big boy pants
I never thought there'd be a day when I'd refer to my car as "my baby," but it is indeed touching as you watch them grow up, develop and eventually become a productive member of society. All the more reason to keep a scrapbook, right? (see video below) It seems like only yesterday she was a just heap.
All silliness aside, a 40-50 mile range has been surprisingly useful over the past three years and together we logged about 11,500 oil-free miles. Turns out lead-acid batteries do degrade a fair amount over time and that original range diminished profoundly in the final months. I would definitely do a few things differently if I had to do it all again, however, like establishing some type of cell-level monitoring. The (recyclable) batteries should still be useful in a setting with lower current demands so I'm hanging on to them for now.
Well, last month the time came for the "SAAB 96-V" to graduate to lithium battery power or "LiFePO4." SAAB calls it model "96" and it coincidentally sported 96 volts, hence the added "V." The 16 lead-acid batteries were removed and 58 lithium cells picked up where they left off. The car's voltage has increased from 96 volts to 185 volts, leaving a naming quandary, yet it lost around 350 lbs! This is made possible by the remarkable energy density of the lithium-ion chemistry. The 500-amp motor controller was also replaced with a used Zilla 1k HV (1000-amp) unit I bought from a friend. The two Albright contractors were replaced with much smaller, sealed Kilovacs. The charger and DC-DC converter were also upgraded for the higher voltage as well as the dash gauges.
When the dust had cleared we ended up with a 80 mph car that peels out in second gear at half throttle and can log well over 100 miles per charge. I really need a haircut... anyone want to go to D.C.?