Date By joe Category Truck Comments 0

Today I drove the truck to my house.  After "living" at Bill's house for about 1.5 years, today we declared it ready to drive home.  So after spending the afternoon taking test rides and enjoying some good food and drink, tonight I drove it back to my house.

Once I got home, I plugged it into the socket in my garage that I installed just for this purpose.  Here is a photo of my truck plugged in at my house (first charge at home).

Charging at home
Charging at home

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I was a little nervous about the drive home.  We had not driven it on the freeway yet and had not sustained freeway speeds for more than a few moments.  Plus the roads were wet and I was worried there might be some kind of problem if all the electrics get wet (even though they should be fine in the rain).

I needn't have worried.  We already drove a total of about 20 miles taking people on test rides earlier in the day, and a total of about 50 miles of accumulated electric driving before that.  The distance from Bill's house to mine is 22 miles.

It worked well on the freeway.  There was no problem maintaining freeway speed.  I was pretty conservative and went about 60 most of the time, occasionally creeping up to about 65 mph.  Once I was near my house I increased the speed to 70 mph for a short distance.  I suspect if there was a long hill it might be a problem maintaining that speed but for most of what we have around here, it looks like it will not be a problem.

I had another pleasant surprise, and that is that it used less electricity to make it to my house than I expected.  Based on our test driving on a somewhat hilly country road (at about 40-45 mph) it looked like the range was going to be about 50 miles for an 80% depth-of-discharge (DoD).    I wondered if it would be worse on the freeway because I would be driving faster and there would be more wind resistance.  I found the opposite to be true.  Once you have accelerated up to freeway speed, it does not seem to need a lot of power to maintain that if the road is level.  At the consumption rate for this trip, I would get a range of 60 miles (@80% DoD).

I am very happy with this result.  It means that this truck is going to work well for my typical city driving.  It will have plenty of range to make to work and home every day, also allowing for errands if I need to do something at lunch or on the way home.  I can probably even go back-to-back days without charging, if needed.

Special Thanks

I want to thank every one who helped me with this project.  Bill, for hosting the project at his shop and letting me leave a junky truck parked at his house for 1.5 years.  Brian, Bruce, Ed and Ben for all their hard work with mechanical fabrication.  Ed for keeping us well stocked with the critical ingredient.  Doug for his remote advice.  Bill's wife Jan for putting up with this project for so long.  And the other spouses for allowing the above mentioned people to give up one night per week for two years to make this happen.  My wife for putting up with me spending so much time on it.

There are also many resources that I used to learn about how to (and how not to) convert a truck to run on electricity.  The people at the Austin EV mailing list were extremely helpful.  I also read extensively and posted questions a few times at DIY Electric Car forums.  Many EV vendors also have useful information on their sites and I soaked up as much of that as I could.

Thanks everyone!


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