Bolt vs Volt Seats

by Ben N on March 12, 2023

I WANT to love the 2023 Chevy Bolt EV, but the one thing stopping me is the driver’s seat. It’s narrow, and the left side of it digs into my hip and left leg. It’s borderline painful. Not what a person wants when they have bought a brand new car! Could I replace the seat with something better?

I heard a rumor on a web forum that Gen. 2 Chevy Volt PHEV seats have the same bolt pattern.

I took some measurements to compare the driver seat of a 2017 (gen 2) Chevy Volt versus a 2023 Chevy Bolt.
Overall, the Volt seat is slightly wider – up to an inch. See photos for details

Both cars have leather seats. The Bolt EV has a triangular pattern to the perforations in the leather. Both have blue stitching. The Bolt EV seat has power controls and the Volt PHEV has manual seat controls.

It looks like the bolt pattern to mount the seats to the floor is the same – about 16.5″ from side to side and 15.5″ from front to back. I believe that the 2017 Volt seat could be a bolt-in replacement for the 2023 Bolt. It also looks like there’s actually MORE width from the center console to the driver’s door in the BOLT than in the Volt!

So, in theory, the seat should fit, but a person also needs to check the wiring for the air-bag to make sure that still functions properly. It seems likely that it’s just two wires, but probably with a different connector on it.


A Pleasant Charging Experience

by Ben N on March 1, 2023

Our 2023 Chevy Bolt getting a DC Fast Charge at a gas station

The other day, I had something that is unfortunately not as common as it should be: a pleasant charging experience.

First, let’s back up a moment and say that the VAST MAJORITY of all electric car charging is done at home. Plug the car in, walk away, DONE! It’s about as much work as plugging in a cell phone to charge.

What I am talking about here is charging out in public, at a remote location, because one has to in order to be able to return home.

Our 2023 Chevy Bolt EV has an official EPA rating of 259 miles per charge. Of course, that’s less in the winter for a number of reasons. How a person drives (lead-foot) and many other factors can (and DO) also shorten range.

In this case, I live in south-eastern Wisconsin, and needed to work in the greater Chicago, IL area for the day. Checking with Google maps told me it would be about 135 miles, each way (270 miles+ total.) Even on the best day, my car was simply NOT designed to go that far on a single charge.

So, I would need to be able to recharge while I was there.

Based on current driving, weather, etc. my car can go an estimated 192 miles on a full charge.
Not enough to get to Chicago and back from my place.

I was already going to head down the night before (AFTER working an evening shift!) and had a hotel room. Although many hotels now DO offer electric car charging, that one I was staying at DID NOT! The client was paying for the hotel room and it was already booked, so I didn’t have any say in going to a different hotel.

No problem! I had thought ahead and knew that at the corporate location I would be working at also had employee EV charging, and quite a few spaces too! I also checked PLUGSHARE and saw that there were a few DC Fast Chargers in the area I would be working. If needed, I could always hit one of those. I preemptively downloaded an app for the Volta chargers in the area.

The next morning, I drove to where I would be working for the day. Sure enough, there were LOTS of charging stations in the parking lot. Probably 2/3rds of them were already in use, but there were still several available for me. Unforunately, those Chargepoint stations wouldn’t show up in the app, so I couldn’t use my phone to activate one. No problem, I pulled out my worn-out old Chargepoint RFID card and held it to the machine… only to get a “CARD INVALID” error.

My understanding is that for companies who install Chargepoint stations for their employees, there’s a system where the employer can give out codes to the employees who then add them in to their account. Only then do the stations recognize that person’s card and allow them to charge.

It sure would be nice if guests and visitors could charge too! Maybe just have ONE station set up for guests to use!

Oh well, I had to get to work. I still had essentially half a battery, so no worries about having to charge all day. I’d take care of it when I was done.

The job went well, and since it was also an early start, we were done before 4 PM.
Getting ready to leave, I almost hopped in the wrong car! There was a blue Chevy Bolt parked just a few spaces closer than where I parked, with my car’s position obscured.

My car next to a slightly older version of the same.

I had to pull my car over to take a look at the minor differences between the two.
The different rims were immediately noticeable. After that, I saw that some of the trim was a little different, and the other car had the older “curly-cue” tail-lights. Other differences included the backup lights and looking into the interior, the inside color and gear selector.

Plugshare connects right to Apple Maps, which shows up on my car’s main display.
An easy couple mile trip to the nearest DC Fast Charger.

After geeking out over “twinning”, I followed the map in my Apple Car Play up the road to the nearest CCS DC Fast Charger. This was located at an Amoco gas station owned by the “Pride” chain.

The charging station was immediately obvious by its convenient location near the building and the LARGE video display. This was a Volta station – a brand I hadn’t used before.

The controls were pretty obvious. Some simple directions told the user to download an app. A giant QR code made that hard to miss as well. I did NOT see any RFID card reader on it, nor did I see any 1-800 phone number to call if needed. The good news is that it didn’t need it.

I just opened the app, clicked on the icon where I was on the map, and was pretty much ready to go. Since it was the first time I used this, I DID need to enter credit card info in the app. But with that, I just plugged in the car and started charging.

One thing that was extra nice was the app told me the first ten minutes of charging were free at this location. Perfect for a gas station! After that, the cost was $0.33 per kilowatt-hour. (It’s important to note to difference in paying for an amount of ENERGY versus an amount of TIME at a station! Some charge per minute! If your car charges more slowly, you essentially pay 2 or 3 times MORE than another car that charges faster!)

Since the car was now charging, I took the time to head inside. I used the restroom and was pleasantly surprised that the gas station had a rather nice seating area! There were power outlets around which included USB ports on them. Perfect location to spend a little time while waiting for a charge!

Not a bad place for a cup of coffee while getting a charge. There were several booth tables here as well.

The gas station didn’t have much for hot food, but since I still had a two and a half hour car ride ahead of me, I bought a cold sandwich and ate it in the cafe area. I would have grabbed a coffee as well, but I already had a canned energy drink in the car which I had brought with me.

Outside, there was also a number of picnic tables, which I would have tried if the weather was a bit nicer. Behind the gas station were many other businesses close by, including a pizzaria. Too bad it was after lunch hours, which is when they do pizza by the slice!

On the other end of the parking area was another Volta station – this one for J1772 L2 charging.

Level 2 J1772 station on the other end of the parking. Plenty of picnic tables and walkable to other local businesses.

In total, I spent about half an hour at the gas station, which was really more than I needed. I wanted to make sure I had plenty of extra juice to get home… just in case – change in weather, detours, etc.

The “Advanced” setting of the display in the Bolt shows three numbers on the “Guess-O-Meter”. Maximum range, estimated average range, and minimum range. I made sure the MIN number was at least what I needed to get back home.

After that, I pointed the car north and started driving.

I had already chosen my route partly because it was actually fewer miles, but also because it avoided tolls. The road ran through a number of towns, so the speed limit varied, but was 35-55 MPH for most of the drive. The weather was also on the warmer side for this time of year, so I had the heat completely off for part of the trip.

I also found that the ONE PEDAL DRIVING feature worked really well, since I was going through lots of traffic. This mode greatly increases regenerative braking. While that’s not always the most efficient way to drive, it works wonders in stop and start traffic!

I think that lower speeds, turning off the heat, and ONE PEDAL DRIVING all helped improve the efficiency of the return trip.

When I had finally made it home, the average range remaining was 65 miles. What’s really interesting about that is it’s approximately how much energy I put in at the fast charge station! In theory, I could have NOT recharged AT ALL and just barely made it home! But why would I want to do that, when there were charging options available to me. Having never made this trip before, I had NO IDEA exactly how much energy would be needed!

Still had 65 miles of range left when I got home.

Total cost at the Volta DC Fast Charger was $3.16. The sandwich cost more than that.

OK. So when it comes down to it, what did I actually like about this charging experience?

I just opened the app and then plugged in. I did have to add credit card info, but only because it was my first time ever using this brand/account.

Right on a main road on my way. The gas station was right there. It had clean bathrooms. There was a nice seating area. Electric outlets and USB. Plenty of food and drink. Other shops and restaurants in easy walking distance.

I only paid $3.16. The billing was also for ENERGY instead of for TIME.
I’ve seen other stations where a person has to pay a $10 fee simply to get started and then pay a fee per minute after that.

Really, the only thing I could think of is if there was MORE than one DC Fast Charge space. Tesla Superchargers are famous for having 6, 8, or 10 stalls in a single location. On the other hand, there were other DC Fast chargers around. If this one was occupied, I could have found another.

I guess what it comes down to is that it felt nice to have a charging experience that was a little more like how they ought to be. The charging station should be simple and just plain work. There should be facilities available for restrooms, food and drink, and it doesn’t hurt to have a nice seating area as well.

I’m looking forward to seeing more fast charging in more places for convenient and affordable charging when needed.

Until next time, stay charged up!
-Ben Nelson


Chevy Bolt EV Cheaper than a Honda Civic!?

by Ben N on January 9, 2023

When will electric cars be as cheap as gas cars?

That’s the question I recently got on Facebook. The poster continued suggesting how inexpensive some gas cars can be.

It seems to me that anytime somebody tries to compare one car to another on price, they compare it to what they THINK a Honda Civic costs! The car has been the poster-child for a well-built, inexpensive car for a long time.

Frankly, I don’t even know what a new Civic costs.
So, I looked it up, hitting the Honda web page and then the GM one to compare the costs of the “bare-bones” versions of the Civic and the Bolt EV. After a little digging, I was able to find the ACTUAL costs, including hidden but mandatory Freight/Destination fee.

The Chevy Bolt EV (no options, lowest trim) costs $26,595. The Honda Civic (no options, lowest trim) costs $26,145.
It’s only $450 less than the Bolt!

So, at this very moment, a very popular electric car IS NEARLY as inexpensive as one of the most popular gas ones WITHOUT taking in to account tax incentives, fuel, maintenance, or anything else.

But it gets better. We know that electricity is a less expensive fuel than gasoline. And we can use the information on the cost of fuels and how far we usually drive a car to figure out what the cost of operating the vehicle will really come to!

While it’s not my strong suite, I started punching some of this information into a spreadsheet to track the data.

Here’s the spreadsheet I made, you you can punch your own numbers in to it! (Mac Numbers and Microsoft Excel)

Fuel economy on vehicles (including electric) is available at
The web page also allows you to compare a number of different vehicles side by side. I pulled up the Bolt and the Civic and noted fuel economy and other information.

I also pulled up how many miles the average American drives. Turns out it’s actually a little complicated. It actually varies a fair amount based on age and gender. I used the cumulative average, but you could always use what applies to you or your ACTUAL annual mileage, such as if you track yours for work.

Running the numbers for both cars, and then charting it, it was easy to see that the Civic is SLIGHTLY less expensive right at the purchase, but than almost instantly becomes more expensive, just based on the cost of gasoline. That’s not even including oil changes or other maintenance.

The Bolt EV saves about $1,000 PER YEAR vs the Honda Civic.

It’s hands-down the clear price winner.

On the purchase of my particular Chevy Bolt EV, I was able to get a $2,000 electric vehicle discount from a third party, and I fully expect to be able to collect the entire $7,500 U.S. Federal Tax Incentive. That puts the Bolt over $9,000 LESS than the Civic!

What about some other electric car?
The Tesla Model Y is a fantastic vehicle, one I’d love to own. It’s also considerably more expensive. I ran the numbers the same way for the Model Y. It simply NEVER saves money vs the Civic, simply because it’s more expensive. If you want to buy a Model Y to save gas – DON’T.
But many people DO buy gas cars in the same price range as a Model Y. If that’s you, then buying a Model Y will save on gas AND it’s an amazing vehicle.

So, there you have it! Electric Cars ARE cheaper than gassers. Er, kinda. Well, at least some of them are. It depends how you figure it, and what models you are comparing…
And your mileage may vary!

But for now, I’ll enjoy my fuel savings.

Until next time, stay charged up!
-Ben Nelson


We got a BRAND NEW Electric Car!

by Ben N on January 6, 2023

We just bought a BRAND NEW Electric Car!

What did we get? It’s a 2023 Chevrolet Bolt EV!

This electric car has a 66kWh battery and is rated for 259 miles of range.

The one we purchased is the 2LT trim level, which includes leather seats, fancier rims, and a birds-eye-view camera system. It also has quite a few driver safety and assistance features, such as blind-spot alerts and lane-keep.

I bought the car at a dealership over 200 miles away. A friend drove me there (in his Tesla Model 3,) I purchased the car and drove it home, making just one stop at a DC Fast Charger. In good weather, I should have been able to make the trip without stopping at all. The temperature was just above freezing. We had slush on the ground at the start of the trip and rain as well.

This is about a $30,000 car.
MSRP on this exact one was $30,485, including destination charge and options.
I was able to get a $2,000 discount through Uber and I fully expect to be able to take the full $7,500 Federal Tax Credit. This brings the cost of the car down to $20,985 – plus tax, title, and license.

Although there are sometimes State or Utility rebates available, I unfortunately do NOT have any of those in my area. We were also NOT able to get the Costco discount or any of several $500 GM “Appreciation” discounts.

It’s too early to tell you all the little things that I love (or don’t) about the car, as I really did just get it.

A couple of things I did notice right away…

Wireless Apple CarPlay is super-cool! It automatically turns the large center display of the car into a giant version of my smart phone. So, my maps, music, calendar, and more are right there – easy to see and use.

Also, I LOVE One-Pedal-Driving!
At the push of a button, you can completely control the car with just the accelerator. Letting off applies firm regenerative braking which can bring the vehicle to a complete stop and hold it there (and of course it turns on the brake lights!)

I like the overall look of the car. The “slit” daytime running lights double as a semi-animated turn signal. The newer front-end feels modern and the blue color really pops.

When it really comes down to it, more than anything, it’s a great big battery on wheels! 66kWh of battery means my wife will never have to worry about the state of charge – just hop in the car and drive.

The fast Level 2 Charge Rate – up to 11.5kW, or 48A@240V, means that even on a completely empty battery, I can charge to 100% full, all while on an overnight “Off-Peak” electric rate. That means the car is CHEAP to fuel!

That same big battery would also be extremely useful in event of a power emergency. That much juice could power my house for days in a blackout! (Look for a future video of me setting up the car to do this!)

Well, that’s it for now. But you can look forward to more videos about this vehicle, my likes and dislikes, and what can be done with it OTHER than simply driving the vehicle!

Until then, stay charged-up!
-Ben Nelson



by Ben N on December 22, 2022

I recently got the chance to try out the SHOCKFLO 16A dual-voltage electric car charging unit. It’s very inexpensive,($160 as of this writing,) but is it any good? Let’s take a look!

The very first thing that I noticed is that it feels solid. The body of the unit has a nice textured finish. The J1772 end feels good in my hand, and the 20 foot cord has the feel of flexible rubber, rather than stiff vinyl. (People in cold-weather states know why this is important!)

The SHOCKFLO arrived in its own zipper bag and includes a NEMA 6-20 to 5-15 adapter. This lets you plug in to a 240V outlet OR a 120V outlet. Even if you don’t have a 6-20 (240V) outlet, you could also use an adapter to go to a 14-50 or other higher power 240V outlet.

I tested the SHOCKFLO ON three different cars. My two cars max out at about 13A of charging, so I also had a friend stop by with his late model Nissan Leaf, with a higher powered charger.

The EVSE is “Plug and Play” – there are no buttons on the unit, nor any settings that need to be changed. Just plug it in to the wall and the other end in to the car. It’s as simple as that.

The SHOCKFLO is very compact, easily half the size of my original Chevy Volt EVSE, which was 120V only!

On the body are two LEDs – one green and one red. The green LED gives an indication of power and ready to charge, charging the car, and charge complete. If there are any errors or unusual conditions, the red LED lets you know what it is. The basic information for the LEDs is right on the back of the body of the EVSE, and the additional error and protection codes are in the included instruction manual.

Listed among the features of the product is an IP65 rating. That essentially means it’s weatherproof. I opened it up to take a look inside. There’s a silicone gasket between the two halves of the case, and the strain-relief for both cords also acts as a seal against the weather. It’s no problem using this outdoors on a regular basis without worrying about rain.

The spec sheet also lists a large number of safety protection features, ranging from lightning protection to overheat protection. While I didn’t have an easy way to test against lightning, I did see that it would be pretty straight-forward to test for overheating and an improper ground. For the ground, I simply plugged in through a cube tap with a broken ground pin. Right away, the red LED lit up indicating a grounding issue. This is an “alert” – it still provides power, but it lets you know there’s an issue. A car like my 2012 Mitsubishi iMiEV can still charge, ignoring the ground, while my friend’s Nissan Leaf did not. (Keep in mind that grounding varies by car. It’s actually a GOOD thing that the EVSE alerts you to it, but will still provide power.)

I also tested the overheat protection. I already had the EVSE open to examine the waterproofing. So, while it was open, I simply pointed my heat gun at the electronics. It didn’t take long to start flashing the red LED and kill the power output. Looks like overheat protection works the way it’s supposed to.

With the cover off the SHOCKFLO I had a good view of the electronics inside. Overall, it looked very good. Soldering was clean, terminals were tight, and it had good build quality.

The EVSE provides up to a maximum of 16 amps of current to the vehicle.
That’s perfect for me, as our vehicles can only draw about 13A maximum anyways. Full power on 240V is 3,600 watts. Many cars now have higher power chargers, and can accept 32 or even 40A. We charged the newer Nissan Leaf and saw that it did indeed max out at 16A.

Now here’s the interesting part. The SHOCKFLO still went all the way to 16A while on 120V. There’s no reduction of current. So, you still get maximum power whatever your voltage. The other thing this means is that you want to make sure to plug in to a 20A circuit while on 120V if your car can draw at least 16A. The other option is that many cars allow you to adjust your current draw while charging on 120V. Simply drop the current a bit, and then you can also charge on any 15A/120 circuit. While that’s not the fastest way to charge, it DOES let you charge from any of literally MILLIONS of electric outlets.

The EVSE does not have any web connectivity or a related app. Personally, I love that. Some more expensive EVSEs have these, but since similar features are built into most cars now, I don’t really see the point. As far as I’m concerned the more straight-forward, the better.

Things I like about the SHOCKFLO:
Great Price!
Feels Solid
Tested Protections worked well
Includes case and cord adapter

Things it is NOT:
It’s not a higher power EVSE. If you want REALLY fast charging, and your car can handle it, buy a more expensive, high power EVSE and pay your electrician to wire up a NEMA 14-50 outlet or wire up a permanent connection to a high-power circuit.

The unit IS FCC certified. The actual CORD to the wall is UL listed, and the cord to the car is TUV listed. (That’s the German/European agency, similar to UL.) Inside the SHOCKFLO, all the components looked clean and high-quality, but as far as I can tell, the entire unit all together is NOT UL listed. Personally, this doesn’t bother me at all, but it does matter to some people.

Overall, this is a GREAT little unit, especially at the price you pay. Excellent value. It’s perfect to keep in your car, use for travel, or keep at work or some other location you regularly spend time at.

Available through Amazon:


3D-Printing Time-Lapse

November 6, 2022

While I’m no master of C.A.D. or 3D-Printing, I sure think those time-lapses of 3D prints look AMAZING. So, I decided to figure out how I could do it with my own 3D Printer. A while back, I bought an Ender 3 S1 printer. ( friend of mine runs a small electronics business and had […]

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Thrift Store Solar+Storage!

October 16, 2022

Wow, what a week it’s been! The real highlight was stumbling on the thrift store score of the century… Let me start off saying that it was an unusual set of circumstances. The job I was going to be working on earlier this week was cancelled last minute. That job was more than an hour […]

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Ryobi 3D Printed Lamp Holder

April 3, 2022

And here’s the lampshade that I made to go with it. You can find the 3D model for the Ryobi Bulb Holder at: The hub for the lampshade now includes clips to snap on to the lightbulb: I’m still tinkering with the lampshade brim file, and will make an update here when I […]

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Greenworks Electric Chainsaw

March 12, 2022

See the entire review of this chainsaw at: Bookmark on Delicious Digg this post Recommend on Facebook Buzz it up Share on Linkedin Share via MySpace share via Reddit Share with Stumblers Tumblr it Tweet about it Subscribe to the comments on this post Tell a friend

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CHAdeMO Relay Hack, Switch, and Testing

November 11, 2021

Continuing work on my CHAdeMO Vehicle to Home project… On the Mitsubishi iMiEV electric car, it’s totally possible to activate power to the CHAdeMO port WITHOUT needing to use CAN bus signals. It can be done completely analog, with just a few simple 12V signals. Part of the reason why is that the relay which […]

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Converting Tractor Hydraulics from engine to Electric

August 10, 2021

Tractors are mechanically complicated.Besides a transmission, there’s also the connection for the Power Take-Off (PTO) and an engine-driven pump which powers the hydraulics. Since there’s no longer an engine, we’ll have to replace the source of power for the hydraulics. Probably the easiest way to do this is with an electric motor and pump salvaged […]

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Solar Trailer: Tilt Lock Redesign

August 5, 2021

My first test tow of the trailer went well, but one thing I still wasn’t happy with was the mechanism for locking the angle of the panels. So, it was time for a redesign! The major thing seemed to be the fact that the tilt lock only had two points of contact. That meant that […]

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Building a Solar Trailer, Part 1

August 1, 2021

Recently, I had a day or two available to work while waiting on things for other projects. For some time, I had the idea of a “Solar Trailer” in the back of my mind. I had seen a number of commercially-built solar trailers go up for auction, but at prices more than I could afford!So, […]

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Tractor Work Resumes

June 6, 2021

After a long hiatus, I’m working on the Electric Tractor Conversion again.This past year was a bad one, with COVID, a couple of deaths in the family, and other issues. One of the most difficult for working on the tractor was probably the fact that I was cut off from my typical resources for working […]

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February Solar Electric Bill

March 7, 2021

How much did electricity cost me this month when I have solar panels? And how long do they take to cover their own cost? Find out in this video! What does this month’s electric bill come to? February is a dark month. We still have many days of solid gray clouds, although not as much […]

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Towing a camping trailer with a Tesla

February 20, 2021

When I was at Fully Charged LIVE, one of the more interesting displays was a private owner of a Tesla Model X and Casita travel trailer showing off his rig. Mike Zuteck gave me a tour of his towing setup. As he’s in the aeronautics industry, he was especially interested in modifying his trailer to […]

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Massive DC Forklift Motor

December 1, 2020

Forklift motors have been popular for a long time in DIY Electric Vehicle Conversions. They tend to be Series-Wound DC motors, which offer tremendous torque at low speeds and are common enough that that can often be found at junk yards. A few years ago, my friend, Tom, and I scrapped out a 6,000 lb […]

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August Solar Electric Bill

October 1, 2020

Today, I opened my August electric bill. It was NOT what I expected! So, I’m a little late. I got my bill nearly a month ago. However, personal and family matters have kept me busy from making videos lately. So, the bill sat until now, when I finally got a chance to open it on […]

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CHRGET Universal Mobile Charger

June 13, 2020

I was recently contacted by the folks at CHRGET. They said they were coming out with a new EVSE, and asked if they could send me one for review. Of course, I said yes! *Full Disclosure – Why would they send me one for free? Well, they would want the advertising, as they are doing […]

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Liquid Cooling for Nissan Leaf motor

May 24, 2020

I’m getting ready to bench test the Nissan Leaf motor, but both the motor and inverter use LIQUID COOLING! I doubt the motor and inverter will make much heat at all when bench testing. However, since I have to figure this out sometime anyways, I thought I would get it taken care of right now. […]

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April 2020 Electric Bill

May 15, 2020

At this time of year, it’s always fun to open my electric bill, to see how much money the power company OWES ME! Last month, I had a credit of over eleven dollars. This month, we have had more sunny days, and the sun is getting higher in the sky. So, I expect even better […]

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Welding frame rails / Rolling the Tractor

May 13, 2020

Converting this International Harvester 300 Utility tractor to electric has had a few challenges. One of them is that the engine is structural and connects the front axle (and everything connected to it) to the transmission. I found a relatively quick and easy answer when I discovered that some other tractors have frame rails that […]

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Nissan Leaf Transmission Tear Down

March 17, 2020

I recently disassembled a Nissan Leaf driveline. That was essentially just taking apart the main components of the charger, inverter, motor and gearbox. After doing that, several viewers requested seeing inside the gearbox. I was also interested in seeing inside and was curious if I could use part of it to mate with the motor […]

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Nissan Leaf Electric Motor from Junk Yard

February 19, 2020

Pretty excited that I just picked up a Nissan Leaf Motor! Yesterday, I drove to Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin to Diamond Auto parts to pick up not just a motor, but also the gearbox and inverter for a Nissan Leaf. The Leaf motor packs quite a bit of power into a small package, and they […]

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Suzuki SV650 Electric Motorcycle

February 9, 2020

One of the joys of going to FULLY CHARGED LIVE (Feb 1 & 2, 2020 in Austin, Texas, USA) was meeting people in the real world who I otherwise only knew via the internet. Robert Powell is one such person. We met up with him before the event opened and got a chance to see […]

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Chevy Volt Dent Repair

January 3, 2020

After installing the new doors on the Volt, it was road-worthy, but I still didn’t like the dent in the back fender. There were a few dings above the rear door as well. So, I set to work to figure out how to pull out the dents. I had already played around a bit with […]

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Fixing a Crashed Chevy Volt

December 28, 2019

I just purchased a Chevy Volt!While I’m excited about that, the only reason I got it was because it was cheap. And it was cheap because it needed a bunch of work… Not long ago, an acquaintance of mine was driving his 2012 Chevy Volt when a deer hit him. (No, he didn’t hit the […]

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Prepping to remove the Loader

November 20, 2019

I removed the sheet metal “Hood” of the tractor to get a quick look at the engine. Pretty simple under there, but both the loader arm AND the loader frame really block working on it. Clearly the loader has to come off right away. In the front, the loader is bolted to the tractor with […]

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Tractor Arrives!

November 15, 2019

Today’s excitement is that the tractor arrived!When we went to look at the International Harvester 300 Utility tractor, one of the appealing things about it was that the seller offered to be able to deliver it.So, today, I’m waiting for the tractor to show up on a gooseneck trailer. The seller, Wayne, showed up right […]

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Winter Projects

November 13, 2019

Winter hit hard and fast here in south-eastern Wisconsin, with 6 inches of snow in October and it’s 6℉ as I write this in early November. So, that means it’s time to button down our winter projects! CRASHED MITSUBISHI IMIEV AUCTIONIn the last video update, I mentioned a crashed Mitsubishi iMiEV that was up for […]

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October Electric Bill and Time of Use

November 12, 2019

I just got my October electric bill! Let’s look inside and see what it comes to. Since I have solar on my garage, my electric bill is far less than it used to be. I typically look forward to getting my bill and taking my best guess as to what it will come to. Overall, […]

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Ford 8N Tractor for Electric Conversion?

October 29, 2019

Today, I stopped over at a friend’s farm property to check out a couple of tractors. I’ve recently been researching which tractors might make good candidates for an electric conversion, but what I really needed to do is just go out and see some. A family friend, Linda, had two old tractors on her property. […]

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DIY Teardrop Trailer Tour

October 9, 2019

About 15 years ago, I built a teardrop trailer. At the time, I never dreamed I would tow it with an electric car! But here we are, living in the future! A teardrop is a retro style of camping trailer with a shape, you guessed it, like a teardrop. These were popular after World War […]

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Tesla Implant!

October 1, 2019

I recently met up with John Olson. He implanted himself with an RFID chip which would allow him to unlock and drive his Tesla Model 3 just by holding his hand up to his car! I met him at the Milwaukee Makerspace for a video interview. One of the reasons we met there was that […]

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Solar Savings – August 2019

September 9, 2019

I just got my electric bill for this past month. Let’s open it up and see what it comes to! August was relatively cool, so we didn’t use the air-conditioning much. That’s important, as what I PAY for electricity is simply the difference between how much I make with the solar and how much I […]

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Wheelie Poppin’ Tractor for Junk Parade!

September 2, 2019

This year, I made it. I got my overpowered piece of junk electric tractor into The World’s Greatest Junk Parade! Last year, I took this old GE Elec-Trak frame and added a forklift motor and 6 Nissan Leaf Cell Modules. The driveline was a little complicated, and I didn’t get it working in time for […]

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Lithium Battery Communications

August 26, 2019

I just got my laptop to communicate with the Valence lithium batteries in the Ford Ranger EV pickup truck! The truck’s instrumentation is pretty basic – just a “Miles to Go” and “Percent Charged” meter, which were designed to work with lead-acid batteries. I wanted to be able to communicate directly with the lithium batteries […]

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Electric ATV Repair and Upgrade

August 11, 2019

Not long ago, a neighbor was cleaning out his garage. Among the things he was getting rid of was an old kids electric ATV. It was in poor condition, but looked like a fun “fixer-upper”! My daughter is also now eight-years old and has outgrown her Solar-Powered PowerWheels. So, a Razor brand ATV looked like […]

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Electric Truck Lithium Battery Upgrade

August 10, 2019

I upgraded the Electric Ford Ranger to Lithium Batteries!The truck had Group 24 Lead-Acid batteries in the bed. The batteries pulled from the Smith electric truck are Valence brand Group 27 batteries designed as 12V replacements. So, the logical thing to do was simply pull out the lead and put in the lithium in it’s […]

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July 2019 Electric Bill

August 8, 2019

I just got my July electric bill. Time to open it on camera so that you and I get to see what it is at the same time! In July, we finally started getting some nice summer days! (June was surprisingly rainy and cloudy!) But along with the sun was HEAT. We used our central […]

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Battery Pack Disassembly

April 18, 2019

Once we finally made it back from North Carolina, we needed to unload the batteries. While we had a forklift to LOAD the batteries, we didn’t have one at my place and had to resort to an engine hoist, furniture dollies, and finally, steel pipes. Getting 2,000 pounds of batteries off the trailer was no […]

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Removing the Batteries from the Smith Electric Truck

April 15, 2019

Well, it’s been an adventure so far…I was originally asked by my friend, Seth, to accompany him on a road trip to buy a commercial electric truck. The Copart auction had already taken place. He just had to drive 900 miles to get the truck and drag it back home. In the highlight of the […]

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Feb 2023 Electric Bill

March 15, 2023

I don’t tend to do “This Month’s Electric Bill” that frequently on YouTube anymore, but I thought this would be a good one. It’s March right now, so I have the bill for the previous month – February 2023. This is important because I have found that March tends to have very GOOD solar production. […]

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