Posts Tagged ‘car conversion’

I drove a stick-shift today!! 121309

I drove a stick shift today! 

I tried once many-a-year-ago when I was in high school.  My best friend’s aunt tried to teach us and, while Andrea got it, I was pretty terrified of the whole thing.  I didn’t even get my license until I was 21, but by then Andrea had driven off in her own life and trying to get around without a car was really hard. So, later – with the promise of a car from my grandpa, I practiced driving my mom’s Pathfinder along the back country roads of Otis and eventually got my license.  Of all the people who’ve tried to teach me to drive, my younger brother was the best.  I went out with him two times (driving to and from the DMV) and he taught me several useful things: 1) to merge, you can’t go too slow or too fast – try to match them, 2) it’s ok to miss your turn and backtrack, and 3) you have the right to turn around and say to your passengers: “Shut the &^%$ up, I’m driving!”. 

One of the things I kept coming across in my electric conversion research is how much easier and more efficient using manual transmissions are.  Bleek!  That one afternoon in a parking lot years and years ago immediately made my belly scrinch up. But some of my friends drive a stick shift and I’d thought on numerous occasions: “what if they broke their leg and I had to drive them to the hospital in their car?”  So, Sunday my friend loaded three of us into her car and we went to a nearby highschool to drive around.  We weren’t the only ones, although we were the oldest.  I did pretty good!  Warren had described the mechanism to me the night before and that helped a lot – I could see in my head how my actions created change in the car.  And having the experience of driving in traffic already, feeling my car and how it changed gears on its own, and my muscle knowledge of break vs gas all contributed to my success.  Yay!  And tonight I’ll get to drive home – over 30 miles and lots of traffic lights!  PHEW!

Honestly, I was putting off pursuing this electric car thing partly because of my discomfort with stick-shifts.  But not anymore!  So, here’s a pie chart showing the inhibiting factors before and after this weekend:



EV: preliminary research

So, I’ve decided to convert a gas powered car to electric.  I like the idea that I won’t have to be dependent on gas companies, and especially dependent on foreign countries to get around.  Eventually I’ll build a mud hut and make all my own power (sun, wind, or water) and will use it for my car, so I won’t be dependent on anybody for my necessaries.  I know, a little extreme in my need for independence.

Today I started looking at EV forums… OMG.  I am blown away with all the information out there!  There is so much to consider: which donor car to use, AC vs DV, what volt, what watt, what batteries, what motor, …  and they’re all very closely interconnected.  I feel like I either want to ignore all the info and find somebody that I can consider an “expert” and just do what they say, or research all the technology on every component excessively.

I also realized I don’t know what I’d need to do to get Oregon registration for it nor what my insurance will think about it.  I’m plan on calling them both tomorrow during business hours.

I’m a bit worried about all the batteries.  They’re very expensive and heavy.  But I’m mostly concerned because they have very caustic chemicals in them.  I can’t believe that they’re clean and easy to make or dispose of… Are toxic chemicals better than combustion by-products?