It’s early Monday morning. I got the show up on time this weekend but it is a relatively short show of less than an hour and a half. I’ve already heard from several viewers that it is boring and they were disappointed. Curses and drats. So now I have to do a tour de force every week. Just a show about electric cars won’t scratch the itch? And my breakthrough in finally getting the DMOC645 to flash was apparently not sufficient “hands on” DIY stuff. Oh, Peter. Thou art a rock.
We talked quite a bit about Nissan. The list of bankruptcies continues to grow and this morning, Smith Electric Vehicle is in the news. They had predicted 620 vehicles this year. Revised that downwards to 380. By June, they had sold 79. They cancelled their September IPO. And now they are talking about bankruptcy proceedings.
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Meanwhile, Nissan’s Carlos Ghosn merrily chirps away about their new battery plant that went into operation this week in Smyrna Tennessee. This little marvel was part of $1.2 billion of our tax dollars at work, but still looks like a ballsey bet when building a massive plant facility to manufacture up to 200,000 battery packs per year. I would call, but I’m guessing they won’t want to sell me one. Together with their motor plant, their announcement of 15 new hybrid cars between now and 2017, and plans for an upscale Infinity LE, Nissan seems hell bent on filling a huge demand for electric vehicles, even if the demand isn’t there. I’ve never seen anything quite like it. Either this guy has cucamungas the size of Jupiter, an inside line on something nobody knows about the future, or he’s headed for one of the biggest corporate disasters of all time. Any of the three would cause me to admire his gonads. Snappy dresser too.
COULD Nissan pull it off? Actually they can’t. But it will be fun to watch anyway. The irony of course is that the vast majority of Leaf owners just love the cars. There are a handful of misfits who are actually suing Nissan, but their arguments indicate how really far we have to go in acculturation. The people I know with the cars, just marvel at them and insist they are far better than anything we can build at home.
Last night I wired up my gas pump at the garage with a new J1772 cord. I had been using this as a charger for several years, but it used a NEMA5-15 to deliver 240vac to my vehicles. The Escalade has a fill port on the left and the Ford Transit on the right. So I was reversed in the garage. I added a J1772 cord, not really J1772 circuitry. I switch it on with a toggle switch on the side of the pump. Perhaps I’ll actually upgrade it with one of Kerzel’s circuit boards later. And so last night I had two vehicles plugged in to the garage at home, charging merrily away.
After all this time, I still can’t get over it. The convenience of just charging at home in the garage and having it billed monthly by AmerenUE, as opposed to fighting my way through the gas stations, is just too stark a contrast. And so with an emerging fanfare heralding the end of the BEV bubble, I’ll be left still thinking if anyone knew about these cars, they’d want one.
That’s a huge disconnect. How can I be so enchanted with something the American public is rejecting. I built mine. They declined to buy theirs. The value proposition.
And perception. I was struck by the Motor assembly technician who noted how much more difficult it was to build an electric motor than an ICE motor. Then I watched with him while the robot did it. I was picturing him meticulously winding these motors by hand. Instead, a robot wound up a motor in seconds, and pressed the windings in place. He undoubtedly believed what he was saying, but then he couldn’t hear what he was saying. Hard day at the assembly line watching this robot.
But such vertical integration, coupled with large numbers, is how economies of scale are achieved, prices come down, and value is realized. The picture of Carlos in front of the total drive train on display away from a car was mesmerizing. I wanted one. It almost made me go out and by a Leaf. I could RE convert it to ICE, sell that, and use the brand new drive train???? How absurd.
Bottom line is I still don’t want a Leaf. But I would like one of their drivetrains. The motor, the inverter, the gearbox.
Soon I should be able to get one. Somebody somewhere has to wreck a Leaf. It’s the rule of the road. Two masses cannot occupy the same space at the same time and with enough daughters, two of them will eventually attempt it.
Peter McWade is put off that we aren’t installing junk Kostov’s in 1963 rustout Karman Ghias. He’s even offered to shoot some video to show us how its done.
I think we’ll be spending some time and effort getting a GEVCU done and I’m excited about it. I want a Leaf Drivetrain and a Prius Drivetrain and eventually a Tesla drivetrain. I saw a salvaged one for about $45k on eBay at one point. THere will be others. Steve Woodruff with AutoBeYours showed up at EVCCON this past year. I guess I don’t get the company name. But he scours the country for this junk from wrecked Priii and salvages it. If we could learn to use it, it represents a treasure trove of inexpensive OEM grade components that could be used to build your own conversions. What do we need to do that? A little vehicle control unit that talks CAN and a decode of the Priii CAN digest. Or the Leaf’s.
Steve also picked up some stuff from the AZD auction. I wonder if I’ll have to bid against him at the Smith Electric Vehicle and Coda auctions….
Peter, you sound like the BBS operators who were not interested in our information about the Internet. What has the Internet got to do with our BBS world? Everything. What has flashing the DMOC got to do with DIY electric cars? Everything.
What do the OEM’s have to do with us? Everything.
That’s what the tinkerers and innovators stage looks like Peter. Tinkering. And innovating. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Good Indians use ALL the parts of the Buffalo out here on the prairie. Not just the hides.