OwnerTom & Jackie Keenan
Owner's Other EVs1976 Citicar
1989 Ford Escort LX
LocationAlameda, California United States map
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Vehicle1980 Commuter Vehicles Inc. Comutacar
Commercially produced electric vehicle. Found as a frame and partial drive train in Berkeley. Missing body panels, doors and other components. Currently a project car at Alameda High School in Alameda, CA
MotorGeneral Electric 6HP Series Wound DC
Data plate says 48v, 4000 RPM. Rating is for 15 minutes.
DrivetrainDirect drive Dana/Spicer differential. Motor bolts to input of differential - no transmission or clutch. Present differential ratio is 12.25:1, although it is marked as a 5.17:1. A previous owner probably changed the ring and pinion to get better hill climbing ability.
Controller 3-step series/parallel contactor setup
Comutacars (and earlier Citicars) used a 3-step series/parallel controller. First step is 24v through a resistor. second step is 24v direct, and third step is 48v direct. General speeds are 9 MPH (1 step) 19 MPH (2 step) and 35 MPH (3 step). If you have to go anything other than one of these speeds, you have to accelerate/decelerate continually. This vehicle will go slower because of the taller differential ratio - top speed is likely to be about 25 mph before the motor overspeeds.
Batteries8 Trojan T-105, 6.00 Volt, Lead-Acid, Flooded
Eight Trojan T-105 flooded golf cart batteries. Date code indicates that these batteries were produced in March of (get this...) 1994 (date code C4). Car sat for the past 10 years in a side lot at a business, so the batteries weren't made in 2004... Actually took a charge, but we'll have to see how they act once it is driveable.
System Voltage48 Volts
InstrumentationSpeeedometer, voltmeter, misc indicator lights such as overtemp and seat belt warning.
Top Speed25 MPH (40 KPH)
Speed based on estimate of 5k rpm @ 12.25:1 differential ratio. The differential is marked 5.17, but someone changed out the ring and pinion at one point. At 12.25:1 this car would probably climb a cliff, but since it is a fixed ratio (motor direct to differential) this particular Comutacar's top end speed is RPM limited - most other electric vehicles are torque/HP limited. This car is not presently operational.
EV Miles
Start:1,421 Miles (2,286 Kilometers)
Current:1,421 Miles (2,286 Kilometers)
Total:0 Miles (0 Kilometers)
Seating Capacity2 adults
Curb Weight1,350 Pounds (613 Kilograms)
Weight information from owners manual.
Tires145SR13 tires. Somewhat larger than 145 will fit in back without rubbing, but needs 145's in front to keep tires from rubbing on the frame rails. Raising the front axle has helped come C-car owners avoid this problem.
Conversion CostNot a conversion, but so far I have spent $89 -
$75 (towing from Berkeley)
$10 (tire valve stems)
$4 (mount four used tires on the bare rims that came with the car)
The 15 year old T-105 batteries were charged individually, and all are holding about 6.3 volts. Connected in 12v pairs, they are good enough to make the motor/differential turn. Since there are no brakes (bad shoes and ?) not driveable yet....

code by jerry