date? I will be driving upwards of 20,000 miles per year
                      > > > and wonder how soon I should expect to replace the batteries.
                      > > > Does anyone know what a NiMH replacement pack goes for? What are the
                      > > > make and model of the batteries?
                      > > >
                      > > > Fially, I do a fair amount of freeway driving, what % discharge can
                      > > > I expect driving at 65-70mph for 50 miles of my 80 mile commute. I
                      > > > am working on getting charging at work but don't have it set up yet.
                      > > > The EV Plus can just barely make the 80 mile round trip on one charge.
                      > > > I do have access to an AVCON style charger at the U. of Southern
                      > > > California where I consult and can stop there on the way home if need
                      > > > be.
                      > > >
                      > > > I've been wanting to support Solectria for quite some time but could
                      > > > not afford the price of a NiMH Force. AB2061 puts it close to
                      > > > affordable for me.
                      > > >
                      > > > (warning! soap-box mode coming ;-) ) I'm am extremely frustrated
                      > > > with the big Automakers right now. In good faith, I leased an EV
                      > > > Plus to support EVs being produced by the big companies. I feel
                      > > > betrayed. They all have produced wonderful EVs and have done
                      > > > everything to make sure they fail in the marketplace, from making it
                      > > > difficult to lease them, to having no product available to lease, to
                      > > > spreading false and misleading information about them. I testified
                      > > > at the various CARB ZEV mandate meetings earlier this year and saw
                      > > > first-hand the full court press applied by the automakers to kill the
                      > > > mandate. I breathe polluted air everyday in Los Angeles and watch
                      > > > the motor oil/engine exhaust deposited on roads from ICEs go into our
                      > > > storm drains and out into the ocean after rainstorms. I want to do
                      > > > my part to improve the environment and driving an EV is one way to do
                      > > > so. Once you drive a clean, quiet, convenient EV you never want to
                      > > > drive a smelly, noisy fossil-fuel vehicle again. The big Automakers
                      > > > have lost my dollars for the rest of my life. I'm ready to support
                      > > > the little guys (again!). I hope the day comes when Solectria, AC
                      > > > Propulsion, Innevations, It's Electric, ZAPP, Sparrow, Enova, etc are
                      > > > the big names in personal transportation and GM, Ford, Toyota, Honda
                      > > > and the rest of the status quo dinosaurs are relegated to the ICE
                      > > > scrap heap of history. Optimistic I know, but it's nice to dream :)
                      > > >
                      > > > I look forward to joining the ranks of the Force drivers soon!
                      > > >
                      > > > warm regards,
                      > > > jim montgomery
                      > > >
                      > > > --------------------------------------------------------------------
                      > > > Jim Montgomery
                      > > > Member Technical Staff, Jet Propulsion Lab, NASA 818-393-1202
                      > > > Robotics Research Laboratory, University So. California 213-740-7288
                      > > > monty@...
                      > > > monty@... http://robotics.usc.edu/~monty/
                      > > > --------------------------------------------------------------------
                      > > >
                      > > >
                      > > > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                      > > > force_ev-unsubscribe@egroups.com
                      > >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                      > force_ev-unsubscribe@egroups.com


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                    • Phillips R&D Analytical LIMS
                      ... sluggish. ... That sounds low to me. The Solectria flyers say 100 miles at 45 MPH. How s the heat management system work on the NIMH Force? Are there
                      Message 10 of 16 , Dec 4, 2000
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                        At 13:21 12/04/2000 -0500, you wrote:
                        >Hi All,
                        >
                        >I'm presently driving a Force with NiMH. I also got a price list
                        >from Solectria abount 6 months ago. Car with Lead $30,000, with
                        >NiCAD $40,000 and with NiMH $50,000. These prices are very close
                        >to the quoted price (<$1000?). The car has 14, 13.2 volt Ovonic
                        >batterys. The car can go about 35-40 miles at 60 MPH before getting
                        sluggish.
                        >At 45 MPH I've gone about 60 miles before getting
                        >sluggish.

                        That sounds low to me. The Solectria flyers say 100 miles at 45 MPH.

                        How's the heat management system work on the NIMH Force? Are there lots of
                        fans or some sort of liquid heat exchanger?
                        Can you get any of that heat into the passenger compartment to supplement
                        the radiant heater?

                        Gordon Stallings
                        1999 Solectria Force
                      • David Roden (Akron OH USA)
                        ... That s surprising and disappointing. The watering system is ~not~ complicated. It involves plastic hoses which connect each module to the next, right next
                        Message 11 of 16 , Dec 4, 2000
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                          On 4 Dec 2000, at 13:10, jim montgomery wrote:

                          > I spoke with Doug at Solectria and it sounds like
                          > they will be phasing out the use of NiCads due to the complicated watering
                          > system (I think that was the main reason).

                          That's surprising and disappointing.

                          The watering system is ~not~ complicated. It involves plastic hoses
                          which connect each module to the next, right next to the electrical
                          connections. They are not high pressure connections. Up to 10 modules
                          can go on each watering circuit. The first one is connected to an inlet,
                          the last one to an outlet outside the car. That's all.

                          If you'd like to see how this is set up, here's a photo of a 20-module
                          pack of air-cooled Safts from a Pivco Citibee:

                          http://www2.ald.net/~roden/ev/saftbox.jpg

                          Normally the box is covered - this photo shows it with the top removed,
                          but there's no reason to open it under most circumstances. The cooling
                          fans are visible behind the grille. The fittings on the right side of
                          the box are the water inlets and outlets, accessible from under the car.

                          The watering process is carried out infrequently - every 4 to 6 months or
                          so. The technician (the owner can do it just as well) operates a service
                          switch to perform a special charge cycle. When the signal LED comes on,
                          he attaches a water tank to each of the (probably) 3 inlets in turn.
                          When water comes out the outlet, he stops. That's all. Hardly rocket
                          science.

                          It worked fine for the Pivcos, and it presently works fine for the French
                          Peugeot 106 EV and the Norwegian Think City. Over 6000 of the Peugeots
                          have been sold in Europe.

                          Now, the liquid-cooled versions of the Saft nicads also require tubing, a
                          coolant pump, and a heat exchanger. I suspect that the NiMH packs also
                          require this kind of thermal management; if so, that's not a significant
                          difference either. The air-cooled modules need space around each module
                          and fans in the battery boxes, which is fairly easy to implement.

                          These batteries are really the only affordable advanced non-lead type
                          around. They aren't bothered by cold, can be discharged all the way with
                          much less risk of damage than lead, and can be left discharged
                          indefinitely with no harm. Their specific energy is one-third higher
                          than lead batteries; the pack shown in the photo referenced above is good
                          for 12 kwh and weighs 250 kg (550 lb). That's 48 wh/kg. The best lead
                          batteries score around 36 wh/kg.

                          Saft nicads have excellent cycle life, 2500-3500 cycles, which is
                          markedly better than NiMH or any lead type at present. Their replacement
                          cost is less than half that of NiMH. As a consequence, their cost per km
                          of real-world use is lower than almost any current battery type except
                          flooded golf car batteries.

                          Could it be that many of Solectria's customers see these straightforward,
                          practical batteries as neither simple enough nor exotic enough?

                          Perhaps someone from Solectria will explain this perplexing decision in
                          more detail for us.


                          David Roden - Akron, Ohio, USA
                          1991 Solectria Force 144vac
                          1991 Ford Escort Green/EV 128vdc
                          1979 General Engines ElectroPed 24vdc
                          1974 Honda Civic EV 96vdc
                          1970 GE Elec-trak E15 36vdc
                          = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
                          NOTE: If you receive an email which exhorts you to "Send
                          this to everyone you know," you don't know me.
                          = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
                        • Noel Adams
                          Don t forget that the NiCADs are also 100% recyclable. ... _______________________________________________________________________ Free Unlimited Internet
                          Message 12 of 16 , Dec 4, 2000
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                            Don't forget that the NiCADs are also 100% recyclable.

                            On Mon, 04 December 2000, "David Roden (Akron OH USA)" wrote:

                            >
                            > On 4 Dec 2000, at 13:10, jim montgomery wrote:
                            >
                            > > I spoke with Doug at Solectria and it sounds like
                            > > they will be phasing out the use of NiCads due to the complicated watering
                            > > system (I think that was the main reason).
                            >
                            > That's surprising and disappointing.
                            >
                            > The watering system is ~not~ complicated. It involves plastic hoses
                            > which connect each module to the next, right next to the electrical
                            > connections. They are not high pressure connections. Up to 10 modules
                            > can go on each watering circuit. The first one is connected to an inlet,
                            > the last one to an outlet outside the car. That's all.
                            >
                            > If you'd like to see how this is set up, here's a photo of a 20-module
                            > pack of air-cooled Safts from a Pivco Citibee:
                            >
                            > http://www2.ald.net/~roden/ev/saftbox.jpg
                            >
                            > Normally the box is covered - this photo shows it with the top removed,
                            > but there's no reason to open it under most circumstances. The cooling
                            > fans are visible behind the grille. The fittings on the right side of
                            > the box are the water inlets and outlets, accessible from under the car.
                            >
                            > The watering process is carried out infrequently - every 4 to 6 months or
                            > so. The technician (the owner can do it just as well) operates a service
                            > switch to perform a special charge cycle. When the signal LED comes on,
                            > he attaches a water tank to each of the (probably) 3 inlets in turn.
                            > When water comes out the outlet, he stops. That's all. Hardly rocket
                            > science.
                            >
                            > It worked fine for the Pivcos, and it presently works fine for the French
                            > Peugeot 106 EV and the Norwegian Think City. Over 6000 of the Peugeots
                            > have been sold in Europe.
                            >
                            > Now, the liquid-cooled versions of the Saft nicads also require tubing, a
                            > coolant pump, and a heat exchanger. I suspect that the NiMH packs also
                            > require this kind of thermal management; if so, that's not a significant
                            > difference either. The air-cooled modules need space around each module
                            > and fans in the battery boxes, which is fairly easy to implement.
                            >
                            > These batteries are really the only affordable advanced non-lead type
                            > around. They aren't bothered by cold, can be discharged all the way with
                            > much less risk of damage than lead, and can be left discharged
                            > indefinitely with no harm. Their specific energy is one-third higher
                            > than lead batteries; the pack shown in the photo referenced above is good
                            > for 12 kwh and weighs 250 kg (550 lb). That's 48 wh/kg. The best lead
                            > batteries score around 36 wh/kg.
                            >
                            > Saft nicads have excellent cycle life, 2500-3500 cycles, which is
                            > markedly better than NiMH or any lead type at present. Their replacement
                            > cost is less than half that of NiMH. As a consequence, their cost per km
                            > of real-world use is lower than almost any current battery type except
                            > flooded golf car batteries.
                            >
                            > Could it be that many of Solectria's customers see these straightforward,
                            > practical batteries as neither simple enough nor exotic enough?
                            >
                            > Perhaps someone from Solectria will explain this perplexing decision in
                            > more detail for us.
                            >
                            >
                            > David Roden - Akron, Ohio, USA
                            > 1991 Solectria Force 144vac
                            > 1991 Ford Escort Green/EV 128vdc
                            > 1979 General Engines ElectroPed 24vdc
                            > 1974 Honda Civic EV 96vdc
                            > 1970 GE Elec-trak E15 36vdc
                            > = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
                            > NOTE: If you receive an email which exhorts you to "Send
                            > this to everyone you know," you don't know me.
                            > = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
                            >
                            >
                            > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                            > force_ev-unsubscribe@egroups.com


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                          • Mark L Villemaire
                            Hi Jim: I drive 25 miles to work. 2 miles back roads, then 19 miles interstate, then 4 miles back roads. I didn t start using this route until the end of
                            Message 13 of 16 , Dec 5, 2000
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                              Hi Jim:

                              I drive 25 miles to work. 2 miles back roads, then 19 miles interstate,
                              then 4 miles back roads. I didn't start using this route until the end
                              of Sept., when the company installed an outlet for me. I floored it on
                              the interstate for the full 19 miles, top speed 69 MPH (solectria states
                              70 MPH). On one of the three hills the speed dropped to 62 MPH.

                              I live about 30 miles north of Boston MA. I think my battery pack is
                              suffering from the cold effect. I no longer floor it, I now drive at
                              55 - 60 MPH on the interstate. About three weeks ago I couldn't
                              recharge at work and I tried driving home on the interstate. After
                              driving about 47 miles and an indication of using 55 AH, I approached
                              the last hill. My speed dropped to a little less then 35 MPH. This
                              is what I define as sluggish.

                              PS There is a data acquisition unit onboard the seems to draw about
                              4 AH per day.

                              Mark Villemaire
                              jim montgomery wrote:
                              >
                              > One other thing that concerns me is the performance becoming sluggish
                              > after 35-40 miles at 60mph. Define sluggish.... does top speed start to
                              > drop or do you just lose acceleration. Losing acceleration is okay,
                              > losing top speed is not. In the Los Angeles area traffic flows at
                              > 70-75mph and faster. I was planning on driving my Force between 65mph
                              > and maxed out on the freeways.
                              >
                              > Are you noticing any drop in max range after 20,000 miles on the pack?
                              >
                              > thanks everyone for all the help :)
                              >
                              > jim
                              >
                              > ps. and no, Tom, I haven't read "Taken for a Ride" yet. I'll have to add
                              > it to my reading list. Thanks for the tip.
                              >
                              > On Mon, 4 Dec 2000, Mark L Villemaire wrote:
                              >
                              > > Hi All,
                              > >
                              > > I'm presently driving a Force with NiMH. I also got a price list
                              > > from Solectria abount 6 months ago. Car with Lead $30,000, with
                              > > NiCAD $40,000 and with NiMH $50,000. These prices are very close
                              > > to the quoted price (<$1000?). The car has 14, 13.2 volt Ovonic
                              > > batterys. The car can go about 35-40 miles at 60 MPH before getting sluggish.
                              > > At 45 MPH I've gone about 60 miles before getting
                              > > sluggish.
                              > >
                              > > I got the car used (16,208 miles) and was told by Solectria, that
                              > > the batteries were replaced very soon after the car was put on the
                              > > road. The car presently has 20,651 miles on it.
                              > >
                              > > Mark Villemaire
                              > > monty@... wrote:
                              > > >
                              > > > Hi All,
                              > > >
                              > > > My name is Jim Montgomery and I live in Redondo Beach, CA (about 25
                              > > > miles south of Los Angeles). I've been driving EVs since 1992. My
                              > > > first EV was a Pontiac Fiero converted to electric by Solar Electric
                              > > > Engineering (aka US Electricar) in May 1992. I began leasing the
                              > > > Honda EV Plus in June 1998. I put 36,000 miles on my Fiero before I
                              > > > donated it to a local trade-tech school so the automotive students
                              > > > there could learn about and work with EVs. I've put 31,000 miles on
                              > > > the EV Plus to date. My current daily commute is 80 miles roundtrip.
                              > > >
                              > > >
                              > > > I'm seriously considering getting a NiMH Force and would like to ask
                              > > > some questions. My primary concerns are reliability and also repair.
                              > > > Since the closest Solectria dealer is 500+ miles north of here I will
                              > > > be on my own in keeping the Force operational. I have been following
                              > > > Solectria for quite some time and have been impressed with their
                              > > > product in terms of performance, consistently winning the Tour de Sol
                              > > > (think that is the name of the event) and setting impressive range
                              > > > records in the process.
                              > > >
                              > > > My impression of the Force is that it is a pretty robust vehicle and
                              > > > it built using "black boxes" that greatly simplify problem diagnosis
                              > > > and maintenance. If a component fails, it can be removed, and either
                              > > > repaired or replaced fairly easily. Is this a fair assessment?
                              > > >
                              > > > Also, what is the maximum number of miles anyone has put on a NiMH
                              > > > Force to date? I will be driving upwards of 20,000 miles per year
                              > > > and wonder how soon I should expect to replace the batteries.
                              > > > Does anyone know what a NiMH replacement pack goes for? What are the
                              > > > make and model of the batteries?
                              > > >
                              > > > Fially, I do a fair amount of freeway driving, what % discharge can
                              > > > I expect driving at 65-70mph for 50 miles of my 80 mile commute. I
                              > > > am working on getting charging at work but don't have it set up yet.
                              > > > The EV Plus can just barely make the 80 mile round trip on one charge.
                              > > > I do have access to an AVCON style charger at the U. of Southern
                              > > > California where I consult and can stop there on the way home if need
                              > > > be.
                              > > >
                              > > > I've been wanting to support Solectria for quite some time but could
                              > > > not afford the price of a NiMH Force. AB2061 puts it close to
                              > > > affordable for me.
                              > > >
                            • jim montgomery
                              Dave, I spoke with Janice at Solectria about a variety of things. She gave me a little more info on the NiCad situation. Sounds like they had increased the
                              Message 14 of 16 , Dec 7, 2000
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                                Dave,

                                I spoke with Janice at Solectria about a variety of things. She gave me a
                                little more info on the NiCad situation. Sounds like they had increased
                                the complexity of the watering system to include an anti-freeze based
                                cooling system around the batteries. For better or worse the decision was
                                made to migrate away from the NiCads. It seems to me that the NiCads should
                                still be kept as an option.

                                Also, they are now using Gold Peak NiMH batteries. Unfortunately for me,
                                it looks like the Force is going to be too costly. A replacement NiMH
                                pack sounds like it will cost about $22.5K. And with the amount of
                                driving I do (about 20,000 miles/year) I would be replaceing battery packs
                                way too often. Janice said I should expect about 660 cycles at 80%
                                DOD. That would mean replacing the pack about every two years in my case.

                                Looks like I'm stuck with my EV Plus for another year. (I can release it
                                in June for an additional year at a reduced cost, $300/month instead of
                                $491/month)

                                I'll still lurk on your list if you don't mind and live vicariously
                                through you all, hoping my situation will change and allow me to get a
                                Force.

                                Thanks for all the advice and help.

                                regards,
                                jim

                                --------------------------------------------------------------------
                                Jim Montgomery
                                Member Technical Staff, Jet Propulsion Lab, NASA 818-393-1202
                                Robotics Research Laboratory, University So. California 213-740-7288
                                monty@...
                                monty@... http://robotics.usc.edu/~monty/
                                --------------------------------------------------------------------
                                On Mon, 4 Dec 2000, David Roden (Akron OH USA) wrote:

                                > On 4 Dec 2000, at 13:10, jim montgomery wrote:
                                >
                                > > I spoke with Doug at Solectria and it sounds like
                                > > they will be phasing out the use of NiCads due to the complicated watering
                                > > system (I think that was the main reason).
                                >
                                > That's surprising and disappointing.
                                >
                                > The watering system is ~not~ complicated. It involves plastic hoses
                                > which connect each module to the next, right next to the electrical
                                > connections. They are not high pressure connections. Up to 10 modules
                                > can go on each watering circuit. The first one is connected to an inlet,
                                > the last one to an outlet outside the car. That's all.
                                >
                                > If you'd like to see how this is set up, here's a photo of a 20-module
                                > pack of air-cooled Safts from a Pivco Citibee:
                                >
                                > http://www2.ald.net/~roden/ev/saftbox.jpg
                                >
                                > Normally the box is covered - this photo shows it with the top removed,
                                > but there's no reason to open it under most circumstances. The cooling
                                > fans are visible behind the grille. The fittings on the right side of
                                > the box are the water inlets and outlets, accessible from under the car.
                                >
                                > The watering process is carried out infrequently - every 4 to 6 months or
                                > so. The technician (the owner can do it just as well) operates a service
                                > switch to perform a special charge cycle. When the signal LED comes on,
                                > he attaches a water tank to each of the (probably) 3 inlets in turn.
                                > When water comes out the outlet, he stops. That's all. Hardly rocket
                                > science.
                                >
                                > It worked fine for the Pivcos, and it presently works fine for the French
                                > Peugeot 106 EV and the Norwegian Think City. Over 6000 of the Peugeots
                                > have been sold in Europe.
                                >
                                > Now, the liquid-cooled versions of the Saft nicads also require tubing, a
                                > coolant pump, and a heat exchanger. I suspect that the NiMH packs also
                                > require this kind of thermal management; if so, that's not a significant
                                > difference either. The air-cooled modules need space around each module
                                > and fans in the battery boxes, which is fairly easy to implement.
                                >
                                > These batteries are really the only affordable advanced non-lead type
                                > around. They aren't bothered by cold, can be discharged all the way with
                                > much less risk of damage than lead, and can be left discharged
                                > indefinitely with no harm. Their specific energy is one-third higher
                                > than lead batteries; the pack shown in the photo referenced above is good
                                > for 12 kwh and weighs 250 kg (550 lb). That's 48 wh/kg. The best lead
                                > batteries score around 36 wh/kg.
                                >
                                > Saft nicads have excellent cycle life, 2500-3500 cycles, which is
                                > markedly better than NiMH or any lead type at present. Their replacement
                                > cost is less than half that of NiMH. As a consequence, their cost per km
                                > of real-world use is lower than almost any current battery type except
                                > flooded golf car batteries.
                                >
                                > Could it be that many of Solectria's customers see these straightforward,
                                > practical batteries as neither simple enough nor exotic enough?
                                >
                                > Perhaps someone from Solectria will explain this perplexing decision in
                                > more detail for us.
                                >
                                >
                                > David Roden - Akron, Ohio, USA
                                > 1991 Solectria Force 144vac
                                > 1991 Ford Escort Green/EV 128vdc
                                > 1979 General Engines ElectroPed 24vdc
                                > 1974 Honda Civic EV 96vdc
                                > 1970 GE Elec-trak E15 36vdc
                                > = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
                                > NOTE: If you receive an email which exhorts you to "Send
                                > this to everyone you know," you don't know me.
                                > = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
                                >
                                >
                                > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                                > force_ev-unsubscribe@egroups.com
                                >
                                >
                                >
                              • David Roden (Akron OH USA)
                                ... This is still puzzling. The liquid cooling is ~not~ that difficult to implement. Think Norway is doing it with no trouble. Not sure about Peugeot, but I
                                Message 15 of 16 , Dec 7, 2000
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                                  > Sounds like they had increased
                                  > the complexity of the watering system to include an anti-freeze based
                                  > cooling system around the [nicad] batteries.

                                  This is still puzzling. The liquid cooling is ~not~ that difficult to
                                  implement. Think Norway is doing it with no trouble. Not sure about
                                  Peugeot, but I believe they use liquid cooling too.

                                  And if Solectria don't want to use liquid cooled nicads, they needn't --
                                  the batteries are available in an air-cooled version, which requires a
                                  half-inch of space between the long sides of the batteries and fans in
                                  the battery boxes. This is ~not~ a big deal.

                                  The nicads cost under $9,000 for a 156v pack, much less than half the
                                  cost of those Gold Peak (maybe that should be "Solid Gold Peak") NiMH,
                                  and they last about 5 times as long. What are they thinking there at
                                  Solectria?!?!

                                  One thing you might consider is a search for a used Force. Some of the
                                  electric utilities that bought them in the early to mid 90s are now
                                  replacing them with RAV/4-EVs and the like. You might even be able to
                                  find a nicad Force.

                                  Tom Hudson bought his '95 E-10 pickup this way, I think. Or maybe it was
                                  a government agency. Tom, any suggestions?


                                  David Roden - Akron, Ohio, USA
                                  1991 Solectria Force 144vac
                                  1991 Ford Escort Green/EV 128vdc
                                  1979 General Engines ElectroPed 24vdc
                                  1974 Honda Civic EV 96vdc
                                  1970 GE Elec-trak E15 36vdc
                                  = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
                                  NOTE: If you receive an email which exhorts you to "Send
                                  this to everyone you know," you don't know me.
                                  = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
                                • Tom Hudson
                                  ... I m about to start the process of converting our 156V lead-acid Force to nicads. I m going to leverage Solectria s knowledge of nicads to get the job done
                                  Message 16 of 16 , Dec 7, 2000
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                                    > And if Solectria don't want to use liquid cooled nicads, they needn't --
                                    > the batteries are available in an air-cooled version, which requires a
                                    > half-inch of space between the long sides of the batteries and fans in
                                    > the battery boxes. This is ~not~ a big deal.

                                    I'm about to start the process of converting our 156V lead-acid Force to
                                    nicads. I'm going to leverage Solectria's knowledge of nicads to get the
                                    job done efficiently. I'll keep all of you posted...

                                    > One thing you might consider is a search for a used Force. Some of the
                                    > electric utilities that bought them in the early to mid 90s are now
                                    > replacing them with RAV/4-EVs and the like. You might even be able to
                                    > find a nicad Force.
                                    >
                                    > Tom Hudson bought his '95 E-10 pickup this way, I think. Or maybe it was
                                    > a government agency. Tom, any suggestions?

                                    I got mine from a General Services Administration (GSA) auction, but I was
                                    tipped off to the vehicle by Solectria. I told them I was looking for a
                                    used E-10 pickup, and they told me about the one I eventually bought. I
                                    don't know if the government has any more of them that will be disposed of,
                                    but you can get on email lists of disposal property. I got mine from the
                                    Pacific Rim Region GSA office, their website is
                                    http://www.pacificrim.gsa.gov/fss/sales/default.asp. Just follow the link
                                    to the sales schedule and catalogs.

                                    -Tom

                                    Thomas Hudson
                                    http://asterius.com/solectria/ho -- Our Electric Vehicles
                                    http://asterius.com/solectria/ho/pvs.htm -- Solar Power
                                    http://asterius.com/solectria -- Solectria Owners Website
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