This winter, we received word that funding for coast down and dyno testing was available but that the deadline to use it was the end of March. Finally! A chance to get official data proving what 7 could do! We knew from the XPrize that with a slipping clutch costing a lot of efficiency, the 3000+ pound car could still attain 119.8 MPGe. With some modifications, what is its real potential?
Naturally, the team had the car in pieces when we heard about the March deadline. It was a rush to get as much done on the winter to-do list as possible before taking the car up to the Chrysler proving grounds in Chelsea, Michigan.
Here is a short list of modifications that the team accomplished. (I’m probably missing some):
- installed new wheel bearings
- removed some foam and redundant steel from the doors while leaving the car structurally sound and safe
- redesigned the center battery box
- removed the rear battery boxes to return 11 inches of leg room to the rear passenger area
- added 3 cells to the battery pack (for a total of 99)
- removed unnecessary wiring and completely rewired the battery pack and dash for a more efficient and professional fit and finish
- removed the front bumpers (they were ornamental. the real “bumpers” are built into the structure behind them.)
- patched and repainted the front fenders
- re-carpeted the entire car
- added cup holders for all 4 passengers
- modified the transmission to remove unnecessary gears (2, 5, plus reverse, which the motor made redundant.)
- [insert whatever I’ve forgotten here]
The car arrived at Chrysler on Tues, March 22nd. Their professional driver took it for a spin and was impressed. And then the weather changed. Kevin, Nick, George and Nate were trapped in Michigan, waiting for the weather to improve. It needed to be at least 30 degrees F with gentle winds and, of course, no ice or snow on the track for the coast down test. It seemed like those conditions would never happen.
The deadline was coming up quick.
Today, nearly a week later, the weather finally improved and Seven completed coast down testing under its own power.
Preliminary data is good. Very good.
As I write this, the action continues. Kevin is monitoring 7 as she charges. Tomorrow 7 will be on the dyno and if all goes as planned we’ll get official data right before the funding deadline expires.
I’m eager to update 7’s window sticker with the new EPA figures. This is the 2011 model. Revised and improved. Still the most efficient 4 seat street-legal sedan on the road, even when towing another vehicle.
You know what else? She’s also big, heavy, bold and beautiful.