Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Getting Some Driving Time

The heat here in Phoenix is letting up a bit. Not enough to comfortably drive the car in the middle of the day, but early and mid-mornings have been very nice. Every morning I take the car out for a daily errand, and it's just fabulous. What a great car to drive!

Back before I had to remove the motor, I was giving a friend a ride around the neighborhood to show him the car. I drove by a neighbor that lives around the corner, he and his daughter were in the street playing catch. As we approached, I was worried they might not know we were coming, but they saw us and moved aside and we all waved as we went by.

When we came back by, I slowed down to be sure we were all safe, and the father called out "Is that an electric car?" I told him it was, and he said that he knew it had to be because it hadn't made any noise when we first drove by. I stopped for a few minutes to chat. He had a lot of questions about the car, and seemed truly interested. I answered them all as best I could and waved goodbye.

Over the past few days, since I've been driving it more, I've happened by him a few more times. Each time he eagerly waves and smiles. It's great to have made a connection with a neighbor, I hope to talk to him more and maybe offer a ride someday. But the best thing is that he's seeing an electric car driving around the neighborhood on a regular basis, and he has a positive attitude about it. I hope that it's situations like this that will slowly help to convince more and more people that an electric car IS a viable option for some.

I'm still averaging about 325 Watt/hours per mile, which isn't horrible, but I'm pretty sure that will get better with the modifications I've planned for this fall. New springs in the front, fix the alignment and replace the differential's fluid are what I have in store as soon as the weather really starts cooling off.

There is one small thing that's been driving me crazy, and that is a rattle coming from the rear of the car. A rattle whose source, I've not been able to locate. It only happens when I'm heading over bumps, so at least it's not constant. I've looked for it repeatedly, driving the car up on the ramps and poking and prodding, but with no luck. It has a real tinny sound, so it's something small, and I thought I knew exactly what it was. It sounds like one of the clamps used to compress the batteries in the rear battery box is loose. But I've checked them all, and they are all nice and tight.

It's definitely coming from the back end though. The funny thing is, no one else notices it until I point it out. Then they all say something like "It's not that bad." They're right, it isn't, but it drives me nuts. I'm going to have to drive up the ramps again and really give the back end a thorough inspection. I'm not worried that anything is going to fall off or come undone. I used self locking nuts on all the connections in the car; the kind that can't spin off on their own. Eventually I'll find it. I just hope it's before I go mad.

I'm going out to the Diamondbacks baseball game tonight with a friend. I'd love to drive the car there, but the heat would make that an unpleasant drive. The real sad thing is that the ball park has removed their electric car parking spaces! They had 2 spaces in one of the closest parking structures, right up front, with charging stations and everything. I called to find out if they were still there and what was involved in using them, only to be told that they'd been removed. Sadly, the last time I went there, I found they had indeed been turned into handicapped spaces. *Sigh* I can't really blame them, they were empty every game, but what lousy timing!

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