Saturday, September 29, 2012

Spot Festival display

Once again, the Topsail Electric Vehicles were on display at the largest Festival in Hampstead each year, the Spot Festival.  A Spot is a fish that is caught off our local waters, and each year thousands of visitors come to enjoy music, fun and most of all, the delicious Spot dinner.  The event is a local fundraiser for the schools and fire departments, so everyone comes out to support the community.
  We had a good showing as usual and fielded plenty of questions about the vehicles.  The team did an excellent job as always.  The festival is usually our first major display and the students were ready for the task.  We get the same questions year after year, but we have noticed that the general public is becoming more aware of electric and hybrid vehicles. This is a good sign, and it also helps that gas prices are pretty high right now, making more people think about alternative fuel sources.

Friday, September 28, 2012


Every year at the homecoming game, we get the opportunity to lead the homecoming court around the track during halftime.  This year we had both vehicles and were announced over the public address system in front of a crowd of over 2500 people.  Sometimes exposure like this is invaluable.  It is the first time younger kids or visitors get to see the EV's in action.  Hopefully we are planting the seeds for the future.  Very proud to be associated with the THE EV program and the students that help make it possible each year.

Battery Heaters!

    We finally got around to installing battery heaters in the truck battery boxes today.  The heaters are a rubber pad that consumes .58 Amps at 120 Volts and produces 70 Watts of power.  We tested them first and found they have an internal thermistor that opens the circuit at around 115 degrees and closes it back when the temperature falls to below 100.  The pads are very flat and we were able to install eleven of them under our 16 Trojan T-145 batteries.  We monitored a pad under a 12 volt battery we have for 6 hours and found that during that time, the electrolyte rose to about 100 degrees.  We should have better results when they are in the insulated boxes and all the batteries are grouped together. The process took most of the day and also allowed the new EV 13 team the opportunity to learn how to wire a parallel circuit, crimp wires and check the specific gravity of the cell electrolyte.  The install was completed and the heaters work great.  It takes quite a while to heat the cells, but it will be a welcome addition when cold weather hits. Kudos to the new team that showed up to perform the work on a teacher workday!

   On a side note, we have not had to water the cells for over 6 months because of the Water Miser Vent Caps from Flow Systems.  The caps have done an exceptional job and we only had to top off the cell levels slightly, using only a half gallon for 16 cells.  

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Atlantic Tool & Die Open House

We had the opportunity to display our vehicles at one of our largest and supportive sponsors, Atlantic Tool & Die yesterday.  The event was their annual open house, held at the facility on Hwy 210 in Hampstead.  Company president  Hugh Highsmith presented the Topsail EV class with a sponsor donation check of $1000!!!  Wow, we really needed that to help us reach our $10,000 fundraising goal this year.  There were more than 50 people there for demonstrations and of course food.  The class was able to tour the maching manufacturing facility and gain valuable insight into the world of machining and the equipment used to produce very precise parts.  Thank you Atlantic Tool & Die for helping our program continue to excel.