1975
Height-59"

Length - 94"

Width - 58"

Weight - 1475lbs.

This vehicle was manufactured in Sebring, Florida. The company is  no longer in business but there are still many of these cars around.  In the mid 70's a couple of thousand of these vehicles were sold during the oil embargo crisis.   In 1976 the name was changed to Commuta-car.

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Tires - 4.80x12

Batteries

8 x 6V Trojan 125s


The eight batteries are stored under the driver and passenger seat.  The batteries are arranged and wired in such a way that a set of relays is able to configure them for 12v, 24v, or 48v.  If you look closely at this picture you may notice a battery cable disconnected.  Why?

A slightly closer look reveals that the battery terminal has actually melted. If you have ever used a bicycle pump you may have noticed that it gets hot when you use it.  This is because you are pushing a lot of air through a small hole.  The friction of the air causes the pump body to heat up.  This is very similar to what happened here except it was with electricity.  The cable carries a certain amount of amperage.  This cable was probably about as old as the car; 21 years.  The cable thickness at one end had deteriorated over time reducing the path the electricity could travel.  This would then cause the cable to heat up.   Since the terminals are made of a softer metal, lead, the terminal melts before the copper cable.  The hole in the top of the battery is from the bolt that held down the cable.  After it melted the lead it easily melts the plastic cover of the battery. Since we live at the top of a hill in San Francisco they do get very hot when traveling up a lot of hills.


These are the two large relays that carry the current to the motor from the batteries.  The first relay applies either forward or reverse voltage to the motor and the second relay delivers either 24V or 48V.  The third relay (not visible behind the fuses)  cuts in a large Nichrome metal strip which acts as a large resistor to drop the voltage down to 12V for the creep speed.  This type of setup is no longer in use.  New vehicles use solid state controllers much like the volume control on a stereo giving the user the full range of  voltage.  These relays make distinct snaps and clicks as they work unlike a solid state controller which makes no noise at all.  The metal contacts that make the snapping sounds eventually become pitted and need to be replaced.

 

The GE motor is mounted directly to the differential.  Only three bolts hold the 3HP motor in place.  I replaced the old bushings with new heavy duty ones and had the commutator turned (resurfaced).  A basic rebuilt motor for $60. This car costs about a penny a mile to operate or thirty to forty cents a recharge.  In other words, if a gasoline powered vehicle were as efficient as this electric car, it would travel 300 miles for about $3.00!  Think about that when you shell out over twenty dollars to fill up a gas car.  This electric vehicle doesn't need the maintenance that a gasoline engine needs.  There aren't nearly as many moving parts or parts to wear out.  Here is a comparison of things I will never have to repair or fix on the electric car which I have already had to do to my gasoline vehicles.

GASOLINE 

MOTOR OIL  

SPARKPLUGS

DISTRIBUTOR CAP

TIMING BELT

ROTOR

SPARKPLUG WIRES

MUFFLER

GAS TANK LEAK

FUEL LINE

OXYGEN SENSOR

PCV VALVE

RADIATOR FLUID

WATER LEAKS

CARBURETOR

FUEL PUMP

CATALYTIC CONVERTER

FUEL INJECTOR
CLEANING

TAILPIPE

SMOG CHECK!

Oh Yes!  I just plug this thing into 110VAC to charge the batteries.  If it's really discharged it can take about 8 hours to recharge.  I usually just keep it charged up and rarely let it get down very low.  I actually drove this car all the way to Sausalito one time.  That was a round trip of almost thirty miles including all kinds of hills. Not too bad for a vehicle with no transmission.

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© 2007 bjharding at aol.com