CMU Police are now ticketing at the Electric Garage. To ensure everyone is aware of the parking rules, we are publishing the regulations. You can find them here: www.chargecar.org/parking[...] News
With an ambient outdoor temperature of 29 degrees, the Civic was taken for a test drive. Initial battery temperatures ranged from 3-5 C. After 4 minutes of driving, the temperature had risen to 4-8 C. After 8 minutes of driving, the temperature was 5-10 C. Finally, after 12 minutes of driving, the temperature was 8-11 C. Going up a steep slope (Shady Avenue in Squirrel Hill) with the accelerator all the way down caused the BMS to to have a low-voltage fault requir [...]News honda
We were curious to see if our conversion package would be compatible with heavier donor vehicles, so we conducted the following experiment:
We took the car out for some more load test driving on Friday; to Carnegie and back on I-376, 8.7 miles each way including severe motor loads on Greentree Hill at highway speeds. The Civic was loaded with 4 people, an extra 440 kg, bringing the gross vehicle weight to 1620 kg (3542 lbs) which is 46 kg over the original gross vehicle weight of [...]News honda
ChargeCar will be hosting a number of high school students for a few hours a week, starting October/November. They will be using the Electric Garage as a base for doing semester-long projects related to electric vehicles. We look forward to meeting our two students from Taylor Allderdice High School and our students from the Pittsburgh Science and Technology Academy (SciTech), from the Engineering Sciences and Environmental Sciences concentrations.[...] News pittsburgh public schools, education, Electric Garage
This morning the Civic was taken out for another round of hard driving, mostly highway driving up and down Greentree Hill. Four laps were made back and forth on I-376 between Route 51 and Carnegie, roughly 8 miles per lap. The car has no problem keeping up with traffic. Current went as high as 450 A when climbing the hill at 55 mph. Total mileage was 42.7 miles, using 10.62 kWh, 1.86 kWh regen (17.5%), giving us about 4.87 miles per kWh!
One reason for the hard [...]News honda
The ChargeCar website is in the process of being updated/redesigned to improve user-friendliness and aesthetics as well as to include more about our cars. Please check out our new "Conversions" tab on the main page to see pictures and a healthy dose of information about both of our vehicles! Please also check out the Scion and Civic photo galleries.[...] News website, scion, honda
Today, between 8:30 and 10:40 AM the car went through it's first prolonged endurance test.
From the Electric Garage, the car was driven (with two adult passengers) to 2nd Avenue and two laps were made between downtown and Bates. Very little voltage decrease was observed and it became clear that more rigorous driving would be required to run the batteries down in a time-effective manner (we have a weekly technical meeting at 11AM as well). So, the car was taken on the highwa [...]News honda
The Civic was taken out for a long drive Tuesday afternoon. From the garage, to downtown via Bigelow, back out to Squirrel Hill, Pocusset to Serpentine Drive, then approximately 10 miles through Schenley Park, and back to the garage via downtown and Bigelow. This was a reasonable combination of highway and urban driving. The total trip length was about 30.2 miles. The netbook in the passenger's lap reported a net charge usage of 6.62 kWh (with 19% regen from total), giv [...]News honda
Recently, the Civic was modified by setting up the tachometer (motor rpm) and placing a force-sensing resistor on the brake pedal. We have mapped the regenerative braking to this sensor and taken it for drives. The result is a very sensitive first regime of braking (regenerative) that can then be easily continued into the normal mechanical brakes. Some more tinkering will be necessary to get the sensitivity right, increasing the "travel" to be about twice what it is [...]News honda
Recently, one of our team members has been using the Civic as his primary commuter car and he has been recording data.
To home: 5.8 miles
2.407 kw-hr used
0.216 kw-hr regen
2.191 kw-hr total
To work: 5.8 miles
2.037 kw-hr used
0.316 kw-hr regen
1.721 kw-hr total
The bad LiFePO4 cell was replaced with a cell we charged last night and topped-off this morning. The BMS incorporated it perfectly and the cells are all within +/-0.02 V of one another. Another issue we encountered yesterday were potholes. The small sharp shocks seem to trip the contactor (essentially a large relay or electromagnetic switch) and the throttle could cut out for brief periods. We resolved t [...]News honda, scion
The Honda Civic is now a true conversion. It was completed last week (July 23rd) and it has been taken out for drives in our parking lot and on local roads. Some drives incorporated serious hills (i.e. Forbes Avenue towards Squirrel Hill, if you are aware of Pittsburgh's roads) with varying numbers of passengers (up to four adult males).
A week ago, we received 36 TS-100 (100Ahr) Thundersky Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries, 33 to go into the Civic (with 3 spares). While we've been waiting for them, we've also been prepping the controller and motor to go in, including modifying the adapter plate to connect the AC motor to the transmission and clutch. With all the key pieces coming together, we've managed to mount the first components into the car and even made t [...]News honda
The ChargeCarPrize programming contest (beta phase) has launched! The software & data are available to download, and the leaderboard is live for submissions. We have real-world data collected by our secret set of drivers available for training and testing your algorithms.
For those who haven’t heard alread [...]Contest contest
On June 23rd, we had Carnegie Mellon professor Jay Whitacre come to our weekly tech meeting to give us a quick overview of battery chemistry, performance characteristics, and tuning for high performance. We were able to record the video, and it's available at the Carnegie Mellon Robotics Institute website. From that site:
Hello ChargeCar community,
A huge thanks is in order to everyone who braved the dreadful weather and to come to last week's event! It was excellent to see lots of enthusiastic people interact at our open house, as well as after the screening of "Gasland." If you couldn't make it, there will be two more summer events on Friday's through the end of July for everyone interested in any part of ChargeC [...]
You may be aware that we've moved into the empty garage on Forbes Avenue which formerly housed University Exxon. We've now set up all our tools and testing equipment there, and are using it to convert the Civic, do work on the Scion, and evaluate battery performance. While we're at it, though, we're also working hard to clean the place up and turn it into a community center where everyone will be welcome to stop by. As such, we [...]News Electric Garage
The ChargeCar Prize programming contest will be officially launching on July 1st. The contest is to design a management algorithm that controls how the super-capacitor is used in the compound energy-storage system. The contest serves two purposes, reaching out to a new community for involvement and improving the effectiveness of the system by harnessing their intuition and creativity. The contest will feature [...]Contest contest, power management
We are making progress on the conversion of our 2006 Honda Civic. The engine and associated components were removed by Baum Boulevard Automotive, for a net weight removal of about 310 pounds. An AC-31 motor/controller (Curtis 1238-7501) was ordered from Thunderstruck EV, along with the Curtis controller programmer and pot box and Tyco LEV200 500A contactor. The motor was shipped to the Electric Car Company in Utah, who will mak [...]News Civic
The Scion has become an active supercapacitor-battery testbed. We have 3 kilowatt-hours of deep cycle marine batteries in the car, together with a 50 watt-hour supercap, and have installed all the circuitry that enables us to drive around with either or both batteries and supercap, charging and regenning. We are measuring overall efficiencies of approximately 3.5 - 4 miles per kilowatt-hour, which is about right for this size c [...]News Scion
The Scion has been exhibiting very disappointing range, and we began to suspect that the batteries' performance was degrading under heavy loads. This prompted us to perform some stress-testing on the batteries to see how they would hold up under the high currents we have observed in typical driving conditions. The Scion was using four, 75Ah Optima Blue Top, AGM SpiralCall batteries (0.9kWh nominal per battery). We built an expe [...]News batteries, Scion