December 9, 2002

Installing the seats

Installing the seats involves deciding some basic issues.

Vertically, our goals are as follows:

We would like to seat the driver as low as possible to keep the center of gravity as low as possible. We would like the driver to be able to see the road.
fitting the seats
We find that with the seat directly on the floor, the driver does not see the road. We raise the driver by 3 inches and the driver can see fine. This means we can put a single row of batteries beneath the driver. We tilt the seat back a little and find the approximate point where the driver is as low as he can be and not compromise his vision.  

Next Side to side: We would like the driver as close to the center line as possible for best vision and protection. We do not want the driver bumping the motor. We slide the seat towards the middle until the motor stops it. It is clear from this positioning that we will need to weld in an extra bar beneath the seat for the inner bracket of the driver seat to rest on.

extra bar welded in
Next Fore and aft: We do not think we will have too much trouble achieving a 50/50 weight balance front to rear by moving batteries. So we are less concerned about where we put the driver. We decide how we will mount the brake pedals and where they will go and move the seat forward until the driver can reach the pedals comfortably. We check that the steering wheel can be set comfortable to this spot. It can.
We also check moving the seat backwards and forwards to accommodate other drivers. We put the seat back as far as we can and test the fit with the tallest driver we can find. We mark the fore and aft range. The seat brackets have an 'L' shape to them. The standard way to fit them is with the 'L' pointing away from the seat. By mixing left and right from two seats, we can get the brackets to fit with the 'L' going under the seat or sticking out. This gives us some flexibility in getting the horizontal face of the 'L' firmly emplaced on the solid structure that makes up the battery boxes. 'L' bracket out on the outside and 'L' under in the middle. Spacers between the side of the seat and the bracket allow us greater flexibility.
seat bracket with 'L' in
We are also putting in a passenger seat. The Electric Imp has a dual mission of racing and demonstrating the power of EV's. Racing requires one seat, but there is no better way to let people see what EV's can do then give them a ride. To keep them as safe as possible, we will give them a full racing seat and belts. Since the seat will be removed for races, we can double stack batteries under it. This raises it an extra 2 inches giving maximum visibility. It also does not need to be adjustable. The seat goes as far back as it will fit for maximum leg room.

We decide to firmly anchor all the seat brackets in the frame of the car. We set up a small production line to create threaded spools. Cut crome-moly tubing to 3 inches. Drill one end out to accept the tap. Drill the top ¼ inch even larger. This way if there is any distortion from welding the piece in, we can drill the hole out without damaging the thread. Use the tap to cut threads.

using the tap to cut threads
The new spool goes through all the way through the car frame. threaded spool beside frame
And is welded both top and bottom. spool in place
The seats will bolt right in place.  

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