Side Trip: Sparky Comes Home From'Bama
Glen and I with Sparky shortly after delivery.
This is a composite picture of the dash on the comutacar with repaired/replaced gauges and switches. Starting from right to left, the charging amp meter for the main battery pack, the charging amp meter` for the aux. 12 volt battery, the Curtis "gas gauge", ACC light w/ fasten seat belt light below, wiper light with Hi-Lo switch below, shift light with forward/reverse switch below, speedometer, left and right turn signal lights with hi-beam, brake, hot and hazard lights below, voltmeter for 2-pack of 6 volt batteries, dash dimmer light with dimmer control below, lights light with Hi-Lo light switch below.
In my last report I hauled Sparky up to EV Performance (EVP) in Rogersville, AL to be serviced by Glen Stevens. While Sparky was at EVP, Glen and I stayed in constant contact regarding the repairs.
As the date for Sparky's return approached, Glen and I started talking about the best way to get it back. The solution that we came up with was highly satisfactory. One of my biggest expenses with Sparky has been trailer rentals. When I originally bought Sparky, I rented a trailer in Staten Island, NY, and the one way rental fee was $600! When I took Sparky to EVP the rental fee was only $125, but I had to rent the trailer in St. Petersburg, FL, drive to Alabama, and bring the empty trailer back. At this point I started looking at purchasing a trailer and found that the average trailer cost in my area is about $1000. Glen was kind enough to check around Rogersville and found a trailer dealer who had excellent 6X10 trailers for $750. These trailers are well built, and in addition to the excellent price, the measurements are perfect for the Comutacar - the car can be driven onto the trailer with plenty of room to open the doors and get in and out. I sent Glen the money and he bought me one of the trailers.
On 4-19-06, Glen and his family hitched up the trailer and brought Sparky back to St. Petersburg. The repairs/improvements in Sparky were very impressive. Glen replaced the motor with one of his own motors, which included new brushes, wiring, etc. The charger was rebuilt with a new circuit board, and then remounted and regrounded. The controller was moved, bolted down, regrounded, and rewired to the power supply. A new Curtis "gas gauge" was installed on the dash. I could do a laundry list on the dash gauges, but the bottom line is that all the gauges were repaired, replaced or rewired. Glen's attention to detail carried down to replacing all of the dash mounting screws with stainless steel. The main fuse was replaced and remounted. The battery ground wire to the chassis was replaced, which cured a .2 volt drop. The battery hot wire to the interlock relay was replaced to cure a .3 volt drop. The fan switch was rewired. The ignition switch was replaced.
The bottom line is that the electronics in the car are virtually new. Before Glen worked on the car I was able to drive only 14 miles on a full charge. After Glen brought the car home, I am easily able to get 30 miles per charge (and I didn't have to replace the battery pack)!
Glen's visit was great and we enjoyed spending some time with his wife, Kendra, and their two daughters. I highly recommend to anyone owning a Comutacar (or other electric vehicle) to consider taking advantage of the services of EV Performance.