We’ve put a hold on installing insulation because we’re concerned about how complex it’s going to be to run wires for the electrical systems. So we’re trying to get some of that in place so we know where we stand.
First step, installing the battery. It needs to be somewhere safe, accessible, but not ‘everyday-accessible’, and secure when in transit, or if, in the event of accident, the van was to roll over.
We’re using the base of the dual passenger seat. Ideally it would go in the middle base, but there is an access panel there to some other wiring, so we’re putting it in the outer base (left hand side on our UK van). I thought this would be a simple job, but it ended up taking the best part of a weekend.
I made a plywood floor, set on battens that even up the slope of the seat base. The floor has a set of battens into which the battery sits – these stop it sliding around. It’s also tied don to the floor with webbing strips, and the floor is then bolted to the front and back of the seat base so that the whole assembly should remain in place should the van roll over.
As with any job that involves fabricating a piece to fit into a pre-existing, irregular hole, what could be a simple task soon becomes endlessly frustrating. And of course it’s not made any easier by the 30kg weight of the battery, which is a tricky son-of-a-bitch to ease into place.
We had originally specced these batteries with the intention that we could fit two into a seat base if want to expand our capacity later, but that’s not going to happen now – we’d need much more room to manoeuvre. So we’ll have to figure that one out as and when…