'99 NiMH EV1 Impressions

Marvin Rush

The following writeup is taken from 3 postings by Marvin Rush on the EV1 Club email list...

Date: Thu, 31 Dec 1998 21:19:00 -0800
From: Marvin Rush
Subject: [EV1-CLUB] NiMH Driving Impressions

Greeting from the Future,

The 99 EV1 with NiMH batteries is nothing short of phenomenal. Superlatives fail me. This car is so much improved over my current car that the experience is almost completely different. Today I drove around running errands. I drove the car very hard. I was ridiculous. I drag raced every car around me. I ran every errand I had and then went blasting up several hills at 75 miles per hour. I went out of my way to drain the batteries before dinner. I failed miserably. When I got home I had driven 49 miles. I had just over 50% remaining in the battery and I had just done my best to drive in as wasteful a manner as possible. Instructions from Kurt Rathert were to discharge at least to half before charging (during the packs break in period) so my exercise wasn't pointless. It's just that you really have to work at it to run the NiMH battery down. See what I mean. It's just not the same car.

There are other improvements as well. The Charger Slot Door locks open. This means that you can insert the charger paddle with one hand. Very COOL!

The suspension is much more sure footed than my car. When driving up La Tuna Canyon I drove fast and hard. The car corners like a sports car. It is so much improved that I felt like I was driving a totally different car.

The heater works...right now! The air conditioner works...right now! They both make half the noise of my car. Air flow is up as well. Noise is down and effectiveness is up! Way to go GM.

The car is quieter on the highway as well. Coasting is almost totally silent and under power the noise level is significantly lower.

I can't wait to get one of my own.

More reports to follow.


Date: Fri, 01 Jan 1999 13:47:02 -0800
From: Marvin Rush
Subject: [EV1-CLUB] NiMH Driving for RANGE!

I have just returned from my first attempt at driving a NiMH EV1 for maximum range. The results are impressive and I am sure that I could do better with some more practice.

I left my house this morning at 8:00 AM and headed down the 210 fwy. Next I caught the 118 westbound and then the 405 South. When I reached the transition to the 134 Westbound I had just used one bar. That's right at 20 miles and just one bar was gone. This was downhill so I wasn't too surprised but so far so good. Next I picked up the 5 Southbound and took that past Griffith Park toward downtown LA. My plan was to wind around the city so as not to get too far away and also to avoid any large hills. My next transition was onto the 10 Fwy West toward Santa Monica. Driving speed was at 62 to 67 mph. I wanted to drive slower to get even more range but there was some traffic so I felt that I should keep up with the average flow.

Next I caught the 405 South toward LAX. As I recall I had only used up three bars as I passed LAX. On past Long Beach Airport and still I had over half a tank of energy. As I entered Westminster just past the 405 Fwy I showed half.

I pulled off the Fwy and turned around retracing my steps. The return was slightly uphill and to make a long story short as I reached the Gene Autry museum (corner of the 5 Fwy and 134) I had three bars remaining. I decided to continue on the 134 across the San Fernando Valley and charge up at Hawthorne Savings in Tarzana. As I pulled off the Fwy at Tampa Blvd. I was showing one mile remaining. I drove around the block a couple of times till I hit three diamonds and pulled in for a needed recharge.

The charger said I had Zero remaining and that I would be full in 5 hours and 15 minutes. Total range 163 miles.

I believe that 175-180 is possible at 45-50 mph. If you make the trip one way and have a downhill trend or favorable winds then even more is possible. Realistic range is about 140 miles. This would leave a small margin for error or unfavorable traffic conditions. All in all this performance is spectacular. What it means for me is never having to plan how to use my EV1. Just get in and go. No worries. It still isn't a practical cross country car. However it is a practical all around city and local region car.

I plan to use mine for all trips under 200 miles. Since recharging sites are available and food and rest stops are necessary anyway I feel that 200 miles of driving is practical. Above that and you get back into waiting for the car to charge up while you try to invent something to do in the meantime.

I want to thank GM and Co. for the opportunity to drive this futuristic car. Especially Rob Randall, Rick Ostrov and Kurt Rathert. I can't wait to get one of my own. It's going to be great fun using it.


Date: Sun, 03 Jan 1999 09:13:54 -0800
From: Marvin Rush
Subject: [EV1-CLUB] Mt. Wilson

Sadly my test drive of the NiMH EV1 ended. I hated to return it. The car works so well and is so much fun to drive that I really didn't want to give it back. As a last drive I decided to return to Saturn of Alhambra by way of Mt. Wilson.

I live in Sunland which is at about 1700 feet above sea level. I drove to La Canada and turned left on to Angeles Crest Highway. Almost immediately I was overtaken by a Porsche 912, so natrually I decided to glue my bumper to his and off we went. Angeles Crest is a real drivers road. It is fast and curvy. On one side is the mountain and on the other is a several hundred foot drop. Oncoming traffic consists of street racing motorcycles and others driving sports cars very fast. There is a sign on the highway advising how many deaths and injuries have occurred in the recent past. This is a dangerous road. Mistakes are costly!

I don't know how hard the Porsche driver was driving his car. I am sure he wanted to leave me behind.

He could not do it!

The improved EV1 with NiMH handles like a true sports car. At the same time it has the power reserve and the acceleration to exploit it's strong suit. It doesn't have as much cornering ability as some cars but it has instant acceleration. This means that in even in a small straightway you can close almost any gap. The Porsche didn't have a chance at loosing me. As the elevation got higher the EV1 performed better and better while the piston engine car was producing less power. This is because, as the air gets thinner the gasoline car makes less horsepower, while the EV1 is unaffected. In fact since the air is thinner there is less wind resistance and therefor less drag. I'm sure at 10,000 feet and above the EV1 is untouchable. (A supercharger on a piston car would even things up however.)

At the top of the mountain I got out and took a look. Below me the entire Southern California Area was visible. From a vantage point just over 5000 feet above sea level you get a sense of just how many internal combustion vehicles we are up against. They and their attendant structures are everywhere. From freeways to parking lots to the cars themselves they cover every square inch of the view.

The good news is that apologies are just about over. This car 'rocks' and can do everything well. Everything including race to the top of a 5000 foot mountain and still have plenty of energy left over to go back down the mountain and drive all over town. At the top I had just over half a tank of energy. When I finally arrived at Saturn of Alhambra I had driven just over 50 miles and the range gauge showed 150 more miles to go. I was at 70% full. WOW!


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