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Fuquay Varina, North Carolina, United States
A guy finding out if life really does begin at 50.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Driving My 1st BEV

I don't remember the exact date of my 1st EV (Electric Vehicle) ride. It was in San Diego. I was in the 3rd grade. The landlady of the apartment complex we lived in, which was just down the street from Adams Elementary School, had an Electric Cushman 3-wheeler. She used to drive me to little league practice after school. I remember zipping along in it and how quiet it was. The next EV I rode in was October 20, 2007 when Jim Bartlett took several of us for a ride in his 1998 Ford Escort which he had just finished converting from a ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) to a BEV (Battery Electric Vehicle).

Well riding in a EV is cool - BUT - actually driving one is even better. I got to do that on Tuesday. So June 24, 2008 will be one of those days I won't forget. (No I don't remebmer the date of my very 1st kiss but I remember the girl *Amy*). I drove a Chevy S10 convented by US Electricar in 1994. I of course forgot my camera, but the one I drove is similar to the one pictured. It's a 312v battery pack driving a 3 phase AC motor with regenerative braking (meaning the AC motor turns into a generator and charges the battery when slowing or stopping). These trucks are not backyard DIY conversions. US Electricar professionally converted about 90 of these trucks. Click the picture for specs.

Oh... So how did it drive? You ever drive a S10 pickup with an automatic? It zipped right up to 45 mph in a blink, and it does 70 mph down I40. The only difference is no noise, and the 'feel' of the regenerative braking when you take your foot off the accelerator. It has brakes, but the regenerative braking will actually stop the truck depending on which of the regenerative braking settings you use. In the most aggressive setting there is no coasting. You lift off the accelerator and it feels just like you applied the brakes. The other settings are less aggressive and the truck will coast more like an ICE powered vehicle.

Stay tuned for more news related to me testing the waters of EV ownership...

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

My Snake is Bigger than Your Snake

FotoMom (aka Maryann) had a snake in her kitchen for a over night stay on Sunday. Luckily, on Monday, her guest left with a bit of assistance. A happy outcome for both her and the snake.

So as luck would have it late Tuesday morning I was going to the garage and I saw my new friend - Slim - a nice 4ft black snake. I see snakes from time to time, but generally not snooping around the house and garage.

Slim kept on moving and went by the door. It's a 36inch door so Slim is about 4ft tip to tip.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

ShopBot Buddy

JB came in from Maui Wednesday morning. We went to a ShopBot training class on Friday and Saturday. ShopBot is a company in Durham that makes 'personal' CNC machines. Their CNCs are inexpensive, some less than $10K compared to other CNCs costing >$100K-500K. ShopBot CNCs are for wood and not metal but they are amazing machines.

A PC or laptop is used to run the ShopBot. Click the picture to see the album of pictures with some of the neat things that they can do. The tool that cuts the wood is a 3HP router or a spindle turning a 1/4 to 1/2 inch shanked bit and cuts 600 inches/per minute. That means it can cut a dado from end to end of a 8 foot sheet of plywood in less than 10 seconds. They can move the same length in 3 seconds. The video does not do the speed justice. We were cutting at 3 inches a second (poky).