Tuesday, August 2, 2011

First test drive on the lithium pack

Woha! The new battery pack makes this BugE perform much better! I decided my performance test would be at night. I drove in a mix of conditions with stop-and-go traffic along with hills. Total mileage was just over 10miles. I tried to keep speeds at least 30mph and go 40mph where I could. Passing cars was fun and I could even do so going up hills! At the end of the test, I decided to do a speed test on flat straight road. For the speed test, I sustained a speed of 50mph over 2 miles! At the end of the journey, pack still showed 60% of capacity left.

I decided to keep the retro analog meter to see how acceleration affected the pack. I noticed that the pack was either in white (full) or upper green at all times even during acceleration. I was worried that the 12V accessory battery would be depleted but it apparently has enough capacity to keep the lights relatively bright. Although I didn't have a digital meter, I did observe that headlight brightness seemed to be unchanged through the journey. The lithium pack also seems to have other benefits too. For example, braking and acceleration seem to both be better. Also, the BugE seems to deal with bumps better too.

The drive was not problem free. The BMS electronics have problems. For example, the LED readout has two LEDs that have already failed. Fortunately, I have the larger readout I can use instead. Also, the wiring seems to be of all the wrong lengths. I'm guessing this is because in it's original installation, the LIN HUB and all instrumentation was probably installed in the dashboard rather than in the battery compartment.

Still to do. The BMS system works but shows an error when the battery charger isn't present. So, next step is to mount the battery charger in the cargo area.

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