As-salamu alaykum – The New Radicalized EVTV

  • rickard

    As-salamu alaykum. Peace be Upon You. In the current hysteria over ISIS and Donald Trump and San Bernadino, we thought it usefully irreverent to announce the new radicalized EVTV. We are now officially a sleeper cell for the militant wing of the Salvation Army.

    What does this mean? Well, we advocate carpet bombing of all nations with woolen blankets and cans of U.S. Government commodity peanut butter for one thing. And we advocate the overthrow of all governments in favor of a volunteer soup kitchen model.

    Under this model, everyone is a volunteer. All politicians would be banned from spending any money to be elected, but also would draw no salary or be allowed to accept contributions while in office. We think this will eliminate the gold-digger class from our ruling body of best and brightest and pretty much eliminate the 30 year squatter “career politician.” If you can’t make any money doing it, it kind of leads to its own term limits. Many could probably take 2, 4, or even 6 years and devote them to national soup kitchen, but no one can really afford to do 30 years of it.

    We are also calling to an end to Cali-Fake – that is the compliance car issue where automakers only provide products to markets such as California to comply with CARB quotas.

    If nothing else, all these keywords should bring us a new and welcome viewership among the NSA, who are now kind of honor-bound to monitor our every move, and so every minute of every video to prevent some sort of U.S. government commodity peanut butter incident that would threaten life or limb here in the U.S. Never mind the woolen blankets – which note if you burn them give off a deadly chlorine gas. Welcome NSA. You might consider converting your personal vehicle to electric drive. It is a very rewarding pastime and they are a hoot to drive.

    As to philanthropy, I’m repulsed by the palatial livings afforded to the leaders of United Way, UNICEF, and the American Red Cross. They live like politicians. UNICEF CEO, receives $1,200,000 per year, (plus use of a Royal Royce for his exclusive use where ever he goes, and an expense account that is rumoured to be well over $150,000.) Only pennies from the actual donations goes to the UNICEF cause (less than $0.14 per dollar of income). Marsha J. Evans, President and CEO of the American Red Cross… her salary for the year ending in 2009 was $651,957 plus expenses. Enjoys 6 weeks – fully paid holidays including all related expenses during the holiday trip for her and her husband and kids. including 100% fully paid health & dental plan for her and her family, for life. This means out of every dollar they bring in, about $0.39 goes to related charity causes. Brian Gallagher, President of the United Way receives a $375,000 base salary (U.S. funds), plus so many numerous expense benefits it’s hard to keep track as to what it is all worth, including a fully paid lifetime membership for 2 golf courses (1 in Canada, and 1 in the U.S.A.), 2 luxury vehicles, a yacht club membership, 3 major company gold credit cards for his personal expenses…and so on. This equates to about $0.51 per dollar of income goes to charity causes.

    And so I’ve become over the decades a fan of and contributor to the Salvation Army. In addition to an annual check, it’s hard to waive a red can in a grocery store in Cape Girardeau without landing a C note from the fat kid. This all goes back to some sandbagging incidents in a flooding Mississippi River some 45 years ago, where the Red Cross was selling sandwiches to the wet, freezing high school students lugging the sandbags, and the Salvation Army was there with hot soup and sandwiches – no charge. The Salvation Army’s Commissioner Todd Bassett receives a salary of $13,000 per year (plus housing) for managing this $2 Billion dollar organization. Which means about $0.93 per dollar taken in is available and goes back out to local causes… Along with Frau Farbissina, I of course ride with the militant wing of the organization.


    Like Trump and Putin, we also received a visitor this week from Russia. Oleg Kononenko is putting together a prototype for some sort of electric van in Russia. He found himself at the last minute with a DMOC645 and GEVCU that didn’t work. And on a Sunday night, flew to St. Louis and drove down to Cape Girardeau to pick up a new DMOC645 for his project, returning to Russia the same day. Ever thrifty, Oleg had picked up a DMOC645 on eBay for much less than we sell them for. And was disappointed to learn it didn’t work with our GEVCU.

    We run into it a bit and yes, it does stroke my sense of whimsey, but it is not precisely what you think. The DMOC645’s were manufactured by Azure Dynamics. They would box them up, pallet them up, and ship them to Livonia Michigan and to their facility in the UK for installation in the Ford eTransit Connect’s they were assembling with electric drive. But there was no purpose in loading firmware into them. Once the car was assembled, the firmware would be flashed to the Vehicle Control Unit and to the DMOC645 using whatever the latest code was THEN. This code was generally under constant revision, so it didn’t make sense to put it IN the device until they were ready to run it.

    We bought like 69 of these DMOC645’s at the auction. And we developed the Generalized Electric Vehicle Control Unit specifically to run this one device, although we were thinking far enough ahead to design it from the beginning to support multiple obect modules, one for each of a variety of inverter controllers. Today, it supports DMOC645, the Coda version of the UQM 100, and the Brusa.

    But to get it to work on the DMOC645, we did have to install some firmware in the DMOC645. There were tools for dealers readily available and we obtained the firmware image as the latest they had at bankruptcy, along with a Kvaser Leaf Lite which was the only hardware it worked with. We wired up our test bench so we could flash this firmware into the DMOC645.

    Along the way, we learned that the DMOC645 also has hundreds of “parameters” you can set in this firmware that might be important. One was a CAN challenge/response pair for security purposes which we promptly turned OFF. But there were others. We kept after it until we had the yellow VW Thing running pretty successfully using DMOC645 and GEVCU. Then we lined up ALL the DMOC645’s, and flashed the entire group in one two-day marathon. Literally opening the boxes, tilting the device, plugging in a plug, and going through the flash procedure, closing the box back up, and marking the date on the box. Now ALL our DMOCs had the same firmware with the SAME parameters in it. And we’ve never made any changes since.

    Meanwhile, others scarfed up varying quantities of DMOC645’s at the Livonia Auction, but also in some quantity in auctions in the United Kingdom. Unable to make them work, they sold these for very little to whomever they could.

    And so we have a string of people who come to us hoping to get a GEVCU to run one of these things, while avoiding mentioning that they got it elsewhere. This hasn’t turned out well for most.

    I’ve since lost the Kvaser, the wiring rig, the laptop the software was on, and most recently the test bench. I suppose I could flash a DMOC645 if I had to, but it woudl probably be two weeks of work tracking everything down again and then I’m not certain I would get all the parameters right. We did all this two and a half years ago.

    So there’s no real glee in it nor am I punishing anyone for not buying them from us, but I have no way to support these blank DMOC645’s if I wanted to. And it is true I’m not heroically motivated to do so.

    I’m kind of facing the same thing with a more recent purchase of air cooled DMOC645’s that were set up to use the AC-90 motor. So far, we have been UNSUCCESSFUL in flashing one to work with the Siemens motors or the GEVCU. I bought 95 of the things at a price that was “very” attractive. Actually for less than the aluminum recovery cost. But the guy I bought them from didn’t know what to do with them and frankly I don’t either. Anyone with a clue or a plan, drop me an e-mail.

    The thing I would like you to pick up from this discussion is that there is no magic sauce here. There are no “geniuses” at work. The Siemens, the UQM, and now the Tesla Drive Train, are a handful of dedicated individuals who do just a shit pot of hard work for very scanty rewards, most of them non-monetary. We DO try to get the end user to fund them and I believe they should be PROUD to fund them as it is kind of a group effort to get it done and without it, it simply does not GET done and we are victims of large corporations with the resources to call the tune. If your mission is to beat EVTV out of a few ducats, you’re on the wrong team and not looking at the larger picture. We’re still hoping for a breakeven year – someday. But all our efforts are to attempt to put YOU, an individual or small startup, on an even footing in accessing technology and components to make YOUR ideas and dreams come to life in the garage. My observation is that the disruptive new innovations ALWAYS come from two guys in a garage. I want them to have the right components when they build the next great thing. I simply ASSUME that everyone understands this and is on the same page. But I’m regularly reminded that many don’t understand any part of it.


    We are literally fighting individual bits in individual bytes in single CAN messages to get each function to work in every drive train we do. Nobody really gives us anything to start with. Ok there actually WAS a .dbc file in the original documents we got on the Siemens DMOC645. It was incomprehensible and undocumented but we had SOMETHING. In every case since, nothing at all. We’ve not only learned how to do it, but had to build our own tools along the way – hardware and software. Those tools are readily available in our web store and no, they are not free. We use the proceeds from them to make more of them. And I don’t even take Todd Bassett’s $13,000 Salvation Army salary per year out of it. But we did hire a United States Air Force veteran this year.

    For all our new NSA viewers, I would mention that this week’s video is unusually packed with stuff. You might want to watch it twice to scan for sekert meanings and messages to the co-conspirators…etc. You don’t want to overlook something that COULD be significant…

    Collin Kidder’s father stopped by to announce he had bought Collin a Nissan Leaf. This was of interest to us as we had a Leaf motor and inverter sitting here on the floor looking at us accusingly as we’ve had it for over a year and haven’t really even looked it over well. We put it on the truck for Sparta Michigan and Collin already has it, along with the Leaf needed to capture data from. I would be disappointed if a Leaf object module for GEVCU was not forthcoming in a month or so. It would just be unlike him given his innate talents and natural curiosity.

    He hosts a bit of a clip showing the finishing touches on the Mercedes Benz SL190 they were delivering to California with a slick new UQM Powerphase 100 drive train.

    We show a Chevy Volt 16.5 kw battery system we have received. What is notable about this is that it appears to be functional and in good shape with a DELIVERED price of less than $2000. And we noted we had just that morning ordered a complete Tesla 85kw battery pack from a car with 16,000 miles on it for $11,999. That’s about $140 per kilowatt – Chevrolet’s TARGET price for LGChem batteries en masse two years from now. It’s also probably LESS than the cost of lead acid cells. And so we are kind of announcing to the world that the promised cornucopia of OEM components we started talking about two years ago is pretty much here. We’re more or less out of the battery business. Oh, we’ll fill what orders you send us. But I seem almost all DIY builds and even the majority of new prototypes using used batteries from the OEM slushpile pretty much from here on out. I would predict the OEMs themselves, seeing this become routine, will “get over it” at some point.

    And so in the throes of our winter of discontent, with oil prices now firmly beneath $40 per barrel, I’m looking for 2016 to be the year of the electric car, for us anyway. Out of the doledrums and into the gale so to speak. I think it will be feasible to put an OEM grade AC drive train in a conversion, along with lithium batteries, for less than $10,000. That’s the magic number at which a huge number of auto enthusiasts suddenly want to play. And garages worldwide turn into a boiling cauldron of innovation and ideas regarding personal transportation and battery electric magnetic drive.

    At one time, for $20-$30,000 you could put up a multiline BBS with some significant hard disk storage capability. And people did. Thousands dialed into them. But it was a pretty dedicated group that built them at that price. It really went kaboom when you could do it for about $10,000. And I think we are on the verge of a similar price point inflection where an entire new generation of builders that have been sitting on the fence, mulling their ideas on how to make a car go, finally throw in the checkbook and “do it.”

    Ironically, it will be some of the SAME GUYS believe it or not. Welcome home. You see I really never left you. I just went where you didn’t know you wanted to go yet. No I DO know. No need to apologize. Needs of the service, etc. etc…family mumble mumble, …..the wife….. harumph harumph… I got it. Me too. It’s all good. Welcome back.

    Speaking of Tesla battery packs, we came across a young guy in Hickory North Carolina that has put together my dream solar system. And when I dream, it is generally pretty advanced. IN 1998 I HAD the largest residential photovoltaic installation in the WORLD at a cost of over $275,000. Still operating today. Jason Hughes, a 31 year-old day-trader actually took SEVERAL Tesla packs and wired them up with eight Outback Radian inverters and 17 Midnight Solar 200 MPPT charge controllers, along with 102 Sunpower 435 watt 20% efficient panels in his new home in North Carolina.


    Even more on topic to our current activities, Jason has taken an interest in reverse engineering Tesla CAN traffic. He’s set up a Tesla Instrument Cluster (IC) and Master Control Unit (MCU) and has it up and operating. We worked with him on a couple of necessary speed/current/voltage messages to get his dial working. He’s subsequently gained root and is running the system in the factory development mode, and it COULD be a huge breakthrough in decoding the entire Tesla CAN message digest. We’re now including him in our very informal Tesla hack team (just private e-mail traffic, there’s nothing to join – but you DO get a T-shirt if I can find them).

    We received another Tesla rear subclip with motor and inverter. We’re already advised by one viewer that there is indeed a difference between the 310 kW P85 and the standard 85 motor/inverter assembly. The P85 has larger coolant lines. We’ll see. In any event, it will be interesting to note any differences in CAN control of the unit which is largely why we bought it. I’ve drawn up an entirely new harness system to accommodate our GEVCU, the PKP2400, the EVIC display, etc along with a harness for the subclip to replace as necessary – there are three different ones used on Teslas that we know of. All to do the same thing on the same inverter pins apparently the same way, but using different wires to get there. The harnesses are being assembled in China and I’m not going to work to hard on custom ones here in the shop until they get here, as anxious as I am to get to it. It IS coming Christmas. Big gig for the St. Mary’s Cathedral Youth Choir you know. My wife is the orgasmist. I do the basso profundo gig between coughing fits.

    Since filming, I may have worked out a sekert solushun to the Tesla cooling problem. We’ll see.

    Finally, we have the curious and perplexing case of Mr. Michael Walstrom of BIG LIMOS. Mr Walstrom purchased a brand new Model S and began converting it to a 60-inch stretch limo for none other than Intel corporation. Tesla has kind of thrown a fit refusing to assist in any way, and at first report APPEARS to have actually taken active steps to disable the car over the GSM interface. If so, I think they have just shit in their own mess kit – big time.

    Tesla has taken a harsh position with regards to providing any assistance to vehicles that were wrecked and sold off as salvage – at one point again actually disabling a vehicle or so it was reported. (I still can’t actually believe they are so stupid as to DO that but I can’t prove it.) But I suppose that once a vehicle is totaled and sold off as scrap, their obligations to warranty OR provide service are theoretically terminated. They actually claim they WILL service them for a fee.
    But in this case, we are not talking about a wrecked Tesla. This was a brand new Tesla purchased for cash. The owner is modifying it. But Tesla has both warranteed it and of course has an obligation to service it in any event if called on to do so.


    Automakers routinely attempt to wrap themselves in important sounding legalese about any attempt to modify, reverse engineer, or otherwise repaint their vehicles….etc. etc. DO understand this is almost ENTIRELY for their own entertainment and I hope the vague notion that the buyer wouldn’t otherwise know. In spite of the ongoing rulings from the very qualified “judges” and sea lawyers on the Tesla Motors Club, none of that really jives with U.S. law.

    The Magnuson–Moss Warranty Act (P.L. 93-637) is a United States federal law, (15 U.S.C. § 2301 et seq.). Enacted in 1975, it is the federal statute that governs warranties on consumer products. The Act was sponsored by Senator Warren G. Magnuson of Washington and U.S. Representative John E. Moss of California, both Democrats, as well as Senator Frank Moss of Utah, who co-sponsored it with Magnuson. According to the Report of the House of Representatives which accompanied the law (House Report No. 93-1197, 93d Cong 2d Sess.) the Magnuson–Moss act was enacted by Congress in response to the widespread misuse by merchants of express warranties and disclaimers. The legislative history indicates that the purpose of the Act is to make warranties on consumer products more readily understood and enforceable and to provide the Federal Trade Commission with means to better protect consumers.

    The statute is remedial in nature and is intended to protect consumers from deceptive warranty practices. Consumer products are not required to have warranties, but if one is given, it must comply with the Magnuson–Moss Act. Moreover, one of the key aids to the effectiveness of the Act is that a prevailing plaintiff may recover reasonable costs of suit, including attorney fees.

    Warrantors of course do not have to cover the cost of the repair if it can demonstrate that the action of the vehicle owner, including failures to act such as not following maintenance schedules, are DIRECTLY the cause of the product failure. But in case law, this has been interpreted that the onus is clearly on the warrantor to prove this rather unequivocally.

    If Tesla actually disabled a car themselves, they’re going to have a difficult time proving it was the owner who caused the problem. In any event REGARDLESS of the cause, Tesla kind of has to perform the repairs if necessary to get it working. Whether or not they do so for free is the subject of the discussion as to whether chopping the vehicle in two with a sawzall was the cause of the failure.

    Walston’s story is that all the wires and tubes were extended properly, and the car should work and the entire problem is in the firmware settings in the car. But Tesla won’t even look at it and has threatened to terminate any employee that dares assist him.

    This is bizarre. First, why would Tesla NOT want a high visiblity high quality stretch build of their car out there. This guy isn’t an experimentor. He’s successfully stretched Hummers, Lincoln Navigators, Escalades, and even a Nissan Leaf for some very high profile clients. But if they didn’t, the guy bought a brand new car from them. And they are more or less obligated to service it for him. Unless they can show that the 60 inches has CAUSED a failure, they actually have to pay for it.

    And its not like Tesla needs another legal battle. So far they’ve lost EVERY SINGLE JURISPRUDENCE EVENT in which they’ve participated since the origination of the company. So Mr. Walston can pretty much take this to arbitration, state court, or in this case even Federal court (minimum $50,000 – not an issue here) and I dare say it would be a FIRST if Tesla prevailed.

    I would predict, that INEVITABLY after a brief conversation with their own legal counsel, they are going to want to settle this thing quietly, so why not skip to the chase. It shouldn’t be that hard to get the car working, and for all I know, Walstrom may be willing to pay the actual expenses to do so.

    I do not expect anything from Tesla in our efforts to reverse engineer their work to get their drive unit to be useful in another vehicle. We haven’t even bothered to try to contact a local service center or anyone at Tesla for that matter. But we’re dealing with junk out of the salvage pile that no one else has so far developed any particular plan for making these things useful.

    Mr. Walstrom is the owner of a brand new car, purchased from Tesla with cash money hard-come-by. That’s a horse of a different color as they say in The Wizard of Oz. IF you add a cup holder or a different set of wheels, Tesla can’t legally comment on it. True, cutting it in half with a sawzall is a bit more extreme, but does not necessarily PRECLUDE their responsibility for it. THEY have to show it causes the car to be unrepairable. And as it’s done every day to all other cars, I think that’s going to be an interesting case to try to make.

    Finally, the ISIS attacks appear to have panicked the American body politic. And this brings to the surface the apparently unquenchable desire for our government to gain more control of its population, deliberately reducing the freedoms we enjoy in a free democratic society. The debate over such things as encryption and whether Apple should be FORCED to remove encryption from iPhones (the conversation has already been had) so the government has some sort of “right” to monitor our communications routinely and en masse, is back again. While I view ISIS as a threat, I view this government position as TREASON. But they repeat it apparently at every opportunity. It is a trade with the devil. They offer increased safety if you will only surrender your liberty. A fools trade. They cannot make you SAFE from anything. They can’t even prevent credit card fraud. They can’t prevent food poisoning. They can’t prevent drought. They can’t prevent Anthrax in the mail. Or deranged mentally ills from murdering school children. It’s not that they can’t make you safe. They can’t even effect your convenience. They are powerless in the face of everything.

    But if you will simply empower them to remove your liberties, like guns, basic privacy, and to be secure in your persons and property, somehow something will get better. It’s comic.

    If we would all include the keywords they are searching for in ALL of our e-mails and blogs, that would be the end of that. If we ALL encrypted our routine e-mail, that would be the end of that. And that they would seek to strong arm corporations to do their dirty work for them, should be a source of national outrage.

    ISIS as an enemy does not particularly frighten me. It is unfortunate. Annoying. But I think even a lightweight like Donald Trump can handle that. But the U.S. Government and their ongoing assault on individual freedom does. They never deliver on their end of the trade. You give up liberty. But they never make you safer.

    As-salamu alaykum

    Jack Rickard

  • 90 thoughts on “As-salamu alaykum – The New Radicalized EVTV”

    1. Ive always thought that for EVs to go main stream they needed a foot hold into the commercail market, say something like a ford econovan doing local, lightweight deliveries.

      I think that once you have fedex or ups doing deliveries with EV vans then EVs are here to stay.


    2. Alssalam ealaykum according to alphabet translate for english to arabic of peace be upon you. Then there is what some old dead guy said about the tree of liberty needing to be watered by tyrants.. Or something like that.
      Of course converting an ICE vehicle to BEV sounds a lot easier than translating or growing liberty trees. And seems to be getting much more affordable as well. Come to think of it, it would kind of be a mobile liberty tree.

    3. Jack,

      Interesting; Back in 2002 I met Brian Gallagher, while serving as a Loaned Executive at the Columbus, OH United Way. He was a fairly dynamic person and there was one thing he told me that sticks with me to this day. He said, “if you want to be successful in this competitive world, always give it your best effort. When your co-workers are leaving work for the day, stay just a little longer and give just a little extra.” When I made my transition from a machinist in a Power Plant to our Corporate office, working in an office environment at United Way was what my manager told me ended up making her decide to give me a chance at the position. It does hurt me that so many charities, such as United Way, take so much from the donations, to operate but have to thank them for the experience I gained while being loaned to them. Wasn’t really surprised when I found that Brian had raised to such a high level in the organization, and I must say that his advice, way back then, has helped me rise through the ranks in our Corporate Office.

      As-salamu alaykum,


    4. They’ve already been there, done that. Every major delivery company has done feasibility studies and trials with EVs, but the ground isn’t firm enough for them yet. When your business promises reliability and your slogans are lthe likes of “The World, on Time”, there isn’t a lot of room for variability. While the huge operational savings drew a lot of early interest, it could be argued that they tried too soon; for example, Canada Post had a number of eTransit Connects starting in 2010, but we all know what happened to AZD. They also had a trial of four larger Navistar eStar vans in 2011, but they were often sidelined with technical difficulties.

      That said, Nissan seems to be taking a run a the commercial market with their e-NV200 van, but, until you see other established OEMs follow suit, I think delivery companies are going to remain (understandably) gun-shy of this “unproven” tech.

    5. Buses have taken off and they are Chinese. London now has big red electric double deckers – made by BYD. Unless the traditional western automakers defy the oil companies and get off tbeir butts they are toast, just like the once dominant Swiss watch industry was toasted by Asian competition in the 70’s and 80’s when they failed to make the change from mechanical to electronic watches.

    6. I must say that I am impressed, with amount of moxy you have shown. Though I am not shocked you have taken such a stand. After all you are part of the greatest generation that has ever lived. And thank you. All the best. Our new Ford is half electric, due to my wife having range feelings of darkness. She has not approved me to spend any on a build yet, I keep trying.

    7. ok, so what is the password to the new camera? I know it is not the same as the secret password to get into the upload download section. Anyhow, it looks like your close to getting it back up and online. Thanks for the recent blogs and videos. Things are getting interesting in EVTV land.

    8. Actually it is a SUMPPLE PTZ camera that doesn’t pan very well, doesn’t tilt at all well, and apparently doesn’t zoom at all. The finest equipment $279 can buy. It is truly a POS if you get a chance to pick one of these up, pass.

      I’ve ordered another rather expensive STARDOT that doesn’t do any of htat and expect to have it up next week.


      1. Mark – that’s a useful pointer – I wasn’t aware of Proterra. A quick and dirty web search suggests that as of mid year they had sold about 60 buses to BYDs 5,000 or so worldwide but still well worth watching.

    9. John,
      You got my curiosity going on why there could be such a disparity in bus sales between BYD and Proterra. I wonder if BYD is doing some kind of posturing regarding the actual sales? Could it be that they are stating that they have gone through some sort of pre-approval for “x” amount of sales based on the second or third specification and or approval as a Zero emission vehicle made in what ever country. I ask this question based on again on what is happening locally in my State of Washington
      Upon doing some local research, and to state the obvious. nobody has heard of this 800 BYD bus purchase and the WSDOT, (Washington State Department of Transportation), does not purchase buses.
      Mark Yormark

    10. So Jay Leno is going for a more modern car now, compared to this one:

      Restaumodding – I hope my spelling is correct. New word learned.

      Although our new year starts in February we wish you a comfortable gliding into next year with no clutch bouncing and no potholes in the streets.

      Peter and Karin

      (Chris I could not reply to cz-ev directly. I guess because of the video. As soon as I clicked reply the text box disappeared)

    11. @Peter Dambier
      Restomodding is the mixing of Restoration, Modifying and Hot Rodding. Typically to look stock or similar to the way it did when new but, with improved performance. Often vastly improved.

      Also, the Reply function did not work correctly for me either on your post.

      1. We are clean and dry. But it is in full flood stage at this point – about 48 feet and going to 50 by Sunday. And it is now getting colder. This coudl be very damaging for a lot of people in the area. But shop and home are high and dry.

        As to the locusts, and the frogs, and the blood in the river………

        Jack Rickard

    12. “We are clean and dry. But it is in full flood stage at this point – about 48 feet and going to 50 by Sunday. And it is now getting colder. This coudl be very damaging for a lot of people in the area. But shop and home are high and dry.
      As to the locusts, and the frogs, and the blood in the river………”

      Make sure and get drone video when the river parts!

    13. Jonathon Bouchey

      Rather large question for you and mostly off topic. Have you ever considered developing your own liquid cooled plug and play common voltage battery pack? Something like a 144v 24kw pack. I did bunch of math to see what it would take to switch completely to electric from gasoline engines around the world and even at the rather high GM goal of $140 per killowatt, we could develope and manufacture a large amount of battery packs designed to be removed quickly and easily from vehicles and exchanged for new ones at what could be a redesigned gas station that we could call a “pack station” After all my estimated calculations in what it would cost to develope new batteries based on that $140 per kw pricepoint it seems the only thing that is stopping us from switching over to electric cars completly now is how long it takes to charge. With the development of quick removal batteries we could have batteries changes out of cars as fast as it takes to fill up with gas. Also if the battery packs were around the 400 lb mark we could do a simple side load style similar to that of a electric forklift where the quick battery exchange equipment already exists in large distrobution facilites. The trick is for each battery to have its own on board battery monitoring system completely with pack usage at voltage current and temp. When the old used battery is turned in a reading on its usage is put towards the price of newly charged battery you are exchanging. The combination of a percentage of charge cycles ($4000 pack price/ 2000charge cycles) and the price for electriciry usage (+ electric charge rate national average 12cents a kw x 24kw) would be around $5 for every time you need to switch out a battery pack. That’s about 80 to 100 miles per pack at $5 each. That would be equivalent to 40+ miles per gallon on a gasoline car paying $2.50 a gallon. To me that is attainable and think about the efficiency. All the dead packs could be sent out via 100 packs per truck load to a mass charging center near small power plants of substations to be charged over night at a slow pace. It would even out the efficiency of power plants and we wouldn’t need to install high voltage power lines everywhere. I hope to hear from you and let me know what you think!!

    14. The model has failed twice. Elon Musk showed them how it could be done but nowbody wanted it.

      The problem is, you have a car and somehow want to stick somebodyelses batteries into, and just in case anotherone into the glove compartment.

      Somebodyelse has made a battery and looks for you to build a car arround it.

      With ancient torchlights we built them around a battery but modern phones are designed and built and somebodyelse has to build a battery that fits in.

      Jack has already made some batteries but he never sold enough to to start an assembly line.

    15. Jonathon – thanks for having the courage to post this. As others have pointed out it is an idea that has been tried for single models – apart from Better Place and Tesla, I have seen a video of Chinese electric taxis swapping battery packs in a mobile unit.

      Doing it across vehicle types would be a monumental undertaking: akin to having a standard exchangeable engine in a conventional ICE car. A battery pack typically has coolant and data interfaces as well as power. Even the main power connectors are non trivial as even minor degradation after several decades and hundreds of cycles could cause a fire as there are hundreds of amps going through it.

      Also, just like engines in ICE cars, battery pack characteristics change radically between vehicles, and are a source of competitive advantage (“my battery pack is faster/safer/cheaper/light than yours – ya boo sucks”)

      It is interesting to speculate on why it hasn’t worked. I’m a useless prophet but I suspect that a part of it is that range is a bigger problem to non-EV drivers than it is to folk with experience of EVs. I could do nearly all my driving with a 30/40-mile range EV. For the occasional long trip there is fast charge. Two guys recently drove a 70 mile range Nissan Leaf from Lands End to John O’Groats and back (1600 miles) in 48 hours using the growing fast charge network.

      In principle you can recharge a modern lithium ion battery in 15 minutes if you can suck enough power out of the wall. Even with weedy fast charge standards like Chademo you can in theory pump 100 plus miles into a battery in half an hour If Tesla are to be believed their customer base voted with their feet and used fast charge rather than battery swap when offered the option.

      My growing belief is that in the main, the legacy Western auto manufacturers want EVs to fail, or at least not to be an issue before the current board of management draws its pensions. A small part of the reason for this belief is that with they have, in the main, put zero effort into fast charge networks, and the fast charge standards they have built into their cars are ridiculous: obsolete on introduction.

    16. Stanley A. Cloyd

      We don’t care much for the book: “Internal Combustion” after the author didn’t have the stones to make good as a guest speaker but there is a century of history there about batteries and electric propulsion. Welfare recipients and industrialists have one thing in common. They want an income for life, not a job for life. Any threat to your dependence on their “service” gets stomped quickly.

    17. Jonathon Bouchey

      I guess all i’m asking for is companies to agree on a battery the same way we agree on 87 octane gas. Yeah there will be those sporty 91 or 93 guys out there. And yes we are still in the early stages of refinement and the technology changes often. But we also know how to make adapters and diagnostic tools that can be integrated into the vehicles of the old or new to make similar technologies work in harmony. It’s kind of why I say maybe we can just agree on a voltage. The rest is a matter of adaption and integration. Why not build a car around a battery the same way we build remotes around AAs? You can change the battery all you want on the interior just make sure it still fits the same slot on your first gen electric vehicle with the same style plug. Safety and information logging can all be left on the battery too. The only signals the car needs are battery heat, charge, voltage, and connection. Make a universal plug for those and you’re off to a great start. I agree with you about the westerners messing things up though. Anytime I talk about these things with tech savy people I watch their face drop after the “all the possibilties!!” excitement and they just mutter something like, “but we won’t ever see it in our time” and we’ll never talk about it again. I guess someone has to think like Elon and his space x team. Build a damn good rocket and a valuable space program will want to use it. Build a great battery and valuable car companies will want to use it.

    18. Jonathon,

      Probably a better standardization to promote would be fast charging. We have the technology to charge the batteries in an acceptable time frame but different companies use different standards. Jack’s model of charge stations build around shops that sell HO HOs and Big Gulps probably has a better chance of succeeding. Most of a vehicle’s use is under 40 miles, so to me, it doesn’t make sense to invest in a huge battery swap infrastructure for the occasional longer trips. Also, battery module technology could be a marketing differentiater for the OEMs. I may buy a Tesla over a BMW because I feel they offer a better battery package. Elon tried the battery swap model and it just doesn’t have that much support from the users on his product. I was able to purchase a Better Place Pack for $3600 because Shai Agassi’s model was not able to produce any profit for his company. Not trying to cut your idea short but believe in learning from the past.


    19. Jonathon Bouchey

      Hey randy,
      I thought about charging as a better option but the kind of powerline infrastructure needed for charging batteries at a high amperage would be kind of difficult for power plants to handle and to build more high voltage lines around the world. The demand from dawn until dusk Is already far more than night time. That imbalance comes at a cost. Also most batteries out can’t handle any more than 3c charge rate without a significant degredation that can cost you much more in the long run if you are constantly needing a fast charge. I figure we already have the technology to do the whole battery swap thing. Also people just hate waiting 20 minutes in one spot when they don’t have to with a gasoline car.

    20. Re dawn to dusk load: fair point but for most people most of the time charging is at home overnight and daytime fast charge is once a year when they go to visit Granny at Christmas: so it’s an exception to the norm. Same goes for effect on battery life. Effect of fast charge is also negligible if it is one charge in fifty or whatever

    21. One challenge that will occur for fast charging or battery swap is when high number of people want to use at the same time such as three day weekends with a trip to the beach or mountains or everyone going to visit their grandma about the same time.

    22. I’ve found an interesting but/and lengthy video about VW diesel cheating.
      It consists of two parts: first part from long-term BMW(?) engineering manager. He presents a typical mindset of automotive manufacturer, which is essential in understanding why VW has cheated and how it might be organized.
      But the second part (from 40′) is even more interesting as it presents findings in actual VW ECU code. It also tells much more about how ECU algorithms are actually coded and how one ECU software can be used by multiple OEMs for very different vehicles.

    23. Jonathon Bouchey
      Running cars on electricity instead of fuel places no new loads on the electricity grid at all. The reason is very simple. The humongous amount of electrical energy required to crack and process crude into oils and fuels. We are talking around 6KWH per gallon.
      But we all know its not about economy. Its the ride they give and avoiding handing too much money to those insane haterz who war & kill in the middle East..

    24. Stanley A. Cloyd

      Current events suggest a collision between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Both of them are suffering declines of income. Both want to pump and sell more. Do they destroy each others ability to sell by crippling infrastructure? After they knock each other in the head oil prices will be back up. Solar and electric propulsion will get incentives again. India just announced an electric vehicle incentive program. Hopefully they don’t suffer a radioactive plume from Iran.

    25. Andyj – quite right; and it is also about reducing urban air pollution: even in the West many city dwellers breathe air dirtier than WHO limits and there is some evidence that this is affecting brain development in children. My suspicion (I have no evidence) is that this may be a major factor in the epidemic of brain impairments related to autism in the UK and no doubt other Western countries

    26. Hi John,
      Apologies, the reply button does not work for me.
      I doubt dirty air very much indeed. Autism is a very modern disease that affects only political boundaries. Not the air quality or the likes of California and Chinese cities will be the leading source and on-shore wind coastal places will be the lowest. They are not.
      Sorry, my two-pennerth.

    27. AndyJ:

      You can doubt it, but you can’t explain it away. There is actually evidence of what John alludes to. A CHARGE study of autism in relation to the distance from Interstate Highways resulted in a really quite strong correlation.

      I have suspected this for years and not just autism. While you all strain over global warming, I’m haunted by the fact that an ICE car in a garage is widely known as an excellent suicide technique. But it’s ok to run a billion cars simultaneously as long as they are outdoors???? Where does all the carbon monoxide/nitrous oxides go then?

      Not into the stratosphere. These are low hanging gasses. Meaning we get tobreathe them.

      The rise of hte automobile has been incremental over a hundred years. Kind of like boiling frogs. Do it slowly and they don’t notice.

      WHERE would you find a part of the world with meddical care and reporting, that did NOT have our density of automobiles? Without that, how would we measure what impact they have on our health and the absolutely DRAMATIC increases in autism, alzheimers, and other diseases that have gone from rare to fashionable within our lifetimes?

      I would predict with all confidence that as we convert from ICE to electric drive, once passt the tipping point we will notice impressive reductions in a number of diseases we never knew were caused by internal combustion engines. But I have rather failed to come up with a methodology to prove it prior.

      Anyplace we go on earth that has no cars, also has no real health care and statistical reporting of diseases.

      Jack Rickard

    28. Winter has found us. Half of germany has seen some snow and they have reminded us, it is not allowed to run your diesel or gas engine without actually driving. Turning your engine on and getting out to scratch your windows free from ice and snow will get you a fine (symbolically at least)

      On the other hand it is not allowed to drive a car with the windows freezing.

      If this laws were enforced you could only drive electrically in winter with electric heating of coarse.

      Happy new year
      Peter and Karin

    29. Mark – apologies – only just noticed your post on BYD and Washington. I am not familiar with the way these things work, but the small print of the press release you quote appears to bely the headline. It seems to be that the competition was not for an 800 bus contract, but simply for the right to sell buses in the state, and that this might run up to 800 buses:

      “…Washington State’s Department of Transportation just released its list of heavy-duty bus contract winners. And BYD, which now makes a lot of its goods in California in addition to China, came up quite big. Specifically, BYD won the bids for 10 of the dozen electric-bus categories sought by the state. This is a big deal because Washington could purchase up to 800 buses in all.”

      Interestingly Proterra appear to claim a win in the same competition:

      Putting the two press releases together I guess BYD won some categories and Proterra won some.

      We have BYD buses in Europe but I think most sales are (naturally) in China

    30. A snow plow it is! 🙂
      It’s kind of a just-for-the-hell-of-it exercise. I don’t know how well it’ll actually work.
      If the temperatures stay like they’ve been I may never get a chance to find out!

    31. Hi Jack, on Autism and all its variations. The social consensus bent to medical injections.
      Many recent and very public severe reactions to same and a couple of independent papers that statistically proved its down to this. It’s nigh on concluded.

      More worrisome. Cannot see your video on YouTube! 🙁

    32. AndyJ – nigh on impossible to prove either way. As the first chapter of any book on statistics discusses “Correlation does not prove Causation” and you cannot ethically run a prospective study exposing people to different toxins and shielding them from others to see who begets more autistic children.

      BTW I sometimes wonder if I should have gone to Paris during the climate change jamboree in December with a placard saying “Correlation does not prove Causation” in ten languages.

      Maybe not. I would probably have got mugged which is sadly the way that discussions about climate change are conducted

    33. I just watched the Jan 15 episode of your news show. (The online file name says it’s the 2015 episode by the way.) I would like to point out an error. The traction control doesn’t use the parking brake system, to slow. It uses the ABS which has 4 valves for pressurizing and 4 valves for dumping pressure in the brake lines to each wheel. The ABS is very fast in order to respond to emergency situations. There is also an electric pump to restore the line pressure after a dump. The ABS can, on command, turn on the pump close the pressure valve to the slipping wheel an set just one brake in just a few milliseconds. Also since the accelerator is electronic and not a pull cable run to throttle plates the power plant can be instantly cut back in order to reduce slippage. Another case of complex precision mechanical devices replaced with computers and software.

    34. Stanley A. Cloyd

      Sooooo. Is that new Fire Bane an electrical insulator? Seymour Cray use to immerse his hot running gallium arsenide chips in Flourinert. The Crays were the cats meow in supercomputers long long ago. If the battery coolant was also a fire stopper it would be way cool. (pun intended)

    35. Anyone that has done any serious drifting or dirt track will instantly be a big fan of a stout limited slip differential in the Tesla final drive. If you have no experience driving at that level, a little over-steer could quickly turn into a total spin out with just a bit more throttle in the turn. Reminds me of the story where Elon punched his Mac-learn and turned it into a Frisbee with predictable result. 600 Hp @ 2000# was just more Umph than he could bear. (and it wasn’t insured so I hear)

    36. hi has any one tried the new lithium titanate batteries as they are used by mitsubishi. 10000 plus cycles 2.4 volt per cell they seem like the bees knee more cell will be required in say a landcruiser that would not be a problem. they are built in all sizes of packs in china any comments icy australia

    37. Absolutely concur with Jack’s comments on cell chemistries other than lithium iron phosphate. I have tested batteries (not just cells) of 5 different chemistries and for the moment I wouldn’t recommend using anything other than lithium iron phosphate in a car you build yourself.

    38. @Stanley A. Cloyd,

      I have seen something at our local firemen. They use kind of the same thing they sell in shops for adults only. Silicon based lubricant that makes water sticky. The water does not drop of the surface easily. That would suggest bigger manifolds and for water cooled pc people heavier pumps because it does not circulate so well.

      I tried that lubricant with TENS toys to relax muscle pain. It fells the same as the usual electrolyte does. So no insulator for sure.

      But there might be a very different thing that was used the same way as those famous space shuttle tiles. They can take a lot more heat.

    39. Stanley A. Cloyd

      In the forties first aid kits contained small ampules of ammonia in sealed glass tubes with a thick cotton sock on it. After the first-responder flexed it and broke the glass it could be used to rouse the unconscious by inhalation. Do you suppose Tesla might include the glass tubes of Fire Bane in their packs? The heat would break the tubes for sure.

    40. Airbus is printing Teslas and BMW i3s

      Nothing new, Airbus has begun printing airplanes

      and flying electric.

      But now they have caught a company printing electric cars. Trying to print cars in between airplane parts? After all BMW i3 is more airplane than car.

      Looks like the plunging oil has shied money away and developers are running to save their pants in a different industry. No more money for new diesels but a lot of money in electric cars.

      Why did not Boing catch Aptera before the oil zombies killed them?

      Airbus printing cars is dangerous. They have more factories than Tesla has and they have the software to use them. There have been more cars built in airplane factories. They want to have cars on the street next year.

      Peter and Karin

    41. Comment from a UK government minister on electric vehicles:

      “Andrew Jones, the roads minister, said sales of ultra-low emissions vehicles (ULEVs) were “rocketing”, with 28,188 new ULEV cars on the road in 2015 – almost double the number in 2014, and more than the previous five years combined. ”

      Some interesting graphs too. The picture looks happier than the US.

    42. Just finished the January 15th episode and felt a few comments on differentials were in order. A Quaiffe Limited Slip Differential (LSD) is probably the only LSD that might keep you from unplanned sideways driving…might!! The electronic control of braking on individual wheels for traction and stability control has been around in a OEM vehicles for over 10 years.

      Most vehicles and drivers who try and use a limited slip differential on a vehicle they intend to drive under any condition other than dry paved roads WILL end up wrecking or at least sideways when they do not expect it. The reason is with an open differential the tire not spinning keeps the vehicle pointed straight. While drivers in drifting competitions use limited slips or even spools so both tires spin to assist them in driving sideways.

      So in summary:
      -good choice on the Quaiffe LSD and very likely needed at Tesla or even lower power levels for maximum forward acceleration without electronic traction controls.
      – an LSD in slippery conditions like snow, rain or even dry dirt or grass can get you sideways or worse.

    43. Those people that live in colder snowy climates that get more than 1 week of snow covered roads per year could benefit from a Limited Slip Differential. On gravel or dry or wet pavement, modern ABS and traction control do pretty well. Where they fall way short is in extremely low traction situation. Like with snow covered roads or glare ice, etc. I can tell you that I can stop my vehicle faster in these conditions with the ABS fuse removed than with it installed. The same goes for traction control. In deep snow, spinning your tires a small amount can get them down to good pavement instead of sitting on top of the packed snow. If you grew up in places like Michigan’s Upper Penninsula you at least partially understand this. It’s comical to see high end sports cars, Vipers, Corvette’s, Chargers, etc try to drive in bad winter weather. They have little weight on the wide rear wheels, and an over powered engine with no finesse. They just sit at the stop light, stuck spinning away, being passed by all the front wheel drive VW golf’s, Camery’s, etc.

    44. In the i-MiEV I do have limited slip and it has saved me a lot of trouble.

      Two wheels on tarmac and two wheels in the snow I can still climb up a hill. With our late gasser I could not. It is as simple as that. Our little jelly bean sees that the right wheel is spinning free. I engages the right break and now all the torque goes into the left wheel. That is enough to get me out of a heap and keep me going on a road but nothing sophisticated to take offroad adventares.

      Happy New Year (the year of the fire ape has begun in China)
      Peter and Karin

    45. I must admit to a limited amount of snow and ice driving and only a moderate amount of miles on dirt and gravel roads. Also, my experience with Limited Slip Differentials (LSD’s) is with the older speed sensing type such as Chrysler Sure Grip and the off road fully locking type such as ARB Air Locker. In low traction driving conditions they wil put power to both wheels on that axle and with both wheels rotating you are more likely to move forward, if you have appropriate tires for the conditions. However both wheels spinning also makes it easier to end up sliding sideways. The newer torque sensing LSD’s such as the Quaiffe MAY be better at minimizing the sideways part.
      My perception is that most cars and light trucks built in the last 10 years are much more likely to use individual electronic control of the brakes to provide differential traction control than they are to have an actual LSD.
      Tires also have a significant impact on traction with most of them being “all weather” which really means 3 of the 4 weather seasons and buy snow tires for actual winter driving conditions. Off road or “mud” tires and high performance tires that come on Viper type cars are not snow tires.
      Curious to see how a Quaiffe LSD and no electronic over watch of traction works in a Tesla powertrain. Hoping it far exceeds my expectations.

    46. No January Blog post…bummer. Miss the updates. I did notice that the shop is full of two wheel vehicles at this point. Definitely something interesting going on at EVTV Motor Werks.

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