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The Monza

While the process has taken longer than I had hoped or anticipated, the "Monza becomes electric vehicle" project is finished! Or nearly finished. First a short summary:

Most components are from a previous conversion, originally from KTA Services.

We've put about 700 miles on the car since the conversion. I generally leave the car in third gear, unless I need better acceleration from a stop on a hill. Top speed is somewhere over 75 MPH--I need to correct some drivetrain vibration issues before going any faster. Range is only about 25 miles, depending on terrain--I had been hoping for more, but knew I was on the light side in terms of battery weight. The range is sufficient for all of our in-town transportation.

I plan to add more details later. In the mean time if you have a question, feel free to drop me a line.

Update April 27, 2007

It has been over a year now since the electric Monza took to the streets, and we've gone about 2900 miles. I've had to replace the brake master cylinder and rear wheel cylinders, but otherwise the car has done well mechanically. I use second gear almost exclusively now--the controller can overheat in hot weather when using third at low speed, so I only use third over 45 MPH now.

I did have some trouble with several of the Deltran chargers, however. When charging, four of them would periodically blink an error code, and then go back to charging. Finally, one of them stopped charging all together, and would only blink errors. I purchased an additional charger as a replacement.

The only visible problem with the troubled chargers is that the fuse holder built into the cable, which is attached permanently to the charger, melted. I identified four chargers with melted fuse holders, and began to speculate on possible causes of this. Loose crimp connections inside the fuse holder was the only explanation I could think of. So, I took the chargers back to the guys at Battery Express who shipped them to Deltran for warranty evaluation.

I got a call from Dan at Deltran, who heard that the chargers were used in an electric car and declared their warranties void due to misuse. A discussion ensued, and I was asked to send pictures of how the chargers were mounted. After sending those via email, Dan replied that the chargers would not be replaced, and cited the misuse clause in their warranty. You can read my response. In summary, Deltran has not shown me to my satisfaction how these chargers were misused, and I feel that the problem is clearly caused by defects in material or workmanship.

After spending over $800 on Deltran chargers, only to have the warranty pulled without good reason, I cannot recommend Deltran chargers. I'm hoping a letter to the company will prompt them to remedy the situation. Otherwise, my only recourse looks to be a report to the BBB and continued recommendation against Deltran chargers.

Deltran did send back the old chargers, and I've spliced out the fuse holders for now. I think my long term solution is building a PIC controlled charger myself. Hopefully I can tackle that project before more chargers stop working.

Update May 22, 2007

The Monza is now listed in the EV Album. Be sure to check out the geographical listing of electric vehicles from around the world.

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