Registry of Custom Electric Vehicles – Wormhole and Stargate

From our first build of the burgundy 1957 Porsche Speedster, our mission has been to inspire others to build similar cars using these phenomenal new lithium battery cells.

In our view, the lithium ionic battery made electric cars viable for the first time in history, crossing some threshold of viability that we perceive with a range of about twice the daily drive of the average american driver and with weight and balance and acceleration and stopping power analogous to current vehicles on the road. We thought this was news. And we shared it.

Indeed, many have built such cars. How many? Kind of hard to say. Which is unfortunate. I was recently in a TeslaMotorsClub forum where they basically portrayed ICE conversion efforts as all about lead and junk. When I protested it wasn’t so, they then dismissed it as very small numbers – essentially me and a few friends.

The heart of this is a deep desire among Tesla Model S owners to perch at the top of the pecking order of envirocreds based on writing the hefty check they wrote. Your existence kinds of threatens that as they really don’t know much about their own cars, much less electric cars in general. So the attack was pretty vicious. I responded in kind of course.

But it brings up the issue of visibility.

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I get e-mail from people building custom electrics all over the world with many of these communicated to me via Google Translate. It’s a couple of hours each morning for several years just dealing with the e-mail from people doing these builds and I would guess the majority watch the show and build an entire car without ever contacting us at all. So I have a mental image of really kind of a vast number in absolute terms of people out there busily building gorgeous electric cars. In the universe of 7 billion humanoids, the number is actually so small it can’t be detected with test instruments. But in absolute terms I have to believe there are several thousand builds CURRENTLY IN WORK at any one time. That’s not the total number of builds out there. But the total number where they are still working on it.

Similarly, the the regular ICE automobile world, they sell 15 million cars per year here in the U.S.. The couple HUNDRED THOUSAND guys who like to do custom show cars and kit cars, and hot rods, and race cars is relatively a drop in the bucket. But going from a few thousand electric builders to a couple of hundred thousand in the future has me all breathy. You see the 100,000 man army really IS going to happen and about the time we reach that level, you will notice the acculturation to electric drive issue kind of gets solved as part of it.

But currently there is a visibility problem. Each and all of you are viewed by everyone as an outlier-an exception. The garage genius/whacko/crackpot of the local area. And while I see it quite differently, the act of putting ONE or TWO builds in each two-hour episode almost supports that view that there are just a few “exceptions” out there.

So we need to find a way to share what I see so anyone can see it.

This week many of you will have received the first edition of EVTVs Catalog of Custom Electric Vehicle Components. Sure to be a collectible. Collect em, trade em with yer friends. To ensure our ongoing viability into the future, and in a broad sense establish your ability to collectively act as a market for quality components, your group “buying power” if you will, please do order something from it.

But our plans reach a little beyond that. This week I have also added the Registry of Custom Electric Vehicles to our web site menu. This caught Chris Fisher a bit by surprise and he’s been scrambling to staunch the blood flow and arterial spurting as he didn’t quite have it finished yet. As he had targeted November 1 as the opening date and as it is January 14 of the following year I don’t feel to badly about him “scrambling” a bit after months of careful plodding. He’s actually done some phenomenal work and if your point of comparison is EVALBUM, I think you’ll find the results astonishing. I know I did.

The concept here is for individuals to “register” their builds on the web site with uploads of high resolution photographs and all the gory details of what they used in their build. Somewhat like an EVALBUM but without all the bicycles and lawn mowers, this will rather quickly allow anyone to get a view of what hardware is used with what hardware in what type of car and what the currently fashionable components are and how they go together. At some point, you can even then see the market share of one controller vs another, one motor vs another, and one battery manufacturer vs another.

But we have bigger plans yet. We are going to allow both builders and other visitors to VOTE on their three favorite builds. And we are going to use those votes to sort out this database of vehicles in order of ostensible popularity. I wouldn’t take this competition too seriously as it is kind of a dubious and arbitrary judgement based on what cars people like better than others. But it allows us to sort it out.

The world wide web is a phenomenon in many ways. But it’s also a bit like viewing the world through a keyhole. You see what’s on the screen. What’s off the current screen doesn’t exist. And the screen is pretty narrow. We’re going to then take the TOP 100 Custom Electric Vehicles and convert that data and those photographs to print. That will most likely result in a 200 page preface to the catalog with each vehicle getting a facing page 2 page spread with photos and detailed information on the vehicle.

It is of course my hope that the result is more than the sum of its parts. I think we wind up with a 300 page book that essentially puts a peek, a birds eye view of custom electric vehicles worldwide, in your hand. Something you can hold, flip through, show to your friends, and take to the gentlemen’s reading room with you for some high power water closet action. Nothing like a good cup of coffee and some inspired reading matter to really put a point on the morning throne session.

Will it work? Well who the hell knows? It either will or it won’t. Kind of depends on your propensity to support it through book purchases, and the purchase of components from the store. If it doesn’t make economic sense, it doesn’t. And if it does it does. I kind of think it will be pretty well received and in a strange sense kind of bind us all together.

One of the things I HOPE it does is allow me to put in the hand of someone like a Siemens or a UQM or an AC Propulsion or a Yasua to demonstrate that you ARE a market to be considered. That you do have BUYING POWER collectively as a group. IF they can SEE your cars in the hundreds, and if we can be empowered to purchase things in groups of 20 or 50 instead of groups of ONE, I think this will change what is available to YOU the builder and at what price.

It’s all kind of a bit of a plan. As some of you know, I get personally wounded and quite exasperated to hear of people buying components elsewhere because they got $2 off the battery cell. This obsessive Internet price comparison shopping, in my view, leads to a least common denominator vendor model where you pretty much guarantee that whoever you send your $18,000 to will pretty much HAVE to steal it from you to eat and that in both the short and long of it this is a very short view. It leads to weakness, and to just a mess. I rather tongue in cheek offer our “Internet Price Match Guarantee” where if you find a HIGHER price anywhere on the Internet, we’ll be happy to MATCH IT. Unfortunately, and discouragingly, there is a percentage of our viewership that just doesn’t quite get the joke.  They obsessively and compulsively focus on the image and glow of every ducat that passes their trembling hand.  I can’t help them.  But they know not what they do.

My vision is more of a kind of Jack’s version of the group buy, only its a permanent group, a permanent buy, and once established, leads to LOWER prices on REAL quality equipment for all of you permanently. Frankly, I don’t personally need your money. I was kind of well fixed on arrival to this group and an even deeper secret was I was living pretty well when I ARRIVED at the LAST rodeo, the development of the Internet, with Boardwatch Magazine. If anything, having recently hit a new all time high of 309 pounds, a little starving to death around here might not be a bad idea.

I’m a pragmatic. It is not altruism. I’m not a philanthropist. It IS all about me. But what I want is more and better builds worldwide. We need sufficient oxygen to be viable in operation. Beyond that it’s about enabling YOU.  We are bringing home the Siemens motor and DMOC controller with the GEVCU, after an annoying year of development.  And I have some new announcements I’m about to wet myself to make public in coming weeks.

Already we’ve kind of gotten to become the guys who can write the check on liquidations of Azure Dynamics, Better Place, Coda, etc. and I see this role expanding – to YOUR direct benefit. Every time we pick up a lot of components and demonstrate we can move em, the ability to acquire them at lower prices, and deliver them at lower prices, increases. So my mission is to aggregate and concentrate YOUR buying power to your benefit. And part of that is improving your visibility, which is what the book and the registry is about.

Here’s what I did NOT foresee. I invited a half dozen guys who were already in my mailbox over one thing or another to get on the registry and enter their data. They’ve been terrorizing Chris Fisher ever since and to good effect. One of the things I wanted to do was include live links to your blogs, Youtube channels, web sites, facebook pages, whatever. On MY first visit browsing these new builds, I’m looking at Tim Catellier’s blog and Royce Wood’s blog and Jeff Southern’s blog and it kind of hit me, mimicry being the highest form of praise. Many had their OWN videos. Their own web sites. They had not only built cars, but built everything else that EVTV is. Accounts of builds that ran several years, dozens of photographs, videos, etc. These are enormously detailed. And if you take the blogs and videos and photos of HUNDREDS of builders, it cumulatively represents a VAST body of hard won knowledge and information. You all have been ably documenting your individual builds, and taken together it is just ENORMOUS. But it’s spread around everywhere and nowhere.

If we are successful with the registry, we will in some ways become a portal, a kind of wormhole into an entire universe of information on custom electric vehicles no single person or entity could ever assemble. And in doing so, we’ll create a single point of presence linking ALL of that together. Talk about a head rush….

So this registry, or directory, should up your local blog/video traffic as well.  It’s great that anyone can be on the world wide web.  The problem of course is being found.  I think we can help people find you.  I hope you return the favor and link back to EVTV.

I’ve got to tell you I’m more than a little juiced by this. And a little daunted. You’ll learn more from each other than you ever can from EVTV.

Send me all praise and honors. Direct all bug reports, complaints, and suggestions for improvement to Christopher Fisher of course at chris@fisherdesign.se.  Direct any actual hate mail or comments about global warming to Brian@evtv.me.

Jack Rickard
rickard

112 thoughts on “Registry of Custom Electric Vehicles – Wormhole and Stargate”

    1. Great info on the Leaf batteries. When they’re engineered into Nissan’s belly pan, the modules are all tightly contained on their perimeters and yet the inner area is given breathing (?cooling) room. My understanding is that’s an important component to letting them gain max charge. On each of the four corners of each module, the bolt holes keep modules from expanding. There are steel straps (2) between each module and the end plates are very beefy, still allowing the middle of the module to breathe.

  1. Bravo Jack!
    This just keeps getting better..
    I swept out my garage two years ago after attending EVCCON 2012, and am nearly complete with my first conversion, which I’ll be proud to post. The second one is already started using your HPEV AC50 kit. Thanks for your leadership and the weekly nudges.
    Roger

  2. Best of luck with the new pub Jack. I’m sure it will become the bible of the EV conversion market.

    I just found a splendid intro and overview video on the history of EVs that will help newbies understand the wheres and whys of the business. It’s a professional production from Renault titled: “The Electric Revolution” http://youtu.be/44mFzZI1_r0 .

    BTW, like your sketch, looks like a young Tom Edison of Mayberry.

    1. Thanks for the link. I watched it this afternoon and was thoroughly entertained. Great history.

      The sketch was done by the Goddess of Graphics at Boardwatch Magazine in 1996 – Marla Asheim. We correspond to this day. I’ve always loved her for twenty years now I guess. One of the most talented graphic artists I’ve ever seen work.

      I was a lot younger and prettier then of course. Found it on an old hard drive this morning.

      Jack Rickard

  3. off topic. You might have seen this but I’ll post it anyway. new Gigavac contactor. rated 1000A.http:
    //chargedevs.com/newswire/gigavacs-new-sealed-high-power-contactor-is-rated-for-1000-amps-continuous-duty/

    1. Excellent info on the Gigavac contactors. For most builds though a GX14 or GX16 will be robust enough. Based on the current / time curves, the GX14 can do 1000A for 100 seconds and the GX16 1000A for 200 seconds. I think if your motor could do 1000A for 100 seconds, your car would be going mach 2 or greater at the end of 100 seconds So 100 seconds is way longer then you need. For those folks drag racing with a Shiva or dual Zilla controllers, the GX110 would be a good choice. Their run is real short but they would benefit from lower contact resistance and the ability to interrupt crazy high current at the end of the drag strip should a controller fail full on.

      1. Indeed. My 787 simulator has been in the flower bed for ten months now. If it hasn’t blown up by March I’ll tear down the pack and see whether the cells are scrap; and repeat the experiment with LiCo cells if I can find any

  4. Jack,

    Hum… where did I hear this before? Thank Jack, Blame Brian! Well thanks Jack for the great build data base; I blame Chris for making this happen and Brian for being such a good Co-Hostage on the weekly show. Actually, thanks to you and all of the folks at EVTV who have worked together over the years to make this all happen.

    Randy

    1. Actually it was more Brain’s idea, Jack made it happen, and Chris did the coding. But yeah, I understand the outside confusion over our little soap operas here. It’s quite high drama.

      Very pleased you like it Randy.

      Jack Rickard

  5. Even though I despise the chemistry, I have to say I like the form factor of those Nissan Leaf cells. They stack together like UGR tins and have a through-hole design that makes them easy to strap together/down. The price is very attractive too.

    Something else I’ve been wondering… Has anyone gone ahead and replaced their heater core directly with PTC heater elements? Seems to me this would be somewhat easier and more efficient than messing with water heaters and pumps.

    1. I’ve seen a number of installs where they mounted a PTC in an existing heater core. I always thought it looked kludgy and home made.

      The advantage of the liquid heating is the various valves and so forth routing heat in the modern heat exchangers that allow zone heat and mitigate humidity and so forth are all able to work “factory” as designed. The environmentals in the 2008 Cadillac can’t tell where the heated coolant comes from, it just needs to be heated and liquid.

      If I close off outside air, for example, it actually runs the AC while heating – to remove humidity. It all takes a bit of energy. But I like the factory environmental controls. Not because they are efficient. Because they are comfortable and are highly evolved.

      Jack Rickard

      1. Oh I fully understand why you chose water heaters in the Escalade. The environmental controls are far more advanced than in the average vehicle. I commend your efforts to keep them working as close to factory as possible.

        However most of the vehicles I’ve owned (the one exception being the Cadillac SLS) have had very simple environmental controls, such as a knob for temperature, one for fan speed and another for which vents the air comes out of. No zone controls, or even temperature measurements of any kind. The heater core is nothing but a small radiator housed in a plastic box under the dash. Done well, no one would ever see that you’ve replaced the heater core with PTC elements, with exception to the extra switch on the dash for controlling power to the elements.

        I was just curious to see other solutions using PTC elements in place of a heater core, other than the recent video from Jeff Southern (which was a really nice job btw Jeff).

        1. Sadly the water heating unit on the mk1 Leaf is purely ICE format with a controlled 5KW max ceramic heater.
          The mk1.5 Leaf runs the aircon backwards to heat the car. The energy savings are huge. It is the only route we should take.

          1. Heat pumps have poor efficiency when the outside temp is low. When it is much below freezing you will have to fall back on resistive heat or include some form of combustion heater.

          2. For sounding selfish Doug,
            The UK rarely goes much below 0C (freezing). Perfect for 99.9% of the time here. The savings on range with these is not short of huge! In fact its a crying shame the same is not also used on the pack itself because there is up to a 10 miles range loss when cold and more sluggish performance, less regen, lower rapid charging and a quickly dying pack in hot climes.

            Hey Nissan, free advice, a total no-brainer.

  6. Just as a thought or an idea. What if as to sponsor or subsidize the cost of batteries? If you did; YOU would be the one setting the price of batteries. Why would anyone buy batteries anywhere for $100/Ah when you are selling them for $75/Ah? Take a loss on batteries and make it back up on other items included with the order. Or do it for a while or initially just to get things going. Stimulate the market.

    Why is the new market price $75/Ah? Because that’s what you are selling the batteries at. You could promote and stimulate the builds and the market by forcibly bringing down the prices. I think with these arbitrary new battery prices; it would give you clout when you are negotiating with the battery makers on the price you are willing to buy batteries at. Maybe being a wholesaler, distributor, or liquidator is better than being a retailer?

    Call up CALB and tell them to go ahead and send you a few container loads of batteries for you to distribute for them. All on consignment of course. Do they want to sell batteries or just keep them all for themselves? Or you could fly your DC-3 over to China and haul back ~10,000/lbs of batteries after your factory tour and negotiations. Send Brain on a mission.

    1. You’re not Dan Friedrickson posting under an alias are you?

      Why should I subsidize batteries? Why not just give away cars entirely? ANd we could of course take the DC-3 and spray twenty dollar bills across the land. Kind of an Obamanesque solution to a hardcore Republican problem.

      Yes, we could just give away components – have a big three day sale. And then when all the existing stock on hand is gone, move on to the next frontier of technology. I’ve been looking at indoor local farming of fruit and vegetables. It’s fascinating really.

      I like the puzzle of engineering stable, economically viable solutions that offer a win/win/win solution to all parties in kind of a stable and “sustainable” fashion.

      Lying on my back reading messages from God and daydreaming nonsense fortunately was beaten out of me at a young age. BUt I understand it is very popular with the Young Homosexual Communist League that meets each morning on MSNBC Television. You might run this by them and see what they think. I don’t think they’ll actually want to subsidize battery costs, but they’ll probably agree with you that I should.

      Jack Rickard

  7. Jack, I enjoyed the segment on your visit to the Tesla forum. It reminded me of a pleasant experience I had last September. I showed my converted Fiero at the plug-in day event at the Marin Civic Center in Marin CA. I got to the show early and was somewhat shoved aside by the snooty bunch from the local chapter of the EAA. They asked me to park on the outskirts of the lot. I would learn later from one of their members that most if not all from that chapter had given up their conversions and bought OEM cars. Anyhow, I didn’t know when I got there that mine would be the only conversion on display. As luck would have it the lot filled up with OEM cars and a Model S would be placed in the spot next to me. I thought for sure that it was going to be a long boring day with my car and me being completely ignored. But, to my surprise and delight my car turned out to be the star of the show. Despite the lack of a paint job several members of the public loudly proclaimed that my car was “The coolest car at the show”. The guy with the Tesla was within ear shot and could hear it said every time. I could only wonder what was going through his head as he heard it. We introduced ourselves prior to the start of the event and he seemed like a pleasant guy. I guess his ego wasn’t severely damaged because he remained cordial through it all. In retrospect and triggered by your description of your recent Tesla forum experience, I recall that while my car attracted mostly male interest his seemed to attract more of the ladies. Maybe “Teslas are just for gurls” after all? Seriously, I don’t have anything against Teslas, I’d get one for my wife too if I could afford one.

    1. It’s a marvelous car. They announced today that they sold and delivered 6900 this last quarter, about 20% above previous guidance.

      And it is changing the world. I suppose the supply of people willing to write a check is part of that, but like most of the little cells of people in all this, they rather desperately want us to view them as pioneers of the movement. They are early adopters. We are tinkerers and innovators. I did not describe this pecking order originally nor now. It’s been around for a long time.

      Their reaction on the TeslaMotorClub forums was striking in its venom and intensity. But hardly original.

      And yes, I’ve said for years I could get people to stand on the hood of a Model S to get a look at an electric 356 Speedster. It’s just the nature of things. They are buying an appliance, and driving a car designed by someone else in accordance with the appropriate warranty restrictions. You’re building your car your way. Big difference.

      But room under the tent for all.

      Jack RIckard

    2. I had a similar experience showing my Z3 at a local car show. I arrived late and was asked to park in the only spot available, which happened to be smack dab in the middle of the Tesla Model S row. My car was the ugly duckling amongst super models! But then to my surprise, the crowd gathered around the Z3 and stayed there for rather most of the day. Teslas are beautiful, but if you’ve seen one, you’ve pretty much seen them all.

      I also found the Model S guys friendly, if not a tad dismissive. But in most cases it took only one short conversation to establish that our enthusiasm for electric drive was what he had in common, and it out weighed the differences.

      Tim Catellier

        1. Thank you kindly Jeff. I have to tell you, I feel the same about the EV Thing. It was a real treat watching you build the car. I’m grateful that you sent those videos into Jack to include in the show. I suspect the EV Thing is going to be rather well received on the EV Registry.

          Tim Catellier

    3. I usually go to the shows with the motor heads as I still love classic cars. At first they kind of did not know what to make of the EV Thing, but after a few test drives they warmed up to it. They now greet me more or less like the rest of the gear heads…

      I have not been to any of the actual EV car shows/events in the area. To be honest they seem kind of boring with only leaf’s Volt’s and the occasional Model S…

      I can tell you that I was parked across from one of the best looking 1957 Chevrolet Bel-Air’s have ever seen at one of the biggest cruse night around hear and the owner did comment that he had never seen a VW Thing get more attention than the 57…. He was a great guy though… The fun part was that his car was almost the the same shade of blue and white as my thing…. (Of course his paint job made mine look like it was applied with a brush…)

      When I get the Model S, I will carry both to a show and see which one gets the most attention….

    4. Well it happened again today. I went to the grand opening of the Tesla Showroom in Marietta GA today. (It has been open for two months). They are selling well in Atlanta. I think it is the third or fourth largest market for Tesla right now. I took my EVThing and to my suprise a car club came by to check out the Teslas. So now the parking lot was full of tesla Model S, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche, corvette, etc….

      I had to go over and drool over this assembly of beautiful sports cars. I have to admit that the new Corvette looks much better in person than it does in the pictures. These cars were about as good as it gets. However the EVThing still got it’s share of attention especially once people realized it was electic.

      I also saw a few EVTV regulars at the event. It is always great to see and talk to fellow enthusiasts….

      I left the show and got a bite to eat and did a test charge with my new Blink charging card. The chargers still seem to works. I will need to use one for an event I am going too next month and wanted to make sure it works. I then drove to a local park to go for a nice walk on a beautiful sunny warm winters day. True to form the EVThing attracted the attention of two young women who asked me to take them for a spin around the parking lot. Being a good southern gentleman I of course did. Like Jack says I am well past my expectation date, but there is something about being around giggling young women that you never really out grow.

      I told the wife about my nice day in my EV but left that last little bit off…..

  8. Hi !

    I really do respect your wish to have leakproof AN fittings on all your plumbing Jack.
    But with all do respect, why do you think they have 1″ fittings on those Hotstarts.
    If you would use atleast 1/2″ hoses for the heater system I think it would work a lot better.
    It would give you like 70% more hose area.
    A good thing would be to look at the original hose size of the heatercore and use that atleast
    Maybe AN-8 or AN-10 would be better…..

    One other suggestion is to maybe use the two heaters in parallell instead of series.

    Kind regards
    /Per

    1. BTW
      I really like the registry. Good work Chris.
      I like the new homepage look. Good work Jack.
      And also I’m looking forward to the battery announcement coming up.

      /Per

    2. Per:

      You are of course correct. I find AN-8 hoses bulky, stiff, hard to work with, and they take up a lot of room. AN-6 snake around perfectly and are easy for me to install. The AN-8 would of course be better for the car.

      Similarly 4/0 cable always works better and is better for the car but it is a heroic pain in the schwantz to deal with, while 1/0 just goes anywhere and seems to fall into place. This is one of the reasons I’m gradually coming around on the voltage issue to learn to live with higher voltages of 250-400v where I used to think of 250 as kind of the highest I wanted to deal with (or my batteries to deal with for that matter).

      It pretty much gets down to I am GOING to use AN-6 hose and a Liang pump, now what kind of heating system can I get to work with it?

      Jack RIckard

      1. Jack:
        Yes I know it gets messy and hard to work with.
        BUT your are the one that said that the Escalade should have all the heating and A/C it had when ICEdriven.
        Just do an experiment: measure how many gallons/liters per minute the liang/AN-6 hose can pump with free flow into a bucket. Then compare that with the amount that the old ICE pushed through the heater core.

        You need to match the flow of water to the heater core.
        The core the only thing that you cannot/dont wanna change.

        And I know you like the AN fittings for keeping it leakprof.
        But I don’t know when I last saw a car that leaked coolant, using only clamps and reinforced rubber hoses.
        You should not need to have that much pressure if you go with a bigger hose.

        As you pretty much predict, you’ll probably get the heating sorted out in mid June perhaps.

        As for the cables I hope you use more than 1/0 in the escalade.

        Regards
        /Per

  9. Just received my catalog this week. I particuliarly like the back section that explains bottom balancing, charging, discharing, cautions, etc. Very helpful information for someone who still hasn’t started a build yet. Thanks Jack and Brian.

    John

  10. Excellent work on the registry! I can’t wait to populate the fields with info and pics. I have a forum post on my website that outlines my trials and tribulations but this will be a nice simple easy to read structure for my build. Keep up the great work Jack and Brian.

    1. Jack and Paulo,
      Let me know if you need someone to go check the wares at the Valmet Automotive factory which made the Fiskers here in Finland. I only live 100 km away. 😉

  11. PTC in dash? I’ve seen resistive heaters used in the dash of electric car conversions before…they cause fires. The plastic housing in the dash isn’t meant for that high of localized temp. The plastic casing meant to hold the heat exchanger will first melt then combust when in contact with direct heat source. Of course this is not a rule, just an observation, and with care/luck may be avoided….however I’ve seen the light…in this case fire…and have no interest in seeing myself or anyone else involved in a repeat performance.
    If you want to try anyway please be careful…or at least video so the rest of us can learn/be entertained. 😉

    1. Kevin,
      Depends. I just bought a 1000W 12V heating element from ebay which used to live inside the dash of a Citroen C5 diesel. They add additional electric heat in this part of the globe for cabin heat before the engine heats up.

      1. Just saying
        Caution
        Valor
        I’ve seen them burn up.
        If designed properly I’m sure it works great but with retro fits always err on the side of caution when fire is involved. Especially when it’s something generally buried in places u can’t yank them out quickly if things go wrong….guess that could go for most things in life.

        Argon labs has officiated over the college car conversions/high mileage challenges for years and after the resistive heating fire that took out the dash and wiring harness and…in a 1995 neon while doing an hvac test inside the Chrysler cold soak room…they made one of those new Homer Simpson rules…no non liquid resistive heating unless u can prove it’s safe.
        So as always, to all of us conversion kids out there: be carefully when u get liquored up and play with high voltage…or fire.
        But again if u insist on doing so please video so that we may all enjoy…I mean learn from the experience.

        Have fun,stay warm and keep a bag of marshmallows handy …in case of fire u may as well get something out of it

        Kevin Smith

          1. I build and supply a replacement heater for a UK converted Citroen C1, they used the MESDEA 4kw heater units that have regularly failed, and are no longer available. So I have a PTC elements made for me in Taiwan, and make a replacement for the heater matrix with an aluminium casing operating at the 80+v of the Pack.. These also have a small heat sensitive switch set by the Element makers at 70c, which then act to shut off the contactor of the temp rises too much or the user turns the fan off. They work a treat. much more effecient heating than the water heater and considerably more reliable. And a weight saving over the original water heater and pipework. Using an adequate Contactor is really important, these vehicles use an Allbright contactor well up to the load (They worked fine on the 4kw MES so the new 2kw PTC is a breeze)
            Grumpy-b

        1. Kevin,

          Good to see your post and wanted to let you know I enjoyed reading Ingenious: I see the east coast tour was a success even though it appears the weather didn’t always cooperate. Keep up the good work and hope to see you at EVVCON this year.

          Randy

        2. Actually MES-DEA quit making the RMS-4 liquid heater, which I rather liked, because it started a couple of fires. If you want to start a fire, heat’s a good start. Uncontrolled heat is even better.

          That said Kevin, you actually live TOWARD Chicago from me here, and it is 4F this morning. One of the things I want in an electric car with enough energy to run a house for three days is a wee little bit of heat coming out of the vents. It just can’t be too much to ask.

          BUt yes, we are kind of going industrial on this. The KIM HOTSTART is a 65 year old technology, in cast aluminum, mounted on the front of the Escalade and down near the road. It uses a common electric water heater element. It will have to get VERY hot to start anything on fire.

          We also use PTC heaters more or less successfully.

          Jack Rickard

    2. Thats the point of PTS, if properly sized they dont have to get that hot, and they self regulate by design. Thats the PTC point as temp goes up resistance increases and temp goes down. and dont they have have nice orange glowing red wires in them like resistive elements, no loose parts all well housed. A lot of OEMs now include them in their vehicles for early heating before the car warms up. A lot of Peugeots and Citroens have them in as standard now.
      Grumpy-b

  12. Jack,you said,
    “But currently there is a visibility problem. Each and all of you are viewed by everyone as an outlier-an exception. The garage genius/whacko/crackpot of the local area. And while I see it quite differently, the act of putting ONE or TWO builds in each two-hour episode almost supports that view that there are just a few “exceptions” out there.”

    That comment took me back to the 80’s!
    8 bit computers, being labelled a geek by people who can only be consumers and the media/Gov’t who were scared of its possibilities in public hands.

    1. Andy:

      Yes, my first rodeo was personal computers. Second was the Internet. Currently on electric cars. After awhile you kind of become inured to the geek and other labels.

      But I do think that if I can put 100 of you with high resolution photographs in someones hand in one smooth move, that the world changes just a little bit.

      We have carried the concept of personal opinion to a kind of new zone where opinions and belief systems, instead of deriving from results and data, now rise above them. I went through a series of coronary tests this past week, knowing fully well my heart was none of the problem and for good reasons really can’t ever be, to see how far the medical professionals would carry this with test after test coming up negative. It was illuminating. They did NOT give it up until they actually ran out of tests.

      It is simply part of the belief system that a 300 lb 58 year old male who has smoked two packs of non-filter cigarettes a day for 40 years HAS to have heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. My blood pressure is 145/85 and I’m assured that is HIGH. Which is very interesting. It is EXACTLY the blood pressure I had when I entered the United States Navy at age 18 and in those days it was considered quite normal. Yes, they have changed the definition of high blood pressure actually.

      I also spent the week under the assumption that I was diabetic. I have endured the fasting test for diabetes about four times in four years and the problem is it comes up negative. This week my blood sugar was 94. Super normal. My LDL level was 125. No known reason. No I don’t exercise. No I don’t watch what I eat. Yes, I smoke. Ok, let’s test it AGAIN there must be some mistake. 125 again. Hmmm…

      Echogram. Unfortunately they were unable to tell whether it was a boy or a girl. But STILL, pointing to the “other risk factors” (overweight, smoker, age 58, diabetic) (that’s right, the blood sugar and negative tests just didn’t make an impression – if Im NOT diabetic then I must be about to be). We should do a radioactive dye stress test EKG.

      The pictures came back ENTIRELY negative. Nothing visibly wrong with the heart at all. I watched and listened in amazement while a university educated medical doctor (that’s a PHd) talked himself into an ANGIOGRAM based on a non-indicated result. I went along with it. By this time this was fun. Yep. They went through the entire all day long procedure and in fact rather overdid it to my way of thinking. It was probably the longest angiogram the guy has ever done with no balloon, and no stents. There simply WERE no blockages or even buildups of any kind to work with. Clean as a new whistle. The heart of a 24-year-old. Who knew?

      My position on battery management systems started with a QUEST for a battery managment system. Using the same methodologies, I should have the ultimate BMS now. Instead, I’ve tested, metered, learned, pondered, experimented, repeated, observed, and measured again. I can’t find ANY reason to top balance or to have an active “management” system of any kind and have become heroically suspicous of all but the most basic MEASUREMENT systems because I’ve watched them dick up batteries in front of me. My observations have directly altered the charge voltages recommended now by ALL Chinese battery manufacturers for LiFePo4 cells. But there is not a week goes by without an encounter with someone with a strong BELIEF SYSTEM and OPINION that a BMS is absolutely required and if you do not actively top balance these cells you will kill them. Often they are standing AMIDST a smoking crater where their batteries were while opining this nonsense.

      The medical exercise allowed me to watch this up close and across at least a brief period of time, as actual data accrued one after another after another with NO effect on the learned opinions or belief systems of the “experts” whatsoever. Absolutely zero impact. I walk away from this leaving them and their opinions and belief systems unscathed, unaltered, and fully intact. It is a marvel.

      But I think if we compile 100 builds in photographic glory, into one book we can actually put in a persons hand, that it might have some effect on the undecided. Food for thought anyway.

      Jack Rickard

      1. Jack, I had similar cardio-adventure last year. Started years before when my family physician wanted to get my cholesterol down to the continually-lowering “recommended” levels by prescribing statin drugs. This may be TMI, but a very common and unspoken side effect of putting most of the population on Lipitor has been the astounding demand for Viagra and Cialis. How very clever of the big pharma operations to keep lobbying for ever lower HDL/LDL standards to increase sales of one drug in order to sell another to fix what the first one broke! I took myself off the Lipitor and life got back to normal – the good news is that the side effect is reversible. Doctor NOT happy.

        To make a long story tolerable: last year’s physical turned up an “anomaly” on my EKG, so i was immediately and urgently referred to a cardiologist who put me through the full gauntlet of tests. Twenty four hour Holter Monitor, carotid ultrasound, stress test with echocardiography, all turned up nothing. The cardiologist told me he saw no reason to treat my slightly elevated cholesterol.

        Back to the GP for this year’s physical and he now pronounces me “pre-diabetic”. Interesting turn of phrase to justify some new treatment regimen. Of course I suggested that we test again next year before starting any new prescriptions, so he sternly recommended weight loss and exercise.

        Personal experience only, your mileage may vary. I’m not a doctor, but I’ve played one on stage!

        Coming back to the circular BMS arguments: one of the local EV club guys offered his conversion for sale at a very attractive price so I went to see it yesterday. Nice specs: 9 inch ADC, Zilla 1K, Masterflux air conditioning, 90 100Ah Highpower cells, Manzanita PFC20. Also Mini-BMS. Seems the battery pack has been giving him problems, and the local “expert” installed a CellLog to see what was happening, then replaced two bad cells but recommended that the whole pack should be replaced. I asked the owner if he was aware of EVTV. He said he was, but stopped watching because Jack Rickard was so anti-BMS. So here is a guy who cratered his expensive pack and now wants to sell for pennies on the dollar because of his BELIEF. I passed on the car, seating too low for this 65 year old and wife.

        Looking forward to seeing what arrives at the shop this week!

        1. Notice that with a destroyed pack of cells, and actually selling his car, the belief system doesn’t change. I had one viewer with 26000 miles on his car ask how to respond to a unanimous local EV group that insisted he needed a BMS. All had lead of course with the exception of a few who couldn’t seem to keep a pack of lithiums together with their BMS. But they were all ostensibly engineers and he was a dentist. And he wanted me to give him some tips on what to SAY to them.

          After awhile, there’s nothing you can say. Do you think my doctor got religion this week? No. Nothing changed. Better safe than sorry. PLatitude, platitude, outlier, outlier. Chant. Dance. Sacrifice pig.

          Jack Rickard

  13. If you want to try anyway please be careful…or at least video so the rest of us can learn/be entertained. 😉

    Jeff did make a video… http://youtu.be/Hxi226oH-KU

    Thanks Jeff, Probably not very entertaining Kevin. This is a good example of how to fit a PTC heater into a vehicle. Very similar to what I am doing in my conversion. I’ll post a video as well.

  14. It took me a bit to figure out why the catalogs on your desk looked different than the one I received. It became really obvious when you picked it up and I could see right through it and you. Do a segment or partial segment like someone suggested a while ago of wearing green so it will look like talking heads and now transparent catalogs. 🙂 Great catalog, BTW.

    David D. Nelson

  15. Jack, I just watched your 1/17/14 show. My eMinor failed to run last year at 4 degrees F. It ran the following afternoon. It was not the batteries. There was an excess load on the DC-DC converter inside the Curtis 1238-7601 controller. The controller shut down to protect itself. Brian at HPEVS coached me through rewiring the electronic speedometer with an opto-isolator so that the speedometer would not get its power from the controller. The speedometer now pulls its power from the external DC-DC converter that runs the 12V accessories. And, Brian coached me through rewiring the hall effect throttle, which was drawing too much power at low temperatures. Subsequently, I parked it outside overnight on a bitterly cold night, about 0 degrees F, and it ran the next morning. If that Ranger has a Curtis controller, you might want to check it for a fault code. Mine was 39.

  16. Loved the catalog. Can’t wait for the glossy registry to come out. Hope I can get my 914 completed before it goes to print. 2.5 years and running. You are right about the Volt. It does not attract much attention. Of course, in L.A.. they are a daily sight. Thanks for the continuing the cause. We are on a mission. Mark Jolley

  17. I was at a boat show this week trying to learn more about boats, what are desireable and popular boats, and if anyone is doing good electric boats now.

    In my time at the show, I came across is these guys:
    http://www.super-b.com/en/

    They are selling LiFePO4 batteries in a nice robust package, but they have added their super-duper “BMS with CANOpen technology that alows you to connect a computer to the batteries and see what is going on”. Sounds interesting but completely un-necessary based on Jack’s demonstrations…

    Their biggest module is a 12.8V 160Ah battery that they sell for $3300.00. They didn’t seem to be flying off the shelves at that price point. The salesman was trying to convince me that the premium price was to cover the engineering that went into the BMS and CANOpen.

    Jack, I think your on to something with your 12V and 48V battery packs.

    1. Could be an issue at the printer. When binding they can get duplicate pages if the machine is not set properly. You can also get duplicate and missing pages. If you have more pages of the same then just consider it a bonus and you can surely share them. What a novel idea. Extra pages to share. Cleaver advertising.

    1. I would like to second that. I am trying to get others interested in coming to EVCCON and it is a bit difficult to sell if the ‘advertising’ is not up to date. I was a bit disappointed too that the speaker profiles weren’t updated last year given that I was one of them. Also need to get Brian onto the hotel reservation deal at Drury Lodge so I can get finalised and stop worrying about missing out. I think Allan and I got the last 2 available rooms in 2012. I know it seems quite a way off to August 12th but I booked international and local flights last week and it looks like I was not a moment too soon for the cheaper USA domestic flights.

  18. Catalog & registry look amazing. Fantastic work and a big THANK YOU to everyone involved! I just have to buy a few bits and bobs now. Maybe one of those shiny J1772 plugs!

    If Chris ever starts to get bored or is looking for new features to develop, something that might be interesting would be a “comments and questions” webpart at the bottom of each build page. It would be nice to leave some comments or words of encouragement.

    Again congratulations and what a way to start the year!

    1. Hi Jeff. Missed your earlier post. So, who has been spreading these malicious rumors about me building an EV? I must admit they are true – Finally! I bought the donor just before Xmas and have been enjoying the summer here while the eV parts make their way from China and the US. It is a long weekend here in Auckland and so I am hoping to get a good start on the project. As if I don’t have enough to do already I might just even make some movies too.

    2. Rich Filakousky

      Jeff,
      I read what they said and Jack touched on this before. They are wrong! It’s that simple. Yesterday I saw my first customized Model S in Huntington Beach, CA. All black with non-Tesla black rims. It has smoked tail light lenses, tinted windows, all the badging and chrome (but the door handles) removed. Proof in my mind that choice prevails over non-choice. DYI numbers may be small and the cars may not be perfect or even crude in ways but where is their effort/contribution in just buying one and pronouncing simply the best. I agree with Jack too. I would take your car first, but I would put a bigger motor in it. 🙂
      Rich

    3. Jeff:

      If you read between the lines it’s a pretty straightforward pecking order thing. I ran into this phenomenon with the MiniE guys a few years ago and again with some of the early turning Leaf’s.

      Part of the “gig” of buying an electric car from an OEM is that by the heroic act of writing a check, or better yet, leasing the car, you are making a statement. All true enough. The statement they want to make is that THEY are the pioneers and the early adopters who are indeed changing the world – by virtue of having bought the car and the arduous task then of course of DRIVING it.

      Along comes the guys who convert everything in site to electric, cars, boats, motorcycles, lawnmowers, and in one case a divan – themselves. Not only do the predate these pioneers by years and often decades, but they understand how they work and indeed can and do build their own.

      Well, that pretty much ends the pioneer party on contact. So if you want to keep that ball in the air, you pretty much have to end all contact.

      JB Straubel, Martin, really everybody involved with the basic CONCEPT of Tesla, came out of DIY electric world. That’s becaust that is all there was. A handful of them managed to entice Elon Musk into the conversation, and rather infected him with the dream. This is interesting because he had a couple of billion dollars on him at the time. Note that it was not his dream. He bought into it. The Tesla Roadster absolutely was and is a converted Lotus Elise, by design and by execution. But they did a lot of it. A high end “conversion shop”.

      The forum you have stumbled into is an enthusiast forum for Tesla owners, and indeed, over half the participants do not own a Tesla and most likely never will. They aren’t anybody at all. But they DO have opinions. Based on nothing. But on the INternet everybody gets to have one and air it and they do.

      In the end, they are even correct. All of the people eventually will drive electric cars, and all those cars will be made by large companies. Now it may not be the SAME large companies we are accustomed to thinking of as the mass car producers, but in the end, they will be large, and they will be companies. Tinkerers and innovators don’t scale up.

      And that is basically, what you and I are. Tinkerers, and innovators. All classically described and peer reviewed when we were very small children and endlessly published and republished since then. If you poke your head into Tesloidtown, you offend them on contact because you deflate their self image as pioneers of the electric car movement – which they very much wannabe. They are early adopters. Not tinkerers and innovators. But the message from Tesla has to change to appeal to them, as it very much will have to change again to reach prosumers and super consumers in the next wave.

      Your impact is quite beyond what you know, and quite cummulative as well. ANd you don’t need some Tesla retard to reinterpret it for you – if you show your car around, you have directly in front of you what the immediate impact is. You don’t get to see the ripple as it moves out and widens. But it takes on staggering proportions particularly when amplified by other ripples initiated by your peers who are doing the same thing. And ALL information is not equal. Postings by the gurlz in the Tesla forum are not QUITE the same thing as showing your Thing to girls directly, letting them ride in the car, and showing them where the batteries are hidden. At this stage, it is STILL quite a novelty for the vast majority of our population to see a car that does not use gasoline and gets its energy from a wall plug. I mean to see one right HERE in front of you. Its not a rumor. It’s not on tv. It isn’t “planned”. It’s here at the same grocery store where they shop and in the same parking lot. They can touch it and feel it and see it.

      Now what is it they are touching and feeling and seeing. Well, it’s not a Tesla Model S. That’s quite true. But it is light years above and beyond what the mighty Volkswagen was selling in 1973 or 1974. If nothing else, you are light years ahead of Volkswagen in rustproofing. Vokswagen engineers could not have dreamed of what you drive to the park. And neither can anyone at the park. And had you spent $107,000 on it, I have no idea what it WOULD have looked like. I probably prefer what you actually did at $28k.

      I started hanging out with less than 50 people in St. Louis and San Francisco in what we called FIDONET in the early 80s. It quickly led to some introductions to a few netheads wiring up Supercomputer centers and some University labs. I started a newsletter about the same time John Quartermain started publishing really really ugly graphs of various network esoterica and statistics. This very small group of guys, tinkerers and innovators all, grew into today’s 4.7 billion Internet participants. Somewhere along the line, I got off the train and sold my little newsletter for $38 million in cash. Today I do another little publication, kind of a “newsletter” but on video, about a different little group of guys who build custom electric cars. And yes, professionals are moving into the space and starting to build factory cars that do just what their crude vehicles do – often better. And yes, the world will change itself entirely one more time, to pretty much obsolete oil burners entirely in favor of magnetic drive.

      My message has never waivered. My story has never changed. Go back and watch the FIRST EVTV video, of May 2009. It’s still here on the site. The mission hasn’t changed. The method hasn’t changed. The strategy and tactics – it’s not that they haven’t changed much – they haven’t changed AT ALL. I told you EXACTLY what I was about and what “we” were going to do. And you joined me to help do it. And it is January of 2014. And a group of people that couldn’t put two batteries in a pocket penlight and get it right before the third try are in a forum they only made up last year and they’re telling you that you are little and ugly and your mother dresses you funny and that NOTHING you know to be true first hand is true at all?

      They only EXIST because of you. Now you can call me deranged for this, but it’s kind of one week after another week for five years and we don’t go back and CHANGE any of those videos. It’s all layed out. And it has ALL worked out pretty much as I said it would, and for the same reasons I said it would.

      But I have to tell you, that you have to be alright with something else. After you and I and Tim and Fred and oh, I think eventually about 100,000 of us DO change the world very much for the better, I have some bad news for you. You get written out of the event. You never happened. You can’t have happened. Because that story doesn’t sell cars. So if you are doing it for the glory, and honor, and accolaides, and the cheering crowd and the marching band, I’ve got some bad news for you. There isn’t any.

      Along time ago, in a land far far away, I was in a bit of a real war. And it all worked exactly the same way… with exactly the same end.
      For me, I’m a little squeemish with crowds anyway and don’t care for Martial Music or the whole John Phillip Sousa thing myself. If you’re story is that AT&T and Microsoft and the FCC all conspired and collaborated to create the Internet and General Motors, Tesla and GAGA Motors, whoever that is in the future, all invented the electric car, and made all that happen, I knew about that and was ok with it before we began.

      So if you all are hoping for gratitude, from Tesla Corporation, or Tesla owners, or any of the millions whose lives are completely different in the future and completely better in all respects, I have a poor cup of tea for you to drink. It won’t happen. And if you protest too loudly, they will indeed kill you to sweep you under the rug. A very necessary part of all this is that you have to go quietly into that good night…

      Now here’s the good part. Forever after, if there is something not right in the world, and you feel strongly enough that it should be different. You do NOT need to sit on the couch and feel helpless as a victim of it. You kind of have to gage carefully just how strongly you DO feel about it, because it does involve a little motion on your part, and you might miss a football game or two. But if you really think it needs to be changed, you have it ENTIRELY in your power forevermore and hence forward, to just stride out into the yard and start changing it. Right now. Because you are not among the confused and the dazed. You know exactly how global human societal change works, what it takes to change it, and just exactly where to start. Right in your own backyard. All by yourself. Largely because there are others, just like yourself, and just as pissed as you are. Right now.

      You see, I know that right now there are about 100,000 Jack Rickards, out there, with garages. I’m not going to ask you to change a light bulb. I’m going to ask you to change the world. And the difference between me and Barack Obama, is I already know you can do it….

      Jack Rickard
      May 2009…

      1. I am not upset at what these guys are saying, I am more surprised by it… However, what you said makes sense.

        I know you want all of use to build a car to spread the word (and have some fun). However, I am not particularly a green thinker. I don’t really care about politics. I do think more EV’s on the road will reduce our need to be involved in every disaster in the Middle East. However, I did it mainly because I wanted to see if I could do it. To be honest it turned out to be a better car that I thought it would. I figured I would drive it for fun occasionally and maybe go to a car show or two. I did not originally put a heater in it because I figured I would even drive it much in the winter. Of course It has become the car of choice for just about all of my driving. Now I actually get a little depresses when I can’t drive it because my job often requires me to drive 140-150 miles a day with little opportunity to recharge… (why I ordered the Tesla) I did drive it to a customer that is about 50 miles away. (It was 19 degrees F that mourning) They begged me to do it and actually had their electrician wire up a 30A 240V outlet just for me to use….

        Maybe tinkers are just wired differently. I work for a 100 year old company. To say that they are resistant to change is an understatement. My boss is fond of asking all of his engineers to “Think outside the box” and then always pauses looks at me and reminds me to at least keep the box somewhere in site at all times…(I try, but…)

        I am looking forward to EVCCON this year. I am just having a hard time figuring out how to tow the Thing up with the Model S….

        1. Jeff, if you are coming with someone else you can take a que from Jehu and recharge the thing along the way. Then decouple it from the model S and drive it solo till it needs recharging and reattach it to the S.

    4. Hey Jeff, while I am sure that DIY has been the culture that has driven us to this point…… I also understand what is being said here. The guys that started Tesla or should I say designed their technology were guys that designed the Impact for GM back in 1990. Alan Coconi invented the automobile inverter for GM and later started AC Propulsion who I believe makes the drive train for the Tesla. GM is responsible for much of the technology being used today.

      1. Karin and me are driving an i-MiEV. It looks very much DIYed and since we started convertingit, it does not only look, it actually is.

        Looking at the Leaf, It does not look DIYed but looking at its history suggests it must be DIYed.

        There is a small number of cars that are not looking DIYed but they are a small number only, each of them made by hand.

        There is no doubt, without the DIY society there would be no electric cars.

        Cheers
        Peter and Karin

      2. Paul:

        We UNDERSTAND what is being said here. And precisely as you post, it is bullshit we don’t agree with. Coconi TOOK it to GM and yes, they adopted him and it. GM had no program for it at all before HE built it. And no, he didn’t invent the automobile inverter AT ALL. And finally, no Tesla does not use the AC Propulsion drive train. Although that is what they started with.

        This is the result of the concept of typing yourself smart. Take one thing somebody who has no clue types into the screen, combine it with something else from somebody else with no clue, and then add to it “what only makes sense” and what do you have? Utter and complete nonsense. If you repeat it often enough, and get enough people to vote on it and agree that that is what happened, what do you have THEN??? Utter and complete nonsense.

        Polyphase inverters are nearly 100 years old. AC motors in cars – nothing new. Regenerative braking – nothing new. For a century. AC propulsion may have had something kind of new – you can charge using their inverter. But Tesla doesn’t use that. Either their inverter NOR charging through the inverter.

        The progression of technology varies extremely little from one development to the next. Dell Computer actually has a commercial out at the moment showing where things started – including of courser Dell in an Austin Dormitory room when Michael Dell was supposed to be going to college. Instead he was building PCs. No, he didn’t invent the PC.

        And MOST of Tesla’s innovations have nothing to do with inventing a car. It is about how they are assembling cars, selling cars, servicing cars, and taking charge of the cars infrastructure. But yes, ALL of the beginning of TESLA came out of DIY, including specifically Coconi.

        The story ALWAYS gets rewritten. Almost always for corporate purposes. And the urge to distance yourself from humble beginnings is quite natural when you are trying to present a credible and professional presentation. But it changes not how things actually develop and how the world changes.

        The Tesloids know none of this. They want to be pioneers. And they can’t if Jeff Southern or Jack Rickard is in the room. Actually, if they weren’t clueless, they easily could. But the are, and so they can’t.

        DIY is not just where the electric car started, it’s where the car started. And it continues today. I think it will continue more or less as it has for cars anyway – encompassing a multitude of sins, casual racing, renovation of classics, kit cars, show cars, nostalgia rides. But SEMA is sufficiently large you can’t walk through all of it in 3 days. Summit Racing and JEGGS are $100 million businesses with 24 loading bays for trucks. And yes, guys will spend $120,000 on a build, sell it for $90,000, and go to the next one. They never can seem to reach the volume they need to make some real money on them. The mite spent by your average DIY electric guy is nothing compared to the real show car enthusiasts and hot rodders.

        And there will continue to even be conversion shops that will convert cars for you. Just like the hot rod/custom car shops out there today. It will of course be a marginal and competitive business, but it will never die.

        But all this is in the future. You guys think it is all done. 90% of Americans have never seen or ridden in an electric car AT ALL other than a golf cart. Yes, each Tesla and Leaf sold extends that. But you got it off the ground, and are still quite needed and will be for some time.

        This is a very weird trajectory. It’s like something you just can’t get off the ground at all – no matter how herculean the effort. And ti goes much more slowly than you thought and than you expect. But when it hits the “tipping point” you have one ICE dominated world on Friday, and an entirely changed electric one the following Monday. Predicting the tipping point is dangerous business. But I would put it somewhere around 2018 if I had to make a guess.

        And batteries are no part of it. We reached the point of viability four years ago on batteries. The vast majority of us just don’t need to drive 300 miles on a charge, or even 100. But yes, now that there is an emerging MARKET for them, they will improve right smartly.

        Most things kind of lose their shine after you become accustomed to them. For some reason this one doesn’t for me. I never quite get over it. We get in the car and drive silently away with NO GASOLINE. I’ve come to enjoy the conversion process and the design puzzles, even for something as annoying and frustrating as the heating system in the Escalade. Would you believe that it now works perfectly with our latest changes, but without the steam, it isn’t heating as quickly. I wish I had higher battery voltage so I could put more power on it. IT’s a 5000 watt heater but I’m only putting in a little less than 3000 watts. With two wired in parallel before I was really making more heat. But it was generating steam bubbles. It does ok. But it takes 10 minutes to heat up – kind of like the ICE version.

        Jack Rickard

        1. Allow me to clarify my statements Jack. After all I was not there to witness the events. My information came from a book as you say. The book is “The Car That Could” by Michael Shnayerson published in 1996. The book is based on 275 interviews conducted by the author. He began the book in June, 1992 by first interviewing Ken Baker the first manager of GM’s electric vehicle program. Included in the list was Alan Cocconi. Good book, I highly recommend it to all EV enthusiasts. He claims in the book that a few small inverters had been attempted prior to 1990 such at the one designed by Paul Agarwal in the 60’s for the Electrovar but they were always crude and expensive. After all, the Mosfet was invented in 1959 but stable devices were not produced until the mid-60’s and it was not until the 1976 that Siliconix made available the first power Mosfet with fast switching and power levels of a few amps. The production IGBT’s didn’t come onto the scene until the mid-80’s. According to the book, GM funded a ($75,000) study and hired AeroVironment to do the study. AeroVironment was a small R & D company founded by Paul MacCready. Paul designed the Gossamer Condor in 1977 and won the international prize for sustained human powered flight. He assigned Alec Brooks to head up the study. Brooks hired Cocconi who he knew from Cal Tech. Up to this point Cocconi was just a freelance consultant in analog electronics and built remote controlled airplanes. Cocconi neither joined AeroVironment or GM but continued as a free-lance engineer. Cocconi designed and built by hand the first inverter for the GM car called Impact and later EV1 at home in his garage but my point was that it was totally funded by GM for their EV program. AC Propulsion was founded in 1992 by Alan Cocconi and Wally Rippel. They built an electric sports car, the AC Propulsion Tzero. Eberhard invested $150,000 into helping AC Propulsion switch out the Tzero’s lead-acid batteries with lithium-ion batteries. Eberhard then decided to create a Business along with partner Marc Tarpenning and incorporated Tesla Motors in July 2003. Before Tesla had developed the Roadster’s proprietary powertrain, the company licensed AC Propulsion’s EV Power System design and Reductive Charging patent. Tesla then designed and built its own power electronics, motor, and other drivetrain components that incorporated this licensed technology from AC Propulsion. The Roadster’s powertrain is unique. Tom Gage of AC Propulsion says that they had no idea of how to produce the Tzero and that is why they licensed it to Martin at Tesla and later Elon Musk.

          After all I don’t have a dispensation from the Pope to make stuff up. 🙂
          http://www.forbes.com/2010/08/19/tesla-bmw-tzero-technology-tom-gage.html

          1. Oh sorry I left out a bit. The original inverter by Cocconi was developed for the the Sunraycer GM’s solar powered vehicle that won the race across Australia from Darwin to Adelaide in 1987. The 1,950 mile race across the middle of Australia was covered in 44 hours and 54 minutes, traveling at an average speed of 41 miles per hour. Including overnight stopovers, the entire trip from Darwin to Adelaide, along a desolate two-lane highway, took five and a half days. This event led to GM funding the electric concept car and later the Impact and EV1.

          2. Yup, just like Jack said. The story always gets rewritten for the corporate bone heads so they have something to boast about. It has always been about the DIY. The Wright Brothers built a DIY airplane. Now look what we have. Motorcycles came from DIY bicycles. That is where the airplane came from too. DIY hackers in the garage or shed. 🙂

          3. Paul et al.

            When you get on one, you don’t give it up easily I’ll say that. So you found a book. That must be it. It’s over. Now we finally know. THE FINAL WORD. Has the Papacy approved it for inclusion in the Holy writs?

            VFD drives have been around since the 70’s. That’s all the inverter is. Nothing different except there is no need to convert the AC to DC before converting it back to AC. Cocconi did little of any particular note other than build one for GM. As I pointed out, and you did pick up, he didn’t even work for GM at the time. He did post EV-1 try to market it as AC propulsion. But he wouldn’t actually sell them to anyone who didn’t claim to be an OEM. Finally BMW picked up some for the Mini-E. I have never heard what happened to all of those Mini-Es. But I bet they didn’t pay the $25,000 each they wanted from me for one.

            Indeed, at one point I agreed to pay it. Incredibly, they came back and demanded that I buy FIVE of them at that price. Would you believe I agreed to this – just to see how far they would take it. More incredibly they came back and noted I would have to buy BATTERIES from them for all five as well. Each time we would do a deal, they would simply change it. Utter fluff and unobtainium air. In other words BULLSHIT. Without an OEM to fund a significant build, they had nothing to sell but a prototype.

            In any event, he missed inventing the inverter by a good 30 years and indeed if you count polyphase drivers for polyphase motors, by more than that. Your history of IGBT’s and MOSFETS is similarly albeit vaguely misunderstood. But the early efforts used neither – Silicon Controlled Rectifiers were popular if I recall at one phase of development.

            The development of technology is kind of a funny game, each explorer standing on the shoulders of the “giants” before them, so to speak. But once in awhile, an individual pulls the right combination of EXISTING stuff out of the air and weaves some magic and it takes off as a solution accepted by the crowd. EV-1 and AC Propulsion were none of that. Model S kind of is.

            Example: Alan Kay more or less “invented” the tablet computer in 1975/6. No one was able to get people to buy any until Steve Jobs and iPad. There were LOTS of attempts in between. The idea refused to work and just wouldn’t die at the same time and NOBODY that tried it seemed could make it work. Jobs then did. Evolution of displays, packaging, concept, and basically berating and belittling some pretty talented engineers until they built him one.

            So for any technological development you can trace it back a hundred years, or mark it as yesterday as you like and a case can be made. There are wide commercial interests in revising the story to suit the marketing message and the brand. And there are specific innovations and individuals who do give things just the right push at just the right time. Edison did not “invent” the light bulb at all. He invented a “working” light bulb solving some problems of practical life expectancy and manufacturability.

            The Wright brothers did not “invent” the airplane nor flight – and certainly not conceptually. But they did develop a plane that you could stay aloft for longer periods and actually control, better than any before, where you were going using the right combination of movable control surfaces. Of course, “heavier than air” provisos have to be applied here as well.

            At every step, things can fail technically, economically, or socially. The Lisa and The NeXT computers were actually gorgeous. But out of the range of price where it mattered.

            I have personally watched up close and day to day the evolution and adoption of personal computers first, and global internetworking second (and now I suppose the “modern” EV). There are many chicken and egg problems, but the thing that sets the pace is the acculturation of the wider population to the advantages of having such technology. The technology DOES have to evolve to the threshold of viability. But that’s a much easier problem than acculturating the population to the advantages and achieving economies of scale.

            ICE cars work pretty well. And gasoline has been and probably still is less expensive than milk. But with the advent of the lithium batteries, electric cars are viable in a way they simply were not before. It was not Cocconi. It really isn’t Musk. It’s John B. Goodenough and his batteries have been just good enough. That is the technical breakthrough. EV-1 didn’t even use them. GM sold off Ovonics to Texaco and they immediately put the patent to sleep threatening anyone wiht a concept for using NiMH batteries with a lawsuit.

            The “batteries” are the technological evolution that causes electric cars to become viable. I built one myself in 2008. It went a hundred miles an hour. It went a hundred miles. And it was a thrill to drive (and still is) every time I got in it. It never occurred to me to claim to have invented it. I immediately and quite accurately went to the heart of the problem, which isn’t building it. If a 53 year old guy in yellow shoes, otherwise unemployable, working half days falling down drunk, can build it, THAT is probably not the problem. But the inertia of the status quo quite is. And I happen to know how to steer that aircraft carrier. It just takes awhile to make the turn, and it is precisely “butts in seats” that does it. You guys build the seats. Put butts in them. And its over.

            Without that, if the car does 750 miles an hour and goes 700 miles, it is still a car in a garage.

            Along the way, you will see people who really do make a difference, players, and a whole bevy of wannabees seeking self aggrandizement and trying to show up at appreciation dinners for years afterwards.

            My approach is to be on to the next event by then. Historically, my sense of timing has been excellent. When the townies move in and the case has been made, I kind of disappear from the scene. Other frontiers. Other horizons. At some point I’ll hit the ground with a dull thud. Some miles yet in the future I do trust.

            Again, there IS no ORIGINAL inverter by Cocconi. He built one. Otmar built a PWM controller for DC motors. Both good. Neither particularly original. Otmar started by reverse engineering Curtis’s controller as I recall.

            Jack Rickard

      1. In europe the Think was not a NEV and it was “almost” in production at that time.
        Also the I-miev came later in that year. Also with lithium drive…
        Anyhow.
        Jack your first couple of videos about the original speedster with the thundersky batteries made up my mind.
        I ordered 42 160ah cells for my Renault Clio electrique and did a battery only conversion.
        I still have the car, I run it to work almost every day, have about 90 miles of range.
        Have put over 17000 miles on the car since then.

        Regards
        /Per

        1. Think was produced in Uusikaupunki, Finland, just like Fisker Karma, and I did see them for sale at a local car dealer here in Finland. I wonder if one could buy them cheap now… Also the French have had electrics for sale since the last century, except not with lithium of course. For whatever reason they have chosen to ignore this past and once again be the first to the game, just like everyone else.

  19. Just watched the 24th show – thank you again.

    Mennenkes was adopted in Europe, presumably because J1772 was not-invented-here. I have an adapter in the boot of my (Ji772 equipped) Ampera.

    And what is this about coast-to-coast being a problem in an EV? North Shields (East coast) to Maryport (West coast) is only about 93 miles…

    1. Ah yes; two nations divided by a common language. When I was growing up “presently” meant “in a little while – not just yet”. And when we talked of an “electric fire” we simply meant an “electric heater” not the result of a BMS failure.

  20. Jack,
    Yep, it’s cold here today. Thought about putting some kindling by my feet and striking a tinder to it just to get a little heat…but all the kindling I could find was frozen to the ground.
    So I agree whole heartedly, heats good! I’ll have it in Seven again some day, working on adding power steering right now. Just wanted to give a heads up about resistive heating and OEM plastics, didn’t mean to put anyone off adding heat or a heating system. Go, make heat, stay warm; just try not to burn up your EV because of cheep plastic or parts that may vibrate around and find themselves somewhere you didn’t put them.

    Otmar and controllers.
    We had what I think was an early version of his controller maybe by late 1994 deffinately by 1995 for the 1995 hybrid electric vehicle challenge. It was mounted to, i think, a large plastic plate of some sort with a plexiglass cover. It was used to power/control an advanced DC 9 inch moto. It looked good but had a distinctive DIY look and feel to it. The last thing we heard from him back then was that he was thinking about marketing a slightly lower power consumer version…you know the rest…so far.
    But as my memory continues to fade I’ll be happy to make up new consumer friendly versions of the story…I think I’ll have everyone be a super hero wearing capes….no tights or spandex, I’ve seen this group, if only in the mirror.

  21. Pretty cool !

    Christian von Koenigsegg praising his Tesla model S, and pretty much joins in on Jacks prediction about Telsa winning the game long term.

    Only in Swedish. http://bambuser.com/v/4291435 at 7:50 he come on stage.

    Also he says that 80% of the cars sold in 2020 is going to be electric cars.

    If you dont know who he is …….
    http://www.koenigsegg.com/
    They do hypercars, and he is the owner and founder……

    Regards
    /Per

    1. Hi Per,

      Just looked up Kone…Keoni….Koensug… (how do you say that Per). Pretty nifty for old technology. Two seats and and almost 1000 Hp to beat a Model S to 60 by about a second. Kudos to Mr K for recognising what is happening.

      As recently as last March the head of Jaguar Landrover was dismissing EVs; they are only just now messing about converting an Evoque: far too little, far too late. They are going to wake up one morning and find Tesla have parked tanks on their lawn: or at least opened a Supercharger station in Coventry

      1. Yes, the Doppelkabine arrived today. It was actually in MUCH better shape than I had imagined or hoped for. Should be a good and fun build and we’ll have a BIG Thing and a LITTLE Thing then. We’re going to paint it the same color as the thing – electric yellow and black.

        Jack Rickard

          1. Jack, The Kombi is 11 windows. Very popular. 15 Window and 13 Window were Deluxe without the top sky windows and rag top which were actually not standard but an add-on feature if you wanted. Lots of 15 and 13 Window Deluxe Micro Busses sold too. Had two 13 Window Deluxe Busses. Love em. Clunky but you just fall in love them. Vanagons are excellent too. Drive nice and very comfortable. Weak engines. Perfect for conversions with the larger AC-75 and your Siemens Motors. The Doka sounds great.

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