OwnerJ Bills
Owner's Other EV1981 Fiat 124 Spider
LocationPortland, Oregon United States map
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Vehicle1980 Subaru Electravan
MotorGeneral Electric 9 Series Wound DC
ControllerDC Power Systems Raptor 600
An upgrade from the Curtis 1221b that it had when I bought it. Got rid of the squeal. :)
Batteries45 Thunder Sky 100ah, 3.65 Volt, Lithium-Ion
Charging to 3.58v per cell, should baby them nicely. Elektromotus BMS (web: elektromotus.lt) which seems like a great fit for the thunderskys + the Elcon charger.
System Voltage144 Volts
ChargerElcon 3000
Upgrade from the old Zivan NG1 cooker that was in there. Lucky for me, a cheaper Elcon works well with the BMS, with it's CAN bus support. Some fun things you can do when you're catching all that battery monitoring goodness over bluetooth!
HeaterGas powered! Will consider swapping in a ceramic element if I want to avoid it being a "hybrid." ha ha.
DC/DC ConverterTodd Unknown
I don't know. John Wayland handed me this thing and said something that involved the word "prototype."
InstrumentationAnalog SOC and Amp draw gauges at the moment + an E-Meter. I have a little 5" tablet where the AM radio used to be. It runs the BMS android app + gps + my music + fm tuner, which goes to a small power amp under the seat. "Creature comforts." ha ha
Top Speed90 MPH (144 KPH)
Guesstimate. I worry when this guy gets over 50mph, so I'd hate to find out what it could really do, and it wouldn't be too nice on the tranny for me to test it. Brakes much better with lithium in it, as opposed to stomping and closing your eyes and hoping that you glide to somewhat of a stop with lead.
Range60 Miles (96 Kilometers)
Estimated on a hot summer day. The 8 year old Trojans in it previously would get 25 miles in the summer, but 8 during the winter (!). Lithium pack upgrades it from toy to real car.
EV Miles
Current:12,116 Miles (19,494 Kilometers)
Seating Capacity2 adults comfortably. 4 uncomfortably (and possibly dangerously). Would not recommend putting living things on top of the stock Jet battery box/seat in the back, but I'm planning on swapping in a fold n' tumble seat from an old jeep wrangler.
Curb Weight1,900 Pounds (863 Kilograms)
Estimated current weight.
Tires10" - would love to do one of those 12" swaps I hear about occasionally - seem to see those on the Subaru 600's overseas. Some day! Hey - if anyone ever figures out a disc brake mod, get in touch!
As the story of Wattson the wondervan goes, I had come across an old Electravan that was saved from the wrecker. It was complete and I snagged it for a song, thinking me and a few mechanically minded friends would fix it up, do a rust removal pass, replace brushes, stone coms, bla bla bla and get it back on the road.

But before I could get time to go through with the restoration, a fellow Electravan owner in the neighborhood offered me HIS van for a great price, which was in daily driver condition. No restoration required! I was low on free time at the time (ain't that always the case?) so I took him up on it.

The other van is being sold to a friend who seems just as anxious to tear into it as I was. So soon, Wattson will have a buddy... Hohms, of course! (which makes me laugh out loud every time I think about it, thanks Tom)

My van - reverse gear has been disabled and it has an electric reverse contactor setup in it's place. Most of the components have been upgraded over time although the motor is still original. At one point, it was owned by the Minnesota DOT. Later in it's life, it was a grounds vehicle for Mankato State University, where they put a PV array on the roof and did some testing with it milking that drip all day (23% less electricity used, if you were wondering). Someone bought it at auction and it ended up here in Portland.

As budget permits, it's in the middle of getting a paint job and a few other fancy upgrades, not the least of which was lithium so it can be my winter ride. It needs some brake work, something is dragging... luckily I know a miracle worker who goes by the name of Gator who is keen to sort it out.

Like most EVs, it's a hobby and working on it will be an "advanture" I'm sure, but it's a competent daily driver that I can switch to when the weather turns gross here or when my Fiat goes into hibernation. Ask me in a couple years but I like the idea of 2 EVs - one to drive while the other needs to be pulled apart (which is so often I should rename the Fiat Humpty Dumpty at this point).

Sheesh, 2 EV's... I'll have my hands full, but considering the 2 I ended up with... totally worth the time and effort! Elementary my dear Wattson!

code by jerry