2600 Mile Update: Batts starting to suffer?

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randalson
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Hi All - Well, I have made about 75 34-mile round trips to town. I have been charging in town, with the batteries at about 50%, and again at home. It usually takes 1.3 to 1.4 kw to recharge after the in-trip. (On a meter.) No meter at home, but I would guess 1.6 to 1.7 after the uphill run. Therefore, these batts have about 150 charge cycles on them. In the last two trips, I am fine downhill into town. Coming home uphill, however, the last two miles send the onboard meter down to the red and my speed is limited to about 30 mph.

I was expecting 300 or more charge cycles. I suppose it is possible I have a loose battery connection somewhere after this many miles of bumping along.

I only need about 20 more trips this season, and I really don't want to tear into it until I knock off altogether for the winter. Any ideas or experience with battery longevity or refreshment appreciated!

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joe1973
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Re: 2600 Mile Update: Batts starting to suffer?

The colder weather makes a real difference in the battery's performance... I am a bit luckier than you as I have only 9 miles to commute before I can charge up. This means that I can use such batteries which would not be strong enough for your 17 miles..

My idea for getting over the remaining 20 trips is to store the bike in a heated place, maybe this would help just enough to survive the critical two miles.

Regards,
Joe

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E-FUN 3000W with 5×12V VRLA BB batteries dated 2008 oct.
commuting 15 km (9 mile) and back, recharge inbetween in the office.
Currently (21 October 2011) at 10800 km (6350 mile) and still going...

randalson
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Re: 2600 Mile Update: Batts starting to suffer?

I can keep it warm overnight for the trips in, which have been at @ 40F ... the return trips have been mid-day with temps around 65F. This bike is officially a "2008", which means these batts sat around in the bike for quite a while.
Hopefully new ones will survive more charge cycles. These, if dead, will have cost .04/mile.

I suppose I will have to learn a bit more and get a meter/tester so that when I take this apart I can properly evaluate the batts condition. If I find they are done I will likely install desulphators on the new ones. Anyone aware of a 60V single unit desulphator, or is it necessary to put one on each batt?

Mik
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Re: 2600 Mile Update: Batts starting to suffer?

Can you give some more info about the battery system?

I assume you are talking about lead-acid here, because you mentioned desulphators at the end.

How do you charge them - series or parallel?

When was the last EQ charge done?

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randalson
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Re: 2600 Mile Update: Batts starting to suffer?

This is a stock EVD sold by RMartin. VRLA batts. 60V - 5 B&B 12v in series. I have only used the stock 5a charger through the onboard wiring, never measured the individual batts or done an EQ charge. The onboard meter shows 100% after charge, it is just that on the higher demand run uphill to home, I am getting onto the red at the bottom of the meter a lot sooner than I did earlier in the season.

wookey
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Re: 2600 Mile Update: Batts starting to suffer?

150 cycles, 2 years, 2600 miles is pretty typical for this sort of vehicle/battery. My 2008 Erato (which I think is pretty much the same vehicle: now the 'Efun-A') lasted 18 months, 4000km (2500 miles), ~200 cycles.

I would seriously consider replacing them with lithiums. Significantly more expensive up front, but the performance and handling are much improved due to reduced weight, and they _should_ last longer and cost less in the long term (although I have yet to prove it - the new cells have had about 2000km so far and are holding up well).

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Sakura s50 (Efun A)

randalson
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Re: 2600 Mile Update: Batts starting to suffer?

Ok, I appreciate the perspective. It is a 2008 but this was the first running season, the time in storage probably did not help them much. If I go to Lithium, I understand I would have to change chargers, also - is that what you did? Does the controller still work properly?

My figuring on the cost per mile shows that .04 per mile is the battery cost, whatever type you use. Perhaps a desulphator would extend the VRLAs but I don't know if they would double them. I would hate to tear it down for a batt replacement in the middle of the riding season. If I get the extra lights and sound system to see and scare deer and ride after dark, I could easily put 4,000 miles on in a season.

randalson
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Re: Batts starting to suffer - corrected cost/mile

I don't know where I got that .04/mile for batteries figure - it was in my head though. If $600 worth of VRLAs only get you 3,000 miles, then they are .20/mile, which is actually more than petrol at $3.50 gallon and 20 mpg... (.175/mi)

This is a rude realization for me.

wookey
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Re: 2600 Mile Update: Batts starting to suffer?

You can charge lithiums with a lead-acid charger. In fact you can chanrge lithiums with pretty much 'any old' charger of about the right voltage so long as you fit a suitable battery management system (which you want to do anyway in order to get decent life out of the batts). The goodrum/fechter chargers developed on endless sphere and sold via tpacks.com allow the use of any basic charger, although meanwell's are the preferred form.

I actually bought a pair of meanwells rather than continue using my old lead-acid charger (one for home one for work), as I was doing charging without a BMS (waiting for G/F to finish up their design). They are only about $40 each for a 300W charger so the cost is trivial in comparison to the batteries.

Re costs/mile, yes batteries are by far the largest component. I reckon on about $0.14/mile for lead acid and $0.10/mile for lithium, but the error-bars are quite wide. Insurance is $0.07/mile and tax is free. Maintenance is hard to guess but I've paid $0.03/mile over the first 3000 miles. Electricity is $0.01/mile. total: $0.21/mile (lithium) $0.25/mile (SLA)

That's enormously cheaper than using the car instead. But more expensive than a petrol moped at Fuel: $0.06/mile Insurance: $0.05/mile Maintenance: $0.06/mile Tax: $0.01/mile total: $0.18/mile

All UK prices but converted to dollars for comparison purposes at $1.5 per pound, and using 2000/miles yr.

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Wookey
Sakura s50 (Efun A)

randalson
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Re: 2600 Mile Update: Batts starting to suffer?

Thanks. I did a spread sheet for my other vehicle and my commute. I compared my combination of vehicle and scooter to base vehicle only, and to base vehicle and super efficient used car (assumed a $10,000 used VW TDI.) It all comes out remarkably equal. Since I need my base vehicle anyway for other reasons and deep snowy weather, it stays in the mix with its fixed costs. All options are within a couple of hundred dollars a year right around $5,500.

The only really cheaper option would be to find a much older second car, like an 80's diesel Rabbit. That would knock depreciation and insurance down, which are actually the bulk of annual expense.

dp
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Re: 2600 Mile Update: Batts starting to suffer?

randalson wrote:

Ok, I appreciate the perspective. It is a 2008 but this was the first running season, the time in storage probably did not help them much. If I go to Lithium, I understand I would have to change chargers, also - is that what you did? Does the controller still work properly?

My figuring on the cost per mile shows that .04 per mile is the battery cost, whatever type you use. Perhaps a desulphator would extend the VRLAs but I don't know if they would double them. I would hate to tear it down for a batt replacement in the middle of the riding season. If I get the extra lights and sound system to see and scare deer and ride after dark, I could easily put 4,000 miles on in a season.

desulphator is relatively cheap and might be worth a try. 20% gain would pay for itself plus you would have the equipment.

randalson
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Re: 2600 Mile Update: Batts starting to suffer?

Wookey - What brand and model of Lithium Batts did you use for replacement? What did they cost? Thanks!

Reid250
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Re: 2600 Mile Update: Batts starting to suffer?

randalson wrote:

Wookey - What brand and model of Lithium Batts did you use for replacement? What did they cost? Thanks!

I have basically the same 3500W scoot with the Lithiums. The cells are @ $60 each. Be careful not to buy from one of the scam artists and get stung. If you start seeing prices lower than $55, beware of sending your money and getting nothing but a headache. Go to ES for a good source of info on the scammer. The charger is @ $70

wookey
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Re: 2600 Mile Update: Batts starting to suffer?

I used headway cells. and 30Ah @48V (16S3P) cost GBP 740 excluding BMS and charger. Chargers are $70 each and the full BMS which is finaly available (about a year later!) is approx $180.

Lots of details on this thread: http://electricmotoring.forumup.co.uk/about166-electricmotoring.html
Some pics of the batts and how to do the conversion on the bike on my website: http://wookware.org/pics/moped/lithbatts/

Some discussions on this earlier thread: http://electricmotoring.forumup.co.uk/viewtopic.php?t=147&mforum=electricmotoring

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Wookey
Sakura s50 (Efun A)

viking
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Re: 2600 Mile Update: Batts starting to suffer?

Hi Wookey,
I have read all your writting on various sites and you battery upgrade with photos: very good and thanks for all your info. I have a Efun that I brought from China but it is very different to what is on the web and yours. it is late 2007 model, 60 volt, 5X B.B. Batteries (EB50-12) 12v-50AH,(2 of the batteries are under the foot plate) ABS front & rear brakes, a full LED speedo, and all gauges (Name on speedo: Erato-Amoyee). (a photo of it is in my profile). This is a very quick scooter as far as take of to 40kmh, beat my 150cc Echarm, and top speed (GPS) 77kmh for a 2000 watt motor. The only mod so far is that I had the controller in peices and played with the 2 blue Trimmers (Pots) and take them from aprox 68% to 100% by the little brass screw on top of them. (Take the number of the trimmer ( My one a 3296 Square Trimming Poteniumeter) and check through Google and you will find all the info and how to increase the power through the board.
I have all ready brought From DLG Battery in Shanghai: LiFePO4 batteries, 2 pack of 48 volt 20AH and 2 packs 0f 12volt 20Ah to upgrade when Winter comes.
At present on the old batteries I get about 55-65 km on a charge.

Riding Bikes 7 Scooters for over 50 years

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joe1973
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Re: 2600 Mile Update: Batts starting to suffer?

3800 mile update: the batteries would be unusable by now if I hadn't commuted only 9 miles before recharging daily. In minus 2-5 Celsius (23-28 F) my speed is already limited towards the end of my route. If the batteries survive this winter I have no doubt that my e-commuting will be trouble-free until the next cold season arrives again. I am currently experimenting with careful equalization charging as I have nothing to lose. I try to reach the 14000 km (8200 mile) before battery replacement. Might be surrealistic, I know. As currently nobody actually has any personal experience with the average milage gained out of lithium batteries, I am inclined to buy VRLA batteries again for replacement when the time comes. I have yet to hear somebody telling me that although their lithium battery cost 2-3 times more than VRLA battery but he got at least 2-3 times higher milage out of it. To hear that I will need to wait a couple of years more.

Regards,
Joe

__________________

E-FUN 3000W with 5×12V VRLA BB batteries dated 2008 oct.
commuting 15 km (9 mile) and back, recharge inbetween in the office.
Currently (21 October 2011) at 10800 km (6350 mile) and still going...

joe1973
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Points: 14
Battery equalizing works for me

I thought I would share my experience with other EV riders who are at the brink of changing their VRLA batteries.

As I mentioned in my post above I have been experimenting with battery equalizing in the last two weeks and it did wonders to my batts. Before I go into details, I gathered battery equalizing information from the following pages: http://www.evdl.org/pages/hartcharge.html, http://www.lifelinebatteries.com/manual.pdf, http://energy.ece.illinois.edu/balog/images/intelec02.pdf

I started to experiment with this as it seemed that my batts wouldn't live until spring and need replacement soon anyway. Before the experiment just below freezing and after ~7 miles my speed had been electronically limited down to ~25 miles/hour and I hardly reached the office where I could charge up, the same back home. Now after only 1-2 weeks of "battery equalizing", at -10C (14F) the charge meter won't even get close to the red. This is an amazing improvement for me and it needs to be shared here, it should work for others, too.

So here is what I did. I wired out the 12V +- connections of each 12V battery so I have easy access for charging the 5 series-connected 12V batteries individually (12V). I have a 0...40V, 0...10A adjustable power supply where I have set 16V with 1 Amp current limit. After recharhing the 60V battery bank with the factory charger I connect the power supply to the +- of the first 12V battery and leave it charging overnight (~ from 8 pm till 8 am). In the morning I can read 16V for battery voltage and ~0.25A for charging current. I repeat the same procedure the next day but for the next battery and so on and so forth (5 working days, 5 batteries conveniently).

The result is amazing even after 1-2 weeks. Please note that I will have to re-shape this strategy when the cold weather is over. Now it is almost always below freezing and the 16V charging won't overheat the valve-regulated batteries (where gas would leave through the valve and electrolit loss would be the next problem to deal with). In warmer weather I will do this probably less frequently and will reduce the charging voltage to 15-15.5V. This still needs experimenting.

So give this a try if your lead batteries are dying and need replacement, it worked for me.

Regards,
Joe

__________________

E-FUN 3000W with 5×12V VRLA BB batteries dated 2008 oct.
commuting 15 km (9 mile) and back, recharge inbetween in the office.
Currently (21 October 2011) at 10800 km (6350 mile) and still going...

IBScootn
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Re: 2600 Mile Update: Batts starting to suffer?

I agree with trying the desulfator. I use the 12v & 24v models from http://www.batterytechsolutions.com/ with great results on my car & e-bicycle batts. 2008 batts definitely need desulfating especially with the deep discharges you are doing. I don't know of a 60v version, but that company does have 36v and 48v versions; so with a 48v version you could do 4 batts at a time and swap which 4 you do every few weeks. Just an idea.

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2011 ZEV Trail 7100, 84V, 60AH, 75+mph, Cycle Analyst, TNC throttle, modified charger. 800 miles so far.
2010 ZEV 6100, 72V, 40AH, 60+mph; Cycle Analyst, LED head lights, 3 Cell Log interfaces, TNC throttle and faster charger added. 8100 miles so far.

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antiscab
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Re: 2600 Mile Update: Batts starting to suffer?

joe1973 wrote:

As currently nobody actually has any personal experience with the average milage gained out of lithium batteries,

Hi Joe,

I have reached end of service life with my LiFePO4 cells.

I rode everyday from Jan 2007 till May 2009.
I did 21'000km (mostly at 70kmh) in that time.

I used 19 x 40Ah Thundersky cells (Nov 2006 production date)
after 21'000km, the capacity of the smallest cell is 22Ah.

The rest of the bike fell apart around the battery basically.

Matt

__________________

Daily Ride:
2007 Vectrix, modified with 42 x Thundersky 60Ah
Vectrix 60Ah Lithium Tyres Fuel Registration Insurance cycle analyst replacement TC Charger
conversion
Spent so far: $5800 + $7000 + $1720 + $960 + $320 + $720 + $140 + $600
Cost to do it again: $2500 + $5600 + $1720 + $960 + $320 + $720 + $140 + $600
Cost for a Petrol bike:$6000 + + $1440 + $6000 + $800 + $1400 + $3200 servicing
Total spent: $17260
Total to do again: $12560
Total to have used a petrol bike: $18840
Total distance travelled so far: 79'120km

antiscab
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Points: 1603
Re: 2600 Mile Update: Batts starting to suffer?

btw, that battery now powers another scooter.

I suspect that owner will use it until most of the cells are below ~15Ah in capacity.

Matt

__________________

Daily Ride:
2007 Vectrix, modified with 42 x Thundersky 60Ah
Vectrix 60Ah Lithium Tyres Fuel Registration Insurance cycle analyst replacement TC Charger
conversion
Spent so far: $5800 + $7000 + $1720 + $960 + $320 + $720 + $140 + $600
Cost to do it again: $2500 + $5600 + $1720 + $960 + $320 + $720 + $140 + $600
Cost for a Petrol bike:$6000 + + $1440 + $6000 + $800 + $1400 + $3200 servicing
Total spent: $17260
Total to do again: $12560
Total to have used a petrol bike: $18840
Total distance travelled so far: 79'120km

joe1973
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Points: 14
Re: 2600 Mile Update: Batts starting to suffer?

Hi Matt,

thanks for sharing this info, very useful - can you remember how much this LiFePo battery pack cost you when you bought it? Do you know how much does it cost now approx.? Also what was the average distance you had to overcome before the possibility of recharging? If I calculated correctly you rode ~35-45 kms daily, is that correct?

PS: I did not know that you can buy lego-type electric bikes as well... or were you riding in a country stricken by civil war?

Regards,
Joe

__________________

E-FUN 3000W with 5×12V VRLA BB batteries dated 2008 oct.
commuting 15 km (9 mile) and back, recharge inbetween in the office.
Currently (21 October 2011) at 10800 km (6350 mile) and still going...

joe1973
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Joined: 12/10/2009
Points: 14
Re: 2600 Mile Update: Batts starting to suffer?

IBScootn wrote:

I agree with trying the desulfator. I use the 12v & 24v models from http://www.batterytechsolutions.com/ with great results on my car & e-bicycle batts. 2008 batts definitely need desulfating especially with the deep discharges you are doing. I don't know of a 60v version, but that company does have 36v and 48v versions; so with a 48v version you could do 4 batts at a time and swap which 4 you do every few weeks. Just an idea.

Hi, I have a desulphator on each 12V battery and I do believe they are useful in normal automotive use (normal cars and bikes). However in my experience they couldn't have helped to survive this winter if I did not do battery equalizing (or whatever you call it) with a power supply.

I have a small desulphator in my car and also in my petrol bike and they really prolong the life of starter batteries. Maybe it is the different cyclic battery usage with electric vehicles (long and "deep" discharging) which makes them less effective in such applications. This is my experience.

Regards,
Joe

__________________

E-FUN 3000W with 5×12V VRLA BB batteries dated 2008 oct.
commuting 15 km (9 mile) and back, recharge inbetween in the office.
Currently (21 October 2011) at 10800 km (6350 mile) and still going...

antiscab
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Joined: 07/07/2007
Points: 1603
Re: 2600 Mile Update: Batts starting to suffer?

joe1973 wrote:

thanks for sharing this info, very useful - can you remember how much this LiFePo battery pack cost you when you bought it? Do you know how much does it cost now approx.? Also what was the average distance you had to overcome before the possibility of recharging? If I calculated correctly you rode ~35-45 kms daily, is that correct?

PS: I did not know that you can buy lego-type electric bikes as well... or were you riding in a country stricken by civil war?

Hi Joe,

Lol, no Australia has never actually had war on its on soil,
You can buy small scooters, that all seem to have similar construction.

We're just around the corner from Asia.

I ride a Vectrix now (also converted to lithium)

that battery cost me AUS$4000 in 2006.
a replacement now would be AUS$1720 inc BMS and charger

yes, around 40km a day, though spread across a couple of cycles (although I could do the whole distance on a single charge).
it was just more practical to always have the scooter as charged as possible.

continuous discharge was 55A continuous, which is basically why the pack had such a rapid capacity decline (relatively speaking, still 4-5x better than the original lead acid pack)

Matt

__________________

Daily Ride:
2007 Vectrix, modified with 42 x Thundersky 60Ah
Vectrix 60Ah Lithium Tyres Fuel Registration Insurance cycle analyst replacement TC Charger
conversion
Spent so far: $5800 + $7000 + $1720 + $960 + $320 + $720 + $140 + $600
Cost to do it again: $2500 + $5600 + $1720 + $960 + $320 + $720 + $140 + $600
Cost for a Petrol bike:$6000 + + $1440 + $6000 + $800 + $1400 + $3200 servicing
Total spent: $17260
Total to do again: $12560
Total to have used a petrol bike: $18840
Total distance travelled so far: 79'120km

joe1973
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Joined: 12/10/2009
Points: 14
Re: 2600 Mile Update: Batts starting to suffer?

Thanks, hopefully I have a few years left before battery replacement, by then maybe prices drop further down for Lithium batteries and the decision will be made easy..
Regards,
Joe

__________________

E-FUN 3000W with 5×12V VRLA BB batteries dated 2008 oct.
commuting 15 km (9 mile) and back, recharge inbetween in the office.
Currently (21 October 2011) at 10800 km (6350 mile) and still going...

safe
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Points: 603
Re: 2600 Mile Update: Batts starting to suffer?

In winter the cold weather will make your battery less effective because lower temperatures produce higher internal resistance which wastes power.

Since you quote 300 cycles as you estimate of battery life I'm guessing that you are using SLA batteries. While it's true that in ideal situations SLA batteries can achieve 300 cycles they are always incrementally losing capacity with each cycle. There is no "sudden" point that they wear out, they just sort of sag and sag and sag until they are mostly useless.

The best I ever did was 3000 miles using SLA... that's about the best you would normally expect unless you limited your range to keep the cycling more shallow. The deeper the battery discharge the more rapid the battery wears out.

----------------------------

There was a time a few years ago when NiCads were cheap (SubC) but now they are expensive. The NiCads last a long time.

The way things are now I'd suggest looking to some LiFePO4 batteries because the prices are getting a lot better.

SLA is not normally used for people that want long term solutions. (SLA is for people that very rarely use their ebike)

randalson
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Points: 74
Re: Battery equalizing works for me

Hey Joe -
Just to clarify, when you put the individual battery leads on, you left the series connections in place when "overcharging" each 12V battery? There seemed to be no "spill over"?

joe1973
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Points: 14
Re: 2600 Mile Update: Batts starting to suffer?

Hi, after the batteries are fully charged I disconnect the factory charger from the socket and also switch off the circuit breaker for security (or out of superstition), both located under the seat. I saw one red-green wire also connected to the 60V block but I did not mess with that (that goes to the controller if I remember correctly). So yes, basically the batteries are still connected in series when I do the individual "equalizing".

I am sorry that I did not discover this earlier, it would have definatelly helped you through your problem for which you opened this topic originally. I believe you are using lithium batts now...

Regards,
Joe

__________________

E-FUN 3000W with 5×12V VRLA BB batteries dated 2008 oct.
commuting 15 km (9 mile) and back, recharge inbetween in the office.
Currently (21 October 2011) at 10800 km (6350 mile) and still going...

randalson
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Joined: 02/14/2010
Points: 74
Re: 2600 Mile Update: Batts starting to suffer?

Well, no. I got buck fever when it came time to pull the trigger on an $1,800 purchase for a $2,400 bike. So, It is sitting in the garage and I am ready to try to enliven the original batts for this season. So your experience ends up being helpful, thanks!

awilensky
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Points: 77
Re: 2600 Mile Update: Batts starting to suffer?

Just to keep everyone up to date:

My EVD was new in June 09? The lead acid batteries have made it fine for the last 2400 miles/ I have never, perhaps only once, driven the charge down more than 30%. Mostly short local trips, shopping, etc. 1-9 miles tops. Charged religiously every time back home, I work at home. I expect I will have another season no problem, but......I am selling it because I plunked down the cash for a Current C130. I feel confient telling a buyer that there is a good season or two if the bike is used in a pattern consistent with my own, or they may want to refresh the SAL batts, shop around, and change them. If the bike does not sell on the used market, I will do an extreme upgrade of the rear wheel, controller and batteries, which will cost....too much.

I will keep you folks apprised of the Current C130 adventure.

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