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Old 03-03-2009, 03:39 PM   #1021 (permalink)
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Battery Box Photos and More!

I finally have me, daylight, and a camera at the same time, so you can see how the battery box is progressing.

Unfortunately, the battery box will only hold 5 batteries, not the originally planned 7. That's ok, we'll figure something else out.

Here's the battery box, as we got it on Sunday.


And here's the reverse angle.


I stripped out the rear batteries, allong with all associated cables, the charger, main contactor, and anything else that was back there. This gives me room to work, and help visualize where to put the other batteries.

As you can see, the battery box is welded directly to the unibody of the car. It's tack-welded in there pretty well. We need to put in some filler around two of the edges, and then weld the entire circumference of the box.

Here's what it looks like with five batteries in it.


I have one-inch-thick foam insulation on the back side of the box. On either of the two short ends, there is only enough room for 5/8 or MAYBE 3/4 inch insulation.

Also, right now, the batteries are sitting directly on the bottom of the box. Adding any insulation there will raise the batteries. I think I want rigid foam on the bottom, just thick enough to carve with a router to add in electric battery heater lines.

The other thing I am wondering about is if I should keep the back seat or not. I will not be using the back seat for passengers, as the car will have its gross vehicle weight maxed out. It might be nice to keep the back seat for looks. Have it look like a "normal" vehicle, with the batteries totally hidden away. To do that, the bottom of the back seat would have to be carved out to allow for the top of the box. It will no longer be comfortable to sit on!

The other way I could go is to have the whole back of the car be a flat cargo area. This would be similar to the back of a Honda Insight, although a little lower. If I did that, I would cover over the top of the battery box and the spare tire well with light plywood and carpet. I would have LOTS of cargo space, and I think it would look very nice. It also would be better for showing off the EV components, by not having any of the backseat in the way.

Here is a mock-up of the "cargo-space" concept, using scrap wood. In a finished version, the plywood would extend all the way across the car on the front edge. It could also sit about an inch and a half lower, as it is sitting on top of the old battery brackets (bedframe) in the back of the car.



To re-install the back seat, I would need to hollow out the foam of the seat bottom. The back seat would basically become the "lid" for the battery box.



With all the batteries removed, you can now see what I have available for space in the spare tire well. While it is an odd shape, it's plenty big enough for the charger, main contactor, and a couple other small items.



My master plan to fit 12 batteries (2 72V strings OR 1 144V string) in the car. I still want to do 4 in the radiator position, I just have to figure out how to do it. It may mean plasma-cutting a bit off the headlight buckets, but come on! How cool would custom headlights be! I could aeromod them at the same time!

4 batts in front and 5 in the box means I still need to find space for 3 more. Up against the firewall is where one of them is likely to go. That does mean more fabrication, and maybe covering up my motor.

Anyhow, let me know which you like better - the back seat back in, or the "Insight" cargo area.

-Ben

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Old 03-03-2009, 03:56 PM   #1022 (permalink)
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My Opinion -

Form should ALWAYS follow function. If something is built correctly, and functions as planned, the form of that thing is beautiful as is.

What does this mean for your project? Ditch the back seat.

1. It's unnecessary weight
2. It won't do anything, other than "hide" the fact that you're driving an EV, which is pointless, given your propensity to "show it off" anyway.
3. It takes away from valuable cargo area that might otherwise be utilized in a better way.

In addition - Something like Lauan (very thin overlay panel, can be gotten cheaply from wood stores and Home Improvement Depots... ) might save you a few lbs for the cargo area cover. Using thin polyacrylic (plexi) might keep you from ever actually having to open it up, save for modifications and pointing out specific details, and Lexan is even lighter than Plexi is, and doesn't scratch as easily.

Scratches for the poly would happen when moving the carpet back and forth... over time, just the rubbing motion would dull the Plexi, while it might not dull the Lexan panel.

These are my 1/50 of a dollar for you, my attempted contribution to your project.

PS - did you get the pics of the springs?
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Old 03-03-2009, 04:32 PM   #1023 (permalink)
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I would also vote for ditching the rear seat and going for the cargo version. It would make the car more useful, easier to show, and less likely to be criticized for trying to be something it's not.
"I saw one o' them electric cars once, but you coodn't even sit ina rear seat, 'cuz dare wuz a buncha batteries pokin' through the kooshin'!"
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Old 03-03-2009, 04:44 PM   #1024 (permalink)
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Pics of springs

I can't send them in the PM for whatever reason, so I'll just post the pics of the springs here... If you want, I'll edit them back out later. But at least this way, I know you'll get them. LOL.
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Old 03-03-2009, 06:09 PM   #1025 (permalink)
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I vote for cargo area. The battery box looks really really nice! I love how it was sunk down like that.
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Old 03-03-2009, 07:22 PM   #1026 (permalink)
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That battery box is only welded around its edge, Is that really strong enough to hold 5 batteries? Id reinforce it a bit myself (But i prefer to play it safe).

Definitely extend the battery box into the spare wheel well for the two other batteries. But leave a 2" strip of the unibody between the two battery boxes and reinforce that part of the unibody to both battery boxes.


As for the seat or cargo area?.. Id say keep the seat.

Ok, the seat is too high. Can you not solve that by rebuilding the bottom section of the rear seat. - Use the seat frame, a sheet of thick plywood and some thick firm foam as the seat itself. Basically, raise the seat as need be, but reduce the thickness of the seat foam to keep it looking stock. Use firmer foam so your butt doesnt get jabbed by batteries.

Just my opinion and an idea. Love your car, great work and keep it up.

Last edited by vinny1989; 03-04-2009 at 03:17 PM..
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Old 03-03-2009, 08:04 PM   #1027 (permalink)
EV test pilot
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vinny1989 View Post
, Is that really strong enough to hold 5 batteries? Id reinforce it a bit myself.

Definitely extend the battery box into the spare wheel well for the two other batteries.

Yep, the box is strong enough. Me and another guy climbed into it and jumped up and down. I still is going to get a full perimeter weld next time I have access to a welder.

The photo is deceptive about just extending into the spare tire well. Under the car, there is a structural section straight across right in front of the spare well. The bottom of the well itself is where the rear sway bar attaches.

I will have to try to get some photos from under the car next time it is up on jacks.
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Old 03-03-2009, 08:58 PM   #1028 (permalink)
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I would weld in some 1" square tubing under the box that cradle the box and attach to the sub frame, just for piece of mind. You know?
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Old 03-03-2009, 09:16 PM   #1029 (permalink)
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Its really not going anywhere fellas. The box itself isn't flimsy sheet metal, its descent gauge sheet. As Ben said, both the entire front edge, and the rear corners are attached to main structural members of the car.
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Old 03-12-2009, 12:02 AM   #1030 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bennelson View Post
I just got the best comment ever over on my INSTRUCTABLES about the car:


Jan 16, 2009. 11:30 PMtylosurussays:
"i'm making one. you have definitely encouraged me to try it! i've sat here for like.. the past 3 hours and read this WHOLE ENTIRE blog thing! lol, thanks! "


He must have been referring to just the info on INSTRUCTABLES. It would take MUCH longer than 3 hours to read everything here....
Yeah, four days so far, on and off. I want to make one. But I know I won't. I wish I could. Are there any data acquisition boxen available for EVs? You know, log current speed, throttle position, amps and voltage under load? Just curious.

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