Adventure EV


Intro to the Land Rover

by on Nov.09, 2009, under EV Land Rover, ICE

I realize all the pictures I’ve been posting have been “teasers” of the Rover, in a way.  Here’s a little video I whipped up to introduce you to my 1971 88″ Series IIA Land Rover prior to its conversion to EV power. Watch it on YouTube for a higher resolution HD clip.

Starting the old Rover up after about six years reminded me of a few things.  It’s loud, agricultural, uncouth… and I love every bit of it.  It really has character.  With its four cylinder, pushrod, internal combustion engine puttering away, it feels like a big truck.

But it is slow.  Oh, is it slow.  I know I’ve had it up to 75mph before, I don’t know how or why I even attempted that.  I must have been traveling down-hill with a tailwind.  I contemplated taking some 0-60 measurements to compare with the results after the conversion, but quickly decided against it.  At 7000 feet elevation, let’s just say it will do 60mph… when is another issue.

Yes, the Rover reminds me that patience is a virtue.  Shifting requires a little finesse and every move must be deliberate and nuanced.  An odd trait for such a tractor of a vehicle.  Get it right and you’re rewarded with a clean shift that feels like a genuine accomplishment.  Get it wrong and the sharp sound of clashing gears reminds you to pay attention.  The accelerator pedal is not so much a control as much as a suggestion.

Life goes by at a different pace.  It’s so different from our modern day trappings of quiet comfort, where the whole concept of the vehicle has been designed to melt away into obscurity.  It’s a tremendous work of engineering, the modern car, but with few exceptions it’s lost its soul.

I used to commute 80 miles a day in this tank in the Northeast, back when petrol was .99 cents a gallon. Through the hottest summers where my sneakers would start to go soft due to the heat radiating through the bare, metal floor-boards from the exhaust running just beneath, to the coldest winters where I bundled up like a space-man to combat the chill despite having two heaters on-board, the Rover just kept going like a faithful  shire horse.  I suppose an over-sized, heavy duty radiator, and a complete lack of insulation may have been to blame for any discomfort.  Or maybe it was just me.

All those miles in the past, and the thing that completely caught me off guard upon driving it around our mesa again just now, was the steering.  The Rover has no power steering, but it’s not particularly difficult to steer.  Then again, about a million turns of the steering wheel from lock to lock probably plays a part.  I almost drove off into the sagebrush upon taking my first corner.  Ahh, character!!

As an EV then, it will be a very curious beast, indeed…

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Weigh In

by on Nov.05, 2009, under Design, EV Land Rover, ICE

I need to figure out how much the Rover weighs prior to its conversion to electric power.  That way, I can know, roughly, how much it will weigh post conversion, which will give me some idea of its potential performance capability.  So it’s time for a weigh in!

I don’t have access to a truck scale, so I borrowed this idea for weighing a vehicle at home on a typical bathroom scale.  This method should be fairly accurate.  Even if it isn’t absolutely correct, if I use the same methodology for weighing the truck post-conversion, I will have a good idea of how things relatively compare.  But let’s see how I did.

I’ll be weighing each corner of the vehicle and then adding the results together.  This gives me the added benefit of seeing the weight differences on a per corner basis which can help guide battery placement to even things out, if necessary.

If I simply place a scale under one corner of a 3000lb vehicle, the scale would break trying to handle, potentially, 1000 lbs of weight.  So, I’ll use a lever system to scale the weight down to something reasonable.

How does it work?  A board, forming a bridge, acts as a lever between the scale and another anchor point on the ground.  The wheel sits on the board, and depending on the wheel’s location between the scale and anchor point, the weight measured at the scale changes.

Place the wheel at the scale end of the board and the weight of the truck sits almost entirely on the scale itself. The scale will reflect the entire weight of the corner.  Place the wheel at the other end of the board, at the anchor point, and the weight of the truck sits entirely over the anchor point, causing the scale to measure nothing.  Split the difference, positioning the wheel halfway between the scale and the anchor point, and half of the vehicle’s corner weight will transfer to the scale, while the other half goes to the anchor point.  In this case, multiplying the result measured by the scale by two will reflect the correct corner weight.

500 pounds is still too much for my cheap 300 pound-capacity bathroom scale, so I will use a 4x multiplier, by placing the Rover’s wheel 25% of the way from the anchor point.

Illustration of the weight theory

Illustration of the weight theory

First, I took a 2×6 piece of wood, four feet long, and marked it one foot from one end.  The board was suspended between the scale on one end and another piece of 2×6, my anchor point, at the other.  The setup was positioned so that each tire I measured would sit on the one foot marker near the anchor end.

Setup of the weighing rig

Setup of the weighing rig

For the measurement to be accurate the entire vehicle has to sit level with all four tire contact patches at the same height, otherwise the raised corner would receive more weight.  The discrepancy is not insignificant.  In my testing there was a 100 pound difference on one corner when I didn’t raised all the wheels to the same height.

All four tires raised to the same height

All four tires raised to the same height

When all measurements were taken I came up with the following (all measurements in lbs):

FL – 245  X 4 = 980 / FR – 184 x 4 = 736

RL – 176 x 4 = 704 / RR – 174 x 5 = 696

For a total weight of 3116 lbs and a 60/40 front/rear split.  Interesting to note the 250 lb heavier left front.  My only explanation is, the steering hardware, braking system, clutch, alternator, manifolds, exhaust system, and carburettor are all biased towards the left.  The suspension springs on the Land Rover are sided; the left side is stronger than the right.  Enthusiasts say this is to counteract the weight of the driver, and while that may be true, it may also be to counteract 250lbs more vehicle pounds on the left side!  The weight balance left to right at the rear is just about equal.

Multiply by four to get the real weight

Multiply by four to get the real weight

Not bad for a small SUV.  Of course, it does have an all aluminum body and not much in the way of creature comforts, carpeting, or insulation.  But it’s a good start.  That’s with two fuel tanks, as well.  Although they’re probably only about 1/4 full at the moment.  I wonder if I can get the rig down to 2400 lbs with all the ICE stuff gone?  More on that in  a different post.

How do my measurements compare to official published specs?  A stock 1971 Series 2A 88″ Station Wagon model is listed at 3281lbs, while a stock Base model lists at 2953lbs.  So I’m right in there.  My Rover is technically a Station Wagon, but I’ve added a larger rear fuel tank, stripped the rear of seats, and have a lighter than stock exhaust system.  I’m happy with 3116 lbs, at the minute.



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