To improve the vehicle’s performance, Richmond has made some minor changes. A tonneau cover over the bed not only improves the vehicle’s aerodynamics but also prevents unauthorized access to the battery box, which comes with a latch but not a lock. New, low-rolling-resistance tires extend the driving range by a few miles and make manual steering a tad easier on the arms. A data-logging system, which plugs into the battery SOC meter on the dash, helps monitor the vehicle’s efficiency. A tow bar, tow lights, and drive line coupling device will make towing easier—just in case he ever runs out of juice.
Despite the few glitches, Richmond enjoys every minute of the EV experience. From start to finish, research to test drive, the conversion took one year. “I’ve heard stories about people who converted vehicles in a weekend, but I’m a perfectionist. I took my time and learned a lot along the way,” he says. “Sure, I made some mistakes, but I’m pleased with the end product and plan to drive it for many years to come.”
Kelly Davidson, Home Power Associate Editor, is living without wheels (that is, the motorized kind) in New Jersey. She daydreams of the day when bike lanes outnumber freeways and renewable energy powers a national mass transit system.
Café Electric • www.cafeelectric.com • Zilla motor controller
Canadian Electric Vehicles Ltd. • www.canev.com • S-10/Sonoma conversion kit
EV Source • www.evsource.com • Water-cooling system for controller
Manzanita Micro • www.manzanitamicro.com • Battery chargers
Trojan • www.trojan-battery.com • Batteries
Xantrex • www.xantrex.com • Link 10 battery monitor
Zivan • www.zivanusa.com • Battery charger