Sunday, September 4, 2011

September 30, 2011 - My first commute!

At last. It was time for my first real commute from Auburn NY to Wells College in Aurora NY. Russel Watson's "Faith of the Heart" song came to mind when I took off on this historic journey.

Although the BugE will do 50MPH on flat ground, this test wasn't a speed trial. Rather, it was to figure out the speeds that will be fast enough to be useful yet be slow enough to not loose too much energy to wind resistance.

Distance was just over 20 miles. Morning temperature was 60 degrees and sunny. Canopy practically eliminated windchill. Speed was kept at a minimum of 30mph, up the gentile slope to the ridge line. Along the top, maintained 35mph. The journey was so pleasant that I overshot my planned turn. Fortunately, I had an excess of charge so I could take the next turnoff which made the journey slightly longer than planned. The last 2 miles downhill were done at 45. Arrived with 40% of charge still left. Commute time was 45 minutes which was two minutes longer than I had planned.

The BugE recharged at the Stratton Science Building where it was put on exhibit for the day. Charging was done before noon. At the end of the day it was time for the return journey. Rolling the BugE out of the building, the outside temperature was 80 degrees & humid. This caused a temporary fog on the canopy that quickly dissipated in the sun. I did the long climb up to the ridge at 25mph to see if a lower speed would help conserve the battery. It did. Once half way up the hill, I maintained speeds of 30-35mph. Since I had more charge than expected, I took the last 2 miles home at 45mph. Pulling into my driveway, I still had 1/3 charge left.

The trip had one noteworthy incident.
The throttle didn't work! So, I exercised the interlock relay several times. Then, the throttle worked. When I returned home, I tried some contact cleaner compound on the throttle spade connectors. That seemed to fix the immediate symptom. However, this likely isn't the real cause. I suspect the interlock arrangement I have may be at fault. So, I'll be doing a wiring change to test this hypothisis.

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