OwnerTom & Jackie Keenan
Owner's Other EVs1976 Citicar
1980 Comutacar
LocationAlameda, California US map
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Vehicle1989 Ford Escort LX Hatchback
Converted by US Electricar in Santa Rosa, CA (later known as US Solar) in 1992. Serial # 92016. The State of California classifies this vehicle as an 'Electron Ford Escort' and a 1992 model as it was
converted in 1992.
MotorGeneral Electric 9 inch Series Wound DC
Rated at 22.74 HP (about 160 amps @ 108v). This motor seems to pull best between 1,500 and 2,500 RPM.
GE Motor Label
HP 22.74
V 99.6
A 198
RPM 2375
Duty 1 HR 140C Class H
DrivetrainFWD 5-speed manual transaxle. Clutch retained.
3.52:1 differential ratio.
3.60 1st (12.672 overall) 22 MPH 4k RPM
2.12 2nd (7.4624:1 overall) 37 MPH 4k RPM
1.39 3rd (4.8928:1 overall) 57 MPH 4k RPM
1.02 4th (3.5904:1 overall) 58 MPH 3k RPM
0.76 5th (2.6752:1 overall) 130 MPH 5k RPM (well, that's what it works out to on paper!) Practical top speed is about 65 MPH.
ControllerCurtis 1221B 7401
72 to 120v 400 amp. Single frequency type. Amp meter in vehicle shows a max of about 375 amps for very brief periods of time when the motor is turning about 1,600 RPM.
Best power speeds:
1st gear 8 MPH
2nd gear 15 MPH
3rd gear 25 MPH
4th gear 32 MPH
5th gear 40 MPH.
Batteries18 US Battery US125, 6.00 Volt, Lead-Acid, Flooded
New battery pack installed on August 12, 2012. The price for the pack of 18 batteries was $2,380.97.
System Voltage108 Volts
ChargerZivan 2500
Zivan 2500 with high-low power switch capability. This particular unit
operates with 120v (nominal) input, so it would tend to trip breakers as a 2.5 kW unit. On low power, it draws about 1.5 kW. Switch for high/low is inside the vehicle, which makes using a 120v / 15a outlet relatively easy. Normally plugged in via a L5-30 (30 amp, 120v) plug at
home. Original setup was a transformer with no regulation - at low pack state, it would draw nearly 30 amps from a 120v wall plug.
HeaterConverted from 120v hair dryer. Works OK as a defroster, but somewhat loud.
DC/DC ConverterDC Power Systems
350 watt output
InstrumentationBattery voltage (rudimentary SOC) and charger amp meter. Stock meters (tachometer and 'fuel') have been made operational by installing a ZEVA adapter. This makes the tach operate as an ammeter.
Currently set for '8 cylinder' using the stock 4-cylinder tach to give more
resolution to amps at the normal operating range (75-200 amps).
Using this mode, 2000 RPM = 100 amps. The fuel gauge is used as the SOC indicator, and seems to be consistent with actual battery state during a drive and after charging. Also includes a low battery light. Because the original Ford instrument cluster used a pulsed voltage
control that averaged 5 volts, the fuel and temp gauges would drift up and down about 1/8 of scale each time the old regulator turned on/off (about once per 5 seconds). I replaced the old regulator with a 7805 (solid state) 5v regulator that is mounted in the original regulator's tin can behind the dash. Check Engine light connected to motor overheat switch, and temperature gauge connected to OEM temp sender mounted to motor case.
Top Speed65 MPH (104 KPH)
65 MPH @ about 150 amps. I usually don't go faster than 60 to keep the power use down.
Additional power use info:
125 amps @ 60 MPH
110 amps @ 55 MPH
40 amps @ 30 MPH
25 amps @ 25 MPH
Acceleration400 amp Curtis controller and 108v system are OK for in-town and slower freeway driving, but vehicle weight and power available makes accelerating onto the freeway a significant challenge. Zero to 50 takes
about 22 seconds - somewhat leisurely. Others describe the acceleration as Glacial, which is not too far off the mark!
Range45 Miles (72 Kilometers)
Other owners of vehicles converted by the same company at around the same era claimed a 35 to 60 mile range. 45 mile range based on 30-35 mph in-town driving. With 18 US125 batteries (~1.1 kWh each) pack capacity is roughly 20 kWh. 35 mile freeway range at 50-55 mph. 55 mile range might be possible if driving really slow - 25 mph.
Watt Hours/Mile450 Wh/Mile
50 mph about 550 Wh/mile. Mid-speed (40-45 mph) 450 Wh/mi. 25 mph about 350 Wh/mi. Other owners claim this vehicle uses about 500 Wh/mi, which may be for 50+ mph cruising. Measured from the wall plug during charging.
EV Miles
Start:25,961 Miles (41,771 Kilometers)
Current:31,383 Miles (50,495 Kilometers)
Total:5,422 Miles (8,723 Kilometers)
Seating Capacity4+ adults
Curb Weight3,400 Pounds (1,545 Kilograms)
As weighed on a certified scale. Included spare tire. 10 batteries mounted where the old gas tank used to be, and 8 batteries mounted around/above the transaxle/motor. Feels heavy when driving. With just the driver in the vehicle, the feel is similar to how an an ICE Ford Escort might be with four large adult passengers in the car plus a
couple bags of cement in the trunk.
Tires185/70R14. New tires installed in mid-2014, and tend to have more
rolling resistance than the 15+ year-old ones that were falling apart.
Probably lost about 4 to 5 miles of range, but the car is much more comfortable to drive.
Original owner had the vehicle for about 17 years, but had to make room for a new stable of EVs.
I am the second owner of this Electron Ford Escort.
A recent range test (August 2014) demonstrated that range has decreased considerably, probably due to a couple of factors - the new tires have more rolling resistance, and the battery pack has aged. In combination, the range at that time was about 35 miles or so, compared with the originally tested number which was 45 miles or so.
September 2016 Update: Range tested out at 28 miles. Lower number is expected with the lead-acid pack being about four years old. Still use the Electron Ford Escort as a daily driver for local errands.

code by jerry