Beauty and the Beast


I suppose innovation is the topic this week. I love it. I think it’s what most of this is about. If you ever wonder if this custom car thing is going to catch on, and have been off planet for the last 100 years, I would note that a couple of Nissan engineers in Arizona have made a Nissan Leaf Pickup.


That is not to say I like the Nissan Leaf Pickup. Or don’t like it. Or want one. Or don’t want one. It’s that a couple of Nissan engineers BUILT one. Hardly blessed by Carlos Ghosn. They just did it.

And so it goes. For most of the traveling public, a car is a car. For many, it’s an identity and it’s true that America’s love affair with the automobile has proven pretty much universal, spreading worldwide. But for most, you order whatever kind of car you like and drive whatever kind of car they give you. All in one of six standard colors.

That’s not to say they are good cars or bad cars or big cars or little cars. But they are production cars mass produced by design. Were it not so, they would be hugely more expensive all the way around.

That said, for a few, the urge to modify or customize it into something uniquely their own is not to be denied. For some, adding a cupholder pretty much scratches the itch. At the other extreme, some just have to build a car from scratch – pipebender and welder akimbo.

The electric car technically doesnt’ exist. Neither the number of custom electric cars nor the number of production electric cars quite merits the press it gets, or any press at all for that matter. There IS kind of a fascination with them, modulated by the FEAR of the different and the unknown and untried. Like any new technology, they are horrifically expensive – either way: production or custom. We hear all the time from people wanting to save money on their gasoline bill. We routinely DISCOURAGE them. Financially, electric cars are a huge loser.

I know I risk excommunication from the priesthood for even whispering this, and I will no doubt be besieged by e-mailed spreadsheets from around the world showing ABSOLUTELY that you can electric car yourself into the noveau riche just on the savings of gasoline. But almost all will be from those promoting electric cars or contemplating a build, not from anyone who actually drives one.

It’s true few hobbies actually SAVE you money at all anywhere, and I wouldn’t recommend “huntin an fishin” as a good way to save on groceries. The price of both bass and deer meat if you count all of it is pretty dear. But electric cars remain at this point an economic loser for any individual putting charge to battery.

Still, you have to ask yourself what the payback period is on your 60 inch big screen. It’s all about choices and some choose to spend their time puzzling through the process of how WOULD a more efficient car be made to work. It’s a fascinating mental exercise, and you get to drive your results. Pretty damn good as hobbies and avocations go.

I get six e-mails a week noting that the show is over and EVTV can go home because the electric car is in production now by the real “pro” automotive manufacturers and the DIY gang is just past their day. ????? What planet are these guys typing themselves smart from? They need to type harder. Because so far it isn’t working out for them.

The model for us is of course Summit Racing. Summit Racing started in 1968 selling a few custom parts to friends. Today, they have three 25,000 foot stores and 3 even larger “distribution” centers stocking literally MILLIONS of custom parts for cars. They are still a private company and do not give out their business information but each facility has like 24 loading docks running 24×7 and it has to be way past $100 million in annual sales.

So in an $80 billion dollar automotive market, the little bitty tiny group that has to customize their car to make it their own, or the even tinier group that builds hotrods, weekend race cars, and specialty vehicles, that still comprises a really HUGE thing.

I’ve many times talked about the origins of essentially ALL of our large corporations such as Ford Motor Company, Apple Computer, Eastman Kodak, Hewlett Packard and on and on and on as almost always hailing from two guys in a garage. I mention that because it simply escapes most people entirely. But it is very nearly 100%. ALcoa started in a guys basement. GE started in Thomas Edison’s Menlow Park. Google, Cisco, Microsoft, Facebook. It isn’t that the list goes on. There’s nobody on the OTHER list of how it happened otherwise.

The one thing they all had in common was an ability to see larger things coming out of small initial beginnings. I can’t tell you how often I’m approached by people looking for a great idea to start a small business that could grow into something. It’s astounding to me how disappointed they are in my many brilliant ideas. Any one of which could be a billion dollar enterprise. But the “beginnings” of it are always disappointing to them. Beneath them really. There’s no market for it. There’s no money in it. There’s nothing there.

Everything you need is there. The whole world is there. That’s where everything starts. If you want to jump to the END where it is a $60 billion company, you are entirely welcome to. But you work for them. And at this point you kind of have to start at the bottom of the dog pile doing that.

As most of our population drives off the shelf manufactured cars in one of the six standard deluxe colors, it comes as no surprise that most of them work for somebody else at a job. And they should. If you can’t see the dinosaur in the egg, you have no business frying eggs.

And at anything, it follows the standard bell curve that the technology adoption curve is likewise based on. Months turn into years of grueling effort bumping along as a bottom feeder, with gradually accelerating success. As most quit before the success part, it’s not really a very competitive world after all. Last man standing wins.

But it’s very hard to see. This week we really step back out of the limelight and do some kind of long looks at the efforts of some of our viewers. Damien Maguire shows you the pain and the danger of mating an unknown motor with a kind of different shaft to a known transmission and turning it up with an entirely made up inverter driven by an open source and not very developed microcontroller and software. He awoke to find his idle feature had been implemented in software while he slept although it never was tested on anything anywhere in the world. Let’s turn her up and see. SucksssEsse. We tink…

That he turns up a 100kw electric motor to 6000 rpm with the TEETH of the flex plate whizzing past like a TREE CHIPPER with the motor lying LOOSE ON THE TABLE is kind of exciting in a deranged way. I’m not a safety Nazi but I really don’t advise this approach. A piece of angle iron and a couple of bolts through the bench top don’t slow things down THAT much around EVTv.

I actually edited down EIGHT videos of about 30 minutes each to get this under an hour – which is probably our longest ever video from the field. I hope I did the process justice. He put a lot more effort into this than it appears in the final clip we did.

Will he wind up heading the next General Motors – only electric this time? I don’t know. And I doubt it matters. He’s clearly devoted to the avocation of being a serial killer of ICE cars converting them one at a time to electric drive as long as any are left that spell Buy Me Whenever.

He does have a YouTube channel and I would advise you to subscribe for another reason. And not to disparage him. But he didn’t start out fully formed. He has gone through quite an evolution, fearlessly learning step by step what works and what is somewhat explosive. He’s built headway packs the hard way, and replaced them the hard way. But he learns a bit more every single day he goes to the garage.

And a remarkable thing has happened along the way that I can’t quite explain or account for. With each video he’s done, he stands a little straighter. He speaks a little louder and with a bit more authority. In fact, a kind of serious speech problem seems to be improving weekly. We tink. Maybe it’s just how the Irish talk I’m not sure. He actually seems to get a little taller. A bit more confident. If anything more fearless. The furtive eyes are starting to peer into the camera directly. And I kind of have the sense that I’m watching a sweaty little dwarf grow into a defiant giant before my eyes. So why do they water so… If he would just turn down the volume on that god foresaken milling machine…and his hole saw.

We also hosted a visit from Kevin Smith and Nathan Knoppenberg the previous week. I had it on flash card but didn’t quite know what to do with it. It’s an hour as well. But we kind of talk about the innovation thing.

Kevin works for the State of Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. Nathan also works for the state government regulating nursing homes I think. They joined forces a few years ago to compete in the Progressive Insurance XPRIZE competition for the most efficient alternate fuel vehicles. There class had a $5 million award for the winner and at the end of the competition, they had it in the bag on points. During the last round, the clutch on their transmission failed and they were unable to complete the final lap of the competition. And so they sat helpless on the track, watching $5 million go to someone else, who ALSO didn’t complete the competition but got just further than they did. After a year of late night efforts and pouring all their personal resources into this one grand delusion – they failed. In public, and without recourse.

Understand and do not equivocate – it was a TOTAL failure and a very public humiliation.

On the other hand….

Five or six clowns in a corn field outside Springfield Illinois, knowing essentially BUTT about ANY kind of car or having any sort of mechanical aptitude, raised a hundred grand and built an electric car from DIRT using junkyard parts and ALMOST won the Progressive Insurance XPRIZE $5 million.

And what did they do with their failure? There isn’t going to BE another Xprize. But they still have the car. And they still work on it. And today, it is a four passenger vehicle, quite comfortable at highway speeds indeed featuring a top end of 130 mph. And it uses 147 watt hours to push 2900 lbs of mass (not counting Kevin and his never miss a meal companion) down the road at a weight to watt hour ratio somewhere over TWENTY TO ONE. They call it 200 mpgE. Or MPGe. Or something.

And here they are with two new possibilities. One is some new window tint film to cut down on the solar heat gain of the vehicle – passively reducing the air conditioning energy costs. The other is a permanent magnet linear motor/generator they think will generate 72 volts at some current implying 250 watts from the 3mm variation in road surface felt through the vehicle suspension.

What do I think about that? It’s hard to say. I struggle to think cogently through the tears…

I walk through a land of heroes and giants who have no idea who they are or what they look like to me. I feel like the one-eyed king in the land of the sightless. Do any have the vision to see what is before you? It is a miraculous time. With enormously powerful spirits doing amazing world changing things by whim.

But if you can’t see it I can’t show it to you…You’ll be left whining about the white balance and the quibbling over the cost of AN fittings in Ohio.

There is another side to it. Not all innovation is innocent. And some is frankly opportunistic. I really wouldn’t mind, but my e-mail box tends to fill up with the frustrated victims. In this episode, we kind of “out” the EVMotorWorks guys and the home grown DIY charger. I’ve mixed emotions about this which is why we’ve delayed on this. Two years ago I sold one of these chargers to Dale Friedhoff and he blew it up within a week. We gave him another charger of different make and returned it to “Valery” for replacement. Four months later we got it back right around the time he wanted me to carry his latest “product” which also didn’t work very well.

The ambition is actually kind of laudable. The guy has developed a design which orignally was NOT his own, but a DIY design on the DIYelectricjunk forum. Damien, curiously has BUILT this charger and it does work. But Valery attempted to productize it into a kit and an assembled product.

I disregard the kit entirely. You buy a kit you are responsible for the outcome. But he has sold a number of the assembled chargers. And i hear from them. Because they ALL blow up. It’s not whether. It is when. And it can take MONTHS to get Valery to do anything about it. Meanwhile, the ardent following of bottom feeders who desperately want a 24kw charger for $1200 to somehow be true, keep TOUTING it. Jehu and I kind of fell out over this charger over a year ago. He had failed both with the kit and the assembled charger but was STILL TOUTING IT as a great thing on his videos. It’s like a religion.

This week he release a video finally falling on his sword on this one – AFTER getting stranded 125 miles from home with a charger failure.

And with astounding hubris, Jehu is announcing that HE is going to FIX the Valery charger and productize it himself.

I have to admire this guy – he really has balls. But I can’t help but wish he would mount a couple of neurons on top of them just to kind of help aim them at something. His laptop battery adventure has gone quietly to the grave – I was cringing through the entire series. Now he wants to put his fast camera mount skills in play in POWER SWITCHING ELECTRONICS.

So how do two separate groups bring me to tears of admiration with Damien and Kevin, while two others bring me to shrieks of horror in Jehu and Valery.

Part of it is the “product” part. And part of it is picking your targets. Kevin and Damien are working on THEIR cars. Jehu and Valery want to work on YOURS for profit.

Beyond the chilling effect of having dozens of bad chargers out there failing with no real support after they’ve failed, I kind of have a problem with chargers and batteries. They are where the FIRES come from. Batteries, chargers, BMS systems kind of all get together for some pretty incendiary stuff. That has another undesired effect. It REINFORCES an already extant view of the garage electric car tinkerer as an unschooled idiot playing with dangerous electricity that can prove a menace to our roads and our neighborhoods. Something must be DONE. And what they will do is regulate us out of existence if that perception is not countered with the story of all innovation coming out of the garage. Valery and Jehu are not advancing the ball. They are threatening to let the air out of it. I will speak to this. And let those with an ear to hear hear.

I would further comment that power switching devices dealing with powers of 12kw, 24kw, 100kw, 150kw, are simply nontrivial. The nature of the components and the ready availability of standardized book designs make it appear to be really easy to just hook these things up and go. In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is. And anyone who actually HAS attempted to properly school themselves on this, and I don’t care that you don’t have a PHD or formal training, but you do have to go through the process, has a pile of blasted caps and even more blasted IGbTs to prove the point.

There is a layer of elegance and finesse required here that if you are unaware of it, you are unlikely to master it. These devices have a lot of power, but also a lot of inductive and capacitive reactance that moves you into the realm of FM electronics. That does NOT stand for frequency modulation. More like f***ng magic. And so we see a case of don’t know and don’t know they don’t know at play here.

As to productization, it is heartbreaking. Note first that I’m not avid to do a charger or an inverter and certainly not without serious help. Forty years of electronics is NOT enough in this case. But taking a thing from a working prototype on MY car to a product for use elsewhere is simply non-trivial. We battle with enclosures. With cables. With connectors. With connectors. With connectors…. oops. Down to the BOX its mailed in and the documentation that goes with it.

I suppose our lone “product” contribution would be the GEVCU – which employed a GLOBAL team of guys who really DO know about these things, with us doing most of the grunt work with cables and boxes and so forth. But don’t be confused. We have probably close to $200,000 tied up in the developement of the Generalized Electric Vehicle Control Unit. We have THREE test benches set up with at least two motors and inverters on them, and TWO live vehicles, VW THINGS with motors and inverters in them, and we started the project in January of 2013. And the first few deliveries of GEVCUS to anyone outside the development group have occurred in the last 60 days. We test this stuff over and over and over again on different benches with different inverters and motors and then we put them in vehicles and go DRIVE them for days and weeks and months EVERY DAY.

That’s all for a little Arduino based controller that translates accelerator pedal to CAN messages. At power levels approaching and at times even EXCEEDING a half an ampere at 12 volts. A six watt device with no real fire potential. It works your brake lights. Your reverse lights. It is IMPORTANT that it be right. But it isnt’ critical. It really isn’t going to cause your vehicle to run away with you. It MIGHT cause it to stop in its tracks. But so far it is going well.

In this episode we see the first drive of the Jeep CJ5 build. This is the first out of house build, delivered by Anne Kloopenberg of EVTV.EU, rather eggregiously inspected by the Dutch authorities, but the GEVCU seems to be holding its own. A Siemens motor. An Azure Dynamics DMOC645 inverter. And the GEVCU. Rolling well it seems to me.

So I love the idea of a linear motor converting potholes to Megawatts. It points the way and it might give YOU some ideas of how to do the same for less. But I think Kevin faces a long tough road to delivering it as a product. Indeed, he didn’t express any ambition to do so. And the likelihood of stranding anyone from suspension dampener failure, or setting a vehicle or building on fire, is pretty minimal.

Damien is somewhat fearlessly doing his own inverter. All of Ireland here forewarned and plenty of ocean between him and us. But he does have a record of success with high power devices and spanner based battery management. And it is for his own car. I wont’ expect him to replace mine if it fails because he didn’t make it.

We are hereby formally inviting him to act as keynote speaker, Electric Vehicle Conversion Convention 2015. He can leave the milling machine at home. No need to transport it. I would ask everyone to assist me in pressuring him to accept.

39 thoughts on “Beauty and the Beast”

  1. Damien and Jehu and one and the same charger …

    I have seen Damien’s charger. Damien has no problems finding the right parts and where to stick them into the breadboard and he has no trouble solving the problem how to get rid of excess thermal power. But Damien could design his own charger in the first place and I am afraid he would not take the time to tell he had to replace a driver or final transistor every now and then. He would not think it interesting.

    From what I have seen of Jehu’s built I am afraid he cannot tell driver from final. No wonder things got broken. Seeing his plan of an aluminum cup to cool his inductors I am afraid he is building a short circuit, a magnetic short that is and I can only guess whether it would result in an electric short or high impedance. Dont ask me who’s video can teach us more. Most of us do learn from our own errors, sometimes at least. Some do even learn from somebody else’s errors. Seeing somebody else doing it right on the first try may be discouraging. Seeing Jehu finally succeed because yet another good soul cannot continue seeing him suffer … That is very encouraging.

    Jack your videos are very encouraging and I guess that is not an accident. If Jack can do it so can I. Jack you are good in making us believe.

    Sorry my english. Both Damien and me english is not our first language but I guess Damien has a lot more practice.

    Peter and Karin

  2. And now a word about Pinyin…

    Jack, thanks for the informative shows the past couple of weeks. You mentioned the Stanford battery researcher Yi Cui. Through the marvelous logic of the Chinese mind, while Yi Cui looks like it should be pronounced Ye Kwee, it is really spoken more like the English words: Eat Sway–except that the letter ‘t’ is moved as the beginning letter of Sway instead of the final letter of Eat. So you end up saying: E Tsway.

    So there you have it, your unasked for introduction to Pinyin 101.


  3. Damien wants to reimburse me for shipping charges on the book I gave him. As far as I’m concerned he can plunk it into the sinking fund for the airline tickets.

  4. It has been a while since I have commented on this blog. However, this one kind of speaks to me.

    While I am not what Jack calls a player, I still enjoy being a part of an actual revolution. Which is what is actually going on here in my opinion. I am fortunate enough to own a Tesla Model S and my own converted car.

    I must admit that the Model S is better that my VW Thing in every measurable way…

    NOTE: Take a good look at the above sentence. After I typed it, I paused to think about what I just wrote. Notice How I said “the Model S” and “my VW Thing”. I did not do this on purpose, that is just how it came out and I realized that is how I really feel about it….

    The VW Thing is “My Car” the Model S is a GREAT car that I drive (and I do love to drive it). In fact the wife and I have put 17,000 miles on it since March. The Supercharger network is quite fascinating to use. I drive the car for my work because the VW Thing simply does not have enough range for my daily driving needs. I often drive 100-150 miles is a day. However, both me and my wife drive the car on nice days just to enjoy the drive.

    However, I PREFER to drive the Thing. I know many will not believe that, but it is quite true. I love it because it is “My” car built the way I wanted it to be built. It even has GREAT working front and rear cup holders. I guess this is one area where the Thing is actually BETTER than the Model S which does not even have rear cup holders.

    I probably cannot explain why I like the Thing better as it makes no logical sense to my engineering brain, I just do. Then again I always dated tall red heads, but I married a little short blue eyed blond. In fact she was the only blond I ever dated (I suspect witch craft, but that is another story).

    My wife and I have talked about the Model X. I Think it actually suites me better than the Model S does. I even though about putting a deposit down on one. However, I kind of realized that I can in fact build a car my self with my own style that will match the performance and range of the Model X. There is no technical reason why I cannot build a dual motor truck (What I really want) with a 60-70Kwhr pack. I could use a pair of AC35x2 motors and 4 Curtis controller and a1 92 CALB 100 cells. Or, I could build one with two UQM motors and controllers and 200 CALB 100 cells or 200 of the new CAM 80 cells. I have enough skill in metal fabrication that I can in fact make an all aluminum truck. I can make it look like the 1950’s truck that I love and probably even improve the aerodynamics a little bit. All I had to do is accept the fact that I would probably spend as much money as I would probably spend on a Tesla Model X. However, I know which one I would truly rather drive…

    Dose this desire to build a very expensive electric truck that would be about the size of a Ford Ranger make any logical sense? HELL NO…. Do I want to do it… HELL YES…

      1. Does it make sense?

        Karin has spent a lot of her money to get me an i-MiEV. If I say no you’ll see me on the barbeque.

        Well, driving it for almost three years it did make sense and most likely saved our lives more than once.

        I had (in spanish they might think I have had bought) bought a new VW Golf station wagon, almost a van and I had used shift gear all of my life. The Golf was more than 13 years old when we sold it. It was getting more and more expensive and I could not even change a light bulb. I have done it once and I would not try it again because the side I changed I did take the 12V batterie out but on the other side it did not have a battery in the first place. It almost took half a day for the garage and they did it for free selling me only the light bulb.

        Trouble with the Golf, she used to be an aristocratic old lady. Never try to accelerate in front a traffic light when the light is turning yellow. She would stall the engine and leave you stranded right in the mess.

        Fun with the i-MiEV she silently creeps from her place almost unnoticed and right at the moment when you think that is it she jumps into a sprint that never ends. Well it ends at 130 kilometers per hour but that is far away from what is allowed near traffic lights.

        But the real fun was – the car is so unfinished. There is so much you can improof and you actually can. It makes fun and it makes sense. The first car I can work on since the old days.

    1. Jeff, I sat next to you at EVCCON when you were sketching some of your ideas for the Dual-Dual pickup and hope you have the chance to build it one day. It will be art on wheels.

      I get what you’re saying about “the Model S” vs. “my Thing”. I have 30,000 carefree miles on “the Leaf” and prefer to drive “my MG” even though it’s seriously impractical. After a year of collecting OEM quality bits and pieces (THANKS, JACK!) I’m building a daily driver replacement for the Leaf when the lease is up. Does that make logical sense? HELL NO…. Do I want to do it… HELL YES… Why? Because I’d like the same level of satisfaction I get driving the MG, but in a more year-round all-weather package.

      The Porsche 924 project is just starting, introduced here:

      but you can follow it here:

      Gotta go move the leads on the endless bottom balancing routine on the Better Place pack. Later …

    2. Jeff, your EV Thing is a work of art and has got to turn heads wherever it goes. It’s a testament not just to technical ability, but also an inspired vision of the interface between tech and user. You’re a playah imho.

    3. Hmmm. Interestingly, I used to have a vehicle termed an AMC HUMMER now known as a HUMMER 1 in deference to Hummer 2.

      The original HUMMER had a four wheel drive system. But the wheels had a gear reduction in them. I can’t recall, but I think it was 10 to 1. The shaft entered at the top of the wheel with the wheel actually below it and it was geared inside.

      A pickup truck with a HUMMER rear end would likely allow a UQM Powerphase 100 on each rear wheel in a wierd kind of direct drive thing going on.

      That would give you about 200kw of power – easily enough to drive a large pickup effectively. No transmission issues. Indeed, you could leave the engine and front wheel drive intact for a bastard hybrid. After awhile, you’ll want to remove all that to have more batteries.

      Jack Rickard

  5. Your wit and humor in writing is always a great read. I admire emotorworks for coming up with a charger with that power level but as we found out, making it reliable is quite another thing. The testing and instruments at that level are just way more expensive that just building a 5V circuit board. ON another topic, here’s some interesting facts from Elon himself about their AC motor. It’s at 41:35 minutes:

  6. Another Great show Jack! …and thanks as well to your bevy of video contributors. I am somewhat in awe after viewing Damien’s video when toward the end you see him standing next to his workbench with what appears to be about 800 or more pounds on it mostly floating without any real support. I can’t believe that the load was balanced on just a “Workmate” portable bench. What’s up Damien?

  7. I’ve had a couple questions about make/model of the window tints, here’s what I was told by Bill, the owner of A1window tint that after listening to my very short, 20 minute, 100 wps(word per sec) explanation of the world, universe and Seven told me while cutting off the sample pieces you saw in the video and said, “go have fun man”

    Llumar makes the clear ceramic IR tint
    Hooper makes the tinted ceramic tint that combines IR and UV tinting into one
    The other sample was just standard dark uv window tint

    And oh yes, I’m happily giving my business to Bill once Seven is ready for tint; he not only took the time to listen but supported and looked up data on the tints as he gave the samples to me. You can’t buy that kind of support, but you can patronize the businesses that gave it to you…even if it costs you a few $$ more, I’ve found the time and knowledge shared are usually more than worth it. Kindve like trying to build my own GEVCU….screw that, Jack’s got me covered…and soon maybe with some OEM liquid Cooled chargers and other parts…looks like we’re picking up a Wheego this weekend Jack….might be needing a charger upgrade sooner than later.


  8. Am kinda speechless. Better polish my speechwriting skills. The milling machine has but one purpose in life : to mill. It mills therefore it is. Power electronics is great fun. I love it. But I won’t build for others. Been that soldier in a past life. Didn’t end well. I popped an 800A IGBT in the E36 a few years back because I hadn’t quite got the message about DC link inductance. Lots of pitfalls but lots of rewards. I plan to take “Der Panzer” to the UK in March and all the way to Munich in the summer courtesy of Chademo stations and probably more CAM cells than I can afford! Might call in and see Anne. Thanks everyone for the support!

  9. ” That does NOT stand for frequency modulation. More like f***ng magic. And so we see a case of don’t know and don’t know they don’t know at play here.”

    That statement takes me back 40 years to my tech school electronics class. Our instructor would look at us with a gleam in his eyes and say “It’s Magic.” He never injected the F word but the whole class knew he was thinking it! We were working on tube electronics and doing the calculations with slide rules, just on the cusp of solid state electronics. We all laughed at our instructor, Bob Norman, when he boldly stated that “one day you would be able to hang a television on the wall like a picture frame.” How times have changed since then!

  10. HAHAH “Jehu and I kind of fell out over this charger over a year ago” Im pretty sure it was you living up to your threat of being the worlds biggest Douchebag that did it.

    And Peter Dambier, Dont correct Jack, he knows everything and if he doesn’t he just pulls it out of his ass.

  11. Of interest? I think Local Motors has been mentioned before during discusions on open source cars but their latest plan seems to be a significant srep in that direction. Oh, and it is set up for an electric drivetrain. A CFRP 3D printed car with fewer parts and recyclable into your next printed car.. if not painted.

    And a modification contest where you could win your own.

  12. HAHAH “Jehu and I kind of fell out over this charger over a year ago” Im pretty sure it was you living up to your threat of being the worlds biggest Douchebag that did it.
    And Peter Dambier, Dont correct Jack, he knows everything and if he doesn’t he just pulls it out of his ass.

    1. It’s all relative Jehu. Yes, I can see how you would come to believe that I know everything. It isn’t really so, but from your perspective, I can see how you would come to that conclusion. And yeah, if pressed for an answer, I suppose I could pull something out of my ass that would be more likely to be correct. I’m sure it all looks like magic to you.

      A massive battery pack of unfused laptop batteries. I had to comment to at least get you to fuse them. I see even with that the laptop project has magically drifted away. Good. It is a very poor solution for custom electric cars. It makes good video, and very bad electric vehicles. I’m very pleased you were not hurt physically.

      The EV Motor Werks charging solutions simply do not work in the field. They are great ideas. Extremely poorly executed. There simply is no humiliation an EV owner can endure worse than being stranded 125 miles from home, beyond I suppose having to ride in on the back of a flatbed tow truck. And we’re hearing from what I would term “dozens” of owners of this technology that have had similar experiences with this specific device and vendor. The design is not sufficiently productized to be reliable in any kind of operation. Hastily done, rushed to market, and with no resources to support it.

      That you would tackle this refinement is admirable. And from the high quality of your photography products you could certainly add some packaging polish to this charger. But I’m afraid that isn’t going to fix it. And the concept of you having sufficient deep knowledge of power electronics to engineer a fix here is kind of preposterous frankly. As I said, I admire your fearless approach. But you need to mount a couple of neurons on top of those balls if you want to get that bus running well and safely.

      How all this translates to resentment of me is a little tortured. We loved your videos, encouraged you where we could, tried to provide some guidance on your more eggregious technical shortcomings.

      For those unfamiliar with the history, we even aired a parody of myself and brain and EVTV Jehu and his brother Gabriel put together. Despite the continual technical comedy, we included him as a regular segment on EVTV and tried to nicely point out the areas of dubious experimentation hoping our viewers would enjoy but take care. When he confessed his photography equipment business was failing and he needed to derive some income from video, which he was certain would come from a viral influx of YouTube subscribers and ads, we agreed to pay him $300 per week for his video segment. No basis for it – just pure charity.

      I failed to make the payment on the proper weekend day one week and Jehu went ballistic. I did point out to him that it was a holiday weekend, and that indeed he had kind of failed to send in a video that week – turns out he was on holiday with his family (duh). So I fired him as nicely as possible. I said look, I’ll GIVE you the $300 for the video you FAILED to produce this week, and you don’t need to worry about sending in any more videos. Go and good luck on your YouTube career.

      Ergo my promotion to world’s biggest Douchebag. Largely because the YouTube thing hasn’t precisely worked out for him. As it turns out, the take there is more like $3.40 per month in Google Ad revenue. There are a tiny minority of YouTubians who do make some money at it. But almost always with something designed and targetted at the silly and the stupid. Shots of cute children doing wierd things and of course cats are popular.

      We use YouTube for one thing – a tiny percentage of our viewers use Mobile devices and particularly APPLE mobile devices that simply will not run JWPlayer or allow large video downloads. If none of our contributors have included music which the idiotic automated system at YouTube determines is a copyright violation, the Youtube conversion supports that. If we are tagged for music, they turn that off. We don’t even bother with the Google ads. They increasingly dick up the YouTube video experience and they will eventually have as bad an advertising mess as Cable TV enjoys today. YouTube represents perhaps 6% of our weekly viewership as best I can tell.

      We host on Amazon’s AWS Cloud service and this has worked out extremely well so far. Eventually we think some future version of HTML5 will unify the video player technicals anyway. We are not opposed to advertising, but it has to be video commercials IN our videos that are topically appropos and of innate INTEREST to our viewers. And we’ve no interest in “sharing” that with YouTube, much less letting them “share” a tiny percentage of ad revenue with us.

      What I know of publishing does not lend itself to success in six months or “going viral”. From past experience, I think it takes six years to get a publication off the ground and on solid footing. We look forward to the spring of 2015 which is when we get there. I think the momentum at that point will pretty much grant us total dominance of the EV conversion/custom car niche as a publication.

      But I could be wrong. We’re a little early to the party. The vendors in the space are so far unsophisticated mom and pop shop operators who do not quite perceive the value of advertising. That problem will solve itself over time as the larger vendors gradually change their perception of this market segment, give up their unrealistic and indeed misaimed desires to be OEM serfs, and discover that sales, support and production all really do look like a bit of work which is part of operating a viable business.

      In the meanwhile, we would encourage you all to subscribe to Jehu’s YouTube video. The quicker he grows his subscriber base, the sooner he will learn that YouTube is not about him making money, but it is all about YouTube making money. And like all things, on advanced topics perhaps he’ll learn that doing something just to make money usually leads to everything – except making any money.

      And we would predict that if he DOES keep after it for five to six years, he will do well with a video publication and probably be a lot smarter about electric vehicles as well. I fear that our laughing and carrying on and having a good time has implied to people like Jehu that this is all easy. It’s just the opposite. We only bother to have a good time and laugh and carry on once we’ve found something that is HARD. Easy is boring, worthless, adds little value to anything, and is best left to the amateurs and dilletantes as it keeps them from mucking up our space.

      Conversion of ALL personal transportation worldwide to magnetic drive we think is going to be HARD. That IS the mission and we are careful not to take our eye off the ball. We don’t care about the money. We don’t even care about the video. And I don’t mind being the world’s largest Douchebag – or the devil incarnate for that matter. As any non-moron can tell by the way I dress, the way I live, whom I marry, whom I associate with, what the world thinks of ME personally either partially or entirely is simply of no consequence to me whatsoever.

      The reason I don’t have a dog is that I don’t CARE if a dog loves me or not. Oddly they all seem attracted to that – I’m virtually assaulted by all my friends dogs who want to be buddies for some reason. Everyone comments on this. They get all excited and pee all over themselves if I just walk into the room. I think its simply because I’m vaguely shaped like an ENORMOUS fire hydrant – the largest they’ve ever seen. Dogs are really kind of simple minded.

      I happen to be in posession of one bit of information Jehu does not own, nor do almost anyone else. I AM NOT AS UNIQUE as you think I am. I’m certainly not as unique as I think I am. Indeed, there are at least 100,000 other guys out there just like me, only in most cases they write BETTER software, are BETTER at electronics, know MORE about batteries, are MUCH cleverer with their hands and their tools, and their innovations and their inventions. Maybe, just maybe, I perhaps have a SLIGHTLY clearer vision of the future and what it might look like than they do. And I am religiously and intellectually aware of an astounding fact that they generally are NOT.

      We are MUCH more interconnected than you think. We are in a woven mesh of 7 billion people and the threads that weave us together are not long, they are extremely short. And a relative handful of inviduals can entirely makeover the entire planet if they are singlemindedly focused on the same thing for even a brief period of time. Indeed EACH individual is so enormously more amazing and more POWERFUL than he can ever be allowed by the forces that be to know. Indeed, if this ever gets out, it would essentially castrate the forces of evil in the world. So you are wrapped in a powerful illusion designed to convince you that your thoughts and activities DO NOT MATTER.

      There is so much resource devoted to the maintenance of this illusion that I daren’t tackle it directly. So I do not ask any of you to believe this. Let’s stay focused on a relatively minor target of revamping all personal transportation worldwide to a form of energy use five times more efficient than our current mode, freeing that energy for other uses. So here’s really all we have to do.

      1. Find the 100,000 that are just like me. That’s kind of a one to one thing. I actually have to meet and greet each one. Along the way, I have to encounter milions who are of no help and do not matter. The bovine herd of the silly and the stupid. The ones I seek self select and I can tell very quickly. Indeed, I not only recognize these people, they usually almost instantly recognize me.

      2. Demonstrate what we need to do and how it’s basically done. If a clown such as myself with minimal skills, working half days falling down drunk can do it, they obvously can with minimal effort. So we do everything wrong, and still come out with a gorgeous car. I thought Jehu would be a natural for this, which is why I wanted him with us. But he never finishes his car. And he’s intellectually kind of not up to the game.

      3. Motivate them to adopt the mission. Here’s the world if we don’t. Here’s the world if we do. So do.

      4. After that it’s just acting as a clearing house for cool bits and pieces we and THEY find on the floor, rooting round in the junk yard, hardware store, eBay, or kitchen. All the builds get better as we find better pieces. The better the builds, the more the rest of the planet is attracted to them. No junk please. No lead. Yes, of course it is expensive.

      Once you understand all this, everything falls in place. The yellow shoes. The cigarettes. The white balance. The three hours. That I suffer fools poorly and kind of publicly makes sense. It only offends the fools. Why would I care?

      If you are among the 100,000. I DO actually care. Anything we can do to aid and abet your most minor and trivial of efforts, we are focused entirely on making it so. And by that I do not mean gratuitously make it so or being with you in spirit. I mean EFFECTIVELY making it so. In designing our publication, our income, our business model, it will all be built as best as I can to be a viable, profitable, solidly built foundation that will be there for as long as it is needed and with or without me personally.

      As to fame, the actual money, or vanity – you just can’t picture it I’m sure. ANY exposure of ANY kind beyond the walls of my bed and bath is a sacrifice, an almost violent intrusion on my personal liberty, space, and comfort. I have already been so wealthy I didn’t know what the numbers meant, and so impoverished I couldn’t pay attention, NUMEROUS TIMES. The best I ever had it was at age 13 with 35 lawns and no real obligations to anyone for anything other than the war on grass and weeds. It can’t GET better than that, so its all not to worry. I’ll certainly never be that wealthy again in THIS lifetime.

      And vanity. Yellow plastic shoes. SAM’s club clothes. 300 lbs with a face for radio and a four pack a day habit. Oh, yeah. I’m a chic magnet and that’s important to me.

      But the world’s biggest douchebag? Do you REALLY think so Jehu? I mean on a scale of 1 to 10. How many actual bonafide douchebags have you known? And do you know a LOT about douchebags? Or were you just saying that to hurt my feelings?

      Jack Rickard

        1. John,

          This sounds similar to a situation my students report to me. Here is my boilerplate reply. Perhaps this advice will fit your situation.

          “The version of the Safari browser for the IPad does not correctly display our Echo 360 video files. You will need to install and use the Google Chrome browser (free download in the IPad App Store). The Echo videos will display correctly in the Google Chrome browser.”


      1. “what the world thinks of ME is simply of no consequence to me whatsoever.”
        The shoes were all I needed to convince me; I’m looking for a pair of my own.

    2. Jehu,

      What you have engaged in is an Ad Hominem attack, usually resorted to when the facts of your argument lack merit. Motive is everything. Jack may criticize what he thinks is faulty thinking, but it does not appear to be out of malice.

      You are young, so you may have not yet had enough life experience to learn this lesson: Do your good works for their own merit, and the financial reward you wish will usually come along for the ride. Jack is not in this for the reward. He is in this to further a cause he knows is right and in fact inevitable. We will get there a little sooner as a result of his help.


      1. Not to worry Ed. It is better to be abused than ignored in publishing. Jehu will make a video, basically spreading the word about the horrible Jack and his horrible videos. A lot of people will come view our videos just to see what he’s talking about. While Jehu has kind of self confessed to not mattering and BEING one of the fools I do in fact suffer poorly, some of those he sends our way may NOT be. Ergo, it is better to be abused than ignored, and generally true that it is slightly of numerical advantage to be abused than to be lauded as a great hero. If he does one telling everyone what a great guy I am, we get six new regular viewers. If he does one about what a monster we are, we get 60 new regular viewers. Ironic, eh?

        It’s publishing. Kind of a quirky vocation.

        Jack Rickard

      2. Oh Ed, I don’t think you understand what is going on here, let me explain, try to keep up.
        My above statement was not an attack to Jack. I was simply pointing out that the reason Mr Rickard gave for us parting ways was not accurate. We did not “fell out over this charger” I am in no way affiliated with EMW or this charger and it did not play any role in us parting ways. This is just something Jack is pulling out of his enormous ass. I do however, clearly remember deciding to part ways from Jack due to what I consider to be a shady character. Shady?
        Ask Jack, he’s always more than happy to list all his character flaws in alphabetical order for anyone that asks. And, that right there is my problem with him!
        Now listen, I’m not saying I’m all above that, there is nothing wrong with flaws, we all have them, we are all flawed, but usually, most of us are not proud of them, Except for Mr Rckard that is he’s a whole nother story, when I met him he warned me, he said ” I’m very hard to get along with, I’m an Asshole most of the time, ask Brian, he’s quit on me 7 times”.

        Ahhh…. No thank you, I Do not have any desire or need for an Asshole in my life right now, I’m all stocked up in the asshole department at the moment. And so, thats why up until last week I was doing my own thing and he his. But now it seems according Jack that I’m a menace to the community, and their pockets, somehow, which is funny because last time I checked I’m not the one with an online shop full of overpriced EV components.

        As for Jacks criticism, Do I really care what Jack thinks of me? No, Not really I ain’t going to argue with the old man either, I value my time and so I rather spend it in a more productive way.
        I will thou point out that his advice is pretty idiotic, he’s basically telling me,
        “Jehu, you are way over your head with this charger, you are just a dumb neuronless carpenter, chargers are blowing up, you and your new partner (Valery) should just pack up, go home and let the smart folks figure it out”.

        As Advice goes thats a real gem there, I mean, Bravo. I feel so encouraged, Am I Elon Musk? You Sure? I feel like Elon
        Jack you kind of sound like those online crazies that say Electric cars are dangerous, “they keep blowing up I tell ya! the batteries just burst into flames, Its just too dangerous, they should really stop making them.

        And shouldn’t you take your own advice Jack? Looks to me like that heating system on the escalade is above your pay grade there cowboy, How many failed attempts at it by now? How many years you’ve been working on that? I think you should just pack up, go home, let a professional outfit take care of that, I know a couple good EV shops out here in California that could handle it, Oh wait, you’ve been an Ass to them also so they might not feel so compelled to help? well yes theres that……. maybe just pack and go home then.

        By the way Jack, I might be dumb and all but I do realize I’m collateral damage here, your lash out was not intended for me,
        What happened? you wanted some ChaDemo info from Valery and he told you to get lost?
        Maybe you shouldn’t have been such an ass to him in the past huh?
        I mean at the rate your going Jack every evccon is less and and less of the key players showing up, Who’s next HPEVS? Do your thing Man, call Brian up on the phone yell at him, call him a motherfucker that usually works for you right?

        Anyways, I change my mind, no video from me, we tried that remember the whole exploiting the little dumb mexican, been there, done that. Keep doing the whole old, bitter, controlling, my way or the highway thing you do over there, it suits you, you are good at it, the universe needs you Jack, something about the Yin and Yang or something.

        PS “I did point out to him that it was a holiday weekend” Exactly what holiday do you celebrate the first week of april? Im looking on my calendar here and I don’t see any holi……..wait a minute! I see it here on my EVTV calendar, Oh yes the “National Jack Rickard Pull it out of my ass holiday” now how could I miss that one?

        1. Valery has never told me to “get lost” Jehu. In fact I cant’ find anything in your message that ever actually happened. It is true we didn’t part ways over the charger. We kind of had a disagreement over it earlier on. The parting of the ways was when you went ballistic over a Paypal payment for a video you never delivered. In the end, I actually PAID you for a video never received. Fair enough in your book as I recall.

          Last I heard from Valery, he was very enthusiastic over our purchase of a charger and CHAdeMO controller to use for testing. In fact, he was going to invoice me right away. Then he winked out for six weeks and is not reachable by e-mail. Part of a three year recurring pattern. He’s forever wanting us to carry his products here at EVTV, but a little vague on when they will actually WORK or what he can do about it if we sell any and they BLOW UP – which is precisely what has happened to you. And indeed we’ve agreed to test numerous things, which never do quite appear I assume because they never do GET FINISHED.

          It’s not precisely that you are a dumb mexican, though that may play a role as well, as it is that you are just in over your head. Power electronics is non-trivial from the get go and actually productizing it is something I don’t personally attempt, Damien doesn’t personally attempt, and that has been problematic for companies devoted to it for years. Since you don’t know what’s involved, or even that it IS difficult, I would guess you’re unlikely to blindly stumble into a good solution. Lightening could of course strike I suppose. We’ll be watching.

          But meanwhile my mailbox is getting beat up with people with blown up chargers and experiences every bit as enjoyable as your return trip from Solvang. Does that further the image of DIY electric vehicle conversions? No, it actually has a CHILLING effect on it and perpetuates the inaccurate myth that all custom conversions of electric vehicles are done by idiots who don’t know what they are doing and pose a menace to society. I had the same problem with the BMS Fire Departments – the public blazes HAVE actually caused regulation. No electric vehicle can now be imported to Norway unless it is built by a bonafide OEM. All over an entirely unnecessary shipboard fire caused by a BMS.

          The Escalade is quite warm and toasty these days and better, the environmentals all work as designed. But it took five tries to get there. With a simple heating system. My point precisely. Sometimes, it is not as simple as it LOOKS. We’ve also had several cuts at the COOLING system on the Thing. None precisely life threatening. But we’ve had zero complaints over the quality or delivery of heating and cooling components coming from EVTV. And if we did, I’m pretty confident we could resolve them in something less than 3 months.

          This charger has been a popular topic online and I still see people singing the praises of it, despite having it blow up on them. Often it is now “finally fixed” and they are very happy for the last 27 days it has run properly. Time and miles will tell.

          I thought it important to mention it as a caution to our viewers. And you’re in the heart of the beast.

          You changed your mind? No video? I thought you were going to tell the WORLD what you thought of me? All we get is a jumbled and garbled e-mail message with further attacks on my ASS. Seems a popular theme here. You seem very ass conscious. And a douchebag expert as well as I recall.

          We love you Jehu. You’re a very special little fellow… When I grow up to be your size I want to be just like you….

          Jack Rickard

        2. Jehu,

          If Jack was the first guy to tell you that you wouldn’t succeed at something, you’ve lived a blessed life. Life is full of “can’t do’s”, starting with the 10 commandments. And you heard 1 more guy say you CAN’T pull it off? SO WHAT!

          Want some vindication? Want to prove Jack is wrong? Follow through !

          Work out the bugs, productize the charger, develop your customer base, support it and cha-ching! – YOU will have done just that. AND you won’t have to say another thing about it.

          You’re right that the EV community would love a SAFE, RELIABLE, LOW COST, HIGH POWER charger. Consider the order of those attributes.

          You can sponsor CHARGER WEEKEND at your shop, where people bring their soldering irons, buy your charger kits, build them at your shop. Verify with your test equipment and then leave with working chargers!

          Life is short. Be one of those guys in your garage that pulls it off and shows the world.

          In the mean time, don’t be a stranger – folks enjoy your Samba videos.

  13. Does anyone know how Heyoka Merrifield (the owner of the SunJag) is doing? Marcus Reddish maybe?

    I remember Jack telling that he had a bad accident, was it last year? I was saddened to hear this as he was such a gentle soul. Hopefully he has recovered from his injuries.

    1. Mr. Merrifield had no accident I am aware of. Marcus Reddish had a hang gliding accident that broke his back. I’ve heard from him a couple of times since then but he has not re-emerged on the scene that I’m aware of.

      Jack Rickard

      1. Thank you Jack for the correction. My mistake, apologies to Heyoka Merrifield. It was the hang gliding accident I was referring to. You have made so many videos that it’s hard to find the relevant video.

        My heart goes out to Marcus Reddish. Hopefully he is on the way to recovery. The SunJag is a beautiful conversion and the video is one of the finest on EVTV.

  14. That SS was lovely. The epitomy of a Sunday special for the home builder and plenty of under bonnet room for batteries. (Bonnet = hood).
    Might of mentioned this before. Its usually paragliding accidents that (mostly) damage backs. Hang gliding accidents do everything else.
    But he did look more of a hang gliding kind of guy..
    This is Marcus 🙁

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