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A specialist restorer sorted out the final body blending, as the vehicle had all the rusty panel sections replaced. Priming in epoxy, then painting in 2-pack white. Most people restoring a V-dub, go for soft two-tone colours. We needed to keep the scheme plain, to allow for sign writing, or wrapping.




The Foundation has the use of a BMW i3, subjected to recall in 2022, with the consumer electronics (apparently) sent back to Germany, while the replacement software, etc., was discharging the car while it was standing still.


You can imagine our thoughts at that time, where the vehicle is being promoted as economical to operate - a potential candidate for the JVH2, in the vehicle category. Service costs for EVs are not cheap. You could argue why then choose a BMW i3? It was simply because it was the only make offering a range extender, where the battery is owned by the purchaser, while other brands lease their batteries. But with the battery completely discharged as a result of an electronics glitch, it is sure to have suffered.


The car blew up a charger that had been used trouble free for years.


BMW has now ceased production of these vehicles, at a time where motorists are literally fighting for charging at supermarkets and other locations. You may agree, that without the infrastructure to support the mass exodus to EVs, that we are in for a lot of trouble. And, we'd agree. The Government has done very little to ensure a smooth transition. They've introduce E10 fuel to disable many petrol cars, a crafty move if ever there was one. But not made provision in policies or with binding statute, so that energy companies are required to step up to the lectern. And that includes oil/petrol companies like ExxonMobil, Shell and BP. Show us the forecourts with multiple charging points?




Green methanol hydrogen electric BMW i3



This electric buggy could be converted to run on green hydrogen, via a fuel cell. It's a mystery why BMW did not include a solar panel roof, and a fuel cell option. Perhaps with a methanol reformer, for flexible use of the fuel cell. The fact is, that once again, there is an almost total lack of infrastructure. Green or Blue Methanol could use the present fossil fuel pumps, it is claimed.





This vehicle is now over seven years old, meaning that the battery pack is out of guarantee. The apparent range reduced the moment we got the car back from BMW. It is unclear if there has been any re-calibration to cause the fully charge range to display as 72 miles, when previously, it would show as 78 - 82 miles. Depending on the heater use and outside temperature - which of course affects range. This range does not include the onboard generator, with a twin cylinder 600cc water cooled motorbike engine, that is powerful enough to propel the vehicle on its own. Hence, it is possible to operate the car on petrol. We stress here that the bike engine is not connected to the wheels, hence it is a hybrid that qualifies to drive in zero emission areas, like the City of London.








WATER TEST TANK - Shown here in November 2022, Now separated by an additional moisture proof partition. This is the water basin that is used to trial scale model, for sea-keeping and hull drag. Featuring wind making fans that are useful to test roll stability when large solar arrays are deployed. 


THE ROBOT LAB: The robotics laboratory roofed and dry with power and lighting to enable further development of scale models used for testing, without taking workshop space that is used for constructing full size components.




Other than servicing costs, the car is a dream to operate. It is quick off the mark, and nimble on roundabouts. There are a few niggles. Such as serious buffeting with the windows open, and a blind spot. The windscreen mists up just with passengers breathing normally, meaning you have to run the fan, all of which reduces range.





A homemade hydrogen sports car. A gull wing design exercise to teach students welding and other practical skills, going back to the days when cars were hand built custom specials. Before dear old Henry Ford invented the production line.




The car can be skittishly unstable on motorways at higher speeds (90ish). But, thankfully, it is not a fast car. The rear wheel drive can cause skidding in icy conditions, as the regenerative braking dials in to catch you out. We understand these parameters may be altered.






BREAD & BUTTER - Welding equipment has been at the heart of our prototyping. These machines have seen some serious action in our workshops over the years. Investment repaid several times over, and the results we are very happy with.





Purchase of the i3 served a dual purpose. Firstly, the technology roughly equates to that on the SeaVax (drivetrain). Secondly, we gained experience of operating an EV, logging use, and comparing to ICE. Hoping all the while the powers that be might get ahead of the curve.






OLDER GERMAN TECHNOLOGY - This air cooled 4 cylinder, boxer engine, was designed by Professor Ferdinand Porsche, for Adolf Hitler's Peoples Car: Volkswagen. Porsche was into electric cars with Lohner wheel motors, and battery exchange in the early years of motoring, but was soon swept along by the Infernal Combustion Engine. He did manage to build a hybrid with onboard petrol engine, driving a generator. Then quit on EVs.


Apart from the high cost of purchase, and equally high service costs, it may still be that an i3 can hold a candle to other EVs, as we creep past the 10 years of ownership marker. We anticipate that a lot will depend on the cost of a replacement battery.


Fingers crossed though, for an i4, hydrogen energy cartridge, conversion. Dream on.










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