A while back I made a post called First Test Drive. We hacked together something so we could briefly drive the truck using the go-kart as the power source. While this allowed us to test out the drivetrain, it wasn't really a very good test of what it will be like to drive the truck when it is finished.
Well, now we have done a real test drive !!!
Normally we meet monday nights for a couple of hours. However it is hard to get a lot of work done with that schedule which is probably why it is taking so long to finish. Lately I have been working on it as well about one day every weekend. This has been a lot of detail work on the wiring and instrumentation.
Finally, on a recent monday we got to the point where we are asking, what is left to do? What is keeping us from test driving. And the answer was, nothing. We had charged the battery pack. We had installed the motor controller. We had installed all the HV wiring and checked out all the voltages at various points in the system. We had installed and checked out all the LV circuitry that controls the HV system (relays and such). We finally just realized we were at a point where the next step was to actually try to drive it.
I am pretty conservative about such things, so my intention was to just drive it up and down the driveway a few times. But as soon as I tried that one time, I was so excited I decided we needed to do at least a brief test drive on the road. The place where I am working on the truck is a country road and there was no traffic so I feel it was safe to make a short drive on the road.
I think it was very successful. The truck felt pretty "normal" to me. It had plenty of low end power. Once the vehicle was moving it seemed like it might have less power than with the ICE but it was hard to tell on such a short drive, and at relatively low speed. We probably drove it a total of half a mile, and maxed out around 30-40 mph.
We made a video of the whole thing, so here it is. It is about 8 minutes long.
I can't tell you how motivating this is. It has been almost two years since we started the project and sometimes I felt it would never be finished. There is so many little details to take care of. But when you persist, you eventually get there. The project is still not finished. There is still detail work to do. I have more work to do on the instrumentation and I need to put the dash back together. And we have some cleanup work to do on all the wiring harness.
One note about something that appears in the video ... probably no one watching will notice this but just in case ... the EV display shows a plus sign "+" in front of the current. It is supposed to show this when it is charging, not discharging. So in the video I had the current sense reversed. This has since been fixed.