Thursday 14 October 2010

i-MiEV Mitsubishi electric vehicle Frequently Asked Questions

We had a show-and-tell of the i-MiEV this morning to the staff. These are the most frequently asked questions.

Q: How far can it go.
A: About 100 km

Q: How fast can it go
A: 130km/hr

Q: How long does it take to charge?
A: About 1 hour per 15km driven. 8 hours from flat.

Q: Where can I charge it?
A: from a 15A power point. These can be identified as they have a larger earth pin than the other 2 pins (normal household power points are 10A)
Q: Where are the batteries?
A: Under the floor.

Q: Where is the motor?
A: In the back under the luggage compartment.

Q: How do I know how far I can drive?
A: The is a 16 pint ‘fuel’ gauge and a trip computer that estimates range left in km.

Q: How much does it weigh?
A: 1080kg

Q: How is B different to D?
A: B provides more aggressive regenerative braking when you lift you foot of the accelerator?

Q: Does it put power back in the batteries when you let your foot of the accelerator or you press the brake?
A: Yes. AC motors in electric vehicles provide regenerative braking.

Q: What if the battery goes flat?
A: Call a tow truck or plug it in.

Q: How much does it cost?
A: We don’t know, they are not for sale yet in Australia. Roche is privileged to be on a special lease program from Mitsubishi for 3 years. As an indication they should be less than USD 30,000 before rebates in the USA.

Q: How much pollution does it cause charging?
A: 1/4 of CO2 compared to ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) equivalent

Q: how much does it cost to run?
A: 1/3 of the cost of an equivalent ICE. 1/9th if charged off peak.

Q: Is it quite?
A: Yes, 5dB lower than ICE. About 1/3.

Q: Is it safe?
A: Yes, it has a 4 star NCAP rating with dual airbags. If fitted with Side and curtain bags, will be 5 star.

Q: Where can I find more information?
A: From Mitsubishi. and for more technical details from this presentation

Photo essay of the Mitsubishi iMiEV elecrtric vehicle.

Below are photos of our newly delivered Mitsubishi iMiev.

Starting from the front, The headlights are HID.

The small exposed condenser is for the air conditioning.
The heater uses an electric water heater rather than reverse cycle air conditioning.

Due to the the windscreen geometry, there is a single wiper to clear the entire windscreen.

What little electric vehicle maintenance there is consists of checking 3 fluids.
Left: Windscreen washer fluid
Center: Brake fluid
Right: Interior heater fluid

On to the interior. There is plenty of room for these lads. Obviouisly no center console but this is made up for a lot of headroom for a small car.

The dash cluster is quite sparse.
Left: Energy gauge (16 bars, currently full) and drive mode (P for Park)
Center: Digital speedometer surrounded by economy gauge. Blue means regeneration. Green to white indicates more energy usage.
Right: Odometer/ Range left / A & B trip meter/Service / and dash illumination. This is controlled by a button extending from the dash cluster

There is a bunch of warning lights to the left and right on th elower edge of the dash cluster. On the left there is Battery (presumable dc-dc converter), limp home, traction control, 'engine' fail. These appear momentarily when turning the key on.

On the right the warning lights are door open, seat belt, air bag, brake / park brake, ABS and EPS (Electric power steering)

The stereo system has a nice touch screen, but unlike the Prius, does not proved any vehicle integration. It would be good to have nerd mode to show battery volts, current, power, torque, trip computer. It does have bluetooth hands free for your phone and also a navigation system.

In the glove box there are RCA connections for an ipod of DVD / game console (Left Right and Composite video). There is also a USB socket for a memory stick or hard drive. I havnt tried it yet, but the stereo seems to have a Divx decoder built in.

the pedal box is compact and seems comfortable enough. I have to wonder why there is a block of polystyrene to the right of the accelerator.

To the right of the steering column are a TCL disable (Traction control). not traction control is required on all new cars from 1 Jan 2011.
Next there is the read demist, and the electric mirror control.

The gear selector has 6 positions.

P: Park
R: Reverse
N: Neural
D: Drive
E: Economy. Same as drive with lower power limit.
B: Same as Drive but provides more regenerative braking.

Next we have the charge socket cover release lever.
To the right of the drivers knees is a pull leaver that opens the 15A charge socket.

15A charge socket on Right rear of vehicle.

Under the drivers seat is the fast charge socket cover release.

the fast charge socket is located on the right rear guard of the vehicle

The rear seats fold down to increase luggage space.
the floor behind the rear seats is quite high in order to accommodate the inverter and charger.

To be continued: The next write up will be the test drive.

Wednesday 13 October 2010

Our Mitsubishi iMiEV arrived today.

The Mitsubishi iMiEV arrived today at work. I had a chance to take a couple of photos and will post updates as I get to borrow it.

My employer, Roche, has won one of the bids to lease the iMiEV. It will be used as a pool car and for staff to borrow to begin to understand the concepts of driving and electric vehicle. Glen and Simone from Mitsubishi gave us the demo of how it works and how to 'start' it.

For now, here are some photos. I will take more photos with a better camera over the next few days. For now, here is an excellent presentation from a technology perspective by Ashley Sanders, i-MiEV Project Manager.

240V 15A power socket

The Smoke Theory of Electric Circuits

The Smoke Theory of Electric Circuits:

The Smoke Theory of Electric Circuits

Electrical Theory by Joseph Lucas

Positive ground depends upon proper circuit functioning, the transmission of negative ions by retention of the visible spectral manifestation known as "smoke". Smoke is the thing that makes electrical circuits work; we know this to be true because every time one lets the smoke out of the electrical system, it stops working. This can be verified repeatedly through empirical testing.

When, for example, the smoke escapes from an electrical component (i.e., say, a Lucas voltage regulator), it will be observed that the component stops working. The function of the wire harness is to carry the smoke from one device to another; when the wire harness "springs a leak", and lets all the smoke out of the system, nothing works afterwards. Starter motors were frowned upon in British Automobiles for some time, largely because they consume large quantities of smoke, requiring very large wires.

It has been noted that Lucas components are possibly more prone to electrical leakage than Bosch or generic Japanese electrics. Experts point out that this is because Lucas is British and all things British leak. British engines leak oil, shock absorbers, hydraulic forks and disk brakes leak fluid, British tyres leak air and the British defence establishment leaks, naturally, British electrics leak smoke.

Subject: SMOKE

When wires smoke, how come the smoke is not the same colour as the wire?

This is not completely true. When the smoke is in the wire, it is under pressure (called voltage). The pressure difference causes the colour to change from the normal colour we are used to. Not unlike the blood in our veins and arteries changing colour due to the oxygen content. When the smoke escapes the wire and is exposed to air, the pressure is released, and the colour reverts back to what we commonly recognise as smoke. The wire then changes to the colour of the smoke that escaped.

I hope this helps you understand.

I would only question the last sentence of that description. It has been my experience that the wire turns a color directly opposite of the smoke.

Not always true, I think it must depend on the composition of the smoke in question.

I should have made it a little clearer; the colour the wire becomes, is directly proportional to the escape velocity of the smoke. Higher velocities generate higher heat. This heat tends to burn the wire and affect the colouring. The statement was meant to be a generalisation, indicating the fact that the colour of the wire does in fact change. Sorry for the miscommunication.

I was speaking of electrical smoke which is generally white. The spent smoke casing generally assumes a colour somewhat near black after the smoke leaves.

I can't stand it any more! If, as you say, light bulbs suck up darkness and convert it to smoke which is transmitted (via wire) to a power source for recycling...why do car batteries go dead when lights are left on? Do car batteries (and flashlight batteries for that matter) have a limited amount of storage capability? Is it like a hard drive that gets so full that you have to double-space and then lose all data?

Now you're getting it.......

I thought you guys were smarter than this. Of course the battery stores the smoke. In fact it can store so much smoke that if you open the top and light a match, the resulting explosion can do serious damage. I'm sure you are aware that usually where there's smoke there's fire. If you connect the battery to a charger, the smoke is then returned to the wire (Remember, a light bulb wont work unless it is connected to a wire system) for the utility companies to use. Your hard drive analogy is a very good example.

Our hardware guys might be onto something in their quest for superior wiring. I have noticed the unique method of of series/parallel wiring the power strips on our systems seems to prevent the smoke from getting out of the wires. A "Smoke Loop" of sorts. In the case of the "smoked" workstation recently, you should notice that this was a conventional single power strip installation.

Since colour is perceived by the cone shaped receptors in our eyes, and cones require more light that their rod shaped counterparts. Is the sky blue at night?

At night the process including contraction of the pupil is visual purple by which the eye adapts to conditions of increased illumination when facing 300 candle power redeflecting devices.

Since there is a spectrum of light that we as humans cannot see, I support the theory that everything is going up in smoke, we just can't see it. This may explain why the neighbours dog barks for no apparent reason.

I think your basic understanding of smoke systems is remarkable. However I find a flaw with your theory. The battery is a reusable storage device for smoke. therefore, one would assume that some sort of one way valve (we can call it a diode) should be needed to prevent pressure flooding back into the system while at rest. Unlike the A/C system, the smoke system is collecting darkness at the headlights and converting it to smoke. This causes the system to fill up. The battery can contain much higher pressures and volumes than the wires. If this pressure exceeds the capacity of the wire, it will cause a rupture as you described. The rupture can be controlled by a sacrificial device known as a fuse. But this still doesn't eliminate the problem. Perhaps a two way valve (zener diode) is used to allow a small amount of pressure to return to the system, and partially equalise. I find this theory unlikely though, due to the increase in the force required to start the pump (which is now under pressure) working again...

The smoke continues circulating through the system, due to the pressure differential in the battery (smoke pressure/vacuum reservoir). When the reservoir becomes depleted, the pressure simply equalises everywhere in the system (similar to an A/C system when it's turned off) and stuff just wont work. Notice the relations: Work (W) = Force (F) x Distance (D); Force (F) = total difference in pressure (Dp) x Area (A). Therefore, the work done in a pressure system is: Dp x A x D. If the pressure differential (Dp) is reduced to zero then W = 0 x A x D = 0.

The smoke only escapes the wires when a path is created between the pressure differential areas (@ either the reservoir or the pump) that has too little restriction. When this happens, the smoke travels through the wires so fast that the friction between the smoke and the outer walls of the wiring heats the wires until they rupture. The smoke continues to escape until its pressure is equalised with the atmosphere, or until the conduit that provides the path between pressure areas is severed. When this happens, the sudden drop in pressure allows the wires to "collapse" slightly and, being so hot, as the edges of the ruptures and severed ends touch, the material becomes fused, sealing the system and retaining the remaining smoke.

Don't forget, when the system is at rest, all the valves, (switches and relays) are closed, keeping the pressure areas separated. When restarting the pump, as long as everything is OK, the smoke pressure is equal on both sides of the pump and there is no net force on the pump when it begins operating again. Also, within the pump there are pressure/volume actuated one-way valves with restrictors built in, arranged in such a way that they keep excess smoke volume recirculating through an integral smoke loop, which maintains the pressure within manageable limits.

The excess smoke, created by the light/smoke converters (headlights and other darkness absorbing devices), is changed back to darkness and dissipated in small unit concentrations so its dark effect is not locally observed. The smoke pump impeller (stator), converts smoke into magnetic flux which does work on the engine. Some of the excess work energy is dissipated through the cooling system and exhaust in the form of heat, while the remaining work energy is converted back to smoke and distributed evenly in small concentrations as you drive. This maintains the total quantity of smoke in the system at an average that does not change over time.

Author Unknown