Street EV's E-10


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The Following is a 1996 Solectria E-10 (Chevrolet S10) Electric Vehicle I purchased at auction in July 2002.

The truck started out as a assembly line Chevrolet pickup delivered to Solectria Corporation for an EV conversion.  
My research concludes that there is about 17 of these trucks in existence.  This truck was owned by an electric utility. 
When I purchased the truck it had 4000 miles on the odometer.  I spent 6 months time reconfiguring the truck.
It has been on the road since Jan 1 2003 and has been driven over 1500 trouble free miles. 

The condition the truck was in as purchased would best be described as a "parts" truck. 
 The battery charger had been removed. 
The Batteries were of unknown condition.  
As a matter of fact the truck was purchased sight unseen! 

E-10 Electric Truck being picked up at auction - Columbus, OH

Soon after removing the E-10 from the trailer, It was time to find out what I had.

The truck did not "run".  I wasn't sure why.  The truck had a few hints, 
such as a few items in the glove box, etc.

Well, It was time to start taking it apart!
I have a good knowledge of electronics, electricity, and previous
experience working on electric tractors.
Not to mention experience taking things apart! 

Also,  I spent several years working at a wiring house. That business manufactured 
wiring harness and cable assemblies for a manufacturer of Electric fork lifts. Over the 
years I moved around from a assembly worker, to supervisory, then to Quality control positions.
Finally ending in upper management after about 5 years.


One thing though, I also understood the life and death possibilities
one encounters when taking on the unknown. Also, I did my homework
on this truck, and I knew that it was a high voltage system. 
The voltages will be higher than the 36 volts of  the Elek-Trak Electric Tractors
I've worked with in the past. This system is 144Volt DC By time all is said 
and done, the truck converts the input DC to 3 Phase AC to power the rear wheels.
(High End Electric Vehicle Technology)

Needless to say, I spent considerable time on each decision, 
and moved carefully with each step while working on and around this truck!
Safety and measuring equipment that I didn't own was purchased.
I also did considerable research on the Internet, refreshing and learning about 
the procedures and details of working around batteries.

This is the first road-going EV project I've attempted.  Many events lead
up to the undertaking of this project.  Without the lifetime knowledge I possess,
the project described may not have drawn to a happy conclusion.  
Fortunately, this vehicle basically started life as a well engineered EV.

Taking on a complete vehicle conversion is a much greater challenge that I've encountered here. 

The main task was to reconfigure the truck to run according to funds at hand 
and the use of components that would provide a long term, economical EV.

Let it be said Here that I am not recommending anyone attempt anything described
 on any of these EV pages.
Many cars are converted in the garages across this country.
One must asses his/her own abilities before taking on a project. I have not provided all details, 
and encounters on this project. Sparks have flown a few times, I've made a few decisions that only
after implementation, were the dangers realized. 

My purpose here is only to share the experience of putting this wonderful EV back on the road.

Continue -- Disassembly

"Under the Hood" E-10 Truck Battery cover removed
Top stack contained 4 batteries (3 removed) - Bottom 8 batteries

After removing the front battery cover, I discovered 12 small batteries. 
What a surprise.  I expected to find large batteries, hmm...

On the right is the power steering pump and DC power motor.
On the left is where the battery charger should be.  The charger
required 220VAC

At the bottom left is part of the Air Conditioning pump motor assembly.
The truck has 3 DC-DC converters, 1 for the Air condtioning motor, 
1 for the power steering, and 1 that powers the standard electrical systems
that every S-10 uses. The truck also has an electric element of some kind 
where the heater core is.  It provides decent heat for the cab.

The Air Conditioner works, it seems to draw less power than the heater.


The batteries seemed to be "flat" some batteries reading just a few volts.
I tried desperate measures to get the batteries to take a charge, 
but nothing seemed to help.

I spoke with several entities regarding the batteries, and did research on 
AGM batteries. I studied about charging methods, life expectancy, proper 
handling and usage. 
I also encountered information regarding the results of improper charging, 
discharging, and recharging of the batteries.  

That known, combined with the fact that the 36 total batteries the existing truck
configuration would cost in excess of $4,000 to replace the pack made me
realize the truck would have a different type of battery pack. 
From the information I gathered, It seems that AGM's should be fully recharged 
after a discharge.  Convenience  charging (stopping and charging for a period of time
then continuing before the battery pack is fully recharged) would probably shorten the
lifespan of an expensive, new battery pack.
Also, I didn't have the right charger. 
Charging these batteries correctly and fully is very important.

On to the rear of the truck...

I didn't know what to expect when I tilted back the bed of the truck.

Bed tilted back - On left 2 Brusa controllers 
At right 2 Brusa 3 phase AC Motors 
Custom Rear axle faces rearward
At left - Anderson connectors connect battery pack power to controllers

  I continued labeling wires, connectors, Etc. 

E-10 With Controllers removed Battery back underneath

Continuing disassembly...

Both Battery packs are heated and insulation material is used.
Rear Batteries have insulation "sandwiched" between tops of 
batteries and original cover

Insulation removed

Rear battery pack - 24 batteries in compartment

I was really surprised to find 24 additional batteries in the rear battery

These batteries are 38 Amp Hour rated Sealed Lead Acid AGM

After studying the configuration, I determined the pack is wired as such:

3 - series arrays of 12 - 12 Volt batteries equaling 144 Volts, the 3 arrays are
wired in parallel.  System voltage is 144 Volts.

Fortunately, someone disconnected the rear arrays of batteries.
I found batteries at 12 Volts (no load)

I spend many hours determining the remaining Amp hour capacity in the best
12 batteries.  In the end, I wasn't working with much, These batteries were bad.

I did learn much about determining Amp hour capacity, I set up a battery discharge
device and made many observations while trying to get these batteries to regain capacity.

In the end, The 12 best batteries could barely get the truck up the driveway!

I took all the batteries out of the rear battery tray and Insulated the battery connectors with tape and heat shrink.

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