Saturday, August 8, 2009

The Retrofit - driven by New York State

My busy summer has slowed down enough so I finally had some time to work on the BugE! The retrofit to comply with NYS-DOT requirements is now done. I also did some other improvements as well.
  • Abandoned idea of 3-way braking. Locking the rear wheel is just too big a risk. If the rear wheel were to lock with uneven front wheel braking, it's almost a guaranteed spin & flip. Keeping the rear wheel freewheeling will mean the vehicle takes longer to stop but would tend to stay straight on a roadway surface rather than flipping if braking action locked up wheels. I may extend braking arms on the front wheels for more brake leverage.
  • Replaced Eurosport mirrors with Izuzu pickup truck mirrors. They are much better! (and since they are surplus OEM parts, by their nature they are also DOT compliant).
  • Made a new wiring harness to provide two additional switched DC circuits (one I'll be using to power Navigator lights which are now accessory lights rather than primary headlights the other is there for future use). Wire runs are shorter, color coded and MUCH easier to troubleshoot.
  • Made transparent dashboard in arch area with three accessory switches (fan, nav lights & extra switch) plus room for a car radio faceplate. One nice benefit is that a clear dashboard makes behind-the-dash wiring changes very easy to do.
  • Recording the wiring harness measurements in case I want to offer a harness kit.
  • For now, mounting the retro 48v meter behind transparent dash where the radio would go. Eventually, I may go digital with the power meter so I've mounted it so it can be easily swapped out for something nicer looking.
The next step is the worst. I apply for a homebuilt vehicle inspection appointment. Then THEY pick out a time for it to happen. Then I frantically trailer the BugE to the nearest inspection location (For me, it's a 45 minute drive to Syracuse) Then of course, even with my pre-inspection questioning, they may still find something wrong with it!

Before starting this paperwork process, I gotta save up to pay New York State sales tax on my own vehicle! Plus I need to save up for trailer rental, insurance, registration, inspection and weighing station fees. Then, I need to work on a nice looking purchase portfolio so I can show where all the components went on the vehicle so the cops don't think I made it out of stolen parts. The more I claim went into the vehicle, the greater the money New York State gets. This amount is also what the federal electric vehicle tax credit will be based on too. So, in a twist of events, the more New York State takes, the more I could get back from the Federal government!

With the help of an independent insurance agent, I did at least find an insurer for the vehicle (liability only). It was insured for a day. However, I've kept the expired insurance card in case there is any question from the DOT that the vehicle could be insured.

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