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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1 Comment for this entry

  • Michael

    I came to your blog through of mutual friend of your mother and father. In fact your parents came to visit our house to see my 3kw PV system.
    I am very interested in building an EV. I look forward to watching your progress and would like to come to Taos to look at the car.

    I always thought that if I were building a car I would look for a light weight vehicle to start with. I know that you already owned a Land Rover. Do you think the type of vehicle you convert with regards to its initial weight is that important?
    thanks

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