Maiden Voyage

The owner of a local ice cream shop invited me to bring my car down to an auto show this weekend along main street. I’ve been on the fence about it, but I decided I’m going to give it a go.

My mind is already thinking ahead on the logistics. It’s just over 2 miles. A steep hill to exit my little subdivision. The first mile on the road is 35mph. Once the limit goes down to 25, it’s a gradual uphill incline.

I haven’t tested out the max speed or range yet. I got it going up a large hill at 25mph. I’m 88 pounds lighter now, so I’m hoping that has a significant impact. When new, the car was advertised with a range of 30 miles at 38 mph. A 5 mile round trip shouldn’t be a problem. This is my first trip out on the open roads.

I have concerns about being stranded, having things break down, and how I would be able to tow the car back home.

The back of a CitiCar with five battery chargers below it lighted up in red.
The Chez charges for its maiden voyage

I’m charging the batteries overnight. I haven’t charged them fully since the initial time when I purchased the car. Once I got the voltage meter working, it’s been reporting a good charge. I felt no need to top it off when I’m not driving it regularly. When I plugged in the battery chargers to each of the five batteries, I was glad to see they hadn’t discharged much. The batteries were very low when I purchased the vehicle.

On The Road

Side by side photos before and after losing 80 pounds.
Before and After losing 80 pounds

Teddy and I piled into the car. I have been on a diet to increase the range, with a total of 90 pounds today and still going. I am now able to use the seat belt comfortably, and it’s a bit loose. I actually had trouble trying to tighten it up. Going up a fairly long hill to get out of the subdivision lowered the speed down to 20 mph as I neared the top. I pulled off into a cul-de-sac on the way up to lessen the load on the batteries & motor before continuing up.

Once out of the development, I was able to get the car up to 32mph. I felt closer to the road, and smaller. Gradual inclines became steep hills. Gasline and manhole covers felt like potholes to avoid. Turns made the vehicle feel top-heavy. Breaking tended to pull to the left a little. I believe that’s due to my adjustment to the breaks on the front drivers tire. I felt like I needed to give myself a lot more room to slow down to avoid breaking too hard. Once I entered a 25mph zone, I felt more comfortable in the cars capability to keep up with traffic.

I circled the area trying to find a way into the auto show, but everything was blocked off. I eventually parked at the Front Royal Town Square close to the EV charger. I looked over the charger and saw that it only offered charging for J1772 combo and CHADEMO connections. I would have to wait until I got back home to recharge.

With the detour, the trip downtown was 4½ miles, and the battery was setting around half capacity. With my experience with batteries I had for a small off-grid system, I knew that “half” was less than half based on the load, and had concerns getting back home. I was a little relieved knowing it would be a shorter path home without the detour.

The S10 Conversion

I met up with someone who contacted me via a social media platform who was interested in seeing a CitiCar close up. I stuck the front driver hub cap on so that he could take a few photographs of the complete set. He looked inside, and we had quite a chat about CitiCars in general and his interest in acquiring one and potential for upgrading the motor.

We migrated over to his S10 pickup truck. He made quite a few modifications, where the most significant one was changing to Chevy Volt batteries. The weight reduction alone increased the range to 60 miles. He had batteries stored both under the hood and in a large box half the size of a saddle box in the back. I also noticed his dc-to-dc converter, Curtis controller, and how large the electric motor was.

It’s impressive to see how simple an electric conversion is put together, and… physically clean. No dust and oil residue or stinky smells from under the hood. He had what appeared to be a flat piece of plywood with enough empty space that two people could use it as a stand-up picnic table.

The high beams were on when he arrived and I turned them off. They came back on again during our talk. It’s something I need to look at since the handle is so finicky.

There & Back Again

As time passed, I was getting more concerned about making the journey back home. The voltage meter showed it was around half after the batteries recovered a little bit.

I could tell immediately that the trek home was going to be tough with the reduced amount of torque I felt. I was pretty much swearing as a car in front of me was going below the 25 mph speed limit up a hill. The fan on the motor was blowing pretty hot. The door windows only let a limited amount of air in the cabin, and it was still too hot.

During the final stretch, I had to pull over to let a few cars pass before continuing on. As I entered the sub division, the car at full throttle was going 10 mph. The fan was blowing, the cabin felt hot, and I pulled over to let the batteries recover. I figured if I had to, I could push it up the hill a few feet before going down the large hill towards the house.

Teddy and I waited for a few minutes. I flipped the switch and it was fairly noticeable the speed had improved, but not fully. We went down the hill, took a turn, and as the batteries were draining, I gradually got the car into the driveway.

As I got out of the car and closed the door, the front drivers hubcap fell off. I was kicking myself for not taking it back off, and relieved it didn’t fall off during the drive. By time I got the garage door opened and back into the car, I had enough battery power to drive into the garage.

The trip back home was 3½ miles.


As I was unable to get the onboard charger working yet, I hooked up all five external battery chargers via quick connect cables I had installed. The four batteries for the motor were all drained to 11.9 volts, while the accessory battery was down to 12.4 volts.

A KILL A WATT meter reporting 3.62 KWH
A full charge overnight consumed 3.62 kilowatt hours

The KILL A WATT meter was reporting the chargers together using just under 400 watts. I reset the meter and let the car charge overnight. All chargers were green on Sunday at a full charge.

Teddy and I made it home. As I pulled into the garage, the volt meter was just above the third notch at about 61% charge. Hooking up the battery chargers, the batteries were at 12.3 volts.

Front Royal Visitors Center*4.5
Odometer readings for a round-trip to the Front Royal Visitors Center
  • * Estimated distance based to destination on following trip, along with an estimation of circling around the general area.
  • ** Odometer distance along the same route on a following trip
Total3.51 kWh35.6¢
Per Mile417 Wh4.2¢
Cost to recharge the CitiCar batteries


  • Max Speed: 32 mph
  • Fun: Lots

3 thoughts on “Maiden Voyage”

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