Friday after work, despite walking with a bit of a limp earlier in the day due to soreness, I drug myself over to the track to get a run in. As expected it was an unpleasant experience that was as much a mental test as a physical one. I once again endured the 13 laps at a snail-like 10 minute mile pace.
On Saturday after completing all of my chores in the morning Cindy suggested we take both scooters to Culvers for lunch. I have not had a chance to give the new Ultron Ultra a substantial road test since receiving it more than a week prior. The weather this weekend was drastically better than the prior with sun and temps around 80. Culvers is about 9 miles away.
So early on the ride was going fine albeit a few annoyances. The cruise control function on the Ultra does not seem to work. I have the feature enabled according to the directions I was given but the feature never engages, regardless of how long you hold the throttle at a steady speed. It isn’t a huge negative for me but it would make riding the scooter for Cindy a negative for any appreciable distance. The lack of a seat is a bit of a bummer too. Well it doesn’t lack a seat, it has one that I removed because with the design of the seat mount it almost cuts the foot plate area in half, which would make it very tough for me to still be able to stand on it with my big feet. So outside of those two things the ride was going well. The one thing I was scratching my head about, that even once we arrived at Culvers, the battery indicator on the Ultron was still showing full. Wow, it must get incredible range, I guess….
After enjoying our lunch we pushed back for home. Cindy told me to get in front so she could get some footage of me on her GoPro. I did as she said and took off. As I was cruising along maybe a minute later I saw a Mustang go by me. They beeped their horn a few times and the driver had his hand out the window. I wasn’t sure if he was waving to me or giving me the finger. Well when I turned around to see where Cindy was it made sense. He was pointing, telling me that Cindy was left behind.
When I turned she was nowhere in sight. At first I was worried that she wiped out somehow. I got on the sidewalk and hauled ass back her direction. As I got closer I saw the her and the Dualtron were on the sidewalk which was a relief. When I got to her she directed me to the rear tire of the Dualtron which had a long wood screw embedded into the sidewall of the tire. How it would have wound up there is strange act of physics but it obviously punctured the tube, disabling the scooter.
So I told Cindy she could take the Ultron back to the house and get the truck but she wanted me to go. She didn’t like the idea of no cruise control and no seat. So off I went at high speed. I did notice that the Ultron STILL showed full battery charge. At this point it seemed insane to show full charge and I started to question the accuracy of the display.
I did my best to haul ass, cruising at close to 30 mph for awhile. When I was about three miles from the house I was in dual motor mode for max speed. I felt a couple weird cuts in power so I slowed down a bit and switched to single motor mode which felt fine. However about a mile later that started feeling odd too as I was losing speed. About 3/4 mile from the house the scooter shut down completely. I was dumbfounded and angry. It was still showing full battery shortly before cutting out, WTF? Running out of power was frustrating enough but when coupled with knowing Cindy was waiting for me to pick her up made it even worse. I pushed the 80 pound scooter as fast as I could back to the house.
So when I finally got back to the house I jumped in the Tacoma to get Cindy. She said she was wondering what was taking so long. She couldn’t believe it when I told her the Ultron died and I had to push it. It was a day of bad luck, first a flat and then a power loss. I never have had to push a PEV that far since I got into the hobby.
Later that evening I dug around a bit in the configuration settings. I found one that indicated the normal battery voltage, the options are 36V, 48V or 60V. It was set to 36V. Well that explains why the meter showed full, the battery pack is 60V, which would never reach 36V even when discharged. When I set it correctly the battery meter finally updated. After leaving the scooter on the charger overnight it finally was showing a true full charge.
I also took apart the back wheel on the Dualtron. Luckily changing the tube on a scooter is a lot easier than on an EUC. I have a new tube arriving today.
Saturday night we watched “A Quiet Place”. It’s sort of like Bird Box but instead of not being able to look at anything you aren’t able to make any noise. The world has been taken over by horrific monsters that are blind but have acute hearing. If you make any sound they attack almost instantly. Cindy was scared shitless during a lot of it. It didn’t bother me as much. It was cool to see a scare genre film again. I’d give it a B rating.
Sunday after running some errands in the morning, I wanted to get back on the Ultron to do a proper long ride, now that I had a full charge. Cindy had some shopping to do so I pushed off solo to Ave Maria, a ride Cindy has done on the Dualtron easily. Since the Ultron has an even bigger battery I assumed it would be equally easy to cover the roughly 30 miles of road.
During the trip out I was carrying a lot of speed, rolling along at 30mph+ most of the time. I was not conservative in my speed at all as I figured I had plenty of battery life to spare. When I got to Ave Maria the battery indicator showed I had three bars out of five remaining. I figured I should still be fine but I made a conscious decision to go slower on the return trip, just to be safe.
Well as soon as I turned back onto Oil Well Road and immediately felt a strong headwind I knew I could be in trouble. I maintained around 20 mph until I stopped with about six miles to go to check my battery level. When I saw only one bar was left I was not happy. I immediately switched to ECO mode which uses less power and drops your top speed significantly, I could only go roughly 13MPH in this setting with the battery power I had left.
Well even in slow mode my speed kept decreasing. I finally got off and started pushing when I dropped to less than 10 mph. Unfortunately I still had three miles remaining. I let Cindy know, who was still shopping at the time, that I was not going to make it home. I started pushing it, with a couple very brief attempts to resume riding but the battery just had no power left.
As I walked along I analyzed why my range was so much less than I expected, despite the Ultron having a bigger battery than the Dualtron. I started running numbers and realized that this outcome should not have been quite as surprising. The motors on the Ultron are rated at twice the power of the Dualtron (1600W vs 800W) so logic would dictate that they consume power at a higher rate, especially when I was carrying such high speed during the first half of the ride. Even with that revelation, I still felt disappointed in the range result, a feeling that grew with each mile that I pushed the heavy scooter.
Cindy picked me up when I had about a mile to go. I was overheated and tired at that point so I was happy for the relief. If you watch the video you will get a pretty good sense of the ups and downs from the ride. For the money, I still think the Ultron is a decent value. I just need to be more speed sensitive if I intend to take it on longer rides in the future.
I had two big 3D printing projects going this weekend, a big cactus and a Hulk print that turned out really cool. I can’t wait to see how they look once Cindy is done painting them. She spent a lot of time on Sunday working on the lighthouse island print which is very detailed.
Of course we watched the Super Bowl last night. The outcome of the game was what I expected although I did not expect it to be the lowest scoring game in Super Bowl history. The Patriots defense played extremely well. I would not say the defensive struggle translated into a very exciting game to watch.
I thought the halftime show with Maroon 5 was very forgettable. Awkwardly jamming that rap guy that I never heard of and that I couldn’t understand into the performance just made it less enjoyable. I also didn’t see a ton of standout commercials. I think my favorite was the NFL commercial that had all of the old players reenacting their glory days as they destroyed a wedding reception. Despite my dislike of the Patriots I can’t help but respect what they have achieved. The level of success and longevity that Belichick and Brady has engineered is something that I am unlikely to see repeated in my lifetime.