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Re: EV auto insurance

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  • David Roden (Akron OH USA)
    My insurance company, Westfield National, covers my (used) Force at what they call declared value. I simply told them how much it s worth, and they wrote
    Message 1 of 8 , Jul 29, 2000
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      My insurance company, Westfield National, covers my (used) Force at what
      they call "declared value." I simply told them how much it's worth, and
      they wrote the policy in that amount.

      Since then I've heard that this method has some loopholes for the
      insurance company, though, so you might want to ask your agent for the
      specifics.

      BTW, since I've just now subscribed to this list, I guess a quick intro
      is in order.

      I own Force #1. According to Solectria, it's the first one they ever
      produced, or at least the first one sold.

      It was originally sold to APS (Arizona Public Service). After APS began
      leasing EVs from the major manufacturers, the Force got less and less
      use. Finally, APS sold it to Phoenix-area private owners in April, 1997.
      Those owners sold it to me in February, 1999. It has just over 20,000
      miles on the odometer.

      This car was originally fitted with Sears Diehard (!) flooded group 27
      marine batteries. APS replaced them three times; each set lasted on the
      average about 9 months. Next they tried Enerdyne EV-27s, which lasted
      less than 6 months. Then came two sets of GNB Evolyte. Each provided
      about a year of service. The last set APS installed (in early 1996) were
      Hawker Genesis.

      The Hawker appear to have been the most successful they used, but by the
      time I received the car in early 1999, they were only marginally
      serviceable. Range had fallen to less than 10 miles.

      For a time I used East Penn group 24 gel batteries (which use a design
      licensed from Sonnenschein). These are smaller than the original group
      27 size. I found they didn't give me enough range to suit my needs
      (barely 30 miles). I'm currently (still) in the process of converting
      this car over to Saft nicads.

      Out of curiosity, has anyone on the list ever seen or driven a Force GT?
      They used nicads and I believe had dual motors and controllers.

      BTW, it's my understanding that all Forces up to 1995 were belt drive.
      From 1995 the integrated motor/gearbox was fitted; however at least one
      batch of '95s was supplied with the old belt drive. These belts look
      pretty flimsy but actually work just fine. I have heard that the belt
      drive's whine can be ameliorated by drilling tiny holes radially into the
      pulleys, but I'm hesitant to try this.

      What kind of oil do other owners use in their pre-'95 gearboxes? I use
      5w-30 Castrol Synthetic motor oil, as recommended in the 1992 service
      manual.


      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.
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    • Tom Hudson
      ... As I recall, ours was written the same way, as a Geo Metro with a special declared value. Our agent says they do this for other custom vehicles, as well.
      Message 2 of 8 , Jul 30, 2000
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        > -----Original Message-----
        > From: David Roden (Akron OH USA) [mailto:roden@...]
        > Sent: Saturday, July 29, 2000 4:44 AM
        > To: force_ev@egroups.com
        > Subject: [force_ev] Re: EV auto insurance
        >
        >
        > My insurance company, Westfield National, covers my (used) Force at what
        > they call "declared value." I simply told them how much it's worth, and
        > they wrote the policy in that amount.
        >
        > Since then I've heard that this method has some loopholes for the
        > insurance company, though, so you might want to ask your agent for the
        > specifics.

        As I recall, ours was written the same way, as a Geo Metro with a special
        declared value. Our agent says they do this for other custom vehicles, as
        well.

        > This car was originally fitted with Sears Diehard (!) flooded group 27
        > marine batteries. APS replaced them three times; each set lasted on the
        > average about 9 months. Next they tried Enerdyne EV-27s, which lasted
        > less than 6 months. Then came two sets of GNB Evolyte. Each provided
        > about a year of service. The last set APS installed (in early 1996) were
        > Hawker Genesis.

        From my discussions with the Nevada EV'ers who helped me pick up the E-10 in
        Boulder City, batteries in the hot Southwest rarely live longer than a year.
        The high temperatures must really hit them hard. We've been running our
        current set in the Force for over 2.5 years, so I'm hoping the cooler
        Wisconsin temperatures will keep ours running a long time.

        > The Hawker appear to have been the most successful they used, but by the
        > time I received the car in early 1999, they were only marginally
        > serviceable. Range had fallen to less than 10 miles.
        >
        > For a time I used East Penn group 24 gel batteries (which use a design
        > licensed from Sonnenschein). These are smaller than the original group
        > 27 size. I found they didn't give me enough range to suit my needs
        > (barely 30 miles). I'm currently (still) in the process of converting
        > this car over to Saft nicads.

        David, I'm curious -- why did you go with Group 24's instead of 27's?
        Wouldn't the 27's give longer range? The new group 24's which arrived for
        the E-10 are Deka Dominators (also Sonnenschein licensees); we'll see how
        they do.

        > Out of curiosity, has anyone on the list ever seen or driven a Force GT?
        > They used nicads and I believe had dual motors and controllers.

        Based on the power that our E-10 has with the dual motors/controllers setup,
        I'd LOVE to see a similar Force! Given the smaller vehicle size and lower
        weight limit, you'd have to go with nicads or NiMH to get good range with
        the dual motors. Speaking of which, could those batteries deal with the
        doubled current draw of two motors?

        -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
      • David Roden (Akron OH USA)
        ... Good point. I m sure that s part of the reason. Higher temperatures give lead batteries more capacity, but shorter life. In general, though, flooded
        Message 3 of 8 , Jul 30, 2000
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          On 30 Jul 2000, at 12:36, Tom Hudson wrote:

          > > This car was originally fitted with Sears Diehard (!) flooded group 27
          > > marine batteries [which gave limited service life] ...
          >
          > >From my discussions with the Nevada EV'ers who helped me pick up the E-10
          > >in
          > Boulder City, batteries in the hot Southwest rarely live longer than a
          > year.

          Good point. I'm sure that's part of the reason. Higher temperatures
          give lead batteries more capacity, but shorter life. In general, though,
          flooded marine batteries don't last long in EV service, whether it's
          southwest or northeast. They are designed for currents in the 25-50 amp
          range, not 50-250 -- let alone the 500 amp currents the DC crowd tries to
          get from them.

          The Sonnenschein gel cells are some of the longest-lived available. East
          Penn manufactures Deka Dominators, and yes, they are a Sonnenschein
          licensee.

          Note that finishing current is critical with these batteries because
          their ability to recombine hydrogen and oxygen into water is limited.
          However, Solectria's charger profile takes care of that for you. The
          Brusa NLG series is one of the smartest and most flexible chargers
          around.


          > > For a time I used East Penn group 24 gel batteries ...
          >
          > David, I'm curious -- why did you go with Group 24's instead of 27's?

          I had 3 dozen of them on hand already. It was a lot that I purchased
          from an EV racing team that was changing brands. They had perhaps a
          dozen cycles on them.

          There was another reason I couldn't have used group 27s (not readily).
          When I got the car, it still had the battery boxes that APS had built for
          the Hawker Genesis pack. One the annoying things about Hawkers is that
          they don't comply with BCI group sizing. If a battery box is designed
          for Hawkers, nothing else of comparable capacity will fit.

          I was able to put 3 group 24 batteries in the front box -- on their
          sides! -- and removed the rear box so I could put 9 behind the back seat,
          just sitting on the floorpan. Not very safe, and not recommended, but I
          only drove it that way for 8 months or so.


          > Based on the power that our E-10 has with the dual motors/controllers
          > setup, I'd LOVE to see a similar Force! Given the smaller vehicle size
          > and lower weight limit, you'd have to go with nicads or NiMH to get good
          > range with the dual motors. Speaking of which, could those batteries deal
          > with the doubled current draw of two motors?

          Actually, if you could keep your right foot from twitching <g>, the range
          wouldn't be much different from the single motor car. But not many
          people could be that gentle, so yes, there'd be a loss of range.

          I don't know about the NiMH, but the Safts will deliver their amp-hour
          rating continously, and 5 times their amp hour rating intermittently (15
          seconds). So an STM5-100 will do fine at 100 amps continuously, 500 amps
          intermittently.

          If I'm not mistaken (someone please correct me if I am), the Force GT
          used two AC-300 controllers. Each was rated 220 amps, but I have an AC-
          300, and I've never seen more than 190 battery amps. Either way, two of
          them would be well within the rating for the Safts. They'd be a bit much
          for a single string of Sonnenscheins, though.

          FWIW, a 1994 Nicad Force GT was priced at a cool $59,350. Not many
          private owners would be able to pony up that kind of cash, but I wonder
          how many institutions out there did. By now they may have moved on to
          the "more sophisticated" production EVs, such as RAV-4s and Rangers.
          Unless they were drastically abused, the Force's nicads might still be
          good. Wouldn't it be cool to bid a pittance on a Force, win the bid, and
          have it turn out to be a GT?

          Otherwise, you could roll your own. I don't think it would be that tough
          to adapt a second motor to a belt-drive Force -- just have a larger motor
          mounting plate machined, and get a longer belt. You'd need a second
          controller and some help from Solectria to get the controllers working
          together. Hmm, I wonder if there are any more of those auction E-10s to
          be had ...

          Or you could just buy one of their 70 kw bus drives and get the same (or
          better) effect. You'd need a bunch more voltage, though, probably
          something in the 288-300 volt range.


          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
          ... Doh! After I sent that message, I was outside mowing the lawn (with my battery-powered lawn mower, naturally) and suddenly realized that East Penn MAKES
          Message 4 of 8 , Jul 30, 2000
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            > The Sonnenschein gel cells are some of the longest-lived available. East
            > Penn manufactures Deka Dominators, and yes, they are a Sonnenschein
            > licensee.

            Doh! After I sent that message, I was outside mowing the lawn (with my
            battery-powered lawn mower, naturally) and suddenly realized that East Penn
            MAKES Deka Dominators. Open mouth, insert foot, Tom...

            > Note that finishing current is critical with these batteries because
            > their ability to recombine hydrogen and oxygen into water is limited.
            > However, Solectria's charger profile takes care of that for you. The
            > Brusa NLG series is one of the smartest and most flexible chargers
            > around.

            Yup. When I opened up the battery boxes on the E-10, and started taking
            voltage readings while it was charging up, one of the batteries had a
            25-volt reading(!) -- The one next to it was one that had a low voltage when
            it was off the charger, and I assume the other one was taking the load for
            it when under charge. Needless to say, the one that had been getting the
            25-volt charge was also toast (the case was deformed at the positive
            terminal, which I noted was getting hot). The Solectria/Brusa charger must
            keep the total voltage under 14.1 X the number of batteries...

            > > > For a time I used East Penn group 24 gel batteries ...

            You mentioned that you were only getting 30 miles or so from the East Penns
            (were they Dekas?) -- What kind of total amp-hours were you getting out of
            them before they started to fade?

            > There was another reason I couldn't have used group 27s (not readily).
            > When I got the car, it still had the battery boxes that APS had built for
            > the Hawker Genesis pack. One the annoying things about Hawkers is that
            > they don't comply with BCI group sizing. If a battery box is designed
            > for Hawkers, nothing else of comparable capacity will fit.
            >
            > I was able to put 3 group 24 batteries in the front box -- on their
            > sides! -- and removed the rear box so I could put 9 behind the back seat,
            > just sitting on the floorpan. Not very safe, and not recommended, but I
            > only drove it that way for 8 months or so.

            Aha. You know, my truck originally had 36 Hawkers in it, which were
            replaced by 24 Sonnenscheins. Actually, when I pulled them out, they were
            Midstate Battery Performax gel (undoubtedly, another Sonnenschein licensee,
            since their cases are EXACTLY like the Dekas, down to identical stickers
            showing charging info).

            > FWIW, a 1994 Nicad Force GT was priced at a cool $59,350. Not many
            > private owners would be able to pony up that kind of cash, but I wonder
            > how many institutions out there did. By now they may have moved on to
            > the "more sophisticated" production EVs, such as RAV-4s and Rangers.
            > Unless they were drastically abused, the Force's nicads might still be
            > good. Wouldn't it be cool to bid a pittance on a Force, win the bid, and
            > have it turn out to be a GT?

            You've got that right. I still consider myself lucky to have gotten the
            E-10 for the price I did, considering what it was worth when new. I'd jump
            at the chance to get a Force GT at auction. I guess I'd better keep my eyes
            open!

            -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
          • David Roden (Akron OH USA)
            ... It s probably a bit more complex than that, but that s the general idea. I d guess that it holds current steady at ~20 amps until voltage reaches 14.1
            Message 5 of 8 , Jul 30, 2000
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              On 30 Jul 2000, at 20:02, Tom Hudson wrote:

              >
              > The Solectria/Brusa
              > charger must keep the total voltage under 14.1 X the number of
              > batteries...

              It's probably a bit more complex than that, but that's the general idea.
              I'd guess that it holds current steady at ~20 amps until voltage reaches
              14.1 volts or so per module. Then it probably holds the voltage steady
              until current falls below some small value, such as 1 to 2 amps. Then it
              probably holds current at that point for a few hours with some voltage
              limit in the 14.1 - 14.5 volt per module range, if any. That's a typical
              lead gel charging profile.

              You mention 14.1 x number of batteries, and the fact that your voltage
              was wildly variable. Probably the battery with the 25 volts across it
              while on charge had an open cell or very high internal resistance. I've
              seen pushed-up posts and bulged sides before -- it's caused by severe
              grid corrosion. That comes from overcharging, or sometimes just age.

              Once the battery's mechanical seal is compromised, the H2/O2
              recombination reaction doesn't work right, and moisture is lost through
              the broken seals. The battery dries out and then it's ruined.

              BTW, some people swear by "regulators" -- the Battpro and Rudman gadgets
              that bypass batteries when they get to some voltage. These waste energy,
              but are supposed to keep the pack balanced. If you do an equalization
              cycle regularly, I'm not sure they're really necessary, unless you have
              significant temperature variations across different modules.
              Sonnenschein doesn't recommend them (but they don't recommend against
              them either). But, as I say, some folks won't charge without them, and
              I'd certainly like to hear from anyone who's used them with Sonnenscheins
              or Dekas.

              Do you know about the Sonnenschein tech manual on the web? It's at

              http://www.mhpower.com.au/techinfo1.htm

              There's some great information here on use, charging, and maintenance.

              >
              > You mentioned that you were only getting 30 miles or so from the East
              > Penns (were they Dekas?) -- What kind of total amp-hours were you getting
              > out of them before they started to fade?

              Around 33 - 38 ah. They got better after a few weeks. Actually I'm not
              sure how much of the improvement over time was caused by the pack getting
              its kinks out and how much by warming temperatures.

              These numbers aren't too surprising, since the G24s are rated for a
              reserve capacity of 33 minutes at 75 amps -- just a bit over 41 ah.


              >
              > Actually, when I pulled them out, they were
              > Midstate Battery Performax gel (undoubtedly, another Sonnenschein
              > licensee, since their cases are EXACTLY like the Dekas, down to identical
              > stickers showing charging info).

              These batteries seem to be sold under several different brand names. If
              there's any internal difference, I don't know about it.


              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.
              = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
            • Craig Childers
              My Solectria manuals are very specific about using Mobil 1 Synthetic Motor Oil (I think it s 5W30). I m betting Castrol and Mobil 1 are not exactly the same.
              Message 6 of 8 , Jul 31, 2000
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                My Solectria manuals are very specific about using Mobil 1 Synthetic Motor Oil
                (I think it's 5W30). I'm betting Castrol and Mobil 1 are not exactly the
                same. I'm not sure Castrol is even a full-synth.

                I'm told my Forces were built in the first batch, so they may be your
                Force's cousins!
                (The big build before year end (not sure what year) is discussed somewhere
                in the book on Solectria)
                How can you tell if it's number 1? Mine just make use of the old Geo VIN.

                How are you distributing your NiCds? (front VS rear)
                (I'm putting the actual SAFT box of 20 in the rear, and 4 more in the front.)
                Did you buy 2 120 volt SAFT packs like I did?
                Do you want to sell any of your spare modules?
                I am amazed that these things are still showing 6 volts after being in
                storage for so long (and running the DC-DC converter that's built into the
                SAFT pack. I didn't know these were in there.)

                Did you discover the wonderful surprise under the end-cover? (Kilovac
                contactors!)

                I think a Force GT has dual motors, but not necessarily NiCd batteries.


                Craig

                At 05:44 AM 7/29/00 -0400, you wrote:
                >My insurance company, Westfield National, covers my (used) Force at what
                >they call "declared value." I simply told them how much it's worth, and
                >they wrote the policy in that amount.
                >
                >Since then I've heard that this method has some loopholes for the
                >insurance company, though, so you might want to ask your agent for the
                >specifics.
                >
                >BTW, since I've just now subscribed to this list, I guess a quick intro
                >is in order.
                >
                >I own Force #1. According to Solectria, it's the first one they ever
                >produced, or at least the first one sold.
                >
                >It was originally sold to APS (Arizona Public Service). After APS began
                >leasing EVs from the major manufacturers, the Force got less and less
                >use. Finally, APS sold it to Phoenix-area private owners in April, 1997.
                > Those owners sold it to me in February, 1999. It has just over 20,000
                >miles on the odometer.
                >
                >This car was originally fitted with Sears Diehard (!) flooded group 27
                >marine batteries. APS replaced them three times; each set lasted on the
                >average about 9 months. Next they tried Enerdyne EV-27s, which lasted
                >less than 6 months. Then came two sets of GNB Evolyte. Each provided
                >about a year of service. The last set APS installed (in early 1996) were
                >Hawker Genesis.
                >
                >The Hawker appear to have been the most successful they used, but by the
                >time I received the car in early 1999, they were only marginally
                >serviceable. Range had fallen to less than 10 miles.
                >
                >For a time I used East Penn group 24 gel batteries (which use a design
                >licensed from Sonnenschein). These are smaller than the original group
                >27 size. I found they didn't give me enough range to suit my needs
                >(barely 30 miles). I'm currently (still) in the process of converting
                >this car over to Saft nicads.
                >
                >Out of curiosity, has anyone on the list ever seen or driven a Force GT?
                >They used nicads and I believe had dual motors and controllers.
                >
                >BTW, it's my understanding that all Forces up to 1995 were belt drive.
                >>From 1995 the integrated motor/gearbox was fitted; however at least one
                >batch of '95s was supplied with the old belt drive. These belts look
                >pretty flimsy but actually work just fine. I have heard that the belt
                >drive's whine can be ameliorated by drilling tiny holes radially into the
                >pulleys, but I'm hesitant to try this.
                >
                >What kind of oil do other owners use in their pre-'95 gearboxes? I use
                >5w-30 Castrol Synthetic motor oil, as recommended in the 1992 service
                >manual.
                >
                >
                >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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