Battery Box Tme

The time flies as we are working on this project. I am writing this from seasonally chilly northern Michigan. The van has made an epic journey back to the Midwest and the Bostig system is performing great. The ride out was uneventful. The van ran smooth and the trigger wire stayed in place.

We are now in Michigan working on another part of the project. The battery box. Right now the van has none of its major systems working. The air system is “plumbed”, the holes are cut in the side of the van, and the batteries are physically in the van in the box that doesn’t fit 🙂 now it’s time to start buttoning up the systems of the van. The power, water, and gas. Weare here in Michigan building up a metal center console to go between the seats to hold the lithium batteries and assorted parts and serve as the power “substation” for the van. Like most of this build, it starts with simple ideas, which then become very complicated or time consuming realities. The simple idea was to house the batteries in a console between the seats and give us arm rests instead of the ones that came on the seats. A simple box that holds the two. Batteries, how hard could it be…

Spurned on by the awesome work of the Bostig guys, we decided we wanted our box custom made out of metal, and welded into stoutness. Through one amazing contacts and friends, we wee able to find a friend who owns a metal fabrication shop, who agreed to cut and bend out sheet metal according to my sketches. Job one complete. Job two is to weld it up and together. We had yet another huge assett in Pat’s dad who is a jack of all trades. He can weld, drive a forklift, operate a mill, and his friend owns an awesome metal workshop where we had a hall pass to work.

The pieces were all aligned. Except the van. You see, VW decided it would be much better if nothing in the van was level or flat. Why not add a little slope here and a little slope there. So despite our use of angle meter to measure the slop of the floor, we only measured the slope in one direction… Ugh..but there was a saving grace. We seem to have been off by enough that it balanced itself out. So while there is a gap between the box and the floor at one point, the gap disappears at another point. So I guess we will be bolting it down to the points with the least amount of gap.

The other learning was that sheet steel is heavy. Ha. Yes, it feels like it should be a no brainer. But even at less than 1/8 inch thick, this stuff can’t be bent by hand, and we add significant weight to the van. So to put our box on a diet, we decidedly to liberally perforate it using them mill in the shop. Will help to also vent the batteries, and provide cooling.

Here are some shops of it us in progress. Time to get back to the shop to finish this thing!

Installing mounting points into the floor

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All the mounting points inlaid into the floor

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Grinding action

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The box!

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