As the temperatures drop, the capacity of my batteries drop as well. After almost a year of hard driving, I suspect the batteries are also losing capacity. Over the past week, I've been driving a gas car because I had long errands after work that would have exceeded the maximum range of the Civic-EV. The few times I did go into work, I ended up crawling along at five miles an hour for the last half-mile.
If I force myself to stay under 55 miles an hour at all times and use hypermiling techniques as much as possible, I don't lose power near the end of my commute, but as temperatures drop, I fear that I won't even be able to even get to work.
This is the classic problem with electric vehicles: range anxiety. I have plenty of power from the Warp9 motor, but the battery current and capacity just isn't enough for my commute anymore. I can't confidently drive on the freeways anymore because I might lose power after ten miles of pushing it past 60 mph. If I stop commuting with the electric vehicle, that takes away 90% of my driving, which makes owning the car somewhat pointless.
The first thing I'm going to do is install a PakTrakr monitor. This is something I should have done a year ago to accurately monitor each battery. The Link-10 E-meter is good, but doesn't monitor individual batteries. For all I know, I might just have one bad battery in the pack. I already have the PakTrakr on my bench, but I haven't had time to install it. I just might do that this weekend.
Some options to consider:
- Purchase a whole new set of batteries for $3000 (ick!).
- Spend a lot of time making the car aerodynamic like the Aero-Civic
- Redo the system with lithium-ion batteries and double the amp-hours for $10,000 and lots of time (ouch!).
- Sell the vehicle at cost minus the price for the batteries, go with an ICE and buy a Nissan Leaf when it comes out.