Thursday, April 24, 2014

Walter Mitty-ism, the Electric Mazda, and the TZero (Part 1)

Sure, I really enjoyed the Ben Stiller movie, but I am thinking James Thurber short story here.

I suffer a lot of Mitty-ism these days. Some tiny little trigger sends my brain off on a tangent, and it's hard to get back on track. More often than not, my episodes deal with building things, with starting or finishing projects. Most of my close friends these days seem to suffer the same. When we find three or more together at a table, these construction fantasies dominate the conversation and we discuss how to make that happen for the dreamer du jour and the best ways to go about it.

(Picture this truck sitting silently, covered in dust)

The electric Mazda: a few years ago I found myself with more money and optimism than brains. I brought home someone else's half-finished project, a Mazda pickup that was half-converted to electric propulsion. The guy who sold it to me was a nice guy who did great work and bought quality components. He abandoned the project when he bought a Nissan Leaf. He sold it to me at a loss, and seemed happy to see it go.

I have done nothing with it. Zero, Zed, Zilch.

But I have Mittyed the tar out of that little truck. I have steadily upgraded it from 48 to 72 to 96 to 120 to 144 volts. I have built it with big heavy free batteries. I have soldered thousands of laptop batteries together for it. I have bought used Leaf and Volt batteries. I have plopped down the cold hard cash (from selling other projects) for some phenomenal battery packs that would make range anxiety nonexistent. I have built my own controller, bought a new controller, traded for a used controller. Ditto for the battery charger.

I'd like for it to become my main transport, so I have extended its range by building it as a serial hybrid. I have added a pusher trailer, a generator trailer (solar, gas, or veggie-oil powered), and a camper top with lots of solar panels. I have even built a solar carport for it at the house.

May I write part 2 soon, and may your inner Mitty bring you to a productive place.