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TdS Report #55: Accident and Recovery

Mark and Seth Murray, the father and son team of "DC Cruiser", number 6, had a
fairly serious accident while driving the "range laps" near Chesapeake City
Maryland. These laps are intended to determine the maximum mileage on the
battery-electric vehicles. I caught up with them on the morning after the
Autocross.

Son Seth was driving at the time. "We got in from Sandy Point in good time and
were very happy. We were going out to do some short laps and hoping to break
80 miles range. Half way through on our first lap around we're on a nice
straight stretch of road, just under the speed limit, about 30 MPH. I glanced
up to the rearview mirror and saw this big red Chevy pickup as it plowed right
into our rear. He had to be going at least 60. He claims he was looking at
his cell phone, dialing."

"The bumper got pushed up into the bottom of the truck bed and into our rear-
most battery box. All the batteries in the truck are in boxes underneath the
bed. The one behind the rear axle holds 8 blocks, about 500 pounds. That got
pushed forward about a foot and hit the differential. A number of blocks got
deformed a little bit, some with cracks in the cases in the joint at the top.
One fuse blew. I think the battery boxed absorbed a lot of the shock of the
impact. I think without it we would have been hurt a lot more."

Mark said, "As it was we were hit hard enough that our heads snapped back and
broke the rear window."

Seth continued, "We were able to drive back to the Tour site, breaking 80
miles. We then went to the hospital.

"When we get back from the hospital and there's a bunch of folks standing
around the truck. They've got the bed off, they got their welders out and
their cutters. The batteries are coming out of the truck. Just about everyone
on the Tour de Sol helped at some point. We had little teams: one working on
the batteries, one on the battery box, one on the steel in the truck. Big
halogen lights, welders, grinders all going. We were up until 1:30 or 2 in the
morning, totally re-did the back battery box and fixed up batteries. So we are
back on the road. We don't have a bumper and have some major dents but the
truck is running well. I had some fun yesterday in the Autocross even though I
couldn't complete a successful run. I was just a bit worn out."

Mark added, "I want to talk about how incredible the Tour spirit is. We got a
phone call, in the emergency room, asking for permission to start taking the
truck apart. `Yeah guys; go for it! This is great.' We were pretty loopy at
that point; tired and banged up. Tom from PET stayed up all night welding for
us. Team PET has turned into our guardian angles, along with TeamEV, North
Haven, UMaine, everybody. Good humor, a lot of support, a lot of fun. Once we
got over the initial disappointment of having all that work knocked down half-
a-dozen notches it was easily replaced by the pleasure of just being with great
folks. What a difference it makes. And we are the beneficiaries of that big
circle of people holding hands; we are in the middle. It is a remarkable
feeling."

Wrapping up, Seth concluded, "I'm really glad we came through it all OK. All
the extra work, time and money we spent to make this a safe vehicle paid off."
They acknowledged Bob Batson (Electric Vehicles of America's) help and guidance
in creating a safe vehicle.

- - - -
The complete set of Tour de Sol Reports for 2002 can be found at:
http://www.AutoAuditorium.com/TdS_Reports_2002
The complete set of past Tour de Sol Reports can be found at:
http://www.FovealSystems.com/Tour_de_Sol_Reports.html
- - - -
The above is Copyright 2002 by Michael H. Bianchi.
Permission to copy is granted provided the entire article is presented
without modification and this notice remains attached.
For other arrangements, contact me at +1-973-822-2024 .
- - - -
For more on the NESEA Tour de Sol, see the web page at
http://www.nesea.org
- - - -
Official NESEA Tour de Sol information is available from the sponsor,
the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA) at
413 774-6051 , and 50 Miles Street, Greenfield, MA 01301 , and
[email protected] . All media enquiries should be addressed to ...
Jack Groh
Groh Associates
[email protected] email
401 732-1551 telephone
401 732-0547 fax
401 952-0886 cell/pager
 
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