Time for a winter update, now that Spring is officially here. I was quite surprised to see that for weeks, my battery pack had not lost any bars, strictly speaking. Of course, there are eleven bars on the Zero’s meter; it’s likely that the loss of charge simply wasn’t one bar’s worth. This, despite the fact that I don’t have a garage and simply left it in the yard, completely exposed to the cold. It’s also consistent with some other manufacturers’ EV experiences- lithium likes cold just fine.
I was pleasantly surprised that my town, at least, hasn’t gone nuts with the salt. Even though there were some snow and sleet moments, the ground was simply too warm to cause ice patches. My town didn’t salt up the place, just to be sure. Not sure if that’s sensible thinking, or just being cheapskates. So the limitation on riding is now whether I feel like frostnip or not. Haven’t bought or built handguards or a flyscreen.
There has been one issue, whether it’s exposure or salt or not… a few minor fasteners are rusty. My last motorcycle did this too, but… bad Zero, bad. How much more are heavy-plated fasteners? Two cents each? Three? Similarly, the steel or iron brake rotors had a tinge of orange, but that happens with every road vehicle. To avoid that, you’d have to get an exotic with carbon-composite or ceramic rotors.
I did top up the battery, as Zero recommends. The owners’ manual states that you should plug in once a week if not riding; I consider this vastly overkilled given the non-discharge seen. It’s possible that the top-up regimen is for the auxiliary battery; I believe (but haven’t seen) there’s a conventional lead-acid battery to handle the vehicle computers, dash, lights, etc. Lead-acid batteries are vulnerable to cold. If I really wanted to cross the T’s and dot the I’s, I would have pulled the PbA and kept it inside.
And then I rode it. Everything’s fine, ridewise. I rode it around neighborhood streets to be careful, testing the brakes and scrubbing the rust off the rotors. Once I was sure, I took it on fast roads- everything rode like a champ again. The range didn’t seem harmed, but then again it was a highly-unscientific gut check, and again the meter has only moderate resolution.
So, what was I doing all this time (besides going stir crazy)? I thought I was going to be riding the bicycles, and got the 10-speed rear going again on the road bike. But that didn’t really pan out. The chainline and chain angles on a 10-speed cassette are pretty extreme, and getting the shifter juuust right without rubbing or ghost shifting is a huge pain. Basically, I rode the bus to work, and sucked it up with a good coat and hat. I really should have done more bike trips, including one or two rides to work just to ensure I can do it.
I also took my share of trains, rented a car once or twice, walked, etc. The amount I’ve spent on bus fare would have paid for the equivalent in electricity at least three times over, and possibly eight times. Come on, April!