Thursday, March 12, 2009

Modified Vehicle Inspection -- Out on the roads.



Yesterday I went to the local CAA to get the car inspected as a "Modified Vehicle" as per provincial standards. The report they produce is then sent to provincial authorities for review and approval.

Once approval is received, a mechanical inspection is also done to ensure all the details are covered.

It was a nice 13Km ride out there, my first on Montreal highways. No trouble getting up to speed, nor keeping up with traffic.

The people out at the CAA are very professional and quite nice. Obviously, they don't see too many electric cars go through there. I had a bit of a surprise, however, as they had spoken to the provincial engineer who will be reviewing the report: they had been told that the vehicle should be considered "hand-crafted" (fabrication artisanale), instead of "modified". This means it has to meet today's standards, instead of those from 1972. For me, this will involve the following additions:
- Daytime Running Lights
- A third brake light.
- Parking brake indicator light on the dash.

I had actually planned on installing running lights (LED Fog lights in the front air-intakes) and a third brake light, for safety's sake -- its just a shame that now I have to do it.
The parking brake indicator shouldn't be too bad, as there is a spare indicator on the dash anyway -- it will just be a matter of running an normally-open push button switch under the parking brake lever, though the 12V on-circuit and to the light.

In addition, the car didn't meet the modified/hand-crafted criteria for the following points:
- Right-side high beam intensity is too low
- Left-side headlight fixture, while correctly aligned, is wobbly.
- Passenger compartment is insufficiently hermetic with regards to the battery compartment: above the drivers left knee.

While these are inconveniences, they should be relatively easy to fix.
- The high beam is probably a crushed wire or rusty contact -- the filament seems to work fine.
- When I adjusted the left fixture last time, I knew it was wobbly, but it holds its alignment correctly, so I let it go.
- The hole in the firewall is known, but not a safety concern since I use sealed batteries: I had already planned on fixing it -- its a bit drafty!

After the inspection, I headed off to a public scale to get the car weighed -- unfortunately it was closed, so I headed home. The batteries only started sagging heavily under load as I tried to get back on the highway, 25km into my trip.
So to stay out of trouble, I got off at the next exit and took the side-streets home for the last 3km.

All in all it was a 32.5km outing, for which I am quite satisfied. After a 4hour charge, I was back on the road for another 20.5km outing in gale-force winds, in which the car was very stable on the highway.

1 comment:

Jim and Elizabeth Karamalis said...

Nick,

Congratulations getting the car on the road. I'm sure you'll sort out all the minor details remaining. Also nice to hear that your employer was accomodating and provided a suitable outlet for charging while at work.

Jim