e-Ghia Joyride

Posted in Tech at 9 pm

Each year I end up revisiting this post from the Electric Vehicle Archive for October 2000:

“I was in 2nd gear as I eased my foot to the floor, taking us right to the adhesion limits of the tires as we cornered through the bend in the road.”

John Bryan’s post is a continuing inspiration for a goal that will come one day.

I took a drunk for a ride in my EV

* Subject: I took a drunk for a ride in my EV
* From: John Bryan
* Date: Thu, 26 Oct 2000 21:19:43 +0000

Hello EVers,

I had an interesting EV experience the other day when I had the
pleasure of taking an honest-to-goodness drunk for a fun ride in my
EV Karmann Ghia. Nick is a friend of the family that keeps his bottle
at our house for various reasons. He had dropped by for a drink or three,
and we spent some time just talking about life, since I had been struggling
through some hard times, and the visit really did make me feel alot better.
He left to take care of some things, but before long he returned for some
more refreshments. I did not join him in his libation, as it was quite
early in the day and I was hard at work studying for a test. After a while,
he said “take me for a ride in that electric car of yours”. Nick is a real
car buff, he has a nice collection of antique cars and I had always wanted
to take him for a ride in my EV.

It was a bit of a struggle for him to squeeze into my small, rounded
car, but with a nice tall drink in hand he managed to get all the way inside
and then commented on the excellent leg room that the Ghia has. We glided
silently away and I know that he was starting to think that this was a pretty
boring ride, until we approached a steep hill with the road curving sharply
as it ascended to the top. I was in 2nd gear as I eased my foot to the floor,
taking us right to the adhesion limits of the tires as we cornered through the
bend in the road. As Nick came unglued with enthusiasm and started shouting
“Oh yeah!! This is GREAT!!”, I went into 3rd gear and with the large capacitor
on the throttle, the power surged back to full very smoothly as we were then
reaching the top of the hill, now blazing along at very high speed.

I coasted to a stop sign and was thinking about showing him what she’s
really got as I now selected 1st gear. I made the mistake of not warning him
as I gunned it. The power surged smoothly up until the tires were chirping and
we sank deep into the seats as Nick’s tall drink, ice cubes tinkling festively
at the top, leapt out of his glass and all over his clothes. While I was
reaching for 2nd, he turned to me and said very soberly “now I’m all wet”,
but as I grabbed 2nd gear and the power came back up he went right back to
whoopin’ and hollerin’ only now he started sayin’ how he’s just gotta get one
of these! I went into 3rd and we were starting to double the speed limit
as we climbed a sweeping hill toward my old high school. I got out of it and
coasted off our excess energy as we neared the school zone at the hill top.
After traveling safely through the zone, I forgot I was in 3rd gear and hit it
again, to climb a very steep hill. I never even noticed that I was pulling 3rd
at low speed, as the XP-1227 delivered all the torque I could ask for and more.
We soon topped out on the plateau and started crossing it toward the nearby

So there we were, gliding silently along on top of the plateau,
surrounded by grasslands punctuated by increasingly more pine trees. The
occasional deciduous trees were brightening the scene with the fiery reds
and sunny yellows of their leaves, as they painted the scene with their
autumn colors. As we were approaching the now towering face of the
Rocky Mountains, Nick started commenting on the amazing beauty that
surrounded us and how he had never been up that way before. He then asked
“can I dive it?”, to which I replied “Ha, in your condition….no way!!!”
We rounded a sharp curve and began descending back down into the valley.
I put on a Joe Walsh CD and turned it way up. Nick is not only a lover of
antique and other fine automobiles, but he appreciates a good sound system
and has a very nice stereo in his truck. So, he took command of the volume
control and turned it up until we were absolutely drenched in sound! So there
we were, floating along on a cloud of powerful music as we glided silently
back into the valley below. He was so impressed with the car, and with his
inhibitions completely removed, he now wiped the dust from the custom painted
dash and engaged in open worship of the small, rounded, white car. He kept
saying how he’s just got to get one of these things now.

We took the long way back back, circling past a gas station where I
pointed and said “high gas prices?” then shrugged and said, “who cares?!”
We both erupted in laughter and then returned back to from where we had
started. I popped open the motor compartment and said “how’s this for
efficiency, look, the motor hasn’t even warmed up”. After feeling the
room-temperature motor, he was quite amazed. I took a peek at the E-meter,
curious about how much power we had used. I had pretty much consumed just as
much power as I possibly could, yet had never actually wasted any of that
power. We had gone quite a distance, yet had coasted for miles. The total
usage was just over 5 Ah at 192 volts. Nick departed, and most likely now has
an entirely new idea of what an electric car is…..and wants one!


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