Tonight I couldn't make it up the hill! I charged for about an hour and was hitting 400v running my regen down the hill on the way to the grocery store. When I take my finger off the regen it dropped down to 380, still a respectably charge to get around town. Unfortunately, I still have a lot to learn because the range indicator only showed 7 miles, when it usually shows 16. The battery light went on at the bottom of the hill, which I now know is a death warrant. We were peddling like hell, but as we approached our turn I pulled to the side and lightened my load. I had Kristin hop out and take the groceries while I let the batteries rest. The Voltages climbed up to about 320 and I gunned it and made it over the last hill and rolled home beating Kristin who was on foot with the groceries.
Morals of the story
#1. Know where you need to be beyond when the battery light goes on to make it home.
#2. Pulling over and letting the batteries rest gives you another jolt
#3. One person peddling up a hill is easier for the Twike than two, due to weight.
I took this opportunity to run the batteries to empty. When you hit bottom the computer shows a batteries empty message and restarts. I decided to just plug it in and let it trickle charge for two days.
After my long awaiting appointment at the Santa Monica DMV I left with a shiny new motorcycle plate for the Twike. I whited out my license plate #, just incase someone would want to find and steel me! j/k Notice the red plate fragment behind the new Cali plate. The holes in the Twike are for a standard Automotive License plate so that is an old Arkansas fragment with holes in it to accommodate the motorcycle plate done by the previous owner.
I'm fully street legal now! I just need to fish a passenger seat belt out of an old mercedes (REPA Seat belts were used in the Twike) or other german car that fits so my passengers feel safe. With motorcycle plates do they need to be wearing one, though?
So today was very stressful because I had to take the Twike on a 20+ mile round trip. The way there was fairly easy, all downhill. I wasn't smart and started off with only 379V, but I haven't seen the 420 charge since my initial trickle charge and the other day at 401V starting out I caused an "Overcharge Fault" by using the regenerative breaks in the driveway! (just causes the system to restart - lock you out of being able to use the throttle for 10 seconds*)
Back to my journey! So the DMV couldn't find the engine # so they referred me to the Highway Patrol. Unfortunately, the nearest office is 10 miles from my house and I didn't plug in early enough so I had an estimated 17.5 mile range! I set out anyways peddling like crazy! Google maps now shows bike lanes so I planned my trip using those and keeping my top speed around 25mph to cut down on energy use. The officer was really helpful and even printed off some internet references so the DMV could complete my application.
So heading home I knew it'd be a close call (I had 355V leaving the CHP) so I pulled into a Whole Foods parking lot and found a nice empty plug behind a soda machine. I had to park in the Fire Lane since I couldn't get the Twike up on the curb. No one seemed to mind and of course people were taking pics and asking lots of questions. Luckily, I have been getting great advice from another USA Twike owner Matt. He let me know about the soda machine trick and also about hitting the JOG button to fast forward directly to the charge cycle and bump it up to 10Amps. So I put in about 30Vs while eating some grains, fueled both of us up!
I figured before I attracted too much more attention it was time to split! I made it safely home and the battery light went on as I was powering up the hill. I think I could have just about made it w/o the stop at Whole Foods, but it was a lot less stressful. Next post should be my license plates!
Today we took the Twike on a Sunday drive. I hadn't realized I tripped the breaker on the garage socket where I've been charging up. (due to a bum plug on the twike I need to replace) We started the journey with about 375V and ended with 354. We went all the way to the ocean and stopped at Whole Foods on Montana before climbing back up the mountain.
The thing I have to get used to about the Twike is that when you're accelerating the Voltage drops by about 20 to 30V and I get scared wondering how much it'll pop back up when I take my finger off the accelerator & if I'll take it into the red (battery light) during the push. Once I'm at a constant speed and not conquering any hills the Twike ticks away in cruise control barely using any Volts.
I'm not very confident in the regenerative breaking. It can take the Volts up to 400 (at which I let off), but then drops to back where you started maybe gaining 1V. I need to do some more downhill tests to really understand.
Well the trip to the DMV was not smooth, but in the end I have my temp tags and an appointment with the California Highway Patrol for a Vin Verification next month. It took about an hour for the manager of the Santa Monica DMV to come up with a plan. They had to contact the State. If you can find your Engine Block # in advance that would be helpful. It was also an expensive visit! Taxes here are crazy and my little 12 year old Twike cost me $1600 in taxes and fees...
On the up side. This was my first long distance trip. I purchased AAA coverage because they have DMV service, but after wasting an hour there they sent me down to the regular DMV. I was smart and scheduled a back up appointment there!!! saving HOURS. I literally COASTED and peddled the Twike all the way there using only 1 V of energy for 5 miles. My range estimator LIT up when I turner it on to journey home. I think it got as high as 50+ miles. I started with around 378V and ended the trip home with 350 (all uphill). So 10 miles and I think I could make that trip two more times! Pretty amazing! I had no trouble in traffic and actually people let you in because they want to stare longer!
Is there anybody out there? Hi, I'm Twike 103. I was built in Switzerland and was imported to the USA and ended up in Oregon where I sat for some time until I was resurrected by a gentlemen in Arkansas. My limited range of 20 miles prevented me from being too useful in most of the sprawling areas of the USA.
I now reside in Los Angeles. A city of millions of people trapped in their cars.
My mission is freedom. The freedom to move your feet, not ever visit a gas station, not to subsidize wars, not to pollute the air, not to pollute the Gulf of Mexico. I'm the most efficient form of powered transportation ever mass produced. I don't know how many brothers and sisters I have, but hopefully they'll find me though this blog.
We need to be visible and viable as an intelligent means of transportation. New, I was too expensive. Being 10 years old allowed a nice well intentioned man, obviously in over his head, to purchase me for a more reasonable amount.