ElectroClassic EV
Classic Cars Reborn into the Electric Future

Nailbiter

914pickup_firetruck

My Saturday began with an early morning run and breakfast with my buddy Fordy, followed by a tour of the Expo light rail line construction on the Los Angeles westside. While crossing Centinela at Olympic, I noticed a bevy of emergency vehicles focusing their attention on a 914. Of course, I swung around in solidarity with a comrade, only to discover it was actually a rare 914 pickup! The owner was pensive because he had just suffered an engine fire, and because his baby had been doused in white fire retardant powder. Concerned it might be a battery fire, I lowered my window and asked if his Porsche was electric. The firemen answered “negative,” but when they discovered mine was an EV, a whole show-and-tell broke out right there in the intersection. You can see them ogling and taking pictures in the background. I passed out a few cards, offered the owner my sympathies, and went on my way.

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kill_a_watt

That morning started with a 70% state-of-charge, but after running errands, I returned home with the battery pack emptied down to 20%. It was the perfect opportunity to test out my new Kill A Watt, a cool little device that tallies the electrical usage at any household outlet, displaying voltage, current, watts, and kilowatt hours. I put the EV charging cable into the Kill A Watt, and plugged it into my laundry room outlet to run overnight. The next morning, it reported 18 kilowatt hours were used to charge the car. Knowing that my pack’s capacity is approximately 22kWh (based on the amp hour rating multiplied by the combined voltage of all the cells), it accurately reflected the 80% charge needed to refill the batteries. Very handy!

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pt_mugu_google

So with a fully charged pack, I rallied the wife out the door early Sunday morning to begin the momentous 43.5 mile drive up Pacific Coast Highway. Destination: the cleft at Point Mugu. Our last attempt was foiled by LA Marathon road closures, so we were excited to finally have clear highways. On the way, we stopped for a quick coffee at Malibu Cross Creek, a joint crawling with so many Tesla Model S cars that we actually saw WASH ME written on one’s hood. I can’t believe they’ve had them long enough to get dirty. Anyways, who does that to a $100K+ electric luxury sedan? We finished our Joe and then scrammed up the coast.

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pt_mugu_rock

The road was smooth, the weather was perfect, the drive was stunning, and the car performed like a champ. We arrived, parked and spent the next hour surveying the ocean off the rocky coast of Point Mugu, just south of the Naval Station. To our surprise we witnessed a whale spouting and breaching in the kelp beds very close to the shore, and a larger whale spouting much further away in deeper water. We were amused by a long runway of small black seabirds as they dove underwater in perfect sequence, and minutes later bobbed up in the surf several yards away. We also spotted a sea lion, and had several sightings of bottle nose dolphins.

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pt_mugu_dreamin

It turned out a banner day for seawatching, and without the need for binoculars! Of course, the car attracted its own share of attention, generating some fun banter with a few interested spectators. My favorite exchange of the day:

“Is this a four, or a six cylinder?”

To which I replied as I popped the motor deck lid:

“Neither!”

After some engaging conversation and more show-and-tell, I handed out blog cards, offered salutations, and we turned back down the coast.

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torque_malibu_ptmugu

Knowing the remaining energy in the pack wasn’t enough to cover the 43 mile return trip home, our goal was to drive 20 miles back to Cross Creek and plug in at the Malibu Civic Center. We’ll hang and relax while the car charges just enough to get us the remaining 22 miles home. Above is a screenshot of the Torque trip log from the Galaxy tablet. The red color indicates my top speed at about 65 mph, while green indicates slow or stopped, reflecting the location of traffic lights enroute. My wife immediately noticed the color coding was backwards. Normally, doesn’t Green=Go, and Red=Stop? Somebody should prod Torque to swap those colors, seriously.

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malibu_charging_civic_center

We rolled into Malibu Farmer’s Market with our state-of-charge at 11%, which is a bit under the 20% rule of thumb for maintaining battery health. I recognized there was no immediate harm if it was done just once in the name of science, without making it a habit. After a little stalking and praying, we landed a cushy level 2 charging spot courtesy of Saint Doris, the Patron Saint of Parking. After plugging-in, we skipped off to the pop-ups to have some lunch. Later, the Malibu Cinemas gouged us for two tickets that literally were 40 times what it cost to charge the car. Engine fires…? Range anxiety…? Child’s play! That’s the real nailbiter.

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8 Responses to “Nailbiter”

  1. Jeez Louise! I saw the firetruck, the other Porsche, YOUR Porsche with the hood up… had me going there for a moment!

    When I get back from vacay in South Carolina, let’s get some more final footage of that beauty cruisin PCH, and put together that Kickstarter video. It could open with the closeup of you saying “Why not take that old MG, Renault, Speedster, etc and give it new life (paraphrasing)… Then flash-cuts of the earlier pre-assembly shots followed by completed views, capped with triumphant PCH cruising with Karen at your side, wind blowing in her hair. Sex sells, baby!

    I’ll be back Tuesday. Happy (electric) Motoring!

    Joe

  2. I like it. Let’s make it a plan.

  3. Nice write up on your adventure. I love your instrumentation gadget, hope i can add one to my mr2 someday! Here’s an adventure I had in my electric mr2 a couple of weeks ago that was a nailbiter too. :)

    http://blog.mr2ev.com/are-electric-cars-ready-for-prime-time-almost-but-not-quite-yet-my-personal-range-experiment/


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