Congratulations, Daughter – Hitting Your Prime in the Land of the Heart


No video this week and I guess I don’t think we’ll have anything in the coming week as well. Kind of a spring vacation for the fat kid.

We shoot on Friday and edit on Saturday in theory. With the brain fully drained and no longer in residence at EVTV, I’m a little pressed wearing several hats. So recently I’ve been mostly shooting on Saturday and editing on Sunday when the rest of the crew aren’t in. That lets me focus a bit without a lot of questions about whether an o-ring goes with the Seimens coupler or not.

As of May 22nd, we will have been in continous production for six years – working seven days a week to do it. Our first video was May 22nd, 2009 and at the time, there was not a single OEM electric car in existence that you could buy. Well, that’s not entirely true. The first Tesla Roadster was delivered in February 2008 to Tesla co-founder, chairman and product architect Elon Musk. The company produced 500 similar vehicles through June 2009. But most of those appeared more May and June-ish of that year. You could BUY one, you just couldn’t actually get it.

Aside from Tesla there was the Global Electric Motorcar company of Fargo North Dakota I guess. The GEM was a 72v golf cartish neighborhood electric vehicle with a top speed of 25mph. Beyond that, you couldn’t buy an electric car. There just weren’t any.

But this Saturday, my daughter Jennifer graduated from Southeast Missouri State University. My wife is a professor there as well with a PHd in Information Systems, and I occasionally appear as guest speaker at a variety of class presentations – though none of my wife’s oddly. In any event, at age 30 and with a 12-year-old son in attendance, my daughter received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology/Marine Archeology, with a minor in mass communications.

She’s basically headed for a career somewhere between Jane Goodall and Indiana Jones and has along the way picked up a helicopter license and a scientific diver’s certificate. She’s made videos of several of her field schools. She fires a pistol passably well. We need to work on the bullwhip thing but beyond that, Harrison Ford hasn’t got a thing on her. In fact, technically Harrison is an actor.


What fathers want most is adoring daughters who hang on their every word and follow all advice to the letter – with perfect attendance and grades from grade 1 through their doctoral program and never an unladylike slip. The problem is, the fathers that get those have pleasant daughters with little impact on the world.

Strong personalities with mule like stubborness and eggregiously defiant natures are tough to raise. But the heavy metal that causes all the problems in adolescence is drawn to a sharp sword later on. The stubborness matures to perserverance and tenacity. The defiance becomes more genteel, but still threatens the status quo in all respects and tends to be dissatisfied with the world as it is, and rather insistent in the way they want it to be.

Fruit and trees being what they are, my father and I both share this deep tribal knowledge. And so I must confess some deep pride and satisfaction in this late bloomer. I would offer that you might take pains to clear the path in front of her of anything you hold dear. Like a midwestern F5, there’s likely to be little left in the path behind.

She was more than wild at one point. But after three years working in a tavern I owned briefly, cleaning up cowboy vomit, she did turn to higher education. Had I to do over, I would have bought each of my six children a tavern on the occasion of their graduation from high school. Asked them to run it three years and then sell the wreckage using the proceeds for college. Working at the butt end of the world certainly makes almost everything else look attractive.


So for those fathers suffering at the hands of “problem” kids with hair a little whiter than your age might indicate, I would offer a note of hope. Sometimes the wildest colt in the barn turns out to be the Kentucky Derby winner. In fact, I would guess that’s generally true. Few Ketucky Derby winners were “good” colts with good grades in colt school.

In any event, I’m inordinately proud of her graduation and maturing outlook and can’t wait to see what she does next.

This coming weekend, we’re all going down to Hot Springs Arkansas to meet with my other kids and kids kids and my brothers and sisters and THEIR kids and kids kids in kind of a bizarre family reunion. Tom has found a pensinsula at Hot Springs Village with houses all over it and we’ve rented them ALL as best I can tell. So it will be Hot Springs Rickard village this weekend. Some boating and some golf. And probably a lot of sitting around drinking beer and telling stories that COULD have been true at one time.

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Since there is no video this week, I’ll pull the one from last week that never got a blog entry. As you can see we are continuing the CHAdeMO project but it is not just us. This fast charge thing has caught the eye of a number of people worldwide kind of all at the same time. I’d like to think it is because we have declared it possible, but it feels more like one of those serendipity things where everyone kind of lands on the same conclusion at just about the same time. And it’s CHAdeMO.

I was stunned to see Steve West and Nick Smith step out front in Kiwiland to plant a stick in the sand vis a vis 74 fast charge stations at $40k or so each. I was aware Steve was fond of his MOdel S, but wow. That’s planting the flag.

And he’s using a fascinating device by Tritium of Australia. Tritium has been kind of on the border of success for some time. They had an early 3 phase motor and inverter offering but it was a little pricey and not quite ever done, and… and…

Now they have this charging port that looks like a space age soft drink machine. It’s called a VeeFil and it lists at $40,000 which is not untoward for a full power CHAdeMO EVSE. Hopefully Nick and Steve will work out how to get it to drop a Dr. Pepper or refund their money.


I’m told Steve is going to charge $1.95 plus $0.35 per minute. That’s about $12 Kiwi money for a 30 minute deal. I still think the road to riches is paved with Ho-Ho’s and Ding-Dongs but I guess we’ll see.

Reading messages from God in tea leaves is always dicey business. But I’m better at it than most. I feel the Tesla Supercharger window slipping away, the SAE CCS window never really opening, and CHAdeMO being the default standard because it wasn’t either one of the other two.

The EVSE makers are hedging their bets with dual protocol units, but I don’t think we’ll bother. Ok, I’ll confess. I’ve always had a problem with the Wireline protocol. Lots of CAN chips out there by assorted manufacturers, but WireLine is kind of a one source chip with a lot of learning curve. It’s just too different and expensive. I could probably get over it if the SAE CCS showed any signs of life, but it is largely a press release protocol.

Am actually still aghast at the hubris of General Motors and the Germans. Not invented here and that’s all there is to it. I was certain they would work a four function calculator on this, GET the significance of fast charge, and throw themselves at Elon Musks feet over his fait accompli. They arrogantly insisted on their own, and the net effect is they are stuck with Nissan’s CHAdeMO. A blunder of heroic proportions.

CHAdeMO, initially kind of a members only thing, has published it as a JARS and basically thrown it open to the world in doing so. All else being equal, open and with a user base almost always wins. It can’t be displaced without a huge technical advantage – like faster speed. Like someone introduces a new 250kw standard and makes that open. Nissan barbecue.

And fast charge is real. It used to be that the questions were all, how fast does it go how long does it take to charge. We heard this 7000 times in the first couple of years. Today, the questions have changed. There is a bit of acculturation going on. I had a conversation with a total EV agnostic who knew nothing about them. But she immediately went to “can you drive it cross country.” I asked her when the last time she DROVE cross country and she admitted she couldn’t remember. I’m not sure she EVER has driven cross country. But that was the first question out of her mouth. I’ve repeated this experience several times in recent months. There has been a sea change and the current shortcoming of electric vehicles is that you can’t drive them cross country.

The Tesla you can. I’m not sure it’s practical with our cars with 100 mile range to drive two hours and spend 30 or 40 minutes charging, but it becomes POSSIBLE which I think is all that is necessary to answer the question. I STILL think electric cars are a local solution to a local problem. But it doesn’t really matter what I think. This is currently the issue, so we have to deal with it.

Our LiFePo4 cells take to fast charging probably better than any other. By the time you get to the cutoff voltage you’re 95% charged instead of 80%. I wrote a current taper into our software for forms sake but it really just isn’t needed. It works fine, but mostly for my entertainment. The tape goes VERY quickly once you get to your target voltage as you are basically 95% charged. The other chemistries have a more gradual slope approaching full.

A couple of personnel losses have slowed us at EVTV. But not stopped us. I’ve been working on a full test bench for our periperhals, the Eberspacher heater, the Volt DC-DC converter, the Delphi DC-DC converter, and the Volt charger. All on one bench with a battery and a cooling system and controllers for each. We have connectors for all of them. We do NOT yet have the shields to do the Eberspacher but they are on order.

I may have oversold the Eberspacher. Yes, in theory it is 6kW but it turns out that is with a 0C inlet temperature which in a heating system we’re never going to have. At heating temperatures, it can do about 4kW which is what we’ve had before with the RMS heater from MES-DEA and now with the Kim Hotstart system on the Escalade. Yes, it heats. But you’re not going to be run out of the cabin by it. I put it under load with TWO heat exchangers with two fans – that’s probably double the load you would have in your car. But it couldn’t really push past 56C the way I was taking heat out of the system. Like the Escalade, you kind of have to leave the fan on low until you get up to temperature, and then hope it can hold it.

In any event, this bench will let us build and test controllers, test the units themselves which I’ve pretty much decided to just get from dealers and sell new stock only with our controllers. We may sell the controllers seperately for those that want to dig through the bone pile if you can convince me you know what you’re doing. I’ve always been a little goosey about chargers and I suppose I will extend that to heaters. The DC-DC converters shouldn’t be much of a problem. If you burn up your 12v battery hopefully it won’t be much of a fire. We of course hope you’ll pay the higher price and get new product from us. But the bargains are tempting I know.

More exciting for me personally is work on the Tesla drive train. Slow but we’re getting there. In last weeks video I talk about this with a diagram, which is fortunate because the video camera was badly out of focus for some reason (no cameraman you know).


It turns out is a little bit retro and not quite as complicated as some would have you think. It is kind of old school in that it uses accelerator input directly – standard two signal analog 0-5v inputs.

The theory here is that you have two different analog outputs. They vary of course between zero and 5vdc with the position of the throttle. But the key point is that they don’t vary the SAME. They will be different. They might be different in direction with one starting at 4.5 volts and decressing to 0.75 volts with an increase in throttle pressure, and the other starting at 0.75 and increasing to 4.5 volts. Often they are in the SAME direction but on a different scale, one starting at 1.50 volts and going up to 3.25 volts while the other starts at 0.75 and goes up to 4.75volts.

In being different, this allows the inverter to perform a sanity check. It will have a table or equation establishing the relationship of one of the signals to the other. If it doesn’t match within about 10%, it throws a fault and shuts down the motor. In this way, if you have one or both signals shorted to 5v for example, the car doesn’t run away with you at top speed in an “uncommanded acceleration event”.

The problem is, there are a number of accelerator schemes out there and I had no idea what Tesla used. The guy I bought the last drive train from promised he’d get me a Tesla pedal. But since its not a high profit item for him, he simply blew me off.

Fortunately, one of our hack team members Jeffry Hino sent me a photo of a Tesla accelerator. It had some part numbers.


A bit of Googling revealed that the Ford Motor company has used those same part numbers on the Fusion, and the Focus along with a host of other models for the past few years. I ordered a couple and batta boom batta bing, guess what came in the mail?

There is a certain awe of Tesla that leads to wild predictions of imminent failure in dealing with anything as advanced as a Tesla electric car. Bottom line is it is just an electric car. They’re not going to manufacture every piece part from scratch. They’ve always been under huge pressure to get their designs into production. I’m DELIGHTED to see them use standard off the shelf piece parts that are readily available anywhere. In this way, I can replace the Tesla throttle that’s probably about $800 with the Ford model at $65 and still get the same part.


More importantly to this effort, is we now have throttles we can easily wire up and measure the outputs and determine what the inverter has to have as an input. I suppose we can just USE the Ford throttles for that matter.

The CAN devolves then into some mode signals and possibly some BMS signals indicating that the battery is ok. And that we are in standard or range mode, or that we are in reverse or DRIVE or neutral. Probably some cruise control magic. But we HAVE a model S.

I would put in a plug for SavvyCAN at this point. Our own COllin Kidder has been working on a side project to do a capable CAN analysis tool to run on a laptop. He’s adopted a new development tool termed Qt which purports to be cross platform. And he’s already sent me a working SavvyCAN for the MacPro laptops I use, and which he detests as anything fruitlike in computers with the same passion that I detest Windoze in all its versions. So he will have this for Mac OSX, LInux, and Windoze all at the same time.

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I have long rankled at Vector’s CANalyzer. Its too complicated and too expensive starting at about $5000. SavvyCAN will use our own CANDue shield to capture CAN data, but then it lets you log it to a file on the laptop, graph data, and play back log segments. As you may have followed Mark and I reverse engineering the Ebenspacher, a device can hardly resist this approach whatever the encryption or security device. If it works once from a set of commands, it kind of has to work again from the same set.

I’m hoping he further develops this product as a commercial product that will give us the 30% of CANalyzer features we actually need, with less learning curve and at a tenth the price.

Dr. Charlie Priest, my 74-year-old handyman of the past twelve years or so, has been welding up a set of braces to affix the Tesla drive train to our maple top bench – sorry Damien, we like to lash em down good before we put the quirt and spurs to them. The EVTV Hack Team will be meeting in June and Collin threatens to make it turn then. Don’t know that we will and don’t know that we won’t. But I’m trying to get it ready where there will be power, accelerators, a mounted drive train, and a video camera, in case he does.


If so, we will be rather immediately pressed to find a donor car appropriate to a 426 hp 310 kw drive train. It would be profane of me to so much as desire to be the first DIY car on the planetoid to run with a Tesla Model S drive train, but I confess I do lust after it. The Vanagon is sitting next to it and I suppose it would do but it would look like Otmar baiting if I did so.

Any ideas? A VW Thing project it is not. And it might be a bit much for the Nash Metropolitan as well. Or the Mini Cooper.

96 thoughts on “Congratulations, Daughter – Hitting Your Prime in the Land of the Heart”

  1. Colin Stanley

    You know, that chopped ’50 mercury kit I’d wanted to do would be nice. Kit is available, custom chassis readily available from several manufacturers, and very standard parts. Wheelbase is only two inches longer than Model S, which would actually make it a great body drop right onto a Model S chassis if the Model S body were totaled. There is a nice spot just fore of the rear subframe that one could add a two-inch section. Or maybe that ’37 Lincoln kit…

  2. 56 Chevy street rod. Place it sideways up front. Hmm, my wife has one with 425hp that missing some finishing work…
    But it is a heavy beast.

  3. Yeah, Speedster probably a bad idea…
    You still have that Cobra sitting around? 818 would be really sweet, too.
    Or you could go all practical and put it in a full size pick-up truck…there must be some out there with IRS.

  4. i have a fiero that runs a ford 8.8 IRS that looks like the tesla cv joint would fit right into. A little rearranging and you replace the fiero rear transverse motor for a tesla tansverse motor, fiero transAxle for the tesla offset gearbox and the dc joint conversion.

      1. They have from 65-70 coupes,fastbacks, and convertibles. All with a multitude of aftermarket performance suspension components including IRS for the rear. Very affordable too. Not to mention they are surprisingly easy to get in and out of the front seats.

      2. Oh.. oh definitely the 67-68 fastback 🙂
        Congratulations to Jennifer, wonderful news.. and it’s great to hear that you’re taking some time to hang out with family although I did miss my weakly fix of EV programing.
        Best to all, hope to meet you and your lovely family someday soon.

  5. GT40.

    The only snag is that it climbing into it is a bit like limbo dancing and making them watertight is hard work (but not impossible – mine is). A decent replica is designed for heavy iron V8s, so would handle the power and apply it to the road. The light weight would make things easier for the transmission, and the removable front and rear clips make it easy to install stuff. You have a dance floor back there. These people do a steel chasis, and a carbon fibre or aluminium honeycomb chassis:

    1. I’d suggest a largish vehicle of some type, Something that Jack would enjoy as a daily driver. Ideally the donor vehicle needs independent suspension at the drive wheels, so if rear wheel drive, then (IRS) Independent Rear Suspension, would be in order. There are several different types of sports cars that have changes to IRS in the last couple years, but every one I’ve sat in left me cramped with little leg or hip room. The passenger compartment seemed to be an afterthought to engine and drive train placement. So you car guys, what rear wheel drive vehicle with a spacious interior, has IRS?

  6. Come on guys, it’s 2015 and this sucker’s electrical. It doesn’t need a nuclear reaction to generate 1.21 Gigawatts of electricity, just a 32KW battery pack. The donor car needs to be a DeLorean. It’s the perfect platform. Rear wheel drive, aluminum frame, fiberglass chassis and stainless steel body panels. Tunnel down the frame for running cables. Just make sure you get one that has the fuel flap in the hood, or you’ll have to lift the hood to charge.

    1. As I live and breathe. Jim Harrer, Mustang Software. Where DOES 30 years go. I recall as yesterday afternoon appearing with you at a Software Etc. store manager’s meeting in probably 1988 or 1989. Imagine a chain of 235 stores that doesn’t exist AT ALL anymore anywhere. Just gone. I guess COMDEX is gone too now. Ahh, well….passing of an age.

      Yes, I grew up to be a 24 year-old titty blond girl TV personality. But a couple of times a month I still cobble together a few written scratchmarks for my friends. It’s generally only the older ones that remember about reading now – a twentieth century remnant skill of little use today. No longer even taught in schools now, or, if so, not for much longer. Bound inevitably I fear, for the dust heap housing all the other lost arts like penmanship, arithmetic, and geography.

      But hey, we have twitter, and text messaging. IrOK. HOWBOUTU? LOL OMG

      What became of you?

      Jack Rickard

  7. Do you still have that kit car on the Fiero platfom sitting around? The Tesla Motor and transaxle would probably sit nicely in the mid engine compartment; Kinda of a poor man’s Tesla Roadster.

    I always thought your daughter would be your Co-Host at EVTV but you would have to step back a couple steps and let HER change the world! Also, have you ever invited any of your wife’s students to help out part time at EVTV when you were having them over for Sunday dinner? I bet those Chinese girls can solder up circuit boards better than you can. If you can’t get the boards done right in China, bring China to you!

    Congratulations to your daughter and have a happy spring vacation!


  8. The new car really needs to have an IRS. It’ll be hard enough making new motor/transmission mounts and lining the halfshafts with existing spindles/stub axles. Making all of that from scratch would be a SERIOUS engineering project not for the light hearted.

    1. This, of course, assumes you use the Tesla gearbox. If you mount the motor to the transmission it’s game on for anything! Better make it a tough transmission though.

      1. Indeed it does and was my first thought.
        Upon thinking more about it, I seriously doubt it has a suspension and/or frame stout enough for Model S torque.
        Next time you have your S up on the lift, just compare its suspension to that of the Speedster…

        My final suggestions, while almost certainly a sacrilege, would be a Jaguar E-Type. Arguably the most beautiful car ever built and, personally, my all time favorite!
        If you’re looking for a little more elegance and less sport (and probably easier ingress/egress) an XK150 would be wonderful.

  9. Dennis Carter

    Being more of a car guy than a computer guy my head danced thru a littany of options from Fisker Karma to Vette to Viper to SSC Aero, Audi R-8 or R10, BMW (Damien?), Mercedes SLS or G500, Ferrari, Lambo, Aston Vanquish, JagXKF, Honda NSX, Toyota Supra, Lexus LF, Nissan GTR, Hummer H1. Always easy to spend OPM Other Peoples Money.
    In the end I like the idea of either a sleeper 2015 Ford F-150, the sleek but classic Mercury Zephyer kit, or a Pontiac G8 (Holden from GM Australlia)

    1. Jack Rickards

      I like the way you think Dennis. The Mercury Zephyr Hot Rod is just an absolutely gorgeous piece of stuff. Maybe over the top for me.

      A Ford F-150 is the most popular passenger vehicle on the planet for over 30 years now, and for 2015 has added some aluminum and aero to make it at least LESS energy gobbling.

      I COULD even be tempted to a hybrid here. Pull the tranny and mount a UQM Powerphase as generator to the engine. Put the Tesla in back where it belongs. Drive around most of the time just electric using the Tesla drive train. But for long trips, fire up the engine and run the generator into the battery pack. That would let me use like a 50 mile battery pack which would be smaller and lighter.

      Tricked out they are about $40K new. And I’ve barely got parking space for the cars I have…..

      1. Hybrid heresy!

        Actually, I fully expect (for the next few years at the very least) that’s exactly what will happen; the slow but inexorable invasion of electric propulsion into all vehicles. Not a complete replacement of ICE with electric, but the hybridization. Over the years, and as energy storage technology improves, the value proposition will ultimately swing to the side of all-electric propulsion.

        In the meantime, we have Prii, Volts, and particularly interesting to me, the local (Orem, UT) VIA Motors facility. If you are thinking of hybridizing a light duty truck, their approach bears investigation.

        1. I am OK with hybrids, so long as they can be used as serial hybrids: that is with the ICE engine limited to driving an on board generator like the Volt and the i3. Parallel hybrids like the Prius and the I8 are greenwash.

          It would incidentally be fun to convert an i8 to pure electric with the Tesla drivetrain and then blow the doors off an original i8 on the dragstrip. The cost would be astronomical but it would go viral on YouTube

          1. Dennis Carter

            Hybrid using a pusher ICE drivetrain along the lines of the Toyota RAV 4 from EVCCON seems like a good option. Do not have to lug around petrol and the rest of it when not needed.
            Could also do it as a generator trailer off the shelf except for working out the cabling and maybe engine control.

          2. I briefly considered getting a stand-by gen set and putting it in back of the Ranger. Run the 220v right into the Brusa and “charge as I go.” Wouldn’t work though since I can only get about 7mi for an hours charge.
            Now, if I had a direct DC charger attached to a gen set hardwired into my pack it could work. However, the engine in the gen set would need to have AT LEAST as much horsepower (probably double) as what the truck consumes going down the road to be a true serial hybrid. Anything less and it’d just be a range extender.
            I actually kept the original ICE with this in mind. I was going to attach it to a PTO generator from Harbor Freight and put it all on a little trailer. But the realities of all the wiring and need for a regulated DC charger went way, way over my head. Maybe one day I’ll do it.

    2. H1 sounds interesting. Swap in a Tremec 5 speed with an adapter for the transfer case.
      Maybe you could track down that one you had back in the day!

  10. Congratulations, Jack. Both for the graduating daughter and the six year milestone. No worries about the two week hiatus. While we wait, can anyone help me out with dates for EVCCON 2015? Usually, Jack starts talking about it this time of year. I couldn’t find any dates. Thanks.

  11. Made me laugh: In fact, technically Harrison is an actor. Very subtle.
    I’d say RAV4 for the drive train. Mine please… small issue that I’m down south of mainland Australia.

  12. A very hearty congratulations to your daughter.

    All of us should consider “going back to school,” whether it happens to be post-secondary, or learning & doing something requiring more than just a passing amount of involvement. If what you are doing is easy, then I suspect you’re just browsing the Internet and calling it “learning.”

    My wife of 29 years is has just enrolled at university, been accepted to the music program (organ, of all things), and is loving it. If she gets much smarter, she may realise she has married a slug…

  13. Jack Somerville

    Congrats on the graduation and the well earned vacation. I would consider any current mucle car or if you want to go retro a jag xk120 or a mkII

  14. I think a Porsche Boxster S would make an outstanding donor. It has an IRS rear end and the most ridiculous diameter half shafts I’ve ever seen, so I think it could handle the power. What are the dimensions, roughly, of the motor/controller part of the drivetrain, Jack?

  15. Jarkko Santala

    The first and most obvious choice is the DeLorean DMC-12. There have been conversions, but not with Tesla powertrain. It’s also rear engine and rear wheel drive, so it would fit the bill perfectly. DeLorean Motor Company is functional in the U.S. and should be able to hook you up with a rolling chassis. They’ll also have all the parts you’ll ever need and could also be very interested in the project.

  16. I may be exposing my ignorance here, but one of the interesting things about the Model S drivetrain will be whether it has any kind of traction control built in. As you have said in the past, breaking the tyres loose at 70 is said to be way more entertaining than most people feel comfortable with

  17. Congratulation to your daughter, the rest of your family and you! 🙂

    My vote would be a full electric version of the new aluminium version of the F150, I think that could be a new daily driver for you Jack, and you have talked about doing a kit for that car.

    I guess that a kit with a Tesla drivetrain is not what you had in mind, but making the kit with all the CAN and the peripherals in mind (heat, AC, instrumentation, transmission, pedals, charging, CHAdeMO etc.), using the GEVCU and maybe other CAN devices, might be really cool, I have no clue if there is a market, but it would sure be a way to show EVTV’s new direction, if I have understood it correctly, and making converting that car much easier for the next one that wanted to “attack” one.

    Maybe you could bring Matt Hauber in as a guest “star” to help with that conversion? It would be cool to see him again, and with some of the work he has done, he might have some really good ideas about some of the aspects of that conversion.

    I am looking forward to seeing this, no matter what the final choice will be. 🙂

    Thank you for all your work here at EVTV!

  18. How about a lowrider? They need extra batteries in the trunk to ride a little higher. So an electric car might be it.

    With the Tesla drive that would be a monster.

    Congratulations to all three of you.

    Peter and Karin

  19. Congratulations to Jennifer! And also to you two for surviving. 🙂

    As to the Tesla drivetrain, I’m not quite clear what you’d be baiting me into. A race to get them done maybe? 🙂
    I’m seeing lots of wonderful ideas but I’m still such a VW fan that I’d love to see it in the DOKA. Even though it means it could be faster than my Tesla VW. At the rate I’ve been progressing, and with Jacks’ history of taking on too many projects it’s anyones guess as to who would have a running Tesla/VW running first. I had a look at the empty motor compartment in my Vanagon and there’s lots of room for the Tesla drive. It would need a subframe to mount it, but it sure looks relatively simple from where I’m standing. Maybe it’s no surprise but I’d like to see it in the DOKA as one amazingly quick VW.

    1. As you imply, more likely a race to see who can get further buried under the pile the fastest. Rather than the tortoise and the hare, we could have the tortoise and the turtle. No, I was alluding to the fact that you had a previously announced project to incorprate a Model S and a Vanagon, and I didn’t want to do any sort of copycat attempt at one upsmanship or anything that would be construed in that way. There are plenty of vehicles in the world that need converting. On the other hand, it DOES have an independent rear suspension and is actually parked next to the test bench. And it WOULD make a hot little number to wheel around in. As I never really liked the transmission action in any of the busses, a single speed direct would also make it a very different vehicle.

      Even then, I would probably rather have a late 50’s Deluxe than a pickup for such a thing. I’ve got a Better Place Battery pack already set up for it.


      1. Am I correct that a Model S in full cry will be drawing about 900 Amps? Will a better place pack live with that? If my back-of-the-envelope is correct that would be about 15C which sounds rather a lot for that chemistry

        1. I fear you are correct John. It’s going to take me awhile to get used to the idea of 310 kW. At 370v nominal that would look like/sound like 837 amperes. The CAM80’s would probably do that for the few seconds it would be doable in a light vehicle. A hundred CA100’s would work in a larger vehicle. But the Better Place Packs’s would not do this even with two packs in parallel.

          Jack Rickard

          1. Delorean option…I would be concerned about the overall weight of the vehicle even if you had space for the CA100FI cells it would weigh too much for that 2750# Delorean minus the i.c.e. workings. The maximum charge voltage of the TESLA Model S is is 403 vdc divided by 3.55 vdc conservative is 114 in series which would weigh 855 pounds…so lets say it would be now would be roughly 3500# It is more then the car was rated for. so what then to make it all work?

      1. Dennis Carter

        Ok Mr Hardy your first comment about making a GT40 “watertight…mine is” got my attention but I must insist you stop teasing us with that british restraint and spill the beans. Or was I the only one here that did not know you had one?
        Original Mk series or a kit?
        If kit are you planning a conversion?

        1. Hi Dennis: it is a replica, but a fairly good one. (I didn’t take the photograph). It currently has a small block Ford (302). It has been in storage for the last two years while I have been working on the Civic. I seriously considered converting it but it would probably make more sense to sell it as a going concern and use the money to buy a fresh kit. I don’t have any plans to do either at the moment.

  20. Hi Jack,

    After last week’s show, with you talking about the Tesla drive train, I began thinking about what I would do with such a drive train, and at that point I thought a 1967 Mustang would be the ticket. I am a bit biased however.

    When my father me my mother it was on a blind date, and my dad drove in to my grandparent’s house to pick up my mom in his brand new 1967 Mustang…many people commented that my mother continued to go out with my dad because of his muscle car. I don’t know how much truth there is in that but, I can’ help but think that one contributing factor to my existance on this planet has to do with the 1967 Mustang. That powerful Tesla drive train belongs in nothing less.

  21. A Muscle Car Jack. I would not convert a numbers matching muscle car but most of them are not numbers matching and don’t have the dollar value of an original car. I have been thinking about it for a while. It would be a big job for something like a ’70 Roadrunner as you would need to cut out part of the floor in the rear and hang the drive train in but I have seen Hot Rodders do a lot bigger jobs. Put batteries where the gas tank was, down the tunnel, maybe some under the hood. That would be cool to take to the drive-in(Sonics) on Friday night when all the Hot Rods show up. 426hp puts it at about the same place a 440ci Super Commando put it power wise. Personally I would like to control the motor as simple as possible, it there any other controllers that can run this setup without having to deal with CAN?

    1. Dennis Carter

      In muscle car / hot rod terms you are talking about back halving the car. For everyone worried about properly engineered IRS to fit most anything ck out Heidts web site or search “street rod IRS”. Just need a Matt Hauber like set of welding skills to attach the complete preassembled IRS kit to any vehicle and the cubic dollars to buy the kit.
      Now I’m thinking a 72 Dodge Demon aka Plymouth Duster would be interesting with Tesla power; but, I also wanted to put a Porsche 928 drivetrain in mine at one point but settled for a 440cubic inch Chrysler engine instead.
      A torch and youthful exuberance = sideways in any\every gear at any speed. No traction control problems since there was not any to control.

  22. Larry Elliott

    Well Jack it looks like after seeing your confidence in being able to fire this Tesla beast off with only some minor can buss drivers I will begin serious search for a drive train including an 85kwh pack
    I have grown tired of being told that my electric 4wd ATV,electric garden tractor/tiller, Honda CRX EV and Chevy S10 EV are nice but “can an EV do some real work”?

    Seriously looking at retro of Tesla drive train into a 16 foot Chevy cube van to do hauls between here and Portland each week with a load of produce. Already has a solar roof powered chiller system in the super insulated cube and all my EV’s run on solar juice.

    Let’s see what they say when I burn rubber in a cube van

    The half shaft issue will be a real engineering trial on a straight axle frame but then I’m allot like you.
    I thrive on real challenges

    Perhaps a performance challenge to Otmar, a fellow wacky Oregonian just south of here with his ‘zipper van’

    1. Jack,
      Reading through all the bloggers comments, and your suggestion of possibly doing the most recent Ford F-150 as a series hybrid with the UQM motor/generator charging the powerful battery pack for the TESLA 305kW motor/inverter. This is basically the platform that VIA is using.
      Consider an older pick-up, maybe some you remember in your youth as nostalgic related to your family’s construction business.
      There are a number of custom frame builders for these pick-ups that will make it drive like a sports car.
      Do you have enough of the 20 ah 123 pouch cells left to make a 23kW hour pack. As you tested these cells are capable of 23 C so in a 3P set that would be 1352 amps and 396 vdc nominal and like the VIA would give you roughly 30 miles on all electric.
      Now for the petrol engine for the gen set…a Volkswagen Jetta diesel would match the operating range of the UQM.
      This is exciting,

      Mark Yormark

        1. THAT is awesome! Someone could easily put that on a small trailer and pull behind their EV for that 1% of the time when you need to go more than 100mi. Or if you had a truck, just put it in the bed.
          And when you weren’t extending your range, it could be a back-up generator for your house.
          Bring it on Rotax!!

  23. Paulo Almeida

    Smart FourTwo powered by Tesla. Let’s take the Smart we build last year at EVCON and upgrade it at EVCON this year. I’m sure we can make it a little bit faster with that tesla power train. 😉

    1. The Smart EV already has the necessary design requirement of ingress and egress for the passenger, but then the question is where do you fit the battery pack that will provide the excess of 310kW of battery horsepower. Option one would be converting the passenger seat area into a place for the battery latest most powerful CALB cells, or Option two, where space and weight are at an absolute premium my educated guess is these cells used for drag racing will work and still have a passenger seat.

      Mark Yormark

    2. Paulo – you are an outright hooligan! With full throttle it would probably do a backward somersault and slide a few yards on its roof. Yeah why not…

  24. Mark Hayle (UK)

    Hi Jack, How about an original Lexus Ls400 with tesla drivetrain? The Ls was very aerodynamic even by todays standards and surprising light for its size.

  25. Mark Hayle (UK)

    As an aside I have been ploughing through all your videos from the last 6 years and enjoyed them and learn’t a little along the way. Do you think you could do an article or video on how current oem evs will be converted/adapted to diy components in the future. Enjoy your break Jack.

    1. Actually not. The way your service pronounces it, with the hard “ch” is how I WAS pronouncing it and had several viewers correct that. I did view a video by the company and indeed they pronounce it with a very awkward soft “ch” that is more of an “sch” sound.

      It’s a language that constantly sounds as if they are coughing up a lung oyster, so I should be comfortable with it. But not.

      Jack Rickard

  26. Several of you mentioned the Delorean DMC. I had a meeting yesterday with a local entrepreneur Shannon Davis. His family has had a Delorean under cover and inside for nearly 20 years. 15,000 original miles. And he would be very interested in converting it to electric drive.

    We don’t generally do conversions by commission because our needs as a video publication often do not lead to quick results on any particular project – we usually have a half dozen all going at the same time. But he assures me there is no time pressure on it.

    The original car is 2700 pounds and has a very wide and roomy frame. The front end offers capacious volume for batteries. Because of the current requirements, we would have to go to CA100FI cells and probably over 100 of them.

    Then there is the problem of a flux capacitor. But we did talk about a paid appearance on EVTV by Christopher Lloyd at the completion.

    1. If you find yourself in need of some hands on assistance with that project, I’m sure at least a dozen of us are on board to get our hands dirty. Just say the word. I personally am approaching 20 years in the automotive trade. Lots of qualified folk at your disposal I think

      1. Yea, after CANCON, maybe we could have CARCON later in the summer, before EVCCON in the fall. I am sure we could get a group together to start work on a Delorean conversion.

  27. Jack I’ve been watching EVTV since 2010 religiously. I have been a multiple vanagon owner for 15 years, and currently own a vanagon syncro adventurewagen. I took the EV conversion class in seattle in 2010 with the hopes of building the syncro into an all battery electric/solar unit. I’ve been waiting to see what you do with that double cab from ottmar to see which plausible direction you go. I envision using my campervan for short slow drives between coastal cities from seattle all the way down through central america… my thought is to limit the van for simplicity to a 50 mph top speed, and a smaller but high voltage battery pack below the floor.
    jason in seattle

  28. Jack, I would personally consider placing this Tesla drivetrain into the following:

    Mazda Miata, Porsche 911 SC (late 70s/early 80s), Porsche 914, Ariel Atom, Factory Five Shelby Daytona Coupe replica, Lotus Elise, Triumph Spitfire or GT6 (heavily modified), Ginetta G4 (heavily modified)

    Since my tastes differ from yours, if the above is a little too crazy for you and you want something that’s a bit less of a joule-injected suicide machine:

    Audi TT Quattro (1st generation), Corvette Stingray (60s or 70s), Subaru WRX, Mercedes-Benz W126, Dodge Stealth RT or Mitsubishi 3000GT, Ford Crown Victoria, Mitsubishi Eclipse AWD, Rolls Royce Silver Spur (80s), Toyota Supra (90s), Pontiac Firebird Trans-Am (70s, 80s or F-Body), Oldsmobile Delta 88

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