Fill and Albie's First Electric Car ( Li'l Blue )

And - (Drum roll here......)

Fill and Albie's SECOND Electric Car ( LEAFLET )

Li'l Blue
e-hatsu electric car


Purchase Date:
10 October 2013
Make and Model:
Daihatsu Charade (1988)
Converted to electric in August 2008                      
Batteries (Original): 6 x 130AH lead acid deep cycle
Wired in series for 72V nominal
New Batteries (First Set):
24 x 3V 100AH Lithium Ferrous Phosphate
Installed August 2014 - YAY!
New Batteries (Extra Set):
Another 24 x 3V cells (as above)
Now we have 48 cells in total (August 2015)
15km (old batteries)
50km (new batteries - first set)
100km (With extra set of batteries)

Drive Statistics: (Updated 31 January 2016)

Lead Acid Battery Pack:
(Oct 2013 to Dec 2013)
Drove 927 km and used 183 kWh (3 months)
= 5.1 km/kWh  (or 0.197 kWh/km)  Not very good...
LiFePo4 Battery Pack:
(August 2014 onwards)
Distance driven: 6,731 km 
Electricity Used: 1,011 kWh                    
Consumption: = 6.7 km/kWh  (or 0.150 kWh/km)

To see a Consumption Vs Time graph, please Click   Here

To see more detail about the Specifications, please Click   Here

To see comments written by various drivers, please see the Logbook

To see Albie's most recent postings about li'l Blue, go to the bottom of this article


A couple of years ago, our nephew Ants bought an electric car. It was from a guy in the North of the N.Island.  He asked me if I'd like to come on a LONG road trip to fetch it and drive it down to Christchurch.  It had to be a LONG trip, because the batteries were dead, and it only had a range of about 5km before it had to be charged up again.

Anyway, he took my sage advice and had the car freighted down to Christchurch on the back of a truck.  (The ignominy....!)

After eighteen months or so of playing around with his Li'l Blue, he bought a bigger one, and offered us the Daihatsu (E-Hatsu!!) at mate's rates.  We jumped at the chance to own a real plug-in electric car!

The car duly arrived on the back of another truck, but we had a problem.  The driver of the truck had lost the keys, so we couldn't drive it home!  (The car, not the truck).  It took a week for a new set of keys to be cut, and for us to finally drive Li'l Blue for the first time.  It was GREAT!!!  It's the sort of car which you drive with a HUGE smile on your face.  It's so quiet, and fairly nippy too.  (The new set of batteries were in pretty good shape then...)

Limitations of Lead-acid Batteries:
Even though our batteries are rated at 130Amp-Hours, this is very misleading.  One should NEVER drain lead-acid batteries down below about 50% of their capacity, or their life will be severely shortened.  In fact, 25% Depth of Discharge (DoD) is a practical working limit. Which means that our 130AH batteries only had a true capacity of 33AH.  In addition, the RATE of discharge makes a huge difference to how much effective storage you have.  The faster you drain them, the less efficient they become.  for example, a 100AH battery pack will only give you 50AH if you run them at 100Amps. (This is called the Puekert effect)

All of this means that you really need to have batteries of 4 times the capacity than you will actually use, and you must NEVER be tempted to dip into the other 3/4 of your batteries' capacity or you WILL kill them eventually.

From various posts on the internet, it seems that Lead-Acid batteries have a life of around 500 cycles, which represents around 2 years' driving.  After this, you have to replace the batteries.  In our case, that would cost around $2,000 every 2 years, and has to be factored in to the cost of running the car.

Lithium Ferrous Phosphate  (LiFePO4) Batteries:
Fortunately there is an alternative to Lead-Acid, and it has just recently come of age.
LiFePO4 batteries come in 3 volt cells, and various capacities.  We chose Winstone prismatic cells, 3V each, and 100AH capacity.  24 of these cells in series makes a 72Volt battery pack which is much smaller and lighter than our Lead-Acid pack.  (80kg as opposed to 180kg, and all the cells can fit in the boot, instead of being scattered all over the car).

Lithium batteries can be drained to 75% DoD with almost no effect on the life of the battery.
They will do between 5000 and 7000 cycles at 75% DoD.  That's 25 years, or the entire life of the car!
The Puekert effect doesn't occur, so we can run them continuously at 100Amps (or up to 300Amps briefly) without harm.
Our 100AH Lithium battery pack cost us $4,400, compared with our 130AH Lead-Acid pack at $2,000. (And the Lithium pack has a greater actual capacity than the Lead-Acid pack, don't forget!)

It's a no-brainer.

Lithium cells are VERY fussy about over-charging and over-discharging.  It's most important to remain within the maximum voltage range of the cells.  If you EVER go below 2.0V or above 4.0V, you can kiss your battery goodbye. So it's important to monitor your battery State of Charge carefully, and leave a good margin at the top and bottom of the SoC.  We've chosen to NEVER go above 90%SoC or below 25%SoC.  This means that our battery will actually have a working capacity of 65AH, which should be fine.  (That's about 5kWH, for those of us who prefer kWH to AH, and should give us a range of around 50km.  We'll see.)

Our Old Lead-Acid Battery Pack:
The photo below shows the big blue battery container which holds two of our lead-acid deep cycle batteries.  The other 4 batteries are located in pairs, two under the bonnet, and two on the floor just behind the front seats.  The  darker blue devices on top of the battery box are the battery charging system - three independent 24V switch-mode smart chargers, each of which looks after a pair of batteries.  There is a ventilation system which carries away the dangerous gases produced during charging.  That's the grey pipe coming up from the floor on the right, and going out through a vent on the left.  A small muffin fan sucks air through the box to vent the gas.

Blue battery box

Our new Battery Pack:
Here's a connection diagram for the new pack:
There will be 24 individual cells, all connected in series.
In order to keep the instrumentation simple, I've divided them up into 6 groups (B1-B6) of 4 cells each.
We'll be able to monitor the voltages of each group of 4 cells independently.

Battery Connection Diagram

Here are the 6 voltmeters which monitor the 6 groups of cells:  (They don't work if I take the dice away.)
6 Voltmeters

Here they are!  Nephew Ants and two of the new cells.      Testing the cells, to see if they're all working
Winstone cells  Testing the cells

Stacking the cells in the new box                                    They all fit! (That's the shunt in the grey tube)
Putting the cells in the box  They all fit

Flexible connectors (to join the cells together)            All done!  Albie, Li'l Blue, Ants and Jeffrey
flexible connectors  Done!

To BMS or not to BMS?
If I had $10 for each opinion I've been given about Battery Management, I'd be able to buy a BMW! (But I still would be none the wiser about whether to buy a BMS or not.....)

The problem is that no two Lithium cells are born exactly equal, and you can't "equalise" the cells in a pack by giving them a slight overcharge every now and then, the way you can with lead-acid batteries.

This means that when you're charging your pack of cells in series, some of them will be fully charged before the others, and if you continue charging after the first cell is fully charged, you'll kill that cell by overcharging it!

The same thing occurs during discharge (when you're driving the car), and you get to the point where the first cell is empty but there's still energy left in the other cells.  If you continue driving, you'll overdischarge the empty cell and kill it.

There are 5 main schools of thought here:  Top Balancing, Bottom Balancing, No Balancing, Dynamic Balancing, or Static Balancing.  (And various combinations of these)  The various opinions on this matter almost appear like the conflict between a number of fundamentalist religious sects, and you have to be very careful about what you say to any particular person, for fear of getting flamed!  (I'm just joking, really...)

Basically, it boils down to the fact that your battery pack is only as good as the weakest cell in the pack.  If your weakest cell only has a capacity of, say, 98AH (in a pack of 100AH cells), then you have to treat the entire pack as if it consists of 98AH cells.  Furthermore, if the cells are unbalanced (i.e. at different states of charge), then some cells will run out of charge prematurely while their neighbours still have charge left in them, even if they are equal in capacity.

We've decided to make sure that all the cells are as nearly balanced as we can make them, near the BOTTOM of their state of charge, and only charge them up until the first cell (the weakest one) is nearly fully charged, then STOP charging at that point (even though the rest of the pack is not fully charged).

The reasoning is like this:  If the cells are balanced at the bottom, then they will all approach empty at about the same time when driving, and we can use a voltmeter over the whole pack to tell us when we are about to run out of charge, and sound an alarm just before we do so.  During charge, on the other hand, we can stop charging prematurely, just before the first cell is fully charged.  And since the current during charge is very much less than the current during driving, this is quite easy to monitor.  Our chargers do this for us automatically, so it makes sense to do it this way.  (I'm expecting to get heaps of counter-arguments from bottom-balancing opponents, but that's ok....)

As a second line of defence, to protect our investment in cells, we will use a distributed battery management system (called "MiniBMS"), where each cell is monitored to ensure it doesn't go outside a fixed voltage range.  If any cell goes below 2.6V it sounds an alarm, giving us time to get off the road, and if any cell goes above 3.8V, it shuts off the charging system.  The first should never happen, because we don't intend to drive the car anywhere near 2.6V, and the second should never happen, because the battery chargers should stop automatically before any cell gets anywhere near 3.8V.  So there.

21 September 2014: Electric Vehicle "Drive" for Climate Awareness
We held an electric vehicle rally from the Takaka Library to the Mussel Inn (20km) with about 8 electric or electric hybrid cars, and electric bikes.  Lots of people came for speeches and a big sendoff!  It was great fun, and certainly raised awareness about electric vehicles.

Li'l Blue was the "flagship" of the fleet, and was driven in relays by various persons of note:  a local BoyRacer, a County Councillor, a local celebrity, and a TV News reporter.  They all had fun and one of them said that it was a privilege to drive the first all-electric car in Golden Bay.  I can tell you that Li'l Blue fairly glowed with pride!

Here's a link to the TV3 News article about the Rally.
(You'll have to put up with the short advert about tyres first....)
(And - if you've got AdBlocker and Firefox, you'll have to turn AdBlocker off to see the video)

Here's a link to a news article in the Nelson Mail by Charlotte Squire

Our Facebook page features the car at this link 

And an article in the Happyzine e-magazine, with a bit of background

Radio interview Country Life Feb 2012 (Scroll down to "Off the Grid")

Radio Interview Country Life Sept 2014

We had no idea that our little blue would generate so much interest!


September 2014 - Some Statistics so far:

Total distance travelled in September:  494km (Longest single trip: 39.6km)
Total electricity used in September:      70.1kWh
This represents 0.142 kWh per km  (or 7.0 km per kWh) 
Cost:  1.4c/km (if we charge from our own solar panels at 10c/kWh)
Cost:  3.6c/km (if we pay full market rate for the electricity at 25c/kWh)
We're still smiling!

October 2014
Total distance in October:  554km (Longest single trip: 40.0km)
Total electricity October:  78.0kWh
This represents 0.141 kWh per km  (or 7.1 km per kWh)
So we're pretty consistent - the figures are very close for September and October.
One of these days, we'll borrow a small petrol generator, and drive to the limit of what the batteries can do.  Then we can charge up with the generator and drive home.  (All in the name of Science, you realise...)

November 2014
4 November: A very special person drove Li'l Blue today - Julie Anne Genter, the Green Party MP who is the spokesperson for Transport fot the Green Party in Parliament. She said that it was
"a Privilege" to drive Li'l Blue!!!!!!
Li'l Blue fairly glowed with pride, and now she says she won't go anywhere until she's had a wash and a polish.  (Li'l Blue, I mean, not Julie Anne...)

6 November 2014: - Our first Breakdown!!!
Yep, it's finally happened - it was too good to last.  We went to a meeting at a friend's place, and when we tried to go home again, Li'l Blue said "No...".  So we towed her home, and investigated...
The problem was quickly located:  The coil in the main contactor relay had failed (short circuit) and blown a couple of fuses.  Fortunately Ants came to the rescue with a new coil, and we were on the road again within a few days.

Looking more closely, we found that the relay had a 48V coil, and it had been running on 72V for the past 6 years.  It was inevitable that it would fail eventually, and it's amazing that it lasted as long as it did!

Here's the main wiring diagram for the controller and the main contactor:
Controller Standard Wiring

I cut the 2 wires at X and X, then connected A to E, and B to F.  This means that the main contactor coil is now activated directly by the 12V key switch (and not by the 72V battery supply). 

And it worked!

November 2014 Summary:
Total distance in November:  416km
Total electricity November:  60.4kWh
This represents 0.145 kWh per km  (or 6.9 km per kWh)

December 2014 Summary:
Total distance in December: 359 km
Total electricity December :  53.5 kWh
This represents  0.149 kWh per km  (or 6.7 km per kWh)
So far, we've driven 2043 km in the 4 months since installing the new LiFePO4 battery pack last August. Very satisfying.

January 2015 Summary:

Total distance in January:  393 km
Total electricity January:  51.6 kWh
This represents  0.131 kWh per km  (or 7.6 km per kWh)
The electricty cost is still around 1.3c per km (if we charge from our own solar panels @ 10c per kWh)
That's $13 per 1000 km!  Try and beat that, you gas-guzzlers!

1 February 2015:  Controller Failure - Sob!
I knew I shouldn't have mocked gas-guzzlers.  It was asking for something to happen.
Until yesterday, Li'l Blue was running perfectly on her new LiFePO4 cells.

She's done 2400km since the transplant, and in January she did 131 WattHours per km.  I should have known things were too good to last!

From time to time, there has been the odd, occasional controller shutdown during regenerative braking, but I just rolled to a stop, turned off the key, turned on again, and all was well.  This has happened perhaps 4 or 5 times in the past 6 months.  I didn't worry about it too much - I assumed it meant that the battery voltage was a little high during regen, so it shut down as a precaution.

Then yesterday, running down a fairly steep, long hill with regenerative braking, I had an uncontrollable RUNAWAY.  The car gave a jolt, and tried to run away from me.  The ammeter went to fullscale, and the harder I pushed on the brakes, the faster it tried to go! (At least, that's how it felt!)  Fortunately the brakes are stronger than the controller, so I was able to stop with another jolt from the motor. Then everything went quiet, except for someone in the car, who said "oh, S**T!!!"

I've tested everything I can, and all seems ok except for the controller.  There is no LED when I switch on (no fault/flashing lights, just nothing).  I can't connect to it via a computer and serial cable - the software just doesn't see the controller.

The batteries are fine.  All reading exactly the same voltage.

There are no blown fuses.  The 12V and 72V circuits are all ok.

There is 80V at the PWR input of the controller. (Measured across PWR and GND)

There is 0V - 5V at the Throttle input of the controller. (It goes from 0V to 5V as I move the thottle.)

The motor is fine.  I connected a 12V car battery acros M- and B-, and it runs easily and smoothly.

The precharge resistor is intact (300 Ohms) and it comes on when I turn the manual rotary main switch ON.  (Voltage drop about 2V across resistor)

The main contactor works correctly when I turn the key, with a nice "Clack!" sound.

But there is no LED on the controller.

So I think it's dead.  Sob.

Reason? - My best guess at the moment is that I may have stressed the controller by switching on the car in the wrong order a couple of times.  Normally, we turn on the main rotary switch on the dash first, and allow a few seconds for the precharge resistor to gently charge up the capacitors in the controller, and then we turn on the key switch to activate the main contactor.  If we do it in the wrong order, then there's a huge inrush of current into the controller, which is not good.  There are a couple of articles on the web about similar failures, which have been attributed to this.  But in their case, the runaway happened when they turned the car on, not while driving under regenerative braking.  So I'm not sure.

Anyway, we'll be ordering a replacement controller, and we'll take the opportunity to install a big KillSwitch on the dashboard which we can hit in an emergency, to turn everything off.

18 February: Repairs....
Ok, so we needed a new Controller, Main Contactor, and Emergency Cutoff Switch.
Old Controller:  Kelly KDZ72401, 160A continuous, 400A peak, with Regen.
New Controller:  Kelly KDZ72551, 220A continuous, 550A peak, with Regen
Cost - about $460 US. 
This controller has a setting where you can limit the maximum current to a fixed percentage of 550 Amps, so we've set it (conservatively) at 50% (275 Amps).  This means we won't have the acceleration which the controller can provide, but the batteries should last longer, and the motor and drive train won't be stressed.
It's a compromise, but well worth it, we think.
New Main Contactor: Albright SW200 style, 400Amp break current. (from  This contactor has a 72V coil, so we can put the wiring back the way it should be (See note on 6 November above)
This contactor also has magnetic blowouts, so it can  be used as an emergency kill contactor.  See below.
Emergency Kill Switch:  Oh how I wish we'd had one of these when the car ran away with us!  Anyway, it's there now, in a prominent position on the dash, in all its redness.  The switch is wired in series with the 72V line going to the Main Contactor coil, so when you hit the switch, the coil is de-energised, and the contactor opens.  They say it will break 400A many times, and 1000A once.  (Presumably the contactor won't look too good after breaking 1000 Amps!)

The total cost of the entire repair was around $700 US, including a few extras (e.g. an ammeter, cables for the Controller, a waterproofing upgrade for the Controller, a thermistor to measure the motor temperature, and a new USB to RS232 connector to talk to the controller with our laptop.)

We've been driving around now for about 10 days since the repairs, and so far, all is well.  We can happily cruise at 100A - 200A (65 km/hr) and know that we're within the continuous rating of the controller (220A), batteries (300A) and motor (200A)

What we've learnt from this:
It's very important to precharge the controller by leaking a small current across the terminals of the main contactor before turning on the main contactor.  This charges up the capacitors in the controller slowly, and prevents a sudden inrush of current when the main contactor closes.  Failure to do this precharging has led directly to Kelly Controllers failing catastrophically with subsequent runaway of the motor, in at least two other cases documented on the internet.  (Look up "Kelly controller runaway")

Can we prevent this happening again?
There is a device which can "Auto-Precharge" the controller.  It's called a "Smart Precharger", and is sold by ZEVA (Zero Emissions Vehicles Australia).  It goes between the key switch and the contactor coil, and has a pair of leads which go across the main terminals of the main contactor.  When you turn the key on, the smart precharger waits until the capacitors are fully charged before activating the contactor coil.  Has anyone had experience with one of these?
February 2015 Summary:
Total distance in February:  233 km
Total electricity February:  37 kWh
This represents  0.159 kWh per km  (or 6.3 km per kWh)

March 2015 - July 2015
Here is a spreadsheet 
EnergyGraph  showing how the distance travelled per kWh has varied in the past year.  It looks as if our efficiency is decreasing gradually, but that may be because we're getting bolder, and are driving faster.....

August 2015:  Extra Battery Pack!
We want more RANGE! - 50km isn't enough for us, we're suffering from Range Anxiety.
So we bought an extra 24 cells, to double our range.
Initial equalization and balancing:
It's really really really really important that all the cells are very near the same voltage and state of charge, before you try and connect them in parallel, or you get lots of sparks and smoke and melted wires.
So we discharged the old pack to 50%SoC (by driving 25km) to match the new pack.
Then we connected all 48 cells in parallel, and started discharging down to 2.7V through a load resistor (2 stainless steel welding rods). 

48 cells in parallel
All the cells, connected in parallel

Here is the Discharge Curve showing Voltage, Current and Time during the discharge.
48 hours later.....  still discharging - we should be close now...
58 hours.....  still discharging - voltage is dropping very slowly, but showing some sign of reaching the "knee"
68 hours....   still going - but starting to dip noticeably now!
72 hours - It's Finished!  And it looks lovely. 2.7V exactly.

2 September: Disconnected the load, allowed to rest (still all in parallel) overnight
3 September: This morning it had bounced back to 2.81V
Disconnected all cells from one another, left for 4 hours.  Voltages all still 2.81V
Connected cells in pairs, then 24 pairs in series, to get 72V nominal
5pm:  Started charging.  70V and rising slowly. (2.9V per cell - all identical)
Three days later, and here is the result.  The overnight resting periods are very clear.
Another thing which is very clear is that we have stored 19kWh of energy! (And the battery isn't quite full yet!)
19kWh represents between 114km and 133km of driving (at 6 to 7 km/kWh)

Now here's an interesting thing!
I've drawn a graph showing how much energy is stored during charge, for each 0.1V rise in voltage.
It's incomplete, because charging stopped prematurely, but it shows that almost all the energy stored is between 3.3V and 3.4V. 

11 September 2015:  Stacking the new pack into the car

Drilling holes   On my knees
Drillling holes for cables                                                       On my knees (where I belong)

Stacking cells                                                  

Placing the last cell.

3 October 2015:  Up the Hill!
Today's the day.  We're driving to the top of the Takaka Hill (791M).  And it's pretty steep too!

Ready to go!
All washed, flag raised, and ready to GO.

We drove all the way up the hill in second gear at 35 - 40 km/hr, and at 150Amps continuous.
The motor got almost too warm to touch, but everything else was cool. (In both senses of the word)

Just to prove we got there -

Pleased as punch   Zoom in
    Pleased as Punch!                                                         Zoom in to see the caption.

Now we need to see if we can get to Nelson and back from here.  (It'll be a multi-day journey)
Perhaps we'll try Collingwood and Pakawau next, just for a trial run.

27 - 30 October:  EVolocity Event in Nelson
We had a successful run to Collingwood and back a couple of weeks ago, so we decided to try for a trip to Nelson (106km) for this event.

Because I'm a wimp, we stopped at Ruby Bay for the night with Ruth and Brian (Fill's sister and brother-in-law) and a top-up.  Just to be sure....
Here are a few photos of vehicles on display at the event:

elf  electric unicycle
The really cute ELF (pedal- and electric powered)       an electric Unicycle (it was quite difficult to control)

Blue   trike
Li'l Blue, generating quite a bit of interest                     A contestant swerving round the cones

It was great to see the school teams with their amazing vehicles racing against the clock and each other.  The fastest doesn't always win the race!

In Nelson, with Fifeshire Rock in the background.

7 November 2015:  James Shaw rides in Li'l Blue
Green Party Co-Leader and Member of Parliament, James Shaw, visited Golden Bay this weekend.
He spent some time at the Village Market, and accepted a ride in Li'l Blue.
I think he enjoyed it - he said some kind things about Li'l Blue, and asked some good questions.

James Shaw
Albie, Li'l Blue and James Shaw at the Market Day.

I pointed out to him the anomaly in annual licencing fees between a petrol-powered car and an electric car:
Electric car (Zero Emissions!) -
$334, of which $241 is the ACC levy
Petrol car (cough-cough !!)      -  $176, of which $104 is the ACC levy

This seems to indicate that electric cars are twice as dangerous to drive than petrol cars! (which is crazy)
If we want to encourage the uptake of electric cars, perhaps correcting this anomaly would act as an incentive.

29 December 2015:  The BMS WORKS!

Well, now we know.
I gave Li'l Blue a nice vacuuming so that she'd look good at Teapot Valley (More details below), which was NOT a good idea.  I accidentally knocked one of the switches on the charger, and flicked it from the GEL setting to the FLOODED setting.  This caused the charger to charge at a higher voltage, which would have  damaged the batteries for sure if the BMS hadn't stepped in and shut off the charger!  Normally, charging stops when the average of all cells reaches 3.35V (the highest cell would then be no higher than 3.6V).  But in this case, the average went above 3.4V, with the highest cell getting to 3.8V.  At this point, the BMS said "OOOOPS!" and shut off the charger at the main 230V relay automatically.

30 December 2015:  Teapot Valley
Today we're off over the hill with Li'l Blue to Teapot Valley (100km exactly) - the furthest trip yet on one charge.
Why?  Because there is a Quaker Summer Gathering at the venue over this time, and we are going to show Li'l Blue off to a group of interested folk there.  We'll stay for 2 nights which should be enough time to recharge fully to get us back home again.  We've got a towrope and a long extension cord in the boot,  just in case...
Wish us luck!

1 January 2016:  We got home again!
That was fun!  Li'l Blue just sailed over the hill (well - "crawled" might be a better word).  We crept up the steeper bits in first gear, 25km/hr.  But the motor ran freely, drawing no more than 100A, not labouring and not getting too hot either.  The extra fan we installed probably helped.

Going down the other side was great, because we were regenerating almost all the way down, at -75A, recharging the batteries nicely.  How's that, all you ICE-Owners?  NYaaaaNyyaaaa!!!!
Li'l Blue hummed along at 70km/h on the flat bits of the highway, and there was usually space to pull off and let people go before they got tetchy.  We often received a wave and a toot.  (And no, it wasn't THAT kind of hand gesture, in case you're wondering!)

So now we know that our range is at least 91km.  We still don't know how much was left over, because we still haven't tested her to the limit yet.  We'll have to drive round and round the block and deliberately run out, to find out for sure.
December 2015 statistics:
We drove 363km, and charged 55.2kWh.  That's 6.6 km/kWh or 0.152 kWh/km

January 2016 Statistics:
We drove 643km, and charged 88.1 kWh.  That's 7.3 km/kWh or 0.137 kWh/km

February 2016 Statistics:
We drove 364km, and charged 59.1 kWh.  That's 6.2 km/kWh or 0.162 kWh/km

March and April 2016:
We don't have proper statistics for March and April, because Li'l Blue had to have new brushes for her motor.  Fortunately they still make brush sets for this motor, and I was able to buy them direct from Kelly Controllers in the USA. It was easy getting the old brushes out, but a hell of a job to put the new ones in! (I did it without removing the motor from the car).  Which reminds me of a joke about a mechanic and a heart surgeon... I won't bore you with it now.

At the same time, we bought a new charger for Li'l Blue.  It's capable of charging at over 3kW, which is marginally more than our house can supply through a normal socket.  So we are running it at about 1.6kW (which is still twice as fast as Li'l Blue has ever charged in the past!).  Unfortunately the charger is rather large, and doesn't easily fit in the boot, so we have mounted it on a shelf in the garage.  It's going to be a real nuisance if we ever need to charge up away from home.  (But - sneak bit of knowledge from the future - we have bought a Nissan Leaf, which we can charge up anywhere in the country!  So we'll use Li'l Blue for trips around Golden Bay, and the Leaf for when we want to wander further afield.)

May, June and July 2016:
We don't have proper statistics for these months either, because we swapped our old kWh meter for a newer one, and we just haven't been very good with keeping statistics.
We do know that we drove a total of 840km for the 5 months March to end July.  Not very much, really.

Catch you later,


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