In between servicing the battery pack every 3 months driving the van is very enjoyable.
The main problem is time. I use the van every week day for commuting to work so the servicing has to be completed in a weekend. This is not easy because you normally find problems when the battery pack is removed. Whatever I discover I have to deal with in a few hours. This is much harder in winter because of the dark short days cold and rain.
Getting the whole battery pack out has only been possible since summer 2007 because I was designing a rail system to carry the 1000kg of battery. What I came up with I am quite pleased with because it allows easy re alignment with the three mountings. And was cheap to make.
This is the usual procedure.
0)Remove the rear wheel
1)Disconnect the battery wires and vent pipes
2)Position the U rails 1m apart parallel under the battery.
3)Using 4 trolley jacks raise the battery
4)Remove the holding pins
5)Lower the battery onto the rails
6)Slowly pull the battery out with a pulley and rope
7)Connect the vacuum pump to one vent hose
8)Put the other vent hose in demin water barrel
9)Allow 18 batteries (1/2 pack) to fill until water flows into the glass jar.
10)Fill the other 18 batteries in the same way.
11)Clean the battery tops of dirt oil mud and acid
12)Fix any problems found
13)Push the battery back under the van using your foot
14)Using the jacks raise the battery
15)Refit the locating pins
16)Remove the jacks and rail system
17)Reconnect the battery cables and hoses
18)Do a test run round the block