Merry Christmas

Well, we’ve been struggling a bit with the holiday season and some family illness that has kind of beat us up for time. But Brain and I did manage to get out a bit of a video this week to share, along with the help of some of our viewers.

Brain reminded me that it was Christmas Day of 2008 when we did the first roll of the original Speedster. We had started that first conversion in September of 2008 and we were rolling by Christmas. lots of little fixes between then and May when we did our first video.

Much has transpired in the three years intervening. In November of that year, again Brain kind of pressed for a weekly video. We of course assumed we could easily sell advertising on the show, Brian’s always been pretty good at closing such as sale, and by assembling the interested parties in such a show, it looked pretty formulaic.

The industry itself turned out to be a little pre-emergent I’m afraid. We’ve kind of had a lockup between hopelessly small entrepreneurs selling nearly DOZENS of their product and equally naive larger funded companies who are just as naively insisting on selling only to a half dozen immense Original Equipment Manufacturers.

All of this will shake out of course and some more realistic approaches will remerge. We may have been a little early to the party. So the future of EVTV is kind of a race to see if my attention span wanders before it becomes profitable.

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In the early days of Boardwatch I wrote everything and participated a bit in the industry to establish credibility. I actually wrote the only known version of UUCP in assembly language (because I could of course). We worked with modem vendors on features and command sets and pretty much invented the “sysop discount” which was universally adopted by modem manufacturers to offer a 50% discount to BBS operators under the theory that this would advance sales of modems to the callers to those bulletin boards in a world where the modems were not really standardized in those days at the higher speeds.

The EV industry is kind of locked down with all vendors awaiting a call from the OEM that will fill their dreams, meanwhile not selling ANYTHING as their cash dwindles toward zero. It’s incredible. These auto guys have to be the dumbest beasts on the planet. SELL SOMETHING to SOMEONE SOMEWHERE. That’s kind of the key to business survival.

Having a plan is good. But sitting there watching yourself become irrelevant because it didn’t turn out the way you want is not it. If they would sell to who wants to buy, instead of only to their ideal customer, there is no telling where all that might lead.

We hope not to do the same thing. In any event, long term we do NOT intend to do all of it ourselves. EVTV will morph into a “magazine” of various views from various participants. In this issue we feature another installment of John Hale’s Toyota upgrade and a fascinating bit from John Hardy of the UK who has devised a cunning thermal watchdog for your battery pack.

And that is rather the point. You don’t have to swallow the whole hog to participate in the barbecue. Let’s say you have FAILED to introduce the next automobile that changes the world and become GM overnight. You might have worked out the instrumentation to tell how many amp hours you’ve used. I find the latter more interesting than the former.

New insulating materials, new corrosion preventives, the NordLock washer is the greatest discovery so far at EVTV. And for most of our viewers one little tip like that can make watching worthwhile.

The heart of the question is how do you have and participate in an industry where all solutions are proprietary trade secrets you are trying to patent and make money from? If I see far it IS because I stand on the shoulders of giants. But if all giants keep what they know secret, and don’t allow anyone on their shoulders, nobody sees very far at all now dow they?

Our economy has entered a very mean spirited “small” phase where our LARGEST corporations will bring in hundreds of Indian temp workers,layoff hundreds of veteran American workers, and do it all to make next months or next quarters numbers with no thought beyond that. It is ok to steal from each other. And any advantage should be guarded and kept secret. It is very much like the famine period setting of STONE SOUP which I shared with you earlier.

As we used to say in Boardwatch, the Internet DEMANDS a certain generosity of spirit from those who seek to profit from it, and it will punish those without it soundly. Recent goliaths such as Google and Facebook and recent developments on the Internet would tend to make this or even deny it. I don’t think so.

And on a wider front I think it holds true as well. Those who carefully guard the little they have will lose even that. Those that start giving it away will be unable to give it away fast enough to keep it from piling up on them.

In this Christmas season, nothing has really changed. The original message holds true. It is better to give than to receive. And more profitable to share than to hide away and hoard. It seems with each generation we have to learn all this over again.

Merry Christmas.

Jack Rickard

44 thoughts on “Merry Christmas”

  1. And a Happy New Year to you Jack and Brian. I look forward to the new year and look forward to the new and wonderful things that await. I do hope that those that have been holding out decide to sell to anyone before they have nothing.

    Well said Jack.

    Pete 🙂

  2. Great show again as always. Some of the most enjoyable segments for me are the ones that show visual details of your work. Those where you point out where you have put all of your components, how you have wired them up, and even the whiteboard segments.

    On the Swallow, I note that you have two side by side battery boxes, with some batteries in between that appear to be resting on the hump of the former driveshaft tunnel. Is this the case and if so do you foresee any issues with those batteries only being supported by part of the curved tunnel?

    Charlie B.

  3. “the Internet DEMANDS a certain generosity of spirit from those who seek to profit from it, and it will punish those without it soundly.”

    Just ask GoDaddy. They just took a serious pounding.

    I so miss that word… SysOp.

    – Doc

  4. Merry Christmas Jack! Thank you for including the Linear Heat Detector Cable (LHDC) video from John Hardy. I didn’t even know they existed. Was actually thinking of wiring a bunch of NTC thermistors around my planned battery pack. Now I know what the cleaner option is.

    Unfortunately, the Patol website looks like it came from the late ’90s. Even their analog LHDC datasheet is 8 years old, and worse, not really helpful. Was looking for a definitive temperature-resistance graph but it’s not there. Looks like they withhold some info to sell their modules.

    You could probably do a segment on the analog LHDCs so we could get some empirical data. I don’t really want to use the ‘digital’ LHDCs — 70C to break is too late for my piece of mind.

    And please, teach those Patol engineers some technical writing skills. Their datasheets are just awful.

    Viewer from the Philippines

  5. Jack – your last few paras are just brilliant; you also encapsulate much of the corruption of western science in a few pithy paragraphs.

    Did you know that “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants” is milled into the edge of some of our UK £2 coins? It is a quote from Sir Isaac Newton. Imagine how much poorer we would all have been if he had kept his secrets and attempted to sell them to the highest bidder?

    A final thought; I’m not a lawyer but I guess any idea aired on EVTV would make it difficult for others later on to screw to the floor with patents.

  6. Charlie:

    We did indeed mount a single row of cells down the hump between the two battery boxes. Each of the boxes has a flat panel “extension” forming sides for this center box and with angle iron and a polycarbonate top it has a bit of structure to it. But the tunnel does bear the weight of those cells and we think quite adequately.

    Each of those cells is about 7 pounds. Angle at each end secures the cells and they are of course strapped together as a unit.


  7. John:

    I suppose so. Hadn’t thought of it much and I don’t see much of what we do as being truly original or innovative, that wasn’t’ the point of my article. But yes, publication illustrates and puts a date on the concept of “prior art” and implies by our very use of it that it is commonly known.

    I did know the quote was from Sir Isaac Newton but did not know it was scribed on a coin.

    In the early days of the Internet a concept developed we called “shareware.” IT really wasn’t anything like the ransom ware of today’s Microsoft software world. Some guy would code something up that was cool and put it out in the community and ask for a $20 donation and simply because of the NUMBERS and generosity in those days a couple of hundred grand would roll in for companies like SEA (Arc) and PKZIP and ProComm and so forth.

    They were good times. Less bitter and edgy and corporate cultures were in some cases things to be admired (Cisco Systems etc.).

    In any event, the current state of corporate America and the business culture we face at the moment will not prosper and we will not leave these shores of misery economically until some leaders emerge to establish a new and more generous spirit. I’m hopeful the fear and greed of the current climate caused by such famine will give way and the future will hold brighter days.

    Jack Rickard

  8. happy holidays to Jack, Brian and all the viewers of EVTV.

    Great video of the LHDC thanks John Hardy, a good thing to include in a battery pack, I´m going to try to find something similar here in Portugal.

    best regards

  9. Jack,

    Thanks for another interesting and informative show. I usually watch at my computer, but I linked Youtube to my TV and it dawned on me I could sit on the couch and enjoy the show and a drink in total comfort. And I have to say, it looked great in HD on the tv, so thanks again for going through all the extra disk space and processing time such an undertaking requires.

    Meanwhile, I will join in the chorus bemoaning the current state of affairs in the marketplace these days. It seems that we have a crop of managers who call themselves businessmen. They are much more adept at the art of raising startup funds, building pretty websites and looking no farther than the next quarter in setting their goals. And, of course, mistaking the exception for the rule, everybody wants to be a Facebook.

    I’m sure everybody has the same powerpoint:

    -Sell to OEM

    Of course, it’s the details between the bullet points that tend to get lost–that and the average customer and employee.

    Thanks again.


  10. Hello all and Merry Christmas. I have been watching and reading here for a while and thought I would acknowledge and thank everyone that helps put this show on for the rest of us. I have always been interested in EVs but never in the position to do anything about it. Hopefully in the near future I can get into such a position and join the ranks of the “EV Grin”. Maybe start out small like a woods bike similar to the Zero or Brammo. I have seen a few on the EV forums and a couple are pretty well done. Anyway, I wanted the thank you all for all the hard work you have put forth to create and maintain this site and show and just let you know how much we appreciate it. Maybe I can make it to EVCCON one day.


  11. Jack:
    Back in the early 90s I worked on an Object Oriented CASE tool based on the Booch methodology. The owner of the company wanted to copy protect the software from day one and charge a hefty price for the very first release. I fought with him on this issue arguing that not copy protecting would allow the product to spread in popularity and build a user base for future releases. I lost and as a result we only sold a few hundred copies despite very positive feedback. He then sold the company and barely made his investment back. I often wonder what would have happened had we reasonably priced the product and not copy protected it.

  12. Jack,

    Sounds like you are about to endorse open-source development, which is a little at odds with your A123 battery module design “contest”. If I publish my module design details, will smeone use it to my disadvantage? I think if this took an open-source direction, everyone would benefit faster than they would with a contest. There’d be many “small” winners. I accept that your other goal is to have someone develop themself into a viable source for battery modules, but what if the best design comes from someone who doesn’t care to supply them on a continuing basis? Witness the London cab conversion. What ever happened? My other example is the open source battery charger project. The two main developers of that design don’t provide a kit, but a third party does.

    Would you consider dropping the contest aspect to promote the freer flow of ideas?

    Mike Kaindl

  13. Dear Jack and Co.,
    Happy holiday Season from Sweden, let there be more wisdom from you guys regarding this topic that has been best kept secret for such a long time. As I use to say: ”Forces that controls Oil are so powerful, we cannot imagine…”.
    Anyway, SINOPOLY is what I would like to point out. We had purchased cells this summer from Germany. The price was OK, like 1USD/Ah and regarding performance I can ask a fellow colleagues if you wish, or you can do that yourself:
    ”keep up the good work”, and keep the EV wisdom coming !!!
    Happy New Year
    Friendly regards,
    Admir from Sweden

  14. I love your commentary, Jack! I wholeheartedly agree with the concept of sharing information and have low regard for most patents even though my name is on a few authored by others. Free and open flow of information is usually good for all. So far as I’ve been able to determine, there is no limit on good ideas and one good idea can usually be made better. There are a couple on my blog that folks might find interesting. Or not.

    Happy New Year to all!

  15. ”Forces that controls Oil are so powerful, we cannot imagine…”.
    Never a truer word, Admir. I’m fuming here.

    Just watched BBC’s “Top Gear” program where they road tested the Peugeot Ion and the Nissan Leaf.
    Once again, a setup against ev’s. They made it half way to Lincoln on the way to the coast. (Carefully picked as an “island” of no charging points). 40 miles (60Km) with another 40 to go. At the end they gave lots of fear mongering about battery life and its £7k cost. No mention where costs are saved in ownership.

    Top gear obtains sponsorship:

    Unknown to them, the car was fitted with a data tracker. They drove the car for 40 miles the day before and 10 miles around Lincoln. They did not charge it that night before either. I heard Nissan considered suing and they should.

    Sponsorship should be a two-way market. If Top Gear elected to damage other companies then by rights, have willingly chosen to pay for their loss of profits.

    The video should be or will be available here:

    Have a happy new year for Jack, his team and all you contributors and readers. And thank you for all the useful data which has put me right in so many aspects. A great site, not full of devils disciples.

  16. Mike,

    I’m not sure the battery contest is still on the go. It sounded to me like Jack had a fairly solid idea of how to go about it. I maybe wrong though. I suppose the dream would be if someone could manufacture a whole bunch of bits to make the whole thing easier.

    I just found this video. It’s about that Croatian guy Rimac. It’s not a new video. He is using A123 cells in his BMW and that new car I’m sure you have all seen. In the video there are some quite long shots of his A123 battery pack being assembled. It’s the prototype version for the BMW I guess, but who knows since I don’t speak Croatian. There is no great revelation of how to go about making the battery since the idea is along the same lines as all the others, but for people that have been thinking about this problem they may find it interesting.

    Here’s the vid:

    Points in the video where the battery appears and they take it apart and put it back together are here:

    5:04 to 8:15
    11:09 to 12:48

    Happy New Year.

    -Nick 🙂

  17. Happy New Year Jack and EVTV.

    I’m hoping it’s only a cold or the flu afflicting your family.
    You’ve got a delightful family there Jack, they were grand to visit with at EVCCON.

    I am really enjoying the correspondent videos.
    Kudos to all and a special thanks to Chris and Per for the Nordlock tour.
    That seemed to be shot with perhaps an iPhone and I was amazed by the video and audio quality on that segment.

    Thank You everyone!


  18. Hmm. Top Gear is entertainment. It’s fun. Period. People who take James H2O May serious are lost. James self is lost in the “hydrogen economy” fantasy.

    If Shell sponsors a show it doesn’t mean anything. Those connections are way too simple for me. It’s just another oil company. They have no reason to put money in making people believe they need oil. Our economy needs oil, and will need it long after all cars are electric. And the price will go up anyway. No, there’s really no need to push it.

    It’s just James. No conspiracy.

    People have range anxiety, and that’s hard to take away. The only way you can take that away is by making even better batteries.

    Anyway, a happy new year everybody.

  19. Jack:
    Happy New Year:
    My thanks for another great year of you and Brian sharing your experiences and knowledge with us. I learn something new with each episode.

    Open source:
    If I remember correctly, at one time the results of projects funded by the Government were considered in the Public Domain and therefore were open source. Anyway, I would like to draw attention to the work progressing on the Leaf Member’s Forum (, where all their hacks and mods are shared. There is a project for DIYer to build an EVSE L1 station that should work for any J1772 compliant car up to 70amps and a project to build a portable tow trailer and is hacked to allow charging while underway…a portable propane range extender if you will.

  20. Hi All 🙂

    I’m new on this page, have seen many videos with Brian and Jack.
    Lovely to see the show, that it can go wrong. i really hate the type of videos that are edited 117 times and you can clearly see what will happen.
    Thanks for all good videos, however, would like to hear about more about the battery charger and particularly around the transients.

    Example: 1 cell charged with a PWM charger to 3.65V the supply voltage for the charger is 60 volts. This means that the battery will be exposed to a voltage at the terminals at 60V, but as high needle pulses
    what is the maximum voltage boundary of the cell.

    I hope that I could make myself understood 🙂

    Best Regards Allan

  21. Hi Jack and Brian, we hope you had a Merry Christmas and, my guess is you have a very wonderful New Years. I am sure it is a challenge putting up a show each week and I really commend you guys on all you have achieved.

    I have been wrestling with how one could make money in this business and it seems to me to be a challenge at best. With the Leaf ,grabbing the economy side and the base Tesla Model S hitting the midrange there is not much room left except for some cool sports cars which is where you have settled.

  22. Hello all:)

    Happy New Year to All…

    I’m new on this page, have seen many videos with Brian and Jack.
    Lovely to see the show that it can go wrong, I really hate the type of videos that are edited 117 times and you can clearly see what will happen.
    Thanks for all good videos, however, would like to hear about the battery charger and particularly around the transients.

    Example: 1 cell charged with a PWM charger to 3.65V the supply voltage for the charger is 60 volts. This means that the battery will be exposed to a voltage at the terminals at 60V, but as high needle pulses
    what is the maximum voltage boundary of the cell.

    I hope that I could make myself understood

    Bedst Regards Allan

  23. As for Top Gear, and all other commercial media, –access to the viewers brain(and even subconscious)– is the product, you have to remember that the product being sold is:

    “Access to the viewers BRAIN!”

    This “product” is sold to the highest bidders who are the advertisers and sponsors.

    Evidently Nissan did not have the highest bid!

    Top Gear is a gasoline promoter so put this on Top Gear:

    Sorry to have to say this.

    I greatly appreciate your show and the sharing of what you can and have shared. Thanks again and happy new year to everyone.

  24. Jan,

    “People have range anxiety, and that’s hard to take away. The only way you can take that away is by making even better batteries. “

    This is only partially true. As Jack once said on his show, “the only people with range anxiety are the people who do not have an EV.” Once you start driving one on a daily basis, you no longer have it. Essentially owning an EV is the cure. At the same time, I agree that 150-200 miles is the sweet spot for a pack. Both my EV’s have 85-100 mile range depending on how I drive them, and there are times I wish that I had a bit more when taking trips to some of the larger cities around here. The three tier system that Tesla is offering is probably going to become standard as the batteries get smaller. Right now its hard to fit a pack the size of the Tesla into anything. Just look at the pack in the back of the Escalade. Its smaller (capacity) than the one in the Model S. As the physical size comes down, I don’t think you’ll see automakers putting in more capacity, just having more room in the car.

    It is a wonderful time to be watching an industry in its development.

  25. Hoej, typically an inductor and capacitor filters such pulses and creates a much smoother supply to the batteries. such a filter is called an LC filter in electronics. you can add 2 filters in series and get below 1mV ripple on the voltage so it looks like steady DC.
    it’s possible because current has a kind of momentum quite analogous to mass inertia. once in motion it prefers to keep going and an inductor maximizes this quality so it tries to keep the current steady despite the pulses.

    you can think of it like pulses on a flywheel. the speed is nearly constant despite pulse influence because of the mass inertia.

  26. Happy New Year to All! Thanks for all the exemplary work, Jack and Brian. I hope you can keep giving [the world] EVTV. Don’t overlook the importance and appeal of your unique thinking and personality, and the whiteboards. Maybe you could go to pay viewing and/or conversion shop/inventors’den to help defray costs? Maybe you guys need to take a sabbatical or take the EVTV cars on a US tour after completing the Elescalde and then go to a bi-weekly show? I am very happy to hear you are going to do an electric bicycle. Please, please, at a minimum, chose a frame architecture which allows for upright riding, like the evJuicer 48 I believe Brian alluded to in the penultimate show, or develop your own recumbent/Akira ride for ultimate cruising comfort:
    The electric bicycle can save an individual in the U.S. $$$/year. Outdoor activities, I’ve learned, may appeal only to a fractional subset of the population, so I could be projecting. On the Tesla Model S[uimoken ; ], I can imagine a larger number of the 160 mile models being sold if the longer range models are indistinguishable. For all practicable purposes, will a slightly faster 0-60 time trump the additional thousands of dollars during this near depression? I enjoyed the Allen and Hardy correspondent videos, and I hope you experiment with the LHDC. If a LiFePo reaches a danger point, can the toothpaste be put back in the tube to avoid a fire? If not, would it be better if the ‘lamp’ were replaced with an alarm? Admir Ribic’s video link showed a pretty pack with some interesting fittings. Were those store bought or homemade? To end my rambling post, an FYI for your boat project, Jack:

  27. Allan,

    A PWM charger should not expose the battery to a high voltage. The 60V from your example shows up as a chopped voltage feeding an inductor (coil or choke). The characteristic of an inductor is that it resists a change in current flow. The output of the inductor is fed to a filter capacitor. The characteristic of a capacitor is to resist a change in voltage. The two of these together (along with a diode) form a buck converter which steps the voltage down. The PWM “on time” percentage would be selected by the control electronics to first limit the voltage that would appear on the output of the charger and secondly limit the current either so that the output current doesn’t exceed some predetermined value or so that the input current doesn’t exceed what the mains can provide and pop a fuse or circuit breaker. The only way the battery could see the full input voltage would be if the switching frequency was chosen to be too low for the inductance of the coil. In any event they don’t work by just turning on and off and feeding full voltage to the cells so for a tiny bit of time. If they did you would see extreme current at the battery during that on time. In your example if we assume the resistance of the cell to be 3 milliohms (0.003 ohms) and you apply 60 volts to a 3.0V cell you would expect 19000 amps to flow into the battery ((60-3)/0.003). Obviously this isn’t going to happen for a number of reasons but the primary one is that everything will burn up. If you want to know more you can look up Buck converter on Wikipedia.

    Happy New Year Jack, Brian and all the invisible people behind the scenes! Thanks for another great year of EVTV and the EVCCon event!

    Best wishes everyone!


  28. I found it interesting that the battery pack for the Cadillac has exactly 10x the kWh capacity as the pack in my Buggy. I installed 38, 60 amp hour cells, previously the pack was 32 cells. I am really enjoying the work on the Swallow. I’m pretty sure your controller cooling arrangement will be fine. I ran with an old Curtis 1221B controller mounted to a flat piece of aluminum above the transaxle for years without any over heating issues. With the Zilla Z1k I had to add a minimal thermo-syphon water cooling system but these controllers aren’t designed for air cooling.

    I have been wondering about the choice of NordLock washers. Is vibration or thermal cycling the primary cause of battery terminal fasteners loosening? If it is vibration then I supposed NordLock is the best choice, but if it is thermal cycling perhaps a Belleville washer would be a better choice. I’m still just using the Zinc plated split lock washers Thunder Sky shipped and haven’t had a problem. Of course, just working so far doesn’t mean “best.”

  29. Jack,

    OMG the pouch cell pack is almost exactly as I had described! Except you used angle iron instead of the T shaped tapped terminal, and nutserts instead of nuts.

    I still suggest the T terminal if the battery is to be set in epoxy/resin because you’ll want it embedded in the mold and thus left out of the epoxy/resin. The tabs and spacers would be encased.

    But that was an amazing proof of concept. Kudos Jack! Woo hoo!

    – Doc

  30. Palmer,

    I personally experience that statement as a tautology. Of course people who do not have a problem with the range of an EV are more likely to own one, and people who own one, are more likely to be comfortable with its range. Evolution would have killed the ones who did not.

    Most people who own a car, have to drive ones or twice a month over the available range. The Leaf e.g. with its 200km range is just too limited. And a few times a year that’s for the fast majority a real show stopper.

    In my opinion the only serious commercial use of an EV is ‘The second shopping car’. For local driving, for bringing the kids to school, shopping, and nearby work. With ‘a real car’ as primary car in case range is needed. And only for those who have a private parking place at home. Which makes it a lot less in dense populated places.

    The next problem is, that in that particular market segment an EV is beaten by its price. Even if you take today’s interest rates, you’ll never earn back that extra investment. Besides the risk that the promised life expectancy isn’t met.

    The price of batteries has to come down significantly for that particular segment or get much, much better for more market share.

  31. Andy:

    Yes, unfortunately lost on most of our viewers. But as you may or may not know, I was actually a magazine editor, not a video producer. And the Blog is getting about 5600 views per week it appears. I still think of myself as a writer – and the clumsy screen personality illustrates perhaps why.

    But a magazine circa 2009 looked to me like video. I was really thinking the 20-35 crowd who don’t’ read. Didn’t actually matter as our viewers are overwhelmingly 35-65 and male (except Dan of course).

    In any event we made the decision to do at length HD from the first show. That we were leading the game a bit in terms of PC’s that could play it, bandwidth that could download it, etc. was a given. But I knew where it was going.

    This Christmas I bought my daughter a TV that has wireless Internet built INTO the TV. It gets on YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, etc directly. I think it even does Skype so you can talk to people on your TV.

    This will continue. And 1280×720 is about the minimum resolution for HD. So that’s what we upload. It is actually shot and edited in 1920×1080 and I keep copies of most shows at the higher resolution in case I need them.

    In truth, from feedback I’ve received, ti doesn’t’ matter much. A LOT of our viewers are listeners not viewers. They start it in the background and listen to it while they work on something – often their EV.

    This week Ij’ve been playing with a new camera, the Canon EOS7D DSLR. This will do movies up to 4GB and lets me use Canon EF lenses and control the shutter speed, ISO, and aperture. The cinema guys are going nuts for DSLR video because they think it lets them be more “artistic”. I’m thinking better wide angle closeups of parts…. Not so artsy, but still interesting to me.

    Thanks for watching….

    Jack Rickard

  32. Mike Kaindl”

    I really don’t’ follow your reasoning here.

    First, by the London Taxi, I assume you are talking about Brandon Hollinger and last year’s contest. It’s still very much in play. Instant gratification is really not very good in this milieu. The typical car conversion takes 3 months and many spend a year on it. We are hopeful for a video update on this project in January sometime.

    If by Open Source you are referring to the pseudo religious Linux version of this, I can’t quite go there. Conceptually great, this quickly devolves to kids with computers and half done software projects with permanent bugs. I ran Ubuntu for three years and finally just gave up as the FOURTH update in a row AGAIN broke my very common Logitech keyboard and I had to cast about on the net for the magic hack workaround.

    Obviously we have no secret sauce here at EVTV. IF we figure something out, it usually goes on camera that week. You get it Sunday night.

    I guess I think there are limited opportunities for a patent on an A123 module. I would note that Tesla actually patented a very unusual connector shape for their battery module and used it in their batteries SOLELY to make it impossible for you to offer a third party battery for their car without violating the patent.

    But I don’t see how even that strategy would work here.

    In any event, this all goes to a public confusion that ideas have value. Largely they do not. Execution has value. Ideas are 10 cents a freight car load. They are typically heavily modified through a number of prototypes and getting from an idea to a product is a long and laborious task.

    The rest goes to proper pricing. Priced correctly, if you are faced with the buy or build decision, at about 80% of the market will buy. The guy building can usually get the parts in quantity at such a discount that he can offer the finished assembly for less than you can buy the parts for – some assembly required.

    That’s a true value add and difficult to assail.

    In a competitive environment, the patents are for other executors willing to cut your price, and often this can continue until no one makes any money.

    I would picture one of our viewers simply being better at designing a module than I am. And why wouldn’t I want to buy their module instead of my clumsy one – as long as the price is reasonable.

    And if they can make a better mousetrap at a reasonable price, if you wanted to use A123 cells why wouldn’t you buy from them as well. And so the designer gets kind of an instant market, with instant advertising by EVTV to launch.

    I just finished testing these cells to 475 amps from a 3S1P string of 3 cells in series. They put out a LOT of power. If they continue to be available, and thrice continues to fall, these could become a very nice addition to the cells currently available from China.

    But they need hardware or some sort of module strategy. Someone might as well step in.

    Jack Rickard

  33. DGS:

    We learned early on that selling network connectivity was a very interesting proposition.

    1. The more of it you SOLD the more of it you had in inventory.

    2. Despite having more OF it, it then became also more valuable.

    3. The more valuable it became, the cheaper it could be delivered.

    Basically, nobody wants or needs to join a network with nobody on it. But if you had a network with EVERYONE on it, it was infinitely more valuable and EVERYONE wants to connect to it. This then IS the Internet you are on.

    But it applies to other things as well. Computer Languages very much so . A language is simply a syntax to represent machine language code modules and a compiler to assemble the higher level of abstraction into a series of those modules. Anyone can write one up.

    The VALUE isn’t really IN the syntax. The C language itself has no real value. It had some attractive characteristics of simplisticity and elegance, but no real value.

    But it was above all else, free. And so widely adopted. And so a lot of things were written in it, including UNIX and a series of UNIX tools that comprised most of the routine things you would do with an operating system circa 1975.

    As the NUMBER of PEOPLE who used C grew, obviously the number of code snippets and examples of code ALSO grew. And in truth, most programmers do little original programming, borrowing a piece here to do this and a piece there to do that. As the library or cookbook grew, so did the value of the language.

    And so coding a new language with GREAT features doesn’t do much without the crowd of users and lore that grow up around it. For this reason, most languages are free, though some of the compilers and libraries may not be.

    How does this apply to EVs. AC Propulsion. A guy in Kansas City bought one of these drive trains from AC Propulsion. Things for whatever reason didn’t work out. He’s put it on eBay. But he didn’t really know how to price it so he posted a question referring to it on LinkedIn pretending to be a potential buyer and asking people what it was worth.

    The problem is, it isn’t worth anything. ANd this is ironic because it is probably the most capable motor and controller available. But because AC propulsion has spent a decade offering it to OEMs only and declaring it a secret, nobody knows how to use it. At $25K nobody wants it. AC Propulsion doesn’t want to sell it to them. And after a decade they have NO OEM’s using it. I assume at some point there will be a bunch of used ones coming out of BMW’s Mini Cooper program. Who knows how to use them? Nobody.

    Surely they are worth something. But without documentation and a body of enthusiasts who use them, not very much really.

    UQM, AC Propulsion and many others NEED apostles out there running their stuff on actual cars. BUt they don’t realize this. And so they are most likely going to die.

    Sorry about that… It is what it is…

    Jack Rickjard

  34. Dr. Righteous:

    Yes, it is more like what you described than anything else. Actually it is kind of like what is inside the prismatics.

    That lets us use the cells as we do now. But I still like the concept of the over engineered stack taking up minimal space.

    Jack Rickard

  35. I’d love to read all the comments because there are a high percentage of good ones. I don’t have the time.

    That being said, someone may have already pointed out that with copyright and patent, which are nothing more than a gov’t granted monopoly, the situation we have now is the only natural outcome.

    The only way to change it is to get rid of copyright and patent. Relax, it will be a good thing.

  36. If I can offer one more comment on the topic of copyright/patent. Jack R said, “If by Open Source you are referring to the pseudo religious Linux version of this, I can’t quite go there. Conceptually great, this quickly devolves to kids with computers and half done software projects with permanent bugs.” and he is quite right. The reason this was largely true is because you cannot have a world where part of it is open and part of it is closed. I tried to work on a number of bugs in GPL software, only to find the secrets/copyrights/patents made it impossible to work efficiently. Again, there can be very little good “open” work done in a world where copyrights/patents exist. And please don’t trip over this analogy, but: It’s a little like trying to work without a lawyer in a lawyer-driven judicial system like the US has.

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