rickardIt’s odd to consider my impending retirement from EVTV. I don’t “retire” well. I tried it once, but it was a bit like a pig on roller blades with a 5 iron, wandering from golf course to golf course across the land, clueless and without portfolio.

But I have to say that I’m very pleased at what doesn’t feel like a lightened workload, but really is. This all kind of comes together in this week’s show in some amazing ways.

In many of the world’s armies, if you kill the general, you kind of disable the army. America’s tradition is somewhat different. If you shoot the general here, everyone gets a promotion, otherwise little changes.

We started converting an already built kit car, a replica of a 1957 Porsche Speedster, to electric drive. We then did a second “project” with the 2009 Mini Cooper Clubman – a brand new car actually. A little over five years later, things have changed a bit.

Anne Kloppenborg is developing an electric boat, qualifying drive trains for EU emissions, and doing his first 818 car project. He warehouses components for sale throughout Europe and is upgrading to a new facility – right on the water.

We’ve offloaded our Aristocraft 16 foot jet boat project to Jeff Southern, who is actually building a team for this in Kennesaw Georgia. Jeff has also volunteered to do the heater for our Green VW Thing. And he promises better video and more of it.

Paulo Almeida and Celso Menaia in Lisbon Portugal have developed the JLD 505 device, have completed a CANbus shield we have sent off to production, and are redesigning the GEVCU to a new weathertight format using the CINCH connector for additional pins. They’re also doing a Mazda RX-8 conversion.

Ed Clausen in Massachusetts is hard at work both on a BMW 320ti project, but more importantly the EVTV Battery Management System.

John Hardy of REDDITCH, UK and David Bogard have begun testing of the new CAM series cells, although David Nelson actually sent in the first report on these.

Michael Brown of Thailand is out doing test drive reviews of new BMW i3 car.

Mark Weisheimer, Byron Izenbaard, and Rick Star here in the U.S. have teamed up to crack the CAN bus codes on the Lear Charger used in the Chevy Volt, Smart ED, and Coda cars. Rick was at EVCCON for the first time and actually has two operating Codas as well as two gliders for parts. Eventually I see these chargers as being readily available at less than $1000 for a 3kW very capable CAN controlled charger.

Collin Kidder in MIchigan continues to head GEVCU software development and is working on a CAN analysis tool that should make reverse engineering CAN driven devices much easier in the future. Few know or adequately appreciate the key work he did earlier developing the definitive CAN library for Arduino that allows us to do any of this at all.

While not in the current episode, Damien Maguire in Ireland has started a new conversion project in Ireland of a BMW 340C. We will follow this closely. He’s using our Siemens 1PV5135 AC induction motor in this project, but driving it with an OPEN SOURCE inverter controller with some power electronics he designed himself along with an automatic TRANSMISSION CONTROLLER he developed. I’ve still got a little red ass on over the fact that he didn’t make it over for EVCCON this year.

The bottom line is that most of the video this week came from EVTV contributors from all over the world. Most of our product development happens at locations around the globe. And even some of our traditionally in-house projects are moving out of house.

No, I’m not actually going anywhere. As I said, retirement turns out to be for gurlz. It was one of the few things I’ve ever attempted and simply failed at completely. it didn’t take. We’ll continue with some of the heavy lifting, largely building test benches and rolling test benches, capital intensive activities, for product development as I see it in the future.

But an amazing thing is going on here. There are many many individuals around the world as devoted to the mission of converting personal transportation to electric drive as I am or in some cases MORE devoted to it. Gradually, they are taking on the video production itself and the product development necessary to empower and enable future custom electric car builders to do better cars with greater performance at less cost. How is this going to come out? I would suggest an ever growing number of people doing better cars.

I alluded to this in this weeks video. Momentum. And 90% of winning is being the last to go home. If you don’t accept failure, and don’t have anywhere else to go if you do fail, about all that is left is to succeed. EVTV has lost money every year it has operated for over 5 years. Actually the loss has increased in each of the five years. Early, we had little encouragement to do it at all. The conversion shops and component suppliers of 2009/2010 universally rejected us outright as an advertising medium -in many cases abusively and even mockingly. Anyone in their right mind would have joined the 95% of all business startups that fail in the first five years. By the way, the percentage of those that make it five years but don’t make it six is about 0.01%. As I said, if you survive failure, about all that is left is success.

My point here is not to celebrate. Rather to point out that persistence often trumps both genius and luck and actually I’ve never found much of worth in either of the latter, but much in the first.

Second rodeo’s are always easier because you kind of know how they are going to come out. At Boardwatch I wrote the ENTIRE magazine entirely by myself for a number of years. In the end, we had 22 columnists, including world renowned computer columnist John C. Dvorak (InfoWorld – PC Magazine) who wrote our inside back cover for many years actually. I was relegated to a single rambling Editorial page and did continue to do “Letters to the Editor” all along. Brain ran the company, Marla ran the graphics department, and Kathy ran the financials. I hardly knew what was going on most of the time. In the end, all good managers and succesful entrepreneurs work themselves out of a job. I became both extraneous and salutory.

The Internet makes this both more powerful and more real. The modern day version of GlobaL Stone Soup. In the end, you can remove the magic stone and put it back in your pocket. It never really added much flavor to the soup at all.

I also alluded, in this weeks episode, to the mountainous task yet before us. The Terran ship features a serious understeer. It takes a number of years to move the helm hard over. I’m seeing another eight to ten hard years before the outcome becomes as widely obvious as it is to us now. Again, it is not a matter of batteries or infrastructure, though those will certainly happen along the way. It is an acculturation issue in true form. My car drives just fine now.

So it is with some awe and appreciation that I consider our good fortune exemplified by the contributors this week. EVCCON is increasingly becoming an annual team meet with a lot of the resulting builds of these efforts showing up. Why wouldn’t THAT celebration be fun. Brain and I again mostly folding napkins and making sure the coffee is appropriately placed and hot. I drizzle a little home made whisky on some of the grumpies and that seems to cheer them up.

We welcome all who would find common cause. But it isn’t your normal volunteer organization. Those seeking instant gratification or immediate financial rewards will be disappointed to find mostly work and financial expense in the equation. Having done this in the past, I am confident when I say those who do persist, kind of like EVTV itself, will find it MORE rewarding in all ways in the end than they ever could have imagined. But we’ve already lost a few otherwise talented contributors along the way. It is ever so. For some, getting out of their own way is the hardest part.

Then too there is always the problem of dealing with a fumbling tyrannical and at times delusional autocrat along the way. But I’ve grown accustomed to Brian’s eccentricities and I am assured that you can as well.

Christopher Fisher has continued behind the scenes for several years to manage our HTML web site, store, and databases from his home in Sweden. After leaving the military, he joined the love of his life there and can scarce be tempted out of the country. He recently completed our Registry of Custom Electric Vehicles. At EVCCON, a number of you professed a desire for a common area to upload photographs and video of the event to share them. Christopher has been hard at work on a new UPLOADS.EVTV.ME area where you can upload videos, photos, and contributions of all sorts – including video submissions for the show. This is both password protected and at the same time open to the public. As there are regular miscreants who abuse such open services, I have decided NOT to publish the four letter password, in the hopes that NO ONE CAN GUESS WHAT IT IS. Again, I simply will not reveal the FOUR LETTER PASSWORD to the EVTV upload area.

Stay with us. We’re moving strongly into the fun part.

Jack Rickard


  1. I too share concern with Ed Clausin about backlash in the Siemens metric involute sline. I bored Jack to death twice about this via email before but bought the Siemens/DMOC/GEVCU trident anyway. I’ve found several DIN standards for press-fit metric involute slines. For me the flywheel hub will need a press-fit broach job so that a hard pull stud and hard 12-point AN metric nut will be able to pull the hub into place. For DC without regen it just wouldn’t matter.

    1. I still don’t agree Stanley. And I’m the one driving. We don’t have any problems and DO have a tiny bit of lash. It is barely perceptable. It takes a minute to line up the splines before they just slide on, but no press fit necessary.

      The amount of lash in Ed’s device is probably NOT acceptable and surprise that Rebirth shipped it to him that way.

      Jack Rickard

  2. I’ve just stumbled upon all of this, recently begun reading, viewing videos, find it all fascinating, amusing and extremely thought provoking. I’m a software engineer and I admit to knowing almost nothing about hardware.

    Regarding heaters in EVs, I find the thought of battery powered electrical resistance heat to be sinful. Burning kerosene for cabin heat sounds like an improvement. Any long-term thoughts on reverse-engineering the Nissan Leaf heat pump?

    1. George:

      There are a tremendous number of things that just make sense on the surface of it. Unfortunately, they just can’t be applied easily. And the tradeoffs do matter.

      Let’s say we have the ULTIMATE heat pump already mounted in the car and perfectly operational. In fact, beyond unity. It will simply make heat where there isn’t any and cold where there’s not any of that.

      Our batteries are in boxes scattered around the car. To move the heat from source to battereis involves liquid or air. And therein lies a tale. We quickly get wrapped around an axle moving the heat arouund with pumps and fans and so forth. A study of the Better Place Battery Pack quickly reveals that if all you want is BATTERIES, you can simply remove and discard 1/3 of the material in the pack. It’s all there about moving air around and exposing the batteries to it.

      A silicone rubber resistive heating pad I understand shocks your delicate sensibilities with regards to efficiency. However, we use aluminum boxes here at EVTV in almost all cases and they are very very good at transferring heat. The pad is 3 mm thick and so takes up essentially NO space and weigh nothing. So when comparing heat pumps and resistive heating efficiency, you have to take account a 1/4 mile of hose or ventilation duct and all sorts of gyrations to apply that evenlyto the battery. I slap a rubber pad to the aluminum box, and the box will distribute the heat very evenly and very quickly.

      By being in such close proximity to the batteries, we don’t need much heat and we probably won’t need it terribly long unless the pack is just thoroughly cold soaked. Normal operation causes some residual heat. We are ordering 10×24 inch pads of 300 ohms with a 20C bimetallic thermostat on it. At 335 volts – maybe 375 watts. At 200 volts – 133 watts. And this is applied across 240 square inches. We will use pack voltage to run these up to 68F or 20c and then cut it off. We’ll cycle back on at 15C. But the point is that the aluminum box becomes the distribution system. And we already have it.

      Jack Rickard

      1. Hi Jack,
        That resistive battery heat you described makes perfect sense to me due to simplicity and efficacy (regardless of efficiency). Let me apologize for my ambiguity; I wasn’t thinking of battery heating (possibly due to my ignorance, but I’m learning a lot here). The heat pump would replace the air conditioner, handling both cooling and heating of cabin air, with little additional complexity. It’s rumored that the winter performance of the 2013 Leaf has improved with less reliance on the PTC heater (actually a combination of both heat pump and resistive heat in some models now). That seems to be a feature lacking in the Tesla Model S, from what little I understand, and apparently not yet in the hands of builders. Thanks.

        1. George:

          Yes, it isn’t a very good strategy for cabin heat of course. I’d love to do a heat pump if we could find one. John talks about heating his BATTERIES in this episode and so I naturally thought you were referring to that from the video.

          Jack Rickard

      1. So, I says to myself: If I’m Jack, what would I use as a password? F*** and S***, came to mind immediately; then J***; but, I decided the first two were a bit crude and the third was narcissistic so I opted for the correct one the first time. Because I was so successful, I’m thinking about Hacking as a second job to my current difficult retirement work.

  3. RE : Electric Motorcycle/scooter –

    When I was working in Asia, I mentioned to our security officer I was considering getting a scooter to get around. He not only discouraged it, he said they have a saying that basically translates to : “Better to travel in a ride that protects you rather than a ride you need to protect ”

    Although it seems that many of the motorcycle daredevils didn’t get the memo on 1 car length per 10 mph, there are many cases where good motorcycle drivers are wiped out by a mistake of another driver. That may be unfortunate, but is also irrelevant.

    Bravo to Jack, Brian and the many other converters that emphasize passenger safety by the engineering, design and forethought they put in their conversions.

  4. Hi Jack, if you are having fun it’s not work. Think of it this way, the more EV stuff you do the less you spend on flying, so you are saving money in the long run.

    As a non EV builder, I do appreciate all the time and money you put into EVTV. I’ve learned a lot and have been an avid viewer since your first ad on EV Cast. This has been an addiction for me. Thanks!

  5. From giving away Hummers at ISPcon to leading the charge and gathering a small band of motivated volunteers committed to forwarding EV development. What an interesting road you’ve taken! Congrats on finding success on your own terms!

  6. RE: the KIA Sould EV:
    When I first read about the Soul EV, and the fact that it was coming to the US this fall, I was very interested. For me, it ticks all the right boxes: ~120 mile range, seats 4, priced around a mid-line Nissan Leaf (at least that’s the expectation), and nice styling. But then I learned that Kia is selling it only in California, Oregon, New York, and a couple other East Coast states. Sadly, it’s looking like a compliance car.

    I decided to go into a local Kia dealership and get the full scoop. When I told the woman that approached me that I was interested in a car they didn’t have yet, the Soul EV, she looked at me like I was from Mars. You could see the wheels turning in her head, and she finally said “Oh yeah, I think I’ve heard of those.” After a few minutes, she was able to confirm that they would not be selling the car here in Arizona; it was limited to a few markets on the East and West Coast. Furthermore, they wouldn’t be selling them here for 2 years, and of course, that depended on how well they sold in those first few markets. She suggested that I buy one in California and bring it here. — Well, first she suggested that I buy a hybrid. I explained to her that I’m not interested in spending less on gas, I don’t want to buy any gas at all.– I asked her if their service department would work on the car if it needed repairs. After a quick check with the service manager she got the answer I expected, “No.”

    She mentioned that someone else had asked her about the car. I jumped on that and I told her that she needs to tell her sales manager that two different people had inquired about the car. Perhaps if they (Kia corporate honchos) knew of the interest it’s generating, they might reconsider selling them in a broader market. She told me that that policy wouldn’t change. While I concede that’s likely true, I explained to her that it was in fact human beings that made that policy, and if those same human beings saw a reason to change it, they would. This seemed to confuse her. Hopefully more people will do what I’ve done and they will change their mind. But, the bottom line is that though Kia is talking about the car as if it’s not a compliance car, they’re sure acting like it is.

    Tim Catellier

  7. To Tim
    I live in Arizona too, and own a 2011 Kia Soul. About every other day I get a call asking me to trade in my Soul. The last time they called I said that I was thinking of going electric and until they got in the electric Soul to stop calling me.

    Jack this is where I got the information on the Soul EV its down near the bottom

    27000 watts / 360 volts = 75 amps
    360 volts / 192 cells = 1.875 volts


    1. That’s a disappointment that the electric Kia Soul is being treated as a compliance car. I do a lot of traveling and so have the option to drive many different rental cars. All are ICE, but the Kia Soul is better in nearly every aspect than any of the other small cars available. Much better than anything from Ford / GM. The head room and leg room is the most comfortable of any small car I’ve driven. I seriously looked into buying a 2010 or 2011 Soul for my EV donor vehicle. I took pictures, measurements etc.from a rental. There seems to be good space for battery boxes and powertrain. The vehicle itself is also very light.

      Then I found the prices of the used Soul’s, even a 2010 with 100,000+ miles (if you could even find one) was selling or nearly the price of a new 2014. Right now these things hold their value like no other vehicle I’ve seen, bad for folks looking for donor vehicles.

  8. “Again, I simply will not reveal the FOUR LETTER PASSWORD to the EVTV upload area.”
    Good idea and the best good move forward!
    Promise me, if Dan sends a video……. ? 🙂

  9. Hi Jack,

    One idea I had for a battery heating pad is to place them in between adjacent cells cells. Squish them in between. With the adhesive you describe, you could stick it right onto the side of one cell. The cell next to it would share that pad, then another pad between the 3rd and 4th cell and so on, for as many batteries you have in your row of cells.

    I think you may may lose less heat to the outside of the box and get more of it into the batteries. You could carry heating pads of only a few sizes that could be suitable for all the battery sizes in your store.

    The wattage would not need to be high, as there would be several heating pads in each battery box – all wired in parallel to the input AC power via a thermostat controlled switch.

  10. Not to boast, but the password to the upload section came to me the moment I read Jack’s description.
    However, I briefly doubted myself when I read Mike’s and John’s admissions that it took them two attempts.
    I immediately came up with what I presume was their 1st attempt, but I stuck to my guns and was granted entry to the upload site upon my 1st attempt.

    Jack your response to luc336 was priceless.

  11. I’ve been presented with an opportunity to buy a floor model 2011 i-MiEV for a prive not much higher than the value of the drive train. I think I’ll need to do some CAN logging, just as a future insurance in case the BMS decides to give up the ghost and/or I otherwise need to replace the pack with some LiFePO4. Or in case there’s a need to implant it’s drive train into another vehicle at some point. In any case it would be cool to run the fully assembled vehicle as it is now just by GEVCU, bypassing the factory ECU. Just to make sure it works in case it’s needed later. 😉

    1. Hi Jarkko,
      it might be a bit trickier than expected. The ECU, the BMU and the motor controller are married by a secret key, I am told.

      Our i-MiEV was built 2010 the papers say. I still could not decide on a Bluetooth CANBUS dongle. I prefer usb. So no way to run canIon. I am still toying with my Samsung NC10 and gentoo linux. Want to use can open or can kingdom and be able to understand what I am doing.

      Adding power for driving or charging might be easier than expected. Imagine a 330 volt power bus, virtual only. When “ready” the battery is connected to the bus. Now you can add 100 cells of lihium iron phosphate in parallel. As long as about 5 kW of power are running out of or into the i-MiEV’s battery the BMU wont mind. That is almost double the power our built in charger is willing to do.

      The built in power gauge and range guessometer should work as expected. It simply sees less power consumed and less power fed back by regen breaking.

      If you can scan the CANBUS already I am very interested in digesting your data. I dont know if we can simply sniff the key but trying wont hurt.

      There are tools for hacking wireless. CANBUS should be a lot easier.

      Peter and Karin

  12. Hi Jack, On the surging accelerating problem you might try bolting a block on the floor for your heal to rest against. This will keep your foot from moving or bouncing on the pedal and even things out on the throttle input. A floor hinge type throttle is less problematic in this regard.

    1. Holy Power Pole Connector (Anderson) and it did get trouble with one pin, although it might have been my fault to grimp more than a single wire.

      What really got me, back in the 1980s I believe, fixing a cable with a block and screw was dangerous and soldering was unreliable at best. So the Mikro 16V Computer changed the world. Digico (uk) built a computer that was meant to survive the end of the world. It was the first computer with wire wrapped connections. A square pole, sharp as a knife and a cable wrapped around it several turns with a tool that looked like todays electrically powered screwdrivers. Some 16 years later we had to redo all the backplanes. But it was one of the few computers who did survive 16 years in the first place and Avo was talking of some 10 years only. Today I have heard of trouble with disintegrating capacitors. They simply fall apart with the two pins still soldered firmly onto the board. Those dinosaurs still work, in a museum at least.

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