SOLAR TODAY Blog


>>Yamavolt cruises
September 19, 2008, 11:30 pm
Filed under: Electric fun

Took the electric road racer out for a spin Friday evening and did 4.5 miles around the neighborhood. That means half a mile uphill, half a mile down and repeat. Had a voltmeter on it to watch the state of the batteries.

Went out at 51.5 volts and finished at 48 volts — a 3.5 volt drop for 4.5 miles looks great, because that’s the distance to work. The regen works fine. On the first lap, voltage dropped to 48 at the top of the hill, then ran up to 52 on the way down and settled at 51 as I started lap 2. That was the pattern. On the final lap, voltage dropped to 42 at the top of the hill and came back to 48 at the finish. A minute after I dismounted, voltage recovered to just over 49.

I was easy on the throttle and stayed under 30 mph, but that’s just my estimate.

On Saturday morning I rode it up to Chautauqua — a mile, with an elevation gain of 430 feet. No problem going up, and the batteries regained most of their charge coming down. Regen isn’t really strong enough to provide effective braking — the machine easily coasted up to about 60 on the downhill bit with the throttle closed and would have kept accelerating without use of the drum brakes.

So later in the afternoon I did a full-throttle blast up the block. Hit 60 and had to drag it down on the brake to sweep the corner. Sweet! I’m going to have to ride in stealth mode.

Going for light weight was definitely the right choice. This machine will be killer efficient if I can find a good stack of NiMH batteries. If I can cut battery weight in half, the bike will be back down to race-rig empty weight of about 180 lb.

Meanwhile, the ancient tires must be replaced. The rubber has hardened and the powerful brakes lock the wheels far too easily.

Thanks to Sam Randall for today’s photos.

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