A posting on the forum under 'Vectrix closing shop-sending people home' caught my eye, it looked interesting so I have reviewed it.
Now, I don't wish to be looked at as an old grumbler BUT.......
I have had a look at the claims by FuelFreeSoftware and, just for interest, made a few calculations and observations.
First noticeable thing on the website is the name 'Fuel Free'. The Vectric is 'fueled' but not by conventional fuel i.e. Petrol/diesel, it is fueled by electricity.
O.K. I'm 'nit picking' or am I? Well, I don't think so. The Web Site is too professional, and I would suggest that it has been designed by someone with marketing in mind as opposed to engineering reality. (Have we been here before?)
Lets take a look at the 'claims' made on their web site.
First - 'Higher Top Speed' - This has been done before. Vectrix pushed it up to 68 Mph/ 110Kph. This may also be the rated maximum motor speed so going higher may not be the best trick in the world. The higher speed also requires more current, not proportionally, but exponentially, This is not good for battery longevity. Battery internal heating rises exponentially with rising current.
Second - Raised Maximum Charger Power - from 1500 watts to 1800 watts. I may be missing the point BUT I found it necessary to reduce the charger out put to avoid battery heating under charge. 860Watts was the final figure which I used and still the battery reached 80% in less than four hours. This is also a very interesting claim as mathematically it doesn't add up. They have raised the charger output to 1800 watts, The battery, the original30A/Hr NiMH, has a capacity of 3750Watt/Hrs. 80% of 3750Watt/hrs is 3000Watt/hrs this, charged at a rate of 1800 watts would take exactly 1hour and 40 minutes to reach 80%. Theoretically it is perfect. - Except that in practice ie. by actual charging and measuring, it wont work due to internal resistance of the battery and the reducing rate of electro/chemical conversion as the charge progresses.
Third - Information on battery voltage. - Vectrix didn't put it on the instrument panel but The Laird did. What's new here?
Fourth - Estimated run time (Est Miles?). - They have 'corrected it. - The Laird corrected it and then dumped it in favour of the Battery voltage display which was considered far more useful.
Fifth - The 'Fuel Bars'. - They have corrected the fuel display. - YEP! The Laird's bin there and done that.
Sixth - Battery Temperature. - They have reduced/controlled it. - YEP! (again) Bin there, Done that.
Seventh - Temperature Sensors. - They have calibrated them. - Well, even Vectrix had them calibrated, so what's new here?
Eighth - Treatment of Batteries. - They say that they have 'Standardised and adjusted for EACH? Vectrix NOT DAMAGING THE CELLS' - Well, if I knew what they meant by this then I could comment.
Ninth - Durability of the Batteries. - This one I really like. They claim to have increased the battery life to 320,000Kms using a 60% SOC. (ie. not more than 60% capacity charge. I presume that this is total theory because, to prove this, the battery would need to be charged an discharged no less than
9020 times. (320,000Kms=198,000Miles. at 22Miles per charge (60% of max range 40Miles) that would require those 9020 Cycles) NOW. assume that it is possible to charge and discharge at a rate of Five cycles each day, it would take 1804 days or just under five years of continuous testing. How about that?
O.K. So I'm a bit of a cynic BUT, Engineers do not claim that which they cannot prove, at least, not when I learned my skills.
I have ignored a few claims, such as Bi-Xenon lighting, cruise control, Comsumption Snapshot and Emergency Flashers, which I consider 'nice to have' but can be done without.
I have also not commented on 'Speed Load' and 'Load Profile' because, frankly, I don't know what exactly they are talking about.
The Eco Boost technology is interesting. To use less energy at higher constant speed may be possible by optimising the 'timing' (yes- electric motors do have a timing system), However, the improvement isn't stated and no figures are given and this rather begs the questions, 'Exactly what is the improvement/. Can we have some honest figures?'
I shall comment no further except to say that if you are considering Purchasing this software, then you should be asking for 'proof of their claims' and more especially 'What guarantees are they offering in respect of battery and charger life and potential motor / gearbox damage?. Oh, I nearly forgot --HOW MUCH is it going to cost?
Consider also, what you get for your money. They are offering Higher Top Speed, Faster Charging, Longer Battery life Plus some 'nice to haves'. Come on Folks, I think that we've seen this somewhere else -Vectrix's Sales Brochure perhaps?
FINALLY, the obvious question we should all be interested in is, 'Which charger(s) can they programme, is it the ESD or the Runke or both/any others?
Well, that's my two pennyworth as they say. I look forward the the ensuing 'bun fight'
A Happy New Year to you all. Take care on the roads and mind the lunatics.
The Laird. - Telling it like it is, as usual.