173: Saturday 8th January 2011

Nothing much to report at the moment. Had a reasonably uneventful Christmas with the Probatron. My range has reduced now to a mere 15 miles. I am worried that I have damaged my batteries with a few journeys when I ran them down too low. I am not sure the Lucas batteries are up to the job either, but without hugely heavy traction batteries, I believe the only really well proven batteries are the Trojans. I could have bought these, but it was the maintenance that I wanted to avoid. This could be an expensive mistake. This has made me start researching places where I can get Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries cheap or to find the funding for the prices as they are. This will increase my range too. I currently have batteries rated to 18kWh and this should get me about 50 miles. Lead acid batteries are only good down to 20% DOD and that is about 11.6 volts on each battery, so then at 350Wh/mile I should get 40 miles. Now this is in ideal conditions. I have achieved this figure a few times, but not recently. With a Lithium pack I want 36kWh and I should be able to use all of this and get around 100 miles from a single charge. I am now keeping a log of every journey to include the start and finish pack voltages, the start and finish distances, when a charge is made, the driving conditions, the extra equipment I had running, such as lights and heater etc and what modes of operation were being used such as sport and economy mode, which gears etc. My first data collection saw a distance of 15 miles, but some of this was using the heater and lights. I am lucky to get 20 miles lately. maybe this will improve as the weather improves. I understand that the batteries cannot accept as much charge when they are cold. Invariably they are being charged then left cold for another 5 hours or so before being used, so this does not help either. This does limit the journeys I can do, but I can still get to work o.k. I will be working on a garage tidy up soon. I am just finishing off the floor tiling in my kitchen then the garage is next. So then I shall get the rest of the displays up and running. I have had some bother getting an electronics supplier to send me the right connector for my matrix display, then I can start my experiments to get that working. That should keep me busy for a while.

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