Hitting on All Cylinders …..in the Electric Automobile

rickard

At last, a video without the Tesla Drive Train in it. Actually, that’s because it is mostly about Tesla. We should probably rename ourselves TeslaEVtv. But I love the car AND the soap opera.

There was a Christmas Eve some years ago when Elon Musk was dead broke, unable to pay the rent, his Tesla Roadster undeliverable, and payroll in arrears. He got some funding literally at the 11th hour and survived.

His SpaceX adventure was funded and designed to make 3 initial launches. If they didn’t make it, they would fold the company and call it a good effort. Understand that all three flights were miserable ignominious disasters. Total blowups with no encouraging elements at all.

At the center of every successful entreprenurial activity is an over controlling detail obsessed authoritarian asshole. If you don’t know who it is in your organization – you’re it. I must confess an automatic admiration of intelligent persistence in total violation of reality. And that is Elon Musk to a T.

I’m told by a birdie that recent successes have made him even more insufferable than he already famously was.

But deservedly so. This week he illustrates the validation of all that that is and why it is so absolutely required for success.

We start with the March 31 unveil of Tesla’s much discussed Model 3. And while I have early, often, and repeatedly admonished our viewers of the crucial nature of the value proposition in the adoption of electric vehicles, I was indeed stunned by the immediate reaction to this car. Ok, it was a LITTLE cheesey that in an obvious move toward manipulation, he allowed people to put down a $1000 deposit on a Model 3 IF they showed up at a Tesla sales/service center BEFORE taking orders online. It was obviously meant to cause a bit of a stir as the whackos camped overnight to be “first in line”. Too predictable.

That they were plunking down $1000 on a car they had never SEEN even in concept drawing form, and had NO specifications for, makes the numbers even more surprising. But in all fairness, Tesla Motors had laid the groundwork with a strong history of 50,000 cars that in every case and every direction EXCEEDED expectations nearly universally.

I predicted over 100,000 registrations the first month.

But by the time of the unveil at about 8:30 PM Pacific time, he was able to announce 115,000 registrations. He also let slip that they expect the average “price” of a normally equipped $35,000 base model to actually be $42,000. That implies a one day product launch total of $4,830,000,000 which is undoubtedly the largest dollar sale of a any product, anywhere in history.

One week later registrations had slowed – to a first week total of 325,000 or $13,650,000,000.00 in implied sales. I say implied as the $1000 deposit is refundable. As you may recall, Nissan had over 100,000 early registrations for the Leaf – at a refundable $99.

But I find $1000 much more persuasive. And for a car you can’t possibly buy within two years?

I do have to confess that my early 2013 Tesla Model S P85, which has no autopilot features or hopes of any, is absolutely and in all ways the best car I’ve ever planted the Rickard tailgate in. It just is. The more I drive it the better I like it. That’s with sun visors flipping everywhere, door handles flashing in and out madly, tires shredding in all directions and a homelink autodoor opener that could star in its own sitcom. I have to do Yoga to get in it. And I don’t actually know HOW I get out of it. But I love it. I’ve only floored it twice and that was for a CAN capture. I don’t need that speed. I don’t need that acceleration. If I want to go fast and make a lot of noise I own a Lear 24D and I have the type rating to drive it. It will actually climb 7500 feet per minute. But I love the car.

I guess I expected a car for the rest of us at $35,000 that looked a little bit like a Chevy Bolt/BMWi3/Nissan Leaf. You know, the little hatchback with the teeny weeny wheels.

Instead, they rolled out the Model S again. Actually, they rolled out the Jack Rickard version of the Model S. 170kW rear drive. Plenty of acceleration for any rational human being 0-60 in 6 seconds. That IS as fast as we have made any car do at EVTV. And it is plenty quick. 210 miles EPA range. Supercharger equipped.

Yes, it is a LITTLE smaller. But they rearranged the interior, forfeiting the four foot deep dash that didn’t make much sense in the S anyway, and sliding the driver forward into the Frunk. Leaving the rear to seat three adults comfortably. Ok, I’ll miss the hatch. But not much. A normal trunk is fine for groceries. He claims it will carry a 7-foot surfboard. I could sell tickets to see me on a surf board at the beach. Actually I hate the beach. Just when I get a good nap going, a bunch of whale lovers always shows up and try to help me back out into the ocean, assuming I’ve grounded myself there.

Anyway, an upscale optioned model will feature 170kW rear AND 170kW front for all-wheel-drive and of course much quicker than 6 seconds 0-60 mph.

On April 8th, Musk scored AGAIN with a fabulous launch of the Dragon 9 SpaceX rocket on mission CRS-9. This is a capsule full of supplies sent up to the International Space Station.

The launch went perfectly. They had been trying to recover stage one on several flights to land on a drone ship out in the ocean. This borders on the absurd. A postage stamp sized ship about 1/10th the size of an aircraft carrier, pitching and rolling in the sea, with the wind blowing. They had blown the last two of these up and indeed lost video on both so we could only partly see it. Here’s a 4k resolution video of them STICKING CRS-9 like a lawn jart.

On April 10, Dragon capsule “berthed” with the capture arm on the ISS about 18 minutes ahead of schedule. It was full of Mousetronauts I understand. That must be some menu on the ISS these days.

As many of you may know, I have an odd affinity for the Smart ED electric car. We actually converted a Smart ForTwo to electric drive during EVCCON a couple of years ago and we have since acquired two of the later ED builds from Daimler. This was not the version with the Tesla components in it but a second generation with a different battery and drive train. Unlike the Tesla, the car is 2/3 door. I just walk up, open the door, and sit down. It’s actually very comfortable. And it buzzes around as an electric chariot. It’s not a GREAT electric car. And it does not pass the sniff test at $28,750. But if you can pick one up for $10k or so they are handy. No great range. No great acceleration. Just a little electric car that’s easy to hop in.

Daimler has never done any good with this car after spending nearly $3 billion on this project that was originally started by the Swatch Watch people. They put this horrible little Mitsubishi 3 cylinder engine in it that had a life span of about 40,000 miles, and coupled it with a manual transmission they converted to automatic (badly) with solenoids. Great little car design, with the worst power train ever sold deliberately. But as an electric, it kind of works.

They had 300 of these in a program in San Diego called Charge2Go. Charge2Go was kind of a car rental by the minute thing at 41 cents per minute, and they grew it to some 40,000 registered users. Last year, they retired the 300 original Tesla powered units with 400 of the new ones.

This May, they are pulling ALL of the 400 units and replacing them with the gasoline model. ??????

The program started in partnership with a company called Ecotality. They were supposed to install 1000 charge points in the San Diego area. They actually installed 400 before going bankrupt in 2013. And therein lies a tale that kind of explains a problem Tesla faces.

At any one time, 20% of the fleet of 400 is sitting either charging or needing to charge. There just aren’t enough places to charge.

Tesla of course sports an amazing 3600 (charge points) in 631 locations. But they just signed up 325,000 new cars. Now if 400 charge points is insufficient to service 400 Smart EDs, how many would it take to charge 325,000 Model 3’s, plus let’s say 100,000 assorted X’s and S’s? The answer is, I don’t know. And it’s kind of an apples and oranges comparison. The Smart gets maybe 75 miles per charge, the Model 3 gets 210. The Tesla Superstations are mostly for intercity travel. The Ecotality are all for local use. So there really isn’t a good analogy except that we DON’T KNOW how much infrastructure is necessary for 325,000 electric cars. We only sold 116,000 electric cars of ALL MODELS WORLDWIDE in 2015.

In any event, Elon has vowed to DOUBLE the number of charge points between now and when they ship the Model 3.

I STILL don’t quite get why GM and BMW in particular did not jump on Elon’s offer to “share” the Supercharger network. If he offered to share it with them, and asked EACH of them to pay 100% of the cost of construction AND operation of the entire network, it would have made PERFECT sense for them to do so. But they did not. Which makes ZERO business sense. Here I have a perfectly good electric car from Tesla that I can drive anywhere in the country quite conveniently and at ZERO fuel cost – that’s right, drive it coast to coast for nothing. Here’s a Chevy Bolt and a BMW i3 whose MOST NOTABLE FEATURE IS, that you CANNOT. That is THE MOST notable feature of the VW Golf, the BMW i3, the Chevy Bolt, and the Nissan Leaf. You CAN”T do what a Tesla can do.

The competitive disadvantage is INSURMOUNTABLE. I never leave town and I would still rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it.

Curiously, all three companies are solid backers of an entirely different standard – the J1772 Rev B Combined Charging Standard – CCS. This is the UGLIEST plug in all of electronics, and beyond that it is WEENY – unable to even do the 125 amps of CHAdeMO.

It’s only merit is that carmakers have one chargeport on the vehicle, instead of two. I have to point out that Tesla has one, not two. And it is gorgeous.

Instead of the ubiquitous CAN protocol, it uses the HomePlug Alliance GreenPHY protocol. HomePlug is the family name for various power line communications specifications under the HomePlug moniker, with each offering unique performance capabilities and coexistence or compatibility with other HomePlug specifications.

Some HomePlug specifications target broadband applications such as in-home distribution of low data rate IPTV, gaming, and Internet content, while others focus on low-power, low throughput, and extended operating temperatures for applications such as smart power meters and in-home communications between electric systems and appliances. All of the HomePlug specifications were developed by the HomePlug Powerline Alliance, which also owns the HomePlug trademark. The whole concept of Internet over powerline just never made the trip, dying a quick and almost silently painless death shortly after announcement.

The HomePlug Green PHY specification is a subset of HomePlug AV that is intended for use in the smart grid. It has peak rates of 10 Mbit/s and is designed to go into smart meters and smaller appliances such as HVAC thermostats, home appliances and plug-in electric vehicles so that data can be shared over a home network and with the power utility. High capacity broadband is not needed for such applications; the most important requirements are low power and cost, reliable communication, and compact size. The HomePlug Powerline Alliance worked with utilities and meter manufacturers to develop this 690-page specification.

In practice, it offers nothing over CAN that I can detect without serious test equipment. The Vehicle to Grid advantage is all the utilities. They want to use your batteries for storage, rapidly aging them while paying you nothing for the privilege. Ideally reducing your cost to charge from what it WILL be when they figure out they own you. Kind of a “payment in theory.”.

And it is needlessly complex.

So CCS appears to also be dead on arrival. But there is a NEWer consortium in Germany termed CharIN now that purports to promote CCS. It’s REAL agenda is to update it to 150kw and ultimately 300kW charging. Tesla actually paid the membership fee and joined as a full core member February 24th.

Why?

Well basically if we DID get to a 500 mile per charge car it’s going to have 150kw or more in battery capacity. This is inescapable. And so a 30 minute fast charge is going to require 300kW of power – also inescapable. And at 400volts, that’s 750 amperes. And unfortunately it is not 750 amperes for 4.2 seconds. It’s 750 amperes for 30 minutes. Just inescapable. And currently impossible.

There is no such thing at this point.

I’ve said many times that I’ve never met a connector I liked. I just can’t WAIT to see what this one looks like. Liquid nitrogen cooled 7/0 cable with pins the size of tomato cans? Wireless charging that absolutely ensures your entire family can only give live birth to girls for the next 12 generations? Elon’s obscene robotic snake in the rear end charger? Perhaps a plug-in bumper?

In any event, I view Tesla’s “core membership” to simply be money well spent to be part of the design and selection process for future (kind of far future) charging technologies. I do NOT see them actually supporting CCS anytime soon. It just isn’t happening. Indeed, more likely to offer to share their technology with ChargIN.

On the other hand, they do need to keep tabs on these things. Tesla has a different charge port in Europe than the one they have in China which is different than the one they use in the U.S. So ultimately they have to deal with everything.

We had a visitor this week from Moscow. He sent me an e-mail, and asked if he could drop by the shop for a chat. From Moscow? Sure. And he did, last Thursday.

It seems they have set up a maintenance and repair facility for the Tesla Model S in Moscow, with absolutely zero support from Tesla, and that indeed there are about 300 Tesla Model S automobiles that have somehow migrated/leaked into Russia. And they do their best to repair them and have had some success. And they want to build their own car, based on the Tesla Model S drive train. So he just wanted to “stop by” and chat and see what we were doing with the drive trains.

We’re actually getting a couple of pretty serious inquiries per day now on the drive train thing.

But we had another curious visitor this week. Kind of an angel.

You might recall that when we first acquired the Azure Dynamics DMOC645 inverters and Siemens motors that we were looking for ways to make it run. One of our EVCCON attendees is Phil Becker and his son is pretty good with electronics. Indeed, he built controller to control the DMOC645. But it was all hardware and kind of specific. So we developed the GEVCU as a more generalized device that could control it from minimal hardware and mostly software. The idea being that it was object oriented and we could make it easy to add additional drive trains as simple software add-ons. This all worked out.

Becker’s son is quite secretive but goes by WOLFTRONIX. And he has a neat series on YouTube right now where he does like a 15 part thing on building a DC-DC converter – kind of high power to charge or discharge etc. Like charge his car from a 48v Solar pack.

Recall that I had actually sent about $5000 worth of the latest Cree SiC power switches and gate drivers to our friend Paulo Alameida in LIsbon. He had a graduate there at the Institute of Engineering who did his masters on designing the inductor. Unfortunately, he apparently dropped the project then as it was never completed.

The inductor is the “passive” component at the heart of a buck/boost converter that stores and then transfers energy from one segment of the circuit to the other, either stepping UP the voltage or stepping it DOWN. For high power, it has to be able to handle a lot of current and of course it has to have quite a bit of inductance as well.

It is really quite related to electric motors. When you pass current through ANY conductive material, it emits a magnetic flux field. Conversely, if you pass a conductor through a magnetic field, THAT induces a current in the conductor. If you coil the conductor, you kind of fold this field back on itself so that any current through the conductor causes a counterforce of current induced by the magnetic field. We call this counter force REACTANCE. BUt it is only active when the conductor is moving through the field. If we hold the coil steady, the ONLY time it is moving through the field is if the FIELD is moving – either expanding or contracting based on the applied current. When we are applying current and it is expanding, this takes energy and so it RESISTS this current. Once the current has reached maximum, so has the field. So no motion. And no reactance. If we remove the current (by removing the voltage of course) the field collapses and THAT induces a current in the coil.

Net net is that a coil resists ANY change in current. If you apply a voltage and cause a current, it will resist or REACT to that. And if you remove the current, the collapsing field will try to CONTINUE the current by inducing a current in the same direction.

And so for historical/hysterical reasons, along with terming this an “inductor” or a “coil” we also term it a REACTOR. Actually more likely to call it a REACTOR if it is a big brawny piece used in high current applications.

So I’ve been watching Wolftronix and he is trying to do a couple hundred amps with a DC-DC converter. Me too. But he’s come up with a cunning strategy. Large high current reactors can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars. But the Reactor in a Toyota Prius is kind of widely available. They’ve made and wrecked a LOT of TOyota Prius (Priiii???) es. So you can get an inverter for a hundred dollars on eBay.

The CURIOUS thing about the Toyota Prius is that it uses a 200v battery and a 500v motor. To drive it, they actually step up or BOOST the voltage to 500v using a DC-DC converter. And so the Reactor is actually quite a piece of work and perfect for Wolftronix purpose. Readily available. Inexpensive. ANd probably overkill.

So I’m literally sitting at the shop watching Wolfie on about episode six, when Nick Kirkby stops by. An MIT grad, he and a friend were traveling from California ot New Jersey and just wanted to stop by. He and a small group of hackers had used a Freescale STM to drive the gate drivers on the Toyoto Prius inverter. And he was curious what we were doing with the Tesla stuff. He had asked if he could drop by on a Saturday.

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I told him sure, but call as he got near and I’d go down to the shop and join him (450 yards from my house – range isn’t much of an issue on my commute). And so it happened that I was at the shop when he arrived.

We had a fascinating conversation on any manner of things. I showed him our Tesla stuff and we talked a bit about Chevy Volt batteries which he knows some about. He kind of described what they were doing with the Toyota inverters and I happened to mention that I was watching this video and kind of wanted to hunt down one of the reactors. He looked at me and asked me to follow him out to his car. The car WAS a Toyota Prius. But he had this trailer dragging along behind it that looked like he was hauling rope. Actually the rope was just there to hold on the tarp. And when he pulled back the tarp, it was loaded with JUNK. He reached over, popped the lid off one piece, lifted out a big blocky component, and handed it to me. I think that’s the reactor you were wanting.

Huh??? Yes. Thank you.

Huh?

I would be willing to bet, that if I held a convention for ALL the Toyota Automotive Dealer Technicians in the U.S.A. and had 5000 of them lined up in my parking lot, and asked how many knew what a Prius inverter reactor was or could identify it by sight, I would NOT GET A SINGLE ONE who had any idea what I was talking about. If I gave them a hint that it was a coil, that would only make it worse. The component does NOT look like a coil. It’s just a potted block.

And I would further bet there are about 15 guys in the whole country, because I think that’s about how many viewers Wolftronix has, who would know at all.

But a guy randomly driving across the country, who stops in to see me, actually had TWO of them on the back of his trailer he was pulling across country?

Thanks Nick. I think.

The problem is, this is a little spooky. I’m working on other things. I was just watching wolfie to take my mind down for a few minutes R&R. I don’t REALLY need a reactor. I’m not REALLY going to do a DC-DC converter. I kind of whine and hope somebody is going to do it FOR me. Now that the universe has hand delivered one, it’s kind of incumbent on me to USE it for something. Apparently something pretty important. Apparently a couple of people have had to relocate across country just so I could have one.

Jack Rickard

Lektrik Kooter
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70 thoughts on “Hitting on All Cylinders …..in the Electric Automobile”

  1. I visited Paulo at his lab in Lisbon in November. His grad student actually delivered his dissertation presentation in English as practice for the real event happening shortly afterward. The paper is on optimal material selection (wire type and diameter) and shape for the inductor, and he hand-wound one from his calculations. Paulo had the Cree power switches mounted to a test jig and using the inductor they seemed nearly ready to test. But I don’t know what he’s done since then.

          1. It’s kind of a fault free zone guys. I’m sure he’s busy. He lost his right hand man in a cutback (Celso) and he DOES have a job, a mother, a girlfriend, and of course Anna Mura. Fado.

            So many projects, so little time. I’m embarrassed by my own list of things I was “gonna” do.

            Jack Rickard

  2. Fellow EV drivers take great care of your car. In Germany every second EV keeps disappearing without a trace. Mostly new VW and Kias get lost and our government has no clue.

    Some of the cars if not all have been seen driving and charging in The Netherlands and Norway. May be they have asked for asylum and electricity. If you read numbers of electric cars in Germany divide by two and you are probably right. The cars were not stolen. They simply disappeared. May be a bug in the census computer or in our government or both.

    Cheers
    Peter and Karin

  3. Pingback: Paul and Sabrina's Cheap 3 Phase Inverter (AC Controller) with Field Oriented Control - Page 274 - Fuel Economy, Hypermiling, EcoModding News and Forum - EcoModder.com

  4. Tesla certainly was at risk of failing, Elon was ready to sell to Google at one point as well. Here’s my concern not that I have placed a deposit, will the economy roll over before the Model 3 is ready and if not how many will actually be in a position to finance their $45,000 car in the next 2-3 years.Place your bets.

  5. You guys do good work. Did you look at that DMOC connector and get the pin numbers? Ribbon cables are usually numbered like they appear in the cable. They alternate sides of the connector so it’s all odd on one side and all even on the other. Colin did a good job explaining that he was just counting from one end but I’m not sure everyone caught that.

    1. Yeah, you’re right. I was counting stupidly. It made sense to me at the time but that isn’t how ribbon cables are numbered. I’ve since created a board that hooks up to the 40 pin connector and so I’ve got the correct pinout with pins numbered according to the ribbon now. And, I’ve tested and gotten the power section to work so all seems pretty good.

      This is pretty much what I’ve got:
      1 PWML0
      2 GND
      3 PWMH0
      4 GND
      5 PWML1
      6 GND
      7 PWMH1
      8 GND
      9 PWML2
      10 GND
      11 PWMH2
      12 GND
      13 ???
      14 ???
      15 Signal Gnd
      16 +5V
      17 GND
      18 +5V
      19 Gate V+
      20 ???
      21 ???
      22 ???
      23 Gate drive fault reset
      24 Gate drive enable
      25 Temperature 1
      26 ???
      27 ???
      28 ???
      29 Current Sensor 2
      30 Current sensor reference
      31 Current Sensor 1
      32 Current sensor reference
      33 Bus voltage
      34 Signal ground
      35 Signal ground
      36 Signal Ground
      37 Temperature 2
      38 ???
      39 ???
      40 Signal Ground

      Yes, I do know something about most of those ??? pins but not enough to claim I know for sure what they do. Still, as explained in the video, the pins I do know are enough to make it work.

      1. Kennybobby traced out the power board schematic and up into the control board but not all the way to the 40 pin connector. I’ll share it with you when he finds it. That was a couple of years ago. We were going to do the very same thing but you got it working so we quit.

      1. That’s Jason Hughes. We’ve kind of learned the hard way that many of Jason’s “prounouncements” are kind of hard to prove. In fact, many of his purported exploits are simply not something you can verify. There is always a couple of key things missing that make them unreproducable and some of the claims are indeed extraordinary. So extraordinary, we’ve found several that simply and demonstrably were not so. An interesting but unreliable character.

        Jack Rickard

    1. Recall if you will, that the boat we had purchased from Anna was damaged in shipment. Fortunately, it was insured for shipping and after hiring a marine surveyor to come inspect the damaged boat here, the insurance company decided to make FULL RESTITUTION.

      This is great, except Anna was the one holding the insurance certificate. He used the proceeds in his business rather than refund them to me, promising to make me ANOTHER boat later.

      Actually he did. But he didn’t send that either. Instead he outfitted it with an HPEVS motor and attempted a crossing of the English Channel in it. This effort was a FAIL.

      But now he has agreed to send me the now battered and decidedly NOT new boat, sans drive train, if we will just pay the shipping AGAIN. We have agreed to do so under duress as he has made it clear he will not refund the money, properly ours actually, from the insurance company.

      How do I get into these messes, and I am a repeat offender? I truly believe in the best of people, and refuse to be dissuaded in this by reality. So we take some hits.

      Jack

      1. Jack,
        there are things I’ll never learn. It is worth the trouble. Most of our kind expect the best and do their best. A civilisation that cannot tolerate at least 10% bastards is not worth the name.

        I dont agree with your political opinion except, the way you express it makes me think almost the same way.

        If it was not about the 10% bastards we would not even know we do disagree in some few and unimportant things.

        Cheers
        Peter and Karin

      1. Something I noticed on the reduction drive, was that it has no sliding spline shaft. How is that going to work on a solid rear end, since they require the ability for a slight movement of the drive shaft, due to rear suspension travel.

        Am I missing something here ?

        Roy

        1. Hi Roy, In the interest of keeping the Torque Box as compact as possible the Torque Box does come with a fixed 1350 series yoke, this requires an inline slip be installed in the driveshaft, something any driveline shop can do and should have available on the shelf.

        2. Stanley Cloyd

          Drive shaft parts OEMs have sliding yokes and shafts that are used to build the new drive shaft. Some pick-up trucks used them when the rear yoke of the transmission is held to the output shaft with a Jesus nut.

  6. John Albergo

    Jack, given Elon’s talk of even faster production ramping (and thus need for capital), and Apple’s recent “setbacks” in China, do you think your long-held idea of a Tesla/Apple confab is becoming any more likely?

    1. I do not.

      Apple’s culture is kind of a temple to Steve and while Elon is JUST what they need, their mental state is probably what precludes them ever having it.

      But in an ideal world, do you see how their $205 billion plus flat profits and nowhere to go gets them? And can you imagine what Elon would do with that given Spacex and Tesla with Solar City in the wings? Three limitless new markets for Apple. Unlimited capital for SpaceX and Tesla and Solar City.

      And ultimately between them the World’s Gigabit Satellite Internet

      It’s the humanoids that queer these deals.

      Jack

  7. Doug Ingraham

    Hey Jack,

    On your local Tesla front looks like Tesla has applied for a permit to build out a Supercharger station in what looks like Miner MO not too far south of you. This appears to be about 156 miles from the St Charles Supercharger in St Louis. About halfway between St Louis and Memphis. I am betting we will see a permit applied for somewhere near Memphis soon.

    1. Brian Couchene

      Tesla just leased 1,000,000 square feet of warehouse space in Livermore CA… This confuses me, I thought they had more space than they knew what to do with at their Freemont location? Does Tesla have the unused space leased to another company and can’t expand into their own building?

  8. It looks like VW may be taking up Jack’s suggestion to them. They are making noises about building a 10 billion Euro battery giga factory:

    http://www.electric-vehiclenews.com/2016/05/volkswagen-planning-multi-billion-euro.html

    “…The aim of the new plans in part is also to put the recent “Dieselgate” scandal over cheating emissions tests behind it. The hope is that focusing on battery technology and electric cars can help the beleaguered company make a fresh start and improve its negative image…”

    It shows slightly more serious thought than yet another EV concept car. The western manufacturers seem mostly to have missed the point that EVs are a “whole system” problem involving supply chain, fast charge infrastructure, maintenance etc not just the design of the device the punter sits in.

    If they ditch their commitment to the obsolete-on-introduction frankenplug (SAE Combo at a miserly 90kw) I will feel that they are maybe beginning to grasp the issues, whether or not they deliver. If they don’t deliver they deserve to go bust.

    1. Battery factory in german means getting some cells from somebody else and wrapping them in duct tape the way Yehu did. Daimler has switched the lights of for the last cell factory we had – but they say they dont want to give up building batteries in Germany. They say it is vital.

      VW has a different and much bigger problem. We saved the banks (that was not a good idea in the first place) we saved Greece (really? did we?) and now we have to save VW. It is actually that bad but we dont know it yet.

      The real danger right now nobody sees. We have got a second Tesla. Airbus is going to sell Dasault. That means no more camouflaged airplanes only civil airplanes to come. But they have begun buying Local Motors. That means printing a couple of EVs in between two wings for an aircraft. That means they dont need to sell cars they only build them when they want to keep their printers bussy.

      They are in kindergarden right now but beware when they are going to school.

  9. A custom CHAdeMo! Wow. Did you try that with any U.S. houses? Lol, how did that go?

    Anyway, I was wondering if it maybe there should be a gland nut where that cable passes through the dolly?

    Good luck with the project. I can’t imagine how satisfying it will be to “filler up” with sunshine in 30 minutes.

    1. Charlie cut me a rather large opening through the dolly and rounded the edges. I think it will be fine.

      We just like to have everything on wheels around here so we can move it around. This would most normally be bolted down on some concrete.
      There are holes in the bottom of the thing for this.

      Jack Rickard

        1. I dont remember where I got this from. Hoseholds are changing. No more grid, people are making their own electricity and that means DC. 400 volts DC is very likely. So EVs are going 400 volts very soon and higher most likely.

          It is not people moving from AC to DC it is people without a grid are going DC directly. No more grid building, the grid will die very fast.

          Looking at our i-MiEV and its charger, anything from about 144 DC to some 300 DC might do it but how about the pfc nonsense built in mandatory? They told me 45 Hz to 400 Hz is fine with some chargers. DC might work, but 16 2/3 Hz as in german railways for sure not.

          As the charger cannot tell AC from DC out of a rectifier because the pfc lives behind the rectifier … modulating your DC via a transformer winding and feeding it some 150 Hz might do the trick.

        1. This is a local TV station. They know all about EVTV. So no, I just went along with the program and steered it toward fast charge. The MODOT initiative was mostly about level 2 charging, and basically we gutted their presentation. Spending money on public Level 2 is a loser. But fast charging is somewhat important.

          So the story is very different from what they started out to do.

          Jack Rickard

    1. Michael Palmer

      Yes I like the list of recent comments as well. I saw they were gone and wondered what happened.

      In fact even before this I was disappointed to note that the list shows up waaay down at the bottom of the page when viewing with an iPhone instead of to the right of the blog posts like when viewed from a pc.

      So when it gets fixed it would be great if the iOS layout gets fixed too.

    1. Successfully launched two satellites into geostationary. If I got it correctly then they usually do fire the engines three times. This time they had fuel only for firing twice. As it turned out only for one and a half times.

      It was a test landing in the first place with RUD rapid unscheduled disassembly as Elon called it in the end. Not an unexpected loss.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gLNmtUEvI5A (hosted webcast)

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ckjP8stlzxI (technical webcast)

      “Of Coarse I Still Love You” had a hard time this time and refused any comment after the hard landing. But at least you can see the Falcon 9 standing on the deck.

    1. I’m of the opinion that Tesla had this hell storm coming. You don’t release an assisted driving mode, call it autopilot, then insist that people treat it like a driving assistance system. That is not what auto pilot means to people. Names are important. If you call something autopilot you put the idea into people’s minds that perhaps it’ll drive for them. In fact, it kind of does drive for you; most of the time anyway. But, Tesla does not want you to treat it as an auto pilot feature nor should you. Yet, they call it that anyway. That is a colossally stupid idea and they deserve the sort of crap that is getting thrown their way. It is very dangerous to be in the uncanny valley were it is almost just about fully autonomous driving without fully being there. It’s like almost not getting your mistress pregnant, almost dodging a bullet, or just about catching yourself before you fall off a cliff. There are some circumstances where almost doesn’t cut it. Autonomous driving is one of those things. By all accounts Tesla autopilot is very advanced and safe already. But, IT IS NOT AUTONOMOUS NAVIGATION. It seems it might be very difficult for Tesla drivers to remember this. So, I’ll say it again, Tesla autopilot is not autonomous driving nor really auto pilot. You have to still be paying attention. I actually don’t really support auto pilot for this reason. When you’re driving you have to pay attention because you’re in control and must make decisions rapidly and constantly. This keeps you on task. When a computer takes over most of the driving then your mind wanders. You quit paying as close attention because you don’t have to. Now if something happens it is less likely, just by basic human nature, to be paying proper attention. So, by all accounts auto pilot is pretty safe at what it does but I believe it makes people more careless and less observant and that’s what leads to situations like this. The only true solution would have been for them to go the Google route and plan for fully autonomous driving from the start.

      1. Seeing a bit more about the circumstances it looks very much like the accident in which my uncle died. It happened decades ago and my uncle was driving a Mercedes in France. No autopilot involved. My uncle was not the culprit but the dead.

        We do have this kind of traps on the infamous Autobahn A6 in Germany. Ask Google for accidents, fatalities and traffic jam on the A6.

        There has been one deadly accident with a Tesla. Tesla is learning fast. I am sure there will be no second one of this kind. But I am afraid there will come a lot of them with only humans involved. Our government does not even think about fixing the mess in the first place.

      2. My position on autopilot has been pretty consistent from the first announcement. Automobile manufacturers pretty much get a pass on liability for accidents within our legal syetem. This is because 99.8% of accidents are due to human error and 0.2% to mechanical breakdowns. And the owner is kind of responsible for maintaining the car in good working order then.

        Rarely, there are defects not handled by recall and covered up by manufacturers. They are usually greeted eventually with astronomical court awards to punish the coverup. But it is kind of after the fact then.

        So basically if you have an accident and there is any kind of litigation, one of the drivers is found at fault and the cars themselves are rarely questioned.

        Introducing autopilot is kind of like raising your hand and saying “but wait – I want to go to court too!”

        As I mentioned at the TIME this was first introduced, I can just hear the defendant now:

        “But your honor, I thought the car was driving. It said so on the website!”

        I am familiar with Elon’s aircraft analogy. But as an actual pilot, as opposed to a thought experiment pilot, I can tell you there is an enormous difference in the two environments. Aircraft enjoy what is actually referred to as “big sky”. You could take off in a plane, put it on autopilot, and fly all the way across the country, napping the entire way, awaking to land. The odds of SEEING another aircraft are slim and actually making contact with one almost unthinkable. In flight collisions ARE a danger, but only in congested airspace around the airports.

        It is true there are 6000-8000 aircraft in the air at any time on flight plan, but it is a BIG sky and big three dimensionally.

        Cars would be a lot safer if we just drove across country without needing pavement. But the environment of being on the ground (one vertical level) and on pavement (highways) concentrates the cars into basically a constant ongoing developing crash scenario. You drive to avoid the crash and we as humans fail.

        The human brain is actually quite remarkable and quite adaptive. The technologist view that it is somehow flawed and everything will be better when we replace it with a computer is a little naive. It could be simulated with a computer for a specific task such as driviing a car, with about a 1000 man years of development.

        Adding radar, a couple of cameras and some gps sensors and whacking out some code isn’t going to get you there beyond hte demo level. Yes, you can amaze the aborigines with smoke and mirrors for a few minutes, but there are an endless number of scenarious that have to be handled based on terrain, weather, variable lighting conditions etc. Those are hard to envision and nearly impossible in some cases to simulate.

        In Denver, I have to wear sunglasses constantly. Bright sun on snow is blinding. Twilight fog is a very different scenario. Not all roads have a nice white line on the shoulder.

        There is a pass south of Denver on the way to Colorado Springs. One night fog and glare ice combined to pile up about 288 cars in one giant collision there. They just kept piling in. Sometimes roads are covered with snow – vertical poles along the roadway show you the way. Sunlight one moment, tunnel the next at 80mph. The list is essentially endless.

        With multiple vehicles moving 80 mph separated often by 18 inches laterally, we are a long way from big sky and reaction times are measured in tenths of seconds. Switching from the car driving to me driving is going to take much longer than the required reaction time so the concept of me “supervising” an autopilot “driver assist” is essentially absurd. I can supervise. I just can’t do anything about it quickly enough to avoid impact.

        Autoparking? Its kind of a solution in search of a problem. Get your father to teach you to parallel park. It’s not that hard. It’s kind of like wireless charging. Marvelous technology. To avoid the eight seconds it takes to plug in a cable? How does that work?

        One of the big issues with the Model X is the feature causing the doors to open automagically. They don’t know when not to and they keep bashing the doors. If you can’t safely predict all the situations necessary to open a door, how can you do so to drive a car across country? And what was the original problem opening the car doors. The automatically extending handles were one of the chief failures of hte original car. Often, they didn’t extend automatically.

        The ambition is laudable. But the results rather predictable. At some point, there’s just too much fag shit on the car to live with.

        Jack Rickard

        1. Brian Couchene

          I try to be not so quick to judge. The Tesla could be at fault, the Tesla Driver could be at fault, The truck driver could be at fault, there could have been environmental factors, or a combination of all of them. If the Tesla was on autopilot, then it likely was not speeding or driving recklessly. The drivers driving record, should have nothing to do with the accident, he wasn’t driving. The AP only brings his record up to smear his name and to make headlines. There will be an investigation, a police report filed, and the AP will not bother to follow up and report what really happened because that is boring and not worth the ink on the paper.
          The questions I would be asking is, What was the truck driver doing sideways across the highway? On a NON limited access divided highway, he has the right (and a cross road is provided) to cross the highway, only after yielding the right of way. The two possibilities I can see is that he broke down while crossing the highway, or he pulled out in front of the Tesla. Based on the limited AP facts, it’s possible that even an attentive driver would not have been able to avoid the accident. Too many unknowns to be able to jump to any conclusions.

  10. LOVE the BLE work you’re doing! You’ve probably already thought of this, but combining this with your new CAN-GPS will put all the instrumentation in a single interface. I can see an iPad with a large center dial being a speedometer/tachometer with motor/ inverter temp, amp/voltage, and battery state of charge/segment balance around the edges, mounted on the dash like the Tesla Model 3 prototypes. Since the iPad already has native entertainment and map function, add Bluetooth speakers and you have one very clean dashboard installation.

    I can see an upgraded GEVCU in my future. Will it plug into my existing (GEVCU 4.2) harness or do I get a second cut at the spaghetti monster lurking under my hood?

    Keep up the great work!

    1. The harness is different. The new boards have a 48 pin connector (well, a 30 pin and an 18 pin) so there are a few extra things there as well. Looks like you’ll have a good excuse to fix up your wiring.

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