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AlexanderB 10-12-2014 04:22 PM

Hello (again) from the Netherlands
Well, I had an account before, way back, when I was attempting to build my own EV conversion, but that one seems to be.. missing.

Anyway, so I made a new one and I'll introduce myself.

I'm Alexander, 25, student Mechatronics Engineering.

Back in 2010 I wanted to do my own EV, I had dibs on a rolling shell of a Triump Spitfire (cool car), found a source for forklift motors, and was looking at batteries, when my government descided that EV's (including DIY) need to have the motor and controller "certified" for EV operation, and non-sealed lead acid batteries are all-but-banned.
These "certified" parts are a ton more expensive than used forklift parts, putting this pipe dream project way out of my financial reach. Not going to put 20k of drive train in a 1k car with a 2k battery. Oh well.

Since then, I've driven around in a CitroŽn AX GTI. Derived from a 3l/100km concept car, but fitted with the latest in gas-guzzling technologies, it did about 7.9L/100, and 0-100kph in 8 seconds, and 200kph top speed.
When gas prices started to go to €2/L (about $11/us gallon, at the time) that started costing more than I made with my part-time job, it had to go. I still regret selling it every day, the guy who bought it, had it scrapped for no reason, after I restored the thing to mint condition. :(
Fuel prices have gone down a bit since, its currently about $8-9/gallon, (and $6.45 for diesel) at the cheapest pump in town.

After selling the GTI, I bought a CitroŽn AX Diesel, pretty close to its roots, with a factory spec of 3.7L/100 km @ 90 km/h (63.5 mpg @ 55 mph). I managed to do that, once, for 500 km, by tailgating a truck the whole way. Never again, so boring.
And since then I've done a few mods that were for handling, safety and (a bit) looks. Like wider, more sticky tires, better brakes, etc.. Not something you'd brag about on this forum, I'd guess.

The problem for me (for the past year) is that the fuel consumption is now stuck at a solid 5.25l/100km (45 MPG) averaged. No matter how I drive, tailgating a truck, or leadfooting it around town. I've almost replaced every part of the car, so I don't know where to look anymore, it should be able to do better, but it just doesn't. The next thing I might do in the next few months is replace the whole injection system, and dial in the timing a bit, more advance means more power *and* economy, in most cases. That should help?

Anyway, thats me, here (again.)

AlexanderB 10-12-2014 04:49 PM

Oh, and in other news, starting Januari 1st, all diesel cars older than 2001 are banned from the city center area + some surrounding roads in Utrecht, the 4th (?) largest city in my country.

"Because of pollution." I mean, somehow its fine to have some modern car that guzzles fuel, but an older economy car is banned for pollution. Whacky.
I really really hope this doesn't catch on in any other cities, but I fear the days are numbered for my car.

And its always fun to hear my boss wants to move the company HQ to there. I really hope he picked a location outside the "zone", or gives me another raise so I can buy and operate a newer car.

nemo 10-12-2014 04:56 PM

Welcome back. Sorry to here about the ruining of you EV build plans. Sounded like it would have been a nice project.

AlexanderB 10-12-2014 05:46 PM

Yeah, too bad indeed. Though a quick calculation learns the write-off on batteries is quite steep, or I might have looked into alternative sources of drive trains.

Because theres one workaround, if the drive and controller is from an existing road-legal EV, you can use it.

And because of that, I've recently been looking into the possibility of buying a Prius to replace my current car. I'd hack the electonics (canbus?) for more EV speed, put in a bigger battery, and do all my short-trips (I'm just lazy, ok) with plug-in power.
Theres a NHW11 (the 3-box sedan first gen one) for sale for about $2k, with 175k miles on it but I fear I might be buying myself a world of trouble and expensive repairs..

RedDevil 10-12-2014 05:50 PM

Hi Alexander, greetings from Nieuwegein, a tram ride away from Utrecht :)
You know the dump trucks in Utrecht are set to be exempt from the pollution rulings? Council found out their law meant having to replace their entire fleet of dump trucks, so they bent the law instead :eek:

Are you keeping a fuel log? Do you have fuel economy instrumentation? Is your car bnew enough for a OBDii device ('96 onwards)?
Are your brakes warmer than they should be after a drive? (mine are! I'll have them cleaned and fixed next week when I switch to winter tires)

RedDevil 10-12-2014 05:55 PM

I'm planning a paralllel PHEV booster pack on my Insight; a small one as I want to keep it portable/charge it at home & at work, and because the Insight won't take a very large input anyway. It could bring my fuel consumption down by about 20%, calculating it conservatively. Mine is already one of the most economic second gen Insights in Europe, mainly due to driving style; yet if I can improve on it I will :)

AlexanderB 10-12-2014 06:03 PM

The new law makes no sense to me, its just politics, if you have money, you can do whatever you want anyway.

I am keeping a fuel log on Spritmonitor. (I hope I can link it, it should be here: Details: Citroen - AX - AX 1.5D Spot -
I have no instrumentation, I have an 80's style diesel engine with 0 electronics, other than the starter motor, alternator and glowplugs.
Theres no OBD on my car, so no scangauge for me. :(
The brakes and wheelbearings aren't particularly hot, and they all rotate pretty freely, so I don't think its that. (They've all been replaced, twice, in the past 2 years.)

Yeah, my driving style isn't the greatest, I try to not push it too hard, but I don't particularly eco-drive, I do the speed limit (or a little over), I don't P&G, I often get cut-off of boxed in by other drivers, which means I have to brake instead of roll, etc..
I live and study in Delft, and I have a part-time job in Den Haag, the roads here are extremely busy, which doesn't help eco driving either.

Oh, I do about 50% stop-start driving 50% highway.
Most of my trips are either a handfull of km of mostly stop-start, or 20 km highway + a handfull km of stop-start. Seems like a good case for hybrid drive to me?

RedDevil 10-13-2014 05:53 AM

I know what you mean, I was born in Den Haag, raised in Rijswijk, studied in Delft and lived in Voorburg up till 2002. Start stop is bad in a hybrid too, just not as bad.

You are driving a lot, you are better off with a small diesel if you can keep it anywhere near 20 km/l I had an '86 Golf Diesel 4-speed, that did about 20 km/l in partly stop&go traffic too.

AlexanderB 10-13-2014 06:44 AM

Well, start-stop you can do electric, and plug in at home to charge it. Electricity is cheaper than fuel, especailly if you otherwise sit at traffic lights idling the "first mile" or "last mile". Driving on the freeway is not a problem, almost never any jams, but the first and last bit is always clogged up thanks to the terrible traffic light settings and high traffic density.

I got a small diesel, so thats good. mine has been stuck around 19km/l for a while now, I suspect an issue with the injection system, its the crappy Lucas one, I almost got all the bits for a Bosch conversion, that should almost certainly improve the engine and overall MPG.

Sjoegerd 10-14-2014 01:41 PM

Hey Alexander,
I've seen your GTi on the AX club forum am I right? I used to drive an AX 1.1i until it broke down, got a Peugeot 106 1.1i now :).
Love those little AX diesels, they are hard to find nowadays. Try to stay under 100-110 km/h, above those speeds the fuel consumption raises dramaticly in my opinion.
Good luck with your eco-driving and I would love to see pictures of your AX diesel :)

Greetings, Sjoegerd

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