Hardware is Not Hard, and Software is not Soft.

And a $6,500 dollar $23,000 van is better than a $57,000 dollar $23,000 van. Duh.

Busy week. We moved 15 sets of Siemens motor/DMOC 645 controller from Saturday to Thursday.

Shot our video on Friday and I was infuriated to find that the Sound Juicer battery had failed halfway through our Friday session. Yes, of course a camera man would be in order. But we don’t use one.

SOOOOoooo. We had to come in Saturday and reshoot a good bit of it. Somewhat fortuitous since the carrier with the Azure Dynamics Ford eTransit Connect was in the parking lot.

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This has kind of been an unexpected gift. We bought this “incomplete” vehicle as listed on the auction catalog to get a look at the wiring and the Johnson Controls-Saft battery onboard. It occurred to me that we MIGHT be able to finish it off, but probably not as it is riddled with software and battery management systems and so forth. But hope springs eternal.

Instead, we get a fully functional vehicle, apparently the last they built and it is numbered 286 if that is any indication.

We also found it interesting that it already had a VIN, and indeed a window sticker. This vehicle was truly a conversion – complete with window sticker and a price of $23,750 originally. AZD was selling completed conversions for $57,750 and I’ve even seen them quoted at $65,000. Any way you cut it a dead stone bargain at 2.42x the price?

So it not only runs, but it will be trivial to license. Just like a new vehicle from the dealer.

Looks like an 80 mile range. With the one speed gear box, a touch golf cart-ish but very able acceleration – and we had it up to 85 mph locally. Not so golf cart-ish really.

It has “creep” coded in so if you put it in D it will “creep” forward if you let your foot off the brake. Similarly reverse.

Instrument cluster was a bit of a surprise. Using the tachomoter to show remaining range. Has a working gas gage as well and a little digital advisory panel in the middle. Everything is kind of low end plastic. It’s an inexpensive commercial vehicle. But cool.

They are currently made in Romania and arrive in New York with windows and a rear seat. They take those out and replace the windows with steel panels and return the windows and seats to Romania. This is to avoid a 25% tarriff on light commercial trucks. If you have windows and seats in the back it is a passenger vehicle you see.

Engine compartment is much more professional than I had expected and less crowded. You could actually pretty much get to everything.

I haven’t looked at the battery as yet. Johnson Controls-Saft supplied it to Azure Dynamics – a 28 kWh pack overengineered to extremis at a cost of $14,000. That is $500 per kWh and I think representative of what’s going on in OEMville frankly.

One of the AZD employees on the left coast has set himself up to provide support to fleet owners etc that have these vehicles. Apparently there are about 1000 of the larger hybrid vehicles on the road, and he thinks he can do okay for a few years servicing them. He dropped a couple of little bombs on me I found interesting.

First, most of those larger hybrid vehicles are going to be converted BACK to ICE vehicles over the next five years as they break down etc. That means a slow but steady trickle over 5 years of DMOC 645 inverters coming available via eBay during that time period. So DMOC has life quite beyond the 56 we picked up. And a salvage three phase inverter could be a great boon to DIY builders.

The second thing he mentioned is that they already have quite a bit of a problem with the Johnson Controls – Saft battery pack. JCI is very protective of these, and so at the moment they have to go back as a unit to JCI for repair.

I had to smile when he told me the cells hold up great – never a failure. But the BMS goes whacky, shutting down and disabling the vehicle.
Where have you heard THIS???

They cool the cells. They heat the cells. They measure every cell’s current and voltage. They run the charger. They talk to the Vehicle control unit. They are on the CANbus. And of course all that is what fails. The cells don’t fail. Never HAD a cell failure.

This was not one of the design engineers. This is a customer service guy who kept fleets happy for Azure Dynamics. In the field. Fixing them. Hands on maintenance.

Who was it said that electric vehicles were maintenance free? It wasn’t me.

The maintenance is somewhat easier if you built the vehicle yourself because you know how it works. But there IS maintenance. In the end, an electric car is just a car. Just less oily and dirty.

Actually, we’ve heard from a number of Azure Dynamics employees that are very enthusiastic about our acquisition and very willing to help. I did attract one opportunist who offered some very able help, and then could not help revealing no small measure of greed along the way. The concept of an open architecture and open software is just hard for these guys who live in a proprietary world to get their head around.

Now why would I do an open source open box VCU myself? Couldn’t I sell them and make a fortune. I happen to know something about open source that most people do not. The fact that it IS open source and you won’t be orphaned, that the source code is available, that others can improve it, etc. makes the box MORE valuable. And 99% of the users just want to order the box ANYWAY. They don’t want to solder anything or compile anything. But its a great feature that they COULD or they could get somebody else to, if after the sale they decide I’m evil and fat.

And it does cut out the fat. If I charge too much for the box, someone else will jump in with a less expensive version. As I have no interest in assembling boxes myself, this is all pretty ok. But the poor guy, so anxious to get a knee in under the table of plenty, gets fired the first week and never gets any of that.

I call this digging for quarters in the grass. The reason most people wind up working for other people is they spend too much of their time bent over trying to find quarters in the lawn. The hundred dollar bills floating around about head height in the air are just not on their radar screen because they don’t see them – too bent over peering into the grass looking for quarters. In truth, there aren’t that many quarters lost in the grass to start with. But hope springs eternal.

I’m just not running a charity school for the differently abled. If you’re really too damned dumb to be a playuh, get a job. Somebody will certainly be willing to take advantage take care of you.

Actually, while I dont’ know precisely where all this AZD stuff will take us, as usual there will be tons of opportunities along the way.
I myself am actually in a kind of an awkward position. I showed up at the EV party a bit too early. And so the players are all very small and just learning how to run a business. So I wind up in components sales, and now with my nightmare of nightmares, warehousing stock – HEAVY stock now, paying people to move it around, sales, etc. I’m in competition with my own should be customers. ANd now I’m in software development.

I’m actually a pretty talented software geek. BUT THAT”S NOT WHAT I’M HERE FOR. I set my sails on publishing a long time ago and that is what I’m REALLY good at. And what I want to do. I don’t want to make things. I don’t want to sell things. I don’t want to ship things. I want to tell YOU ALL about it. ANd YOU make things, sell things, ship things, store things, invent things, manufacture things, optimize things.

This way I get NEW news every week. And next week I’m on to the NEXT shiny bauble. ANd I learn all about that, and we talk about all that, and the next week the NEXT shiny bauble. And you NEVER get bogged down on the same project for a year, or if succesful for eight years.

If you have an IQ of 160, but the attention span of a FOUR YEAR-OLD, that’s what you like to do. Open boxes full of presents, hold the shiny baubles up to the light for all to see, and move on to the next exquisitely wrapped gift box. It’s a good life.

To do it well you have to live it. You can’t just interview people and talk. Total niche dominance trade publishing requires you to become absolutely knowledgeable about the problems both the users and the manufacturers face. So to talk about electric cars, you have to walk the walk, live the life, and BUILD electric cars. That has somehow gotten me off into the concept of being a car manufacturer, or a product developer, or a software developer. THAT’S NOT THE GIG. I’m a publisher. I show up early, learn every facet of it, build a loyal following, and then when it does inevitably become a fad and EVERYONE wants to do that, I sell out and move on to the next frontier. Whiskey. Fibromyalgia. Cellular Breast Implants. Social Networking for Alzheimer’s Victims (you get to meet a lot of new people – every day). Something.

But we may have showed up a little early on this one. Which is ironic in that most of our viewers and some of the developers think we’re too late and the automakers are going to take it all away.

Kind of a big NOT there. But it’s only now becoming obvious. The “OEM” play has not worked out real well. Not for the OEM’s. And not for those who supply them. Johnson Controls and Siemens wound up stuck with a LOT of product designed rather specifically for Azure Dynamics. And it’s stuff that would be very difficult to repurpose for other customers.

Unless…. well unless those other customers were willing to adapt their design to the available product, rather than designing the component to the hoped for car. Hmmmm. Where could we find such?

So a few more miles before I sleep…

The good news is there is a WORLD of opportunity out there. A $57,000 dollar $23,000 dollar van isn’t precisely a solution guys. I’m sorry. And similarly, the heroics my viewers have to go through to MAKE a car electric is a need, an opportunity, looking for an inventive person. When instead of having to wire up and fabricate almost everything to do a conversion, you can bolt on plug and play components after the fashion of custom car modifications – hot rods have been for years, this segment will take off like a rocket and wind up with a multi-billion dollar industry and tens of thousands of builds going on all at the same time. And several HUNDRED such inventive people will be multimillionaires many times over, all ready, able and willing to bring Barack Obama’s dreams of socialism come true – no doubt fare thee well.

Opportunities always show up looking for all the world like problems. The world never did lust after a better mousetrap. They want to be rid of the mice. But even a partial solution has value.

Get over the awe and adoration of large corporations. Quit looking in the grass for lost crumbs. Take a piece of the problem and work it off. People will send you money in the mail.

Of course, it might help if you MENTIONED that you had a solution and somebody knew about it. ……might I suggest a short video commercial advertisement on…..EVtv?

Jack Rickard

63 thoughts on “Hardware is Not Hard, and Software is not Soft.”

  1. Since your show is mostly just you guys sat in the same place each week, why not hang a few microphones from the ceiling and out of shot. Then you would always have a backup.

    Just a thought. It may or may not be a good idea. 🙂


  2. Jack,
    You mentioned that the AC-50 Curtis controller does not provide a backup light signal when regeneration is active. Is this something that they are going to fix?


    1. Had a conversation with HPEVS just this morning. He said they could. They thought it was a negative to have the brake lights coming on every time you let your foot off the pedal.

      First, you dont’ HAVE to implement it just because its there. Second, the car DOES slow down when you let your foot off the pedal. What are brake lights supposed to warn you about?

      1. I do not know how state laws regulate such things, but my suggestion is if one takes their foot off the accelerator, the regen signal from the controller would instead power a amber flashing light instead of the brake light.

      1. No, you didn’t miss anything. I miss typed my question. It was supposed to be about brake lights. Jack gave me the answer I was looking for. Jack, will the addition of a regen brake light signal be a software upgrade for those of us that already have an AC-50?

  3. Jack,
    Thanks for the kind words.

    Regarding brake lights and regen, from what I understand the Model S uses an accelerometer to decide when to engage the brake lights. Always thought that was a pretty good solution that would work across a variety of platforms.

    Also, are you planning on converting that black Lamborghini Countach?

    1. That black Lamborghini is way down the list Domenick It’s a Fiero chassis with a kit on it I picked up on eBay. Make me an offer.

      But I’m driving the Escalade as my daily driver now.

      And we got our eTransit Connect Saturday. Drives like a champ. Nice little van. Kind of a $6,500/$23,750/$57,750 van. I like it at $6,500.

      Jack Rickard

      1. The smart car project is eagerly awaited! I know you where kind of hoping the A123 flat pack could find a home under that smart car but I think a nice AC30 kit and use the back cabin for the batterys. The smart car is a people mover, plain and simple. Don’t try and make it do things it can’t even do with a gas motor!

        All the best,
        Aaron Lephart

        1. Nothing is that simple any more Aaron. We’re talking to the same guy in Europe all this time. He kind of has the 451 worked out and I’m kind of pressing him to kit it up. They have their own motor, their own implementation of the Curtis, tie in to the instrumentation, and basically can replace the whole ass end assembly with an EV one.

          He’s worked out battery boxes. Yes, I had kind of had that A123 module, which was a pain, kind of worked tout as a 60 Ah 120v Smart for Two pack. But we’ll see.

          I LOVE the Smart. My daughter loves the smart as an ICE.
          I’d love to see an affordable kit where anyone could convert Smarts easily. They’re cheap on eBay.

          Jack Rickard

      2. Hi Jack,
        Glad to see that you are well again.
        I don’t know if you remember me dreaming about building a Sterling RX kit car ( the one with the tube frame ) and touring it around the Maritimes to promote EV’s on LinkedIn or not but that hasn’t happened and probably isn’t going to happen any time soon. It would be really cool to see somebody else plunk one of those Siemens motor/DMOC inverter/Borg Warner drive combos in a Sterling RX.
        For those who want an exotic performance car at a low price I think this would be a very cool project.
        I look forward to seeing what project wins out and ends up with those components in it.
        In any case, good luck with your inverter/VCU coding, stay well and keep up the fascinating work!

      3. To “mobilize the masses” the Smart is a good thing. Perhaps you could look into the registrations of the past 10 years to pick up a good candidate to make a economic conversion guide.
        Many sold units with a good galvanized body and perhaps a international bestseller like the VW Golf / Jetta / Rabbit / New Beetle.
        Not really spectacular but helpful for the masses.

        If it should be a head turner, I would like to see a BMW X6 or something similar. But even if it is a cool thing and I love to see your progress, no one could ever follow this example, like your Escalade project before 🙂

      1. Jack,
        How about a late model(1965-1969) Corvair convertible. The Siemens motor and the DMOC 645 should make it a beast. The edrive would replace the Corvair transmission differential.


        1. I second the Corvair! Now, where to find one that isn’t rusty or starts turning to iron oxide when it hits that Missouri humidity?

          Also like the Fiero / Lamborghini but only because of the Fiero part.

      2. Jack,
        I have thought about the various suggestions for an EV conversion, (the Fiero kit car, Corvair, and Citreon), using your combo of the Siemens motor and the gear reduced Borg-Warner differential.
        I would suggest as a great candidate for this conversion the VW Thing that you already have. The Thing has several advantages that the other candidates do not have.
        1. Easy egress in and out of vehicle.
        2. Holds more then two people, (Citreon excluded).
        3. Many areas in Thing to place batteries
        4. Aftermarket performance parts to handle handle increased torque of electric motor drive-train… http://www.chircoestore.com/catalog/index.php?cPath=201
        5. Large and easy modifiable area to place Seimens motor,drive, and Borg-Warner differential
        6. Finally, since you have all the items you can measure and see what it would take to make this conversion.
        Mark Yormark

  4. I have to admit, I have a harder time getting excited about an electric Fiero Countach than one from Lamborghini. And actually, I like vehicles like the Thing and the old Porsches at least as much as a more modern exotic.

    1. I talked to the Linde people. Very snobby.
      They don’t want to talk to us because of the small numbers. But can’t offer more than 6000 units a year. Ridiculous.
      I don’t think that forklift technology has anything to do with electric cars. Their max. volts is at 80.
      This is a better golf card technology.
      For the H1 you could be the first, using a WarP13 (or two..)

  5. Jack,

    I have been a lurker in the forum and watching your videos for a couple of years now. While I was working up toward building my own EV, a better opportunity came up for me. Last June I purchased the 2000 Ford Ranger EV that was once owned by Jungle Motors (http://electricnick.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/jungle-motors-ev-pickup.jpg). I got a great deal on it, far better than what it would have cost me to create my own EV.

    Just as you are being impressed by your Transit Connect EV, I am very impressed with the quality of the Ford engineering on my Ranger EV. Everything just works. What is truly amazing is the staying power of my 12 year old NiMh battery pack. If I drive at 60 mph, I have about 30 mile of range. If I drive at 40 mph, I have about 40 miles of range. That is enough for my daily commute, so I am happy.

    Here are some links to Ford Ranger EV manuals that might be of help to you in learning more about your components: http://www.fordrangerev.com/REVolt/Shop_Manuals.html

    On my Ranger EV there is port that I hook a NGS tester to look at a number of DTC variables. Your Transit Connect probably has a similar port. Hopefully, there is a card available for the tester that will allow you to look at those same type of variables on your Transit Connect.

    If you have a chance, it would be interesting to see the results of range testing on your Transit Connect. My DTE (distance to empty) guage on my Ranger EV reads 60 miles after a full charge. As I said, I don’t get that. What I find is that the DTE guage moves very slowly at first. When I have gone half my range, it still shows about 40-50 miles DTE. Then when it says 10 miles DTE, I better be less than 2 miles from home, or I might not make it. Since my Ranger EV components are very similar to your Transit Connect components, it would be interesting to see how the DTE guage performs for you.

    I am hoping that it will still be a couple of years until I need to upgrade my battery pack or other components. By then, I am hoping that you and the other users will have worked out all the bugs in the upgrades I may need to make.

    With my EV Grin,

    Ed Brown

    PS. How’s this for an interesting coincidence? My initials are EVB, and my username if it is available is EVBrown. I guess I was destined to be an EV’er!

    While we have never met, I was an occasional reader of your Boardwatch magazine. In the late 1980’s I started and maintained the Holistic Health Bulletin Board. This later transitioned into the Holistic Health Forum on Compuserve, which I was the Wizop of until CIS shut down.

    1. Fascinating Ed. Yes, we have finally awakened to the fact that the vast majoriity of our viewers are really net heads – not car guys historically. As you can see, same old me. Older and grayer. But still more or less the Editor Rotundus in full rage and angst. New mission. This time we are going to save the world Pinkie with electric cars instead of a global Internet. And EVtv is Boardwatch Magazine all over circa 2012
      One of the unfortunate facts of EV life is that their resale is notably poor. The guy that built it knows how to work on it. And anyone else is scared of it. So many of our viewers have started by buying a run out lead sled, upgrading to LiFePo4 and maybe a new controller, and charging off down the road.

      You can often pick up such on ebay for $6000 with $9,000 of components in it. Add $10k in cells and charger and you’re smackin. There’s a Mercedes SL, really quite a collectible, in full lead going begging on eBay at the moment. The guy wants $35,000 for this lead sled and has been on for months. If he really wants to sell it, $15k.

      Many of our viewers have a factory electric car, Tesla, Leaf, Volt, etc. But they still usually have a build going in the garage.

      Good to hear from you.

      Jack Rickard

      1. Jack,
        I am very excited about the open source inverter control development project. I have been working on a similar project on and off for some time trying to repurpose Prius inverters and motors from salvaged vehicles with my own controller. I have made some progress and perhaps with my limited experience so far I will be able to contribute.

        I would like to see you put one of your new AC motors and gear boxes into your Thing project. Perhaps by the time you mount it and fabricate the axles there will be some control solutions. We have already seen bolting motors to the VW transaxles.

        I was thinking that if you don’t have the convention again next year I won’t have a deadline to get my conversion operational so it may take me a lot longer than it already has.

          1. Yeah, we’re going to do it again. I haven’t announced it but we have dates. It will start on Tuessday instead of Wednesday and Friday will be all day at the airport – no sesssions Friday.


  6. Yes to the power of ideas and open sourcing. How about making a hemp plastic Speedster so?


    The Kestrel EV – That Canadian Car Made of Hemp – Is Rolled Out

    “On the environmental side, using composite material (hemp) versus metal has many benefits including a lighter weight, increased impact absorption and rust resistance. “While a steel stamped vehicle will absorb impact by crumpling under pressure, a composite vehicle will absorb the energy then return to its original shape,” comments Armstrong.”


    1. Lighter weight and rust resistance is nice, but increased energy absorption isn’t really. “While a steel stamped vehicle will absorb impact by crumpling under pressure, a composite vehicle will absorb the energy then return to its original shape,” comments Armstrong.”

      Steel crumpling (plastic deformation) absorbs a bucket full of energy compared with the thimble full absorbed by the elastic deformation of composites. I’d vote against any kind of composite monocoque if your daughter is going to drive it

      1. I’m not sure exactly what are your specific concerns, but on any account your hypothesis seems material dependent in the sense the hemp plastic would need to convert less of the kinetic energy to heat than the metal(?). I haven’t the foggiest if that is the case. Or are you saying an impact in a plastic car would dangerously increase g forces on passengers compared to metal? In either case, I suspect you do not have enough information on bioplastic properties to make such a sweeping pronouncement. If I am way wrong, please disabuse me of my wrong headedness, though. Was the Ford hemp bioplastic sledgehammer impact test faked? Take a look at d3o http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KDaq61dx1D4

        1. Perin – a full discussion would get way off-topic and be rather dull for everyone else. I worked in accident research for a couple of years and I wouldn’t look at a composite monocoque for road use unless someone shows me good results in a side impact with a telegraph pole

  7. The EVTV forums seem to be forming into a formidable knowledge base of information. An area for showing off EVTV-inspired builds would be very nice, but I can see the moderation issues. I’ve ran a BBS or two.

    Special thanks to Rich for the best laughs in a while!

    ps. I’ve been a SysAdmin for about 16 years now. Not too long ago I told my S.O. “well, at least I don’t work on cars all day”. And then…

  8. Jack:
    How about a ’71-’79 Datsun 240/260/280Z//Seamans?:
    Light weight chassis; plenty of room for a battery pack in the back/front.
    Lots of inexpensive examples on eBAY.
    Complete adjustable coil over after market suspension available to adjust for weight, etc
    No AC or PS to deal with.
    Simple wiring and no engine ck lights/ no CAN programming required.
    Lots of after market upgrades, spoilers, carbon fiber hoods, bumpers, etc.
    I think the Borg Warner gear drive unit can be fabricated to fit as a rear drive car.
    This could be a “run what you brung” track car. .

  9. Regarding the brake lights, backup lights, and regenerative braking upon lifting the foot on the accelerator. In several areas where I have lived the municipal buses had extra lights usually yellow which would light whenever the driver lifted the accelerator and before the driver started applying the air brakes to warn following drivers of the bus slowing down. There is often a sign saying “SLOW” under the two yellow lights Amber lenses usually used on front of similar vehicles for turn signals. They are said to reduce the number of collisions by tailgaters who are not expecting the bus to stop at a bus stop when there is no reason visible due to traffic (Perhaps someone wants off?) If we use a extra light for slowing without actually using the brake, the light should be Yellow ! I see the yellow lights on city buses and most School Buses so lets accept the established standard. (Alternatively, I would move the turn signal function to the back-up lights and use the separate lights in the rear lamp assembly –some times red and sometimes amber– for “Slowing with re-gen” and the brake lights for the “Service” brakes giving two levels of brake — lighting. Of course this assumes the tail-light assembly has separate lamps for stop and turn.) Another alternative might be to use the “Third” brake light in the center and usually above the trunk lid for the “Slowing Down” light but the back-up lights will confuse too many other drivers for safety. (In my Humble Opinion!)

    1. I´m converting a SMART , we have a Curtis 1238-75 (96V – 550A) and a 15 kW motor from EVE , and it´s to much power !! , 🙂 lots of fun also at 550A, for most pratical use we have the controller limited to 350A
      We asked Curtis to make a custom OS for the controller to enable us to use the gears and to map an input of the controller so it knows in what gear it is, and this also lets us do diferent power maps for each gear.
      The easy way out is the eGearDrive, the gearbox of the SMART as the same weight as the eGearDrive 🙂 and it makes the conversion even more simple.
      I need time to make a video !! 🙁 so I can share with you all

      1. I think the kit Christian is putting together is a Curtis 1238-7501 and an EVE 30kw. If a 15kw is too much power, I’m going to have a handful. I wonder what level of effort the change to eGearDrive?

        That 451 transmission is a mess.

        Jack Rickard

        1. We have fully use of the gearbox that is why the 15kW motor is ok .
          Yes I agree the transmission is a mess.
          I think it would be easy just to put the eGrearDrive in the SMART.
          Most of the work in the SMART was to get the transmission to work ok , but our SMART is a 450 , the 451 is more complicated

          1. My 451 only uses 2nd gear, the selector motors are un plugged and it works really well. Gear lever now only has Neutral and forward and reverse, also works fine, but back to front compared to a conventional Auto.

  10. Hi Jack,
    I have two Electric Smart 451s, one has just been totalled by another driver. That one has no BMS and worked a treat, the other had less mileage , a BMS and badly unballanced cells. The Curtis was set up to give an output to the brakelights and works fine. These use the original gearbox held in 2nd gear, and work up to a bout 65mph. They have 24 cells and a AC35 motor and are under powered. WIth one now being dead and the other with its pack out for balancing, I will probably add an additional 4 cells. AT the moment all the 160AH thunderskys are laid on their sides. 4 Behind the rear bumper and 20 under the floor in a separate steel battery box. The integration into the Smart is comparativel simple. They make a great vehicle but struggle to do much more than 40 miles per charge. The BMS may not be a great idea at balancing out the cells, but it is connected to the Zivan controller (A simple mod) to control its voltage as well as turn it off when cells start going high voltage, this results in the low cells getting lower amount of stored energy and if left uncontrolled the High ones will go over 4v. So at least the BMS stops the high cells from getting damaged. All are now out being bled down for a full bottom balance.
    Regards Grumpy-b

  11. Great show Jack, bought back memories of England seeing the Transit Connect – we had one at Xennia Technology for collecting parts/running errands. Also was interesting to see the Borg Warner transaxle – we used them at Coda on the Sedan mated to a UQM motor.

  12. There aren’t too many cool FF transverse layout cars that I am aware of (at least from an European perspective). Newer Volvos (c, s, v models) are maybe not spectacular, but pretty decent cars. A classic Saab 93 from the 50s would be nice. There is also the tipo quattro platform from the 80s (Saab 9000, Lanica Thema, Alfa 164). The sub 1000kg aluminium body Audi A2 might be a very good donor vehicle. And of course the holy grail of transverse (mid) engine cars and one of the most beautiful vehicles ever built: the Miura

    I also like the Citroen XM and the Alfa 166. Here they have such a bad reputation, you can get them for free.

  13. I have an 06 Escape Hybrid that I’m wondering if it would be too problematic to convert to full electric. It’s been a great vehicle for all kinds of purposes and I believe already has electric power steering. Wonder if the Seimens setup might work. When I let off the throtle on my electric motorcycle, I have the controler set to just let me coast. I’d rather see regen start by pressing the brake. Love your class each week Jack.

    1. # Mathieu
      The grid in China is definitely not stabel and sometimes your are missing a fase or just a lack of volt. I know this from our factory which is located in (Wuqing, Tianjin, Beijing) where I have the repairs on hobbing  machines 
      When you go further in to the country it become much more problematic.

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