Volt Colt - 3Volt-Colt-10Volt Colt - 7Volt-Colt-8Volt-Colt-9
OwnerPeter Flipsen Jr and Patricia Visser
Owner's Other EV1997 Chevrolet S-10 LS
LocationHillsboro, Oregon United States map
Email email image
Vehicle1991 Plymouth Colt GL
Made by Mitsubishi; virtually identical to same year Dodge Colt,Eagle Summit, and Mitsubishi Mirage.
MotorAdvanced DC FB1-4001A Series Wound DC
9.1" diameter, dual shaft. Rated at 25.2 HP @ 120V (continuous; 85 HP peak). Peak torque = 110 ft. lbs. @ 120V & 500 Amps.
DrivetrainFWD; original 5 spd transmission with clutch.
ControllerLogisystems 144-AFX
750 Amp, 120-144V. Using a Curtis PB-6 potbox.
Batteries10 Universal Batteries UB121100, 12.00 Volt, Lead-Acid, AGM
This is our 2nd pack; added at 138187 (2074 EV miles). 1st pack were flooded RV/Marine (very poor choice). THESE AREN'T MUCH BETTER. 12V batts just not suitable for EVs unless you run at high voltage (300+ volts) to keep current draw at minimum.
System Voltage120 Volts
ChargerQuick Charge Select a charge 120V
Replacement for Russco - needed something simpler.
Heater1500W ceramic (electric) element installed in place of original (liquid) heater core in the dash using procedure found at WebPage (inside Carl's heated garage it puts out 136 deg F at low fan speed and 118 deg F at high fan speed). Output was not as warm as original ICE but seemed to get the job done. Hasn't worked for a while (not sure why) but manage OK without it on my short commute.
DC/DC Converter
Was using an Iota DLS-55 but found it drained my traction pack when car sat unused. Removed and am charging accessory battery separately with 12V Vector VEC1095 Smart charger purchased from WebPage /> VEC1095A.htm
InstrumentationReplaced old temp and fuel guages in dash with 500A current gauge (measures motor amps) and 12V LED volt meter (monitors accessory battery and serves as "on" indicator). Mounted state of charge guage and Hall effect tachometer (both from WebPage /> www.westach.com/ ) in custom pod from WebPage on driver's side windshield pillar. Hall effect tach sender purchased from EV Parts WebPage Tach gives really odd readings -probably getting interference from amp guage since both share power source.
Top Speed65 MPH (104 KPH)
Tested by Carl prior to delivery. Have easily had it to 55 mph (in 3rd gear) myself, but rarely go above 40 mph.
AccelerationA little sluggish (not surprising at 550 lbs above original curb weight) but we manage OK in city traffic.
Range12 Miles (19 Kilometers)
Might get 17-18 but don't want to push DOD past 30-40%. AGMs don't seem to like going past 50% - see big drop off in acceleration and top speed when I do. Have blocked off grill, set tire pressure to 40 psi (factory rec = 29; max rating = 44), added smooth wheel covers, and installed belly pan to close in engine compartment; pan goes from front grill to just behind front seats. All changes aimed at reducing drag coefficient from original 0.36
WebPage . May eventually evaluate impact of changes using spreadsheet at WebPage /> Measure-the-drag-coefficient-of-your-car/
Watt Hours/Mile400 Wh/Mile
Best guess. Don't have good instrumentation to measure. Was about 500 Whr per mile overall with previous RV / Marine batteries (real world; based on KWhr useage and distance travelled; can't use that anymore as new charger holds AGMs on
float once fully charged so it is using extra energy).
EV Miles
Start:136,113 Miles (219,005 Kilometers)
Current:142,303 Miles (228,965 Kilometers)
Total:6,190 Miles (9,959 Kilometers)
Seating CapacityTwo (removed rear seat cushion and rear seat belts) - can only handle 374 lbs total load to stay under GVWR of 3174 lbs.
Curb Weight2,800 Pounds (1,272 Kilograms)
Weighed at recycler in Pocatello (with AGMs). Stock from factory = 2249 lbs.
Tires175/70/R13. Using Toyo tires it came with but will eventually switch to a true low rolling-resistance tire.Check out WebPage
Conversion TimeAbout 6 months from purchasing donor to having it running.
Conversion CostAbout $14,000 (parts and labor) so far, not counting the $1200
invested in donor car (purchase + initial delivery cost).
7/26/08 - donor with blown ICE (internal combustion engine) purchased in Cut Bank, MT.

8/16/08 - removed fuel tank, exhaust pipe, muffler, and catalytic converter.

8/23/08 - decided to have car converted by Carl Clark and Spencer Stromberg of the "Electric Car Company of Utah" WebPage in Salt Lake City.

8/29/08 to 10/24/08 - "stinker" engine (ICE) removed. Adaptor plate completed, flywheel "lightened", and driveline (transmission, adaptor, new clutch, electric motor) assembled by Spencer. Bench test successful. Driveline and charger installed. Battery frames (hold 6 in rear and 4 in front) installed. Rear frames covered with sheet metal cases underneath; spray foam between batteries and cases for insulation. Front and rear battery packs connected using cables run in plastic conduit set into old exhaust pipe trace.

10/31/08 - custom rear springs from Coil Spring Specialties WebPage installed to handle extra weight in rear.

11/15/08 - heater installed in dash by Spencer; for procedure see WebPage

11/24/08 to 12/15/08 - controller recalled by Logisystems due to defective part. Successful trial run made using temporary controller. Inertia switch, fusible links, and main breaker installed.

01/07/09 - replacement controller rec'd and installed.

01/19/09 - car delivered today; took a quick little spin around the block. Finally a functional EV - we love it and have the EV grin to show it!

02/01/09 - installed "moonie" wheel covers and belly pan under engine compartment ourselves to help reduce drag; belly pan made from .06" thick Plas-Tex wall panel from Home Depot; pan also protects electrical parts from rain/snow. For similar belly pan see WebPage Now using car as our regular commuter (3.5 miles each way).

03/01/09 - put electric fan in garage to exhaust fumes from charging; goes through vent pipe installed near top of exterior wall.

03/14/09 to 03/29/09 - noticed some acid spillage onto engine and moved front batteries into back. Fortunately upgraded rear springs can handle the weight. Ride height very close to original. Car seems pretty stable so far.

04/11/09 - installed battery cables with SAE clamps from WebPage after hearing about potential problems with bolting cables to "stud" terminals; our batteries have dual stud / SAE terminals.

04/30/09 - installed battery balancers (aka "zener regs"; see WebPage ) on battery stud posts to try to improve charging and reduce gassing.

05/16/09 - wrapped battery tie-down bars in electrical tape to prevent acid residue (from battery bubbling) from grounding out the charger.

05/18/09 - completed 1st 1000 EV miles.

05/23/09 - adjusted 3rd stage charger timer from 30 to 75 minutes; discovered two dead batteries; each read 10.80 V after full charge. Thank goodness for warranty.

05/29/09 - new struts installed all around and transmission fluid replaced with "Royal Purple" synthetic gear oil.

06/13/09 - replacement batteries installed; added PakTrakr BMS WebPage with current sensor option to monitor battery amps.

07/04/09 - created "bathubs" from heavy plastic sheeting to enclose bottom and sides of upper 4 batteries to prevent acid spillage from grounding out charger. Lower batteries already had plastic liner. Charger grounding out problem seems to be solved.

09/06/09 - hall effect tachometer and state of charge guage (both from WebPage ) installed in custom pillar pod from WebPage on driver's side windshield pillar. Tach not working yet - getting noise from amp guage. Replaced "automatic"
seat belts with standard ones and removed rear seat cushion and rear seat belts (can't handle the weight anyway). Rear seat backs left in place as extra buffer between passengers and batteries. Installed new plastic liner under lower batteries.

10/07/09 - passed 2000 EV miles but RV/Marine batteries are on their last legs after about 200 cycles (range less than 8 miles). One battery in particular sagging really badly under load. Failed formal load test at battery dealer.

10/21/09 - Gave up on old batteries and bought new set of UB121100 AGM batteries (mileage at 138187 = 2074 EV miles on 1st set). Did get some warranty credit on old set. New batteries have "flag" terminals. Trying to break in new set slowly; keeping amps low especially for first 10 cycles by avoiding hills in town and starting with short distance (1st cycle = 0.8 mile) and slowly increasing distance with each cycle (10th cycle = 9.7 miles).

10/22/09 - accidentally started in 1st gear and noticed lower currents. Realized that driving in 2nd grear all the time may not be wisest approach. Calculated shift points for transmission using values from shop manual and formulae from Mike Brown's book "Convert It". Now start out in 1st gear, shift to 2nd at 20 mph, shift to 3rd at 40 mph, and shift to 4th at 60 mph (in theory since I never go over 45 mph and actually rarely go over 35 mph; wouldn't ever get to 5th). Notice current draws are much lower now overall.

11/04/09 - already looks like range will be noticeably improved with the AGMs. Did 13.9 miles yesterday with 40% DOD and batteries are not even broken in. Suggests our original target of 25-30 miles range may now be quite possible.

11/05/09 - increased tire pressure from 36 to 40 psi (max rating = 44, but factory recommendation = 29). Seems to roll a little smoother.

12/07/09 - cold temps appear to be limiting our range to about 16 miles, but that's as good as we got in the summer with the old RV/Marine floodies. Should do better when it warms up. Need to look into better insulation for the battery area.

1/11/10 - one of the new AGM batteries was sagging very badly under load (to 9.6V compared to 11.5V for others) and did not seem to be taking a charge as well (never went above 13.1V during charging compared to 14.9V for the others). Brought to dealer and had it replaced under warranty.

2/15/10 - completed 1st 100 cycles with AGMs. Holding up well so far. Really enjoying doing less maintenance.

4/4/10 - tried to change battery order and accidentally crossed cables almost starting car on fire (did use fire extinguisher briefly). Fusible link dissolved breaking the connection. Fortunately only got minor burns on one hand. Decided to remove Paktrakr (haven't been real confident in its readouts anyway) and moved top layer of 4 batteries from back into the front above the motor (where they were originally intended to go). Will make working on it much easier and safer. Replaced 400 Amp fusible link WebPage and now have one in back group and one in front.

5/20/10 - moved from Pocatello to Meridian, ID. Change in elevation from 4500 ft to 2500 ft. Also going from very hilly area to relatively flat area. Slightly longer commute (5.2 miles vs 3.5 miles each way). Will be interesting to see how performance and range are affected.

6/4/10 - two batteries sagging excessively (to 9.9V and 11.1V; others at 12.6V) on several consecutive trips of about 11.5 miles. Pack at 75-80% DOD. Have about 200 cycles on them. Ordered 2 replacements.

6/10/10 - one battery sagging horribly; removed from string and running 108V until replacements arrived. Charger and controller both flexible enough to handle lower voltage. Now see less sag in pack overall as 'weak link' is gone.

6/15/10 - replacements arrived and installed. Repeated slow, gentle break-in starting with 0.9 miles and increasing up to 11 miles after 12 cycles. Did 3 cycles in a row of 11.4 miles and ended with 40% DOD whereas just prior to replacement it would have been 75% for same distance.

7/02/10 - third battery died since moving to Meridian. Had Russco charger current setting at 80% because of 15A circuit in our temporary residence (manual suggests this). Discovered from talking to Russco that this should only be very temporary as it messes with voltage cutoff and shutoff (i.e., equalization) operation. May have been "cooking" and/or undercharging the batteries. Reset current to 100% and reinstalled zener regs which I had not been using on the AGMs. Will run 108V for now to see if this solves the problem. If not, it may just be that the AGMs are wearing out after about 200 cycles(shouldn't be since I usually don't go below 50% DOD). Could also be the fire back in April that may have zapped some of the life out of them.

8/14/10 - bought 15 gently used batteries (same brand and model) and a 120V Quick Charge charger. Replaced two batteries - still not up to full power but doing better.

8/22/10 - replaced Russco charger with Quick Charge unit. Too many adjustments on the Russco - was never certain I was using it properly. Probably fine for someone with better electronics / Engineering background. With the Quick Charge you pretty much just choose a profile and then it's plug in and let it do its thing.

8/29/10 - replaced one more battery. Now doing a slightly shorter commute (10.6 miles) and I can just make it without having to stop and rest the batteries.

9/11/10 - noticed that charger gets very hot during charging. Added small AC box fan WebPage above it that only comes on during charging. Seems to do the job nicely.

9/22/10 - getting noticeably reduced range on Mondays; don't use the car as much on weekends. DC-DC converter is wired directly to the pack all the time and is constantly trying to "float" accessory battery to 13.6V. When the car sits unused that would draw down the traction pack. Have started pulling main breaker when the car sits idle and is not charging. Should open the circuit and prevent the constant "float" by the converter.

9/25/10 - decided to just remove the DC-DC converter altogether. Will charge the accessory battery separately when I charge the pack.

10/21/10 - passed 5000 EV miles today.

10/24/2010 - replaced headlights with Xenon bulbs to reduce current draw on accessory battery.

10/26/10 - batteries clearly dying. Barely making it home the past few days. Today I had to be pushed home by my wife with our Honda Civic.

10/27/10 to 11/06/10 - ran load test on all batteries (existing pack and used ones I had purchased) with WebPage Then did AH capacity test using procedure at WebPage Standard load test appears to be meaningless. AH test results make more sense with what I know of the battery history. Discovered that all but 2 of the existing pack had fewer than 16 AH. Installed 10 best of the others which had 47-57 AH each (alternated strongest and weakest to balance out the relative strengths along the string).

11/07/10 - replaced 2 battery connection cables. Noticed that charger doesn't seem to get as hot.

11/13/10 - "new" string doing much better. Able to make it the 10.6 miles round trip to work and back with only 25% DOD and no appreciable loss of power.

12/27/10 - 30 good cycles and no loss of performance. Pack not as balanced as I'd like (even after resting several days); 0.2V difference between highest and lowest reading (.09V if I ignore battery #1), but it doesn't seem to affect performance so far.

1/19/11 - had brakes done. Rear shoes (which were replaced at time of conversion) had 50% left and front pads (not sure when last done)were almost gone. Highlights extra stress an electric otor (no compression braking) and carryng extra weight put on brakes. With just over 5000 EV miles, it looks like 10,000 miles is probably max life on shoes and pads for this configuration. Also had brake fluid replaced with Motul RBF 600 racing fluid which boils at much higher temperature.

3/7/11 - discovered the hard way the value of the parking brake in an EV. Was in a hurry getting to work and forgot to engage it. Car rolled back into a nearby irrigation ditch. Had to be winched out by AAA. Fortunately where it landed had little water and embankment was not steep. Doesn't appear to be any damage.

3/19/11 - tried installing "pull-up" resistor (10 kohm, 1/4 W) in tachometer lines, but it's still not working right.

4/8/11 - decided to retire the Colt and transfer all the EV parts to a 1997 Chevy S-10.

5/10/11 - all EV parts removed. Gave the donor shell to a guy with an almost identical 1992 who wanted it for parts as an ICE. Decided better to have it be used than just become scrap metal. Feel OK about supporting an ICE since it is a fairly gas efficient one. Anyway THE VOLT COLT IS NOW DEAD.

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