Saturday, May 17, 2008

Finally...let's get this party started!

When I ran across the Bluesky website, my biggest concern was that my expectations of the kit would differ from the reality. Fortunately, the website had some links with contacts on them. After researching all I could online, I finally called Adam Clarke, another BugE owner who built a kit. The conversation I had with him was overwhelmingly positive.

Finally, the day came to tally how much I had and order what I could. To give myself the best chance of success, I decided to buy all my materials in "kit" form whenever possible. So one check went to BlueSky for the vehicle body & control kit. Another purchase was for a BugE propulsion "kit" from EVParts. (I decided to go for the deluxe kit rather than the basic one since I wanted my vehicle to have reverse too) I figured even if the parts had slightly inflated prices, I would still save money since I could consolidate shipping charges and I would be spending less time and petrol scrounging the local area for parts. I figure by the time I assemble the vehicle, I'll have saved up enough to buy the batteries for it (around $800 for lead-acid batteries) An unexpected bonus was when the manual arrived before the rest of the kit. This enabled me to review the assembly steps while I prepared my workspace.

It's my opinion that the assembly area should be clean to reflect the cleaner nature of the electric car. Unfortunately, my garage suffered from chronic concrete and sawdust. So I decided that I had to clear out the work area and resurface the floor. It took around 160lb of materials to refinish the floor! It also was also cluttered with 6 van loads of junk. Cleaning it out became a major project!

Meanwhile, the main kit was going to arrive earlier than I expected. I originally paid for it, then wanted to delay shipping until my work area was cleaned up. However, I decided to take an early delivery since the price of fuel (and therefore shipping) was going to go up if I waited! Once the kit was shipped, it took about a week to make it across the country. Turns out, when FedEx specifies arrival date, the estimate is for when the package arrives at the Depot, but NOT when the item arrives at my door! The delay at the depot was due to needing a lift gate truck to be used to deliver to my residence. When the BugE box finally arrived, the driver just pulled out a pallet jack, put the package on the lift gate, then wheeled the whole pallet into the garage. Took about 5 minutes! After he left, I did an inventory of my package. No damage was detected on the major body parts or the canopy (which was a relief) and the parts were grouped together so taking inventory was easy.

I then went through the manual and did a listing of materials that I needed. A few parts like headlights and mirrors need to be ordered online and should arrive about the time I need them. Most other parts such as nuts, bolts, connectors, paint and that sort of stuff should be available locally. Some materials I already have from previous projects. So, the next few days will give me time to revise the manual to include some optional steps I want to do such as putting in an adjustable seat, undercoating the frame, adding a reversing circuit and laying out the control panel better.

After a last re-read of the manual, it will soon be time to layout the first parts and do the first procedure. However, it's close to Memorial Day weekend so I'm going on one last petrol fueled holiday binge before I dive into to this project.

Components purchased so far...
$3400 - BlueSky body kit
$325 - BlueSky lighting kit
$610.61 - BlueSky FedEx shipping
$1450.24 - EVParts - BugE electric kit (motor, controller & other parts itemized on website)
$48.67 - EVParts shipping

Est. $150 for floor refinishing supplies (some materials I already had)

Materials used so far (mostly just finishing up my garage floor)
High quality face mask, safety glasses, Floor refinishing supplies, push broom, cardboard cutter, water hose, bucket, trowel, drill & paint mixer bit for concrete, concrete leveling tool, screwdriver, lineman's pliers.

Time used so far
Web research & interviews with BugE owners - several days.
Blogging (this site) - 4 hours+
Reading manual & generating list of additional parts needed - 3 hours.
Floor refinishing & garage cleanup - 3 days
Web shopping & vendor correspondence involved in purchase - 2 hours.
Checking in parts & inspecting contents (EVparts & Bluesky) - 45 minutes

Post construction comment: Repairing the garage floor before I got started was definitely worth it. The garage used to generate concrete dust that would get on (and into) EVERYTHING. By using concrete sealer and painting the floor, I practically eliminated that dust.


Paramesha said...

product good but price too much for selling to middle class people.

Ectopet said...

It's not a replacement for a family car. However, it might be an alternative to buying a second car. One thing I've learned from the project is that making a NEW vehicle that can be solar powered and transport a person 40-50 MPH while keeping them out of the rain isn't cheap no matter what the approach. However, just as used cars become less expensive with time, older BugEs are occasionally seen with lower prices too.