Friday, May 28, 2010

Usage observations

So far, my BugE has been pretty well behaved. My suspension upgrade of lifters & frame sliders continues to give a very smooth ride in spite of potholes and railroad tracks. I've done round-trips to all 4 corners of my town and have demonstrated that I can still be in the upper green of my charge meter when I do it. I do need to "think" while driving as I do on a motorcycle since the BugE is a small vehicle among giants. However, I don't have a problem keeping up with in-town 30-40mph traffic. I still get more waves and smiles per mile than any other car except perhaps an ice-cream truck. I'm also starting to realize some nice cost savings by using this as my town runabout instead of my car. No gasoline, no oil, no exhaust system, no coolant, no transmission fluid, no "check-engine" light. I also really like the ability to carry stuff easier than I can on a motorcycle. Also, I don't need to dress in a rain suit when I just need to go on a simple errand. Trip after trip, the BugE is able to get me there and back.

As for the fear of "running out" of electricity, it's not really a problem. Driving the BugE is kind of like driving a horse. Gradual speedup gives much better range than doing full speed sprints. Just like a horse, the BugE will last longer if not being driven as hard. If the BugE is "tired" (meaning the meter is going into the lower green zone) let it rest. Parking for even 10 minutes will let the batteries get most of their performance back. Then, when I go back home, I need to plug it in to "feed" it.

Monday, May 3, 2010

So, what the heck happened?

Got the motor back via UPS. I also talked to the person who repaired the motor. I found out my motor was not damaged by water. Instead, one of two things may have happened. First, there may have been a factory defect in the "core" piece of the motor. Second, the "core" may have failed due to driving habits. Turns out, if a motor has lots of current but can't move (maybe it's on a hill) then the windings can overheat. When that happens, some windings might short and the commutator can warp too.

So, to play it safe with the motor, I have changed my driving habits a bit. First, I avoid "flooring" the throttle just to show off, especially when going up steep hills. I find cruising at 30MPH keeps up with traffic yet doesn't lose too much energy due to wind resistance. Since doing these simple changes, I've discovered my range across town has increased dramatically.