What's in a bespoke EV instruction manual?


Well before finishing ZEV240 I had been planning to build a set of instructions to help me in managing this particular EV.

I realised the original manuals were going to be largely irrelevant, esp. the motor bits, but even items like the driving advice, heating and a/cond interactions and so on would be different. A new approach was needed.

The topics would be based around the sorts of things I had identified as critical for its management, including caring for an electric motor (not much to do…), looking after (and replacing) individual batteries that were playing up (or rather 'down'…) as well as continuing the maintenance of the unchanged parts of the vehicle like gearbox, diff etc. And imagining life for an EV owner who knew what was involved on driving an 'average' MR2, meant adding 'What's changed?' and related topics. 

It helped that I had full service manuals for the Engine and the Body. The first on was offered on GumTree and the second has proved useful in managing the bespoke adaptations one makes to an already seriously different machine.

So the initial list looked like this (here is a screen shot of the folders to hold pdfs and files):

IMG 0005

This was done without reference to the original handbook/manual. Is it enough? Let's hope so.

Then I thought to look at the manual for an 'average' car in case there was something to learn…

AND suddenly I needed something, anything, as I was selling the car... I found that there were two critical parts - the Quick Start - now a one pager on how to drive the EV if you are a shipping company employee sending it across the country… :-) - and the Appendices (which include all the handbooks/guides/instructions for the electric etc additions to the car).

So here is what the Quick Start looks like:

ZEV240 EV Quick Instructions

But is there more? Well, the Appendices are complete (I've packaged them up as a zip file of around a dozen PDFs), but anything else requires a bit of time to sit and write it.  If its any use, here are the entries needed for the Appendices, again as a list of folders for manufacturer’s PDFs...


Now, I'm not a technical reference writer, so this manual-writing is not in my  skill-set unfortunately. But the topics in my list above may be all relevant, I reckon. Perhaps I should look at a commercial EV's manual, and see what they have right. Anyone able to provide some hints?

© bdc 2014