Welcome to The SWITCH Lab™
Congratulations on your decision to begin or enhance your alternative fuel vehicle program. The SWITCH Lab™ was designed as a portal to EV education. Over the years to program has grown in scope and sophistication. It is our hope that this trend continues and we encourage you to offer suggestions and share your insights through participation in the Curriculum Club or just through postings on our web site.
This manual was designed to step you through the process of building The SWITCH. The assembly procedure includes many steps grouped into sub-assemblies. Each sub-assembly will show pictures of parts used, a list of tools required and step-by-step instructions with pictures where helpful.
The Switch was designed, from inception, to be assembled by a team with little or no background in automotive mechanics or electric vehicles. Following the steps in the sequence provided should assure you of a correctly assembled functional vehicle.
Prior to assembly some decisions need to be made:
Will the instructor(s) attend a workshop?
Switch Vehicles holds 3 and 5 day workshops. The workshops are designed to get instructors familiar with EV components and building The Switch, and are therefore highly recommended.
Will the instructor use our provided curriculum, modify it or create their own?
Ample time should be allowed for review of the materials provided and modification as appropriate.
Where will The Switch be built?
A large secure room with adequate work benches, shelving, lighting and a 6’6” wide door are the requirements.
Will The Switch be painted or powder coated?
If so there is an appendix section that covers the necessary steps to prepare your vehicle. Either of these two processes take 3-6 weeks so planning is essential.
Starting with Chassis 38 we have started organizing the assemblies and sub-assemblies into specified plastic bags and specified boxes. We also edited names and documentation to maintain consistent names throughout the shipping documents, packing slips, bag labels and assembly instructions.
To maximize the benefits of this effort we advise you to save the baggies and the shipping boxes so that when you decide to disassemble the vehicle you can return the parts to the same packaging. This can become an important teaching point as it is sometimes more difficult to organize the taking apart and re-building than assembling it new.
You have decided to build a complicated project. It is critical that you consider the safety issues involved.
It is beyond the scope of this manual to cover all potential safety issues. Many of our instructors are experienced auto shop instructors and therefore are familiar with many of the common safety concerns regarding tools, jacks, eye and hand protection. If you are new to “shop” safety protocols, we highly recommend you research the subject and be sure to implement proper procedures.
Additionally your project involves electricity. The Switch operates at lethal levels of electric current. The Switch is charged at either 110 volts or 220 volts, both of which are potentially lethal. You must be aware and mindful when working on or with electricity. We cover some basic safety in our Instructor Workshop but we strongly advise you to research procedures and maintain guidelines for all students working with the electrical components.
Be careful, work slowly and methodically. Check everything twice.
This is the introduction. All steps are now in separate instruction documents for easy downloading and printing by step. We recommend you print the instructions for each step and give them to the team assigned the that particular step. You may also print all steps and create a master assembly manual.
Please contact Switch customer service with any questions or concerns.