Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Taking some initial measurements

Before I do too much with the vehicle, I wanted to take some measurements so that they wouldn't get lost after I remove the engine. Here are a few items after I pumped up the tires to 40psi:

  • Ground to front-left fender: 24"
  • Ground to front-right fender: 24.5"
  • Ground to rear-right fender: 25.25"
  • Ground to rear-left fender: 25"
  • Distance between two rear shock towers in the trunk: 36"
  • 10" rear of the trunk shock towers, the trunk widens out to 39"
It looks like the car is slightly tilted to the left, with the left fenders closer to the ground than the right ones. Heavy driver wearing out the springs?

Before I disable the car, I wanted to see if I could figure out battery placement in the rear trunk. With 36" between the shock towers, I can place five group-31 batteries in a row (6.7" wide) and retain quite a bit of trunk space for luggage and things. If I can put the batteries right behind the rear seat in a box, I won't have to cut into the steel floor, making the design simpler to install. I'll also be able to keep the spare tire.

Initially I wanted to put six batteries in the rear trunk and six under the front hood. With the five batteries fitting nicely in the rear trunk, I'll see if I can squeeze an extra battery under the front hood, perhaps up near the front bumper on the driver side of the car under the DC motor. Worst case, I keep six batteries in the trunk but have one off to the side so I can maintain the large trunk space.

Most designs I've seen replace the gasoline filler cap with a charging outlet. While it's neat to be able to "fill-up" the car from the same place, I really like the charging outlet on the electric 914 on the front left fender. It's closer to the electric outlets inside the garage and I pass by it when I get into the car. It's also much closer to where the 144V ends of the battery string are, which is the best place to put the charger. Maybe I'll keep the outlet in the gas filler cap, but run the 120V cable up to the charger under the front hood.

I have to prepare for the Oregon Electric Vehicles Association meeting tomorrow night, but Friday, I plan to weigh the car at a local truck stop. I also have an appointment at 2pm on Friday to steam clean the engine compartment so that this "clean-energy" car lives up to its name when people look under the hood. Perhaps I can squeeze in a 0-60mph timing run before the weekend.

Cheers,
Tim

1 comment:

Jay said...

Hi Tim,

I've followed along on your 914 project and now this one - great work! I wanted to chime in on the battery rack issue - flexibility would be great as there very well may be better battery options in the not too distant future (I think it's really true this time). The Firefly group 31 might be a good candidate. Specs are available at their website:

http://www.fireflyenergy.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=273&Itemid=100

Jay